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  • Writer's pictureby Zara Dance

My 3 top tips for looking after your bellydance costumes

Costume Care

We all know that investing in a bellydance costume can sometimes be a big decision, but it's a really exciting and glittery one too!! However, if you look after your costume and care for it, it can be a loyal friend lasting you years and holding its value - not to mention giving you endless joy and making you shine in your performances!

I still LOVE and use the very first bellyance costume I ever bought which was nearly £300 BUT I have looked after it well and nearly 10years later it is still going strong!

Here's how you can make your costumes last for 10 years + :

bellydance costume care tips:

How to look after your bellydance costume TIP ONE: DO NOT dry clean your professional, beaded costume! The chemicals used may cause damage and Dry Cleaning DOES NOT remove the smell of perspiration.

Remember, your hand beaded, professional Egyptian costume is a work of art which took ages to complete and is made to last a lifetime. It is its uniqueness and beauty which makes your costume worth caring for. Also, not only will it serve you for years and years but its value will remain because handmade beadwork is becoming less common and ever more expensive.

How to look after your bellydance costume TIP TWO: After wearing your costume it should be aired to prevent it getting smelly from perspiration, stale perfume etc. Shake it out and lay it flat on an airer - outside if it's a fine day. Don't leave it in the sun's rays for too long though or it will fade. However, one day your costume may be ready for more in the way of cleaning! The hem looks grubby, the make-up marks are starting to be just a little too much so what to do?

Do not be afraid! Your Egyptian, beaded costumes can be gently hand washed in lukewarm water with baby soap/shampoo (not a detergent). Squeeze them gently and rub on the inside of the costume if it is stained with fake tan or make-up. Never wash them in hotter water as that will remove the glitter and shine from the fabric and sequins etc. Rinse very, very well in cold water. Squeeze gently to remove as much water as possible then lay the costume in a clean, dry towel and pat it as dry as possible. Now, lay your costume on a flat airer to dry (never hang heavily beaded costumes as they will stretch - especially when wet) outside if it a good day BUT do not leave it in direct sunlight as it will fade. Turn it over a few times until completely dry.

You will be surprised how bright and new your costume will look and smell!

If your costume has a built in bra and you are worried whether it will dry into the correct shape, put two oranges (or other fruit) wrapped in cloth inside the cups to maintain shape (not usually necessary).

If you are worried about washing a costume, try doing the arm bands or head band first to gain confidence.

NEVER, ever put your costume to dry in a tumble dryer!!

How to look after your bellydance costume TIP THREE: Store your costume in an individual box - if you have the space to do this! Put the accessories which go with that costume in a bag in the same box. It is also a good idea to put a sachet of silica gel in the box to absorb any damp. A bar of natural soap, wrapped in tissue, also keeps your costume smelling nice and is lovely when you open the box - think Lush or Body Shop.

You may choose see-through plastic boxes - The positive point: easy to see what is there BUT the negative points: cost and they do not let the costume breathe. You may choose empty shoe boxes - The positive points: cost and they let the costume breathe BUT the negative points: size and you can't see what is inside and appearance (unless you cover them in wrapping paper)

The advantage of using a box, over a breathable bag, is that it protects your costume from damage caused by crushing if something heavy gets stored on top. The beading and the bra cups of your costume can be damaged by heavy items. If you do store your costumes in a bag it may be better to keep them in a drawer, rather than in a wardrobe, as crushing is less likely to occur.

Before putting your costume away, do any repairs needed! Check that the hooks and other fasteners are good. Check that the seams are all holding together. Check the beading for any damage - especially along the hem and any other edges where it easily gets caught. The thread which holds the beads on can be cut by the rhinestones, coins or other beads so check to see if any need a stitch in time! Lost sequins, stones and beads can easily be replaced. Even if you can't get the exact same bead or crystal I'm sure you can find something similar to sew in its place and your audience won't know. AND then your costume is always ready to go!!!

Of course so many times I wish I would listen to my own advice............!! Don't we all??

DID YOU KNOW that I, with my mother - Sandra , also run an online bellydance shop called Zara's Zouk this is a costume shop for all your bellydance costuming needs. If you are thinking of buying a bellydance costume why not check out my online shop or book an appointment to see the stok at our home in London:

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