Toupee tape (also known as topstick strips or hairpiece tape) is a girl's best friend! This tape will dramatically increase your clothing options. Finally, you will be able to wear that sexy top dancing without worrying about things falling down, off, or popping out. Apply it directly to the skin or to your bra (my preference) and then stick it to your clothing/costume. I have tried using several brands but Vapon is the only one I've tried that has the correct level of adhesion. You can buy this clear double sided tape at most beauty supply stores (Sally Beauty Supply) or order it online.

Strapless Bras

If you need to wear strapless bras for dancing, buy them is one size smaller than you normally wear. For example, if you normally wear a 36B buy a 34B to wear dancing. Also, look for strapless bras that have grippers (plastic lines) along the band. Follow these tips and your strapless will stay securely in place.


Ladies, please wear spankies! It's vulgar to show your cheeks. Spankies are worn under your skirt or dress and over your pantyhose (and/or underwear). They are sometimes called dance pants, bloomers, spankies, tights, or lollipops. You've seen them on cheerleaders and ice skaters. They can bought at any dance store. Ideally, they are the same color as your dress or skirt. The problem with flesh colored spankies is they make you look naked and people think they are seeing your bare butt. Attention competitive dancers! Flesh colored "panties" violate the International DanceSport Federation's Dress Regulations and can get you and your partner disqualified from ballroom and Latin dance competitions. There are also some fancier options out there. If you are going for a vintage look, you can buy some nylon and lace trim bloomers to wear as spankies. Vanity Fair makes them and they can be bought at department stores such as Sears or Macy's. There are several swing clothing dealers and trendy stores that offer very lacy colored spankies. Though cute, they are also bulky and won't work under most skirts or dresses.


There have been several improvements in the pantyhose industry lately. There are now toeless pantyhose available!!! These are great to wear with open toed shoes. You can find them in most upscale department stores- Nordstroms, Macy's, Bloomingdales, etc. Great news if you like wearing low back dresses or costumes. You can also now find low rise panty hose at Victoria's Secret, online, or at upscale department stores. Make sure your pantyhose don't have visible control top lines. They will be seen while dancing. If you are a competitive ballroom or Latin dancer you need to wear flesh colored fishnets. Wear some cheap pantyhose (like No Nonsense Sheer to Waist) under them to prevent chafing! You can pick these up at Save-On or the grocery store.


Don't wear white socks with black pants and black shoes. Your socks should match your trousers.
Don't wear low cut socks.
Don't wear shorts dancing.
If you are going to a club you haven't been to before, it is better to be overdressed than to have embarrassing problems at the door.

If you sweat a lot, bring along dry shirts to change into. Many men also bring workout towels with them to mop off with. If the club has a hand dryer in the bathroom, you can use that to dry off too.

Performance and Competition Clothing

If you want to buy ready made new or used competition or performance clothes, check out Notably Unique and Champion Dance Store. They sell a variety of ballroom and Latin practice and competition style clothing.

ballroom costumesNotably Unique
1311 S. Brookhurst
Anaheim, CA 92804
(714) 778 - 8801
Store Hours:
Tuesday - Friday: 10:30 - 7
Saturday: 11 - 5

Champion Dance Store
Tell them Mary Scanlon sent you!
3383 Barham Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA
(323) 874-8704
Store Hours:
Monday - Saturday 10 -5

If you just need alterations done, I recommend Georgiani’s in the Los Angeles garment district on (they just moved near re-vamp I'll update soon). It is the cheapest place around to get expert alterations. Ask for Mike and tell him Mary sent you. They are great at all men’s attire - suits, pants, costumes, etc. However, if you need major dress alterations go to Janet Domino or ask Mike to show you to his parent’s shop down the street. With all tailors call ahead and make sure your order is done before you pick it up. Never assume it will really be ready when they tell you it will be. If you need the alterations done for a performance, get them done far in advance.

Alterations & Tailoring NO.2
804 S. Los Angeles St.
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 489 – 4048

Custom Made DanceSport Costumes

Dance costumes have to be more flexible and sturdy than regular clothes. Women will want lots of movement in their costumes. Ideally fabrics will be lightweight and breathe well. Any fitted fabric should be 4-way stretch. When having a dance costume made it is important to work with someone who is experienced in making dance costumes- especially if you are new to designing your own costumes. They know how to make your outfit flexible and sturdy.

6178 West Jefferson Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90016 (Postal Address)
Culver City, CA 90016 (GPS Address)
(310 ) 838-9390 Phone
(310) 861-5448 Fax
(866) 45 DANCE Toll Free

Kalina Dancesport Gowns
(602) 481-1903

For women doing theme routines, I recommend Janet Domino. Bring Janet your wildest ideas and she can make them come alive. In addition to working on my ballroom gowns, she created my salsa “Fire dress” and some crazy sea creature hats for my sister’s work.
Janet Domino

Bridal/DanceSport Gowns
(310) 649-0146

For men who need custom tail suits (International/American), tuxedos, or Latin outfits, I recommend Garo Ashikian. His shop is close to the Westmoor in Korea Town. He's the tailor for Dancing with the Stars. He's on set a couple days a week when they are filming, so call before you go to make sure he'll be in.
Garo Ashikian
3968 West 6th St.
Los Angeles, CA 90020
(213) 380 - 3272

Most styles of competitive dance encourage or even require rhinestones, sequins, and beads.

Putting rhinestones on can be tedious, but the look is well worth it. You can have your dress maker stone your dress, but most dancers do it themselves to save some money. First arrange all your rhinestones in the desired pattern. Then apply E6000 adhesive to the back of each stone with an opened bobby pin. Set and allow 72 hours to dry.

You can order rhinestones and diamantes from Swarovski and Preciosa on-line at They are based in London and have a good reputation for quick deliveries.

The cheapest place to buy quality rhinestones and E6000 adhesive in Los Angeles is:

Bohemian Chrystal
(Maple & 8th in the Garment District)stones
812 South Maple Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 627-9553 Phone
(213) 627-9554 Phone
(213) 627-6991 Fax
Store Hours:
Mon. - Fri. 9am - 4pm
Sat. 8am -1pm

Also at Maple and 8th is a great bead store:

Beads & Trims
321 E. 8th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 689-1000 Phone
(213) 689-1460 Faxbeads

Another good one nearby is:

Berger Bead Specialty CO.

413 East 8th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 627-8783


Guys, do you want a Zoot Suit or Zoot Suit Accessories? For about $445 you can get Zooted out from head to toe including all the accessories at El Pachuco. They have a HUGE selection!

El Pachuco Zoot Suits Inc.
801 S. Harbor Blvd.
Fullerton, CA 92832
(714) 526-3743
Store Hours:
Mon. - Fri. 11 am to 6 pm
Sat. 11 am to 3 pm

If you want to get that vintage look without smelling like moth balls or having your clothes tear when you dance, check out Re-Vamp. Located in the Los Angeles garment district, they have a good variety of vintage re-makes from 1910-1950. The owner is a dancer herself and understands how to make dance clothing that you can dance and do aerials in. Make an appointment to see what they have in stock or if you have something specific in mind they create costume orders for a similar price.

Re-Vamp Vintage Clothing
818 S. Broadway
Suite 801
Los Angeles, CA 90014
(213) 488 3387
Store hours: By appointment only.

If you love rockabilly, My Baby Jo is for you. You can order from them online or visit their culver city store. They also have a hat cleaning service at the culver city store.

My Baby Jo
10418 1/2 National Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034
(310) 558-9244
Store hours:
Monday 12 AM - 6 PM
Mon. - Fri. 11 AM - 6 PM
Sat. 11 AM - 5 PM

A great resource for buying, cleaning, or blocking men's hats is Optimo. They are located in Chicago, but you can ship them your vintage hats to be cleaned and/or blocked or order hats online.

Dance Store
If your laundry basket is full of hand wash and dry clean only clothes that have been sitting in there for the last 3 months is the swing store for you. They are an on-line by dancers for dancers store. Most of their apparel is casual enough to wear out to weekly dance venues (pants, skirts, and t-shirts) and machine washable.

Thrift Stores
For those on a limited budget, a popular way to go about getting that vintage look is to hit the local thrift stores. You never know what inexpensive gem is waiting for you to re-discover it. Larger sizes are generally harder to find in vintage styles (esp. in vintage shoes). As a nation, we've grown over the years and the larger vintage sizes are more in demand now than when they were created. Another reason has to do with smaller people purchasing and taking in items that are too big. If you live in Los Angeles, check out the thrift stores when you travel. I have found better luck finding swing clothing in cities where swing dancing and movie making is not as popular. In Los Angeles thrift stores, there are a lot of dancers and costumes designers scouring the racks regularly.