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    Master BHUZzer Sonja2's Avatar
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    "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    So, I've wondered about this for a while. What is the dividing line between a "professional" costume and a "beginner/troupe" costume?

    Designer costumes seem to be obviously professional. Part of that is probably due to the ability to have them custom made. However, there are some very very lovely "beginner" costumes out there that I have a hard time not seeing as just as "professional" as the designer cossies. For example, I don't understand the cost of some of the Sahar costumes out there that are so sparse (just my personal taste). But there are some less expensive, more highly decorative costumes out there that are labeled as "beginner" costumes.

    So what's the boundary? The number of rhinestones? The cost of the costume? I mean, let's face it, a fantastic dancer can make a pair of jeans look better than a terrible dancer in a bella, right?

    Just to clarify, I'm not talking about some of the very obviously beginner costumes, like the butterfly tops or the like, I'm talking about well-constructed costumes that just don't have a bajillion rhinestones on them, but are otherwise quite nicely made.

    Thoughts??


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    Ultimate BHUZzer ZanaRaqs's Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    i used to think the more bling makes it more professional to me, even if it's labeled as a beginner's costume and others see it that way. to me shiny equals more work on it which equals higher quality
    but you're right, i see some of the things listed in bellydancestore.com and think wow they're pretty but y do they cost this much since i can find more blinged out stuff for way cheaper...and then i see it's a famous designer lol

    but this is an interesting question tho. i was talking to my friend yesterday who is also a bd dancer and she was tellin me how she went to cairo years ago and bought a handmade costume for 40 usd!! it was in one of the stores in cairo (never been so couldn't tell u where it is or who owns it) but she saw it made right in front of her and she still uses it and that was like 2 years ago..it's very sturdy and looks very high quality in the pictures and it hasn't failed her yet.


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    Taj
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    For me, it's pretty simple: Professional costumes are the ones I can't afford.
    DrinaDances likes this.


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    Ultimate BHUZzer ZanaRaqs's Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    Quote Originally Posted by Taj View Post
    For me, it's pretty simple: Professional costumes are the ones I can't afford.
    haha true. that's another way to look at it lol


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    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    To me, it's all about professional design and flattery.

    Sometimes a costume has clearly skipped over the 'design' step and gone straight to beading. The proportions and shapes of the bra and belt don't flatter the dancer's body, or sometimes even fit well. the bra may not support, the belt may not cup the booty, etc. So there's plenty of bling, but the costume works against the dancer instead of with her. I know posting examples would be helpful, but I don't know how to do that without offending people who are wearing similar costumes.

    A second factor, of course, is durability. I've had students who bought the less expensive costumes and been dropping fringe and sequins every time they dance. For the most part, professional costumes are made to take a beating.


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    Advanced BHUZzer KelsNasim's Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    Quote Originally Posted by Taj View Post
    For me, it's pretty simple: Professional costumes are the ones I can't afford.
    Hee hee!
    I hear you! ..l;,


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    I could get used to this! Anacaona's Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    I agree completely with Lauren. I'm a nut for bra and belt sets, and it's much more difficult to tell if it's quality until you see it on a body, and even then...

    Some are so richly beaded and designed and gorgeous and all you can do if it's a designer you don't know is keep your fingers crossed. The beads chip, the fringe falls out (painful to step on, by the way), the rhinestones disappear, and the sequins fade. Obviously that happens with use in general, but it takes much longer with quality things, and it's not as disastrous. And then there's the fit, where you put something on and you wonder if your breast really is lower and smaller than the other, but then you realize it's really something simple and unnecessary like the underbust is uneven. You wonder, why spend so much time making something so beautiful if you're not even going to cut the foundation right? Or the belt, jeeez, those can be bad. Even with sewing an elastic if the cut is just bad there's not much to be done.


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    Advanced BHUZzer Rosette's Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    I think the term "beginner" costume is sort of like "starter home," i.e., relatively inexpensive but suitable for performance, good for someone who's just starting out and not sure how far they going to go with this performance thing, or how much they want to spend on it. Sometimes though the term seems to lean more towards "cheap junky costume" and a beginner's costume need not, and really should not, be that. I never use the term when I list a costume for exactly this reason; the meaning is too ambiguous.
    Rosette


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    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    Who said on another thread that when you put on a well-made bra it feels like the girls are sitting in a Volvo? LOL.

    I have costumes that feel like that, and costumes that feel like they're perched on mopeds...
    DrinaDances likes this.


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    I could get used to this! Anacaona's Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosette View Post
    I think the term "beginner" costume is sort of like "starter home," i.e., relatively inexpensive but suitable for performance, good for someone who's just starting out and not sure how far they going to go with this performance thing, or how much they want to spend on it. Sometimes though the term seems to lean more towards "cheap junky costume" and a beginner's costume need not, and really should not, be that. I never use the term when I list a costume for exactly this reason; the meaning is too ambiguous.
    Rosette
    Oh I'm sorry, you're right, this is not about designer quality. There are very lovely well made beginner costumes, and I think that those are marked by quantity of work and not quality, since quality should be already assumed. A beginner costume should fit well, be stage-worthy, be flattering, but not necessarily take 2-3 months to have made.


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    Advanced BHUZzer gisela's Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    I too agree with Lauren about the design. Also, cheap costumes are sometimes rip-offs of other more expensive designs. Naturally that is going to be cheaper since they are not paying for sketching and idea-developement. I think Sahar's more expensive costumes are amazing. The lines are perfect, the decorations are well placed and the concepts (colours, fabric, theme) are unique. I can def see why she's charging that much. Her cheaper line is not to my taste because I don't like that bony thing in the bra but still, the cut and the lines are very nice.


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    Ultimate BHUZzer mish_mish's Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    Here is my issue with the "beginner" and "professional" costume thing--if you are out there performing for people, you should be wearing a professional-level costume. I do not mean you must have an expensive costume, but you must have a costume that is flattering, constructed in a way that it doesn't fall apart while you perform (!), free of ridiculous nipple tassels and other nuttiness often found in cheap Turkish airport special costumes. This means, that unless you are a baby belly at the hafla, a performance worthy costume is more than a velvet choli and a hipscarf.

    We go on and on about professionalism--so why do we allow ourselves to call something a "student" or "beginner" costume? If you are a student or beginner, you should probably wait and spend money on a good quality, versatile costume and not waste $200 on something less than stellar.


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    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. anala's Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    Regarding beading...one looks like a cartoon of a BD costume, crude designs drawn by a 6 year old. The other looks like an oil paining. When you turn it inside out how well organized is the threading that holds on the bead design? Is there a ton of thread just hanging?

    Fringe..can you see thru it to the other side? Skimpy. Not good. Does it look like dry bent grass that has been strung together? When touched does move like water?

    Fabric..when stressed by a slight pull in any direction does the surface treatment crackle? Is it so thin that you can see your leg hair ridges thru it?


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    Ultimate BHUZzer tahiradancer's Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    Another issue for me is how well put together is the costume. I recently bought a beautiful bedlah in blues and greens which had top stitching in white which was clearly visible. I had to go over the top stitching with two lines of beads. Not fun!

    {{{HUGS}}}


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    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    In my mind, describing something as a 'beginner' costume means 'This isn't the quality a pro would want, but maybe a student dancing at a hafla who doesn't want to spend that much would like it."

    I don't think students who never plan to earn back any of their bellydance money should be expected to invest in a 'professional' look. (though if they happen to have the funds, they certainly can and many do.)

    I was specifically addressing why some of the 'beginner' costumes might have the same amount of beadwork as the pro costumes.

    Anala, I never thought of it that way re: beadwork, but you're so right. Same as the overall design of the garment -- there are people who lack a good eye who think 'I could do that, I know how to sew/do beadwork' and they can, but they just don't know how to create work that is really lovely to look at. In Cairo, the seamstresses sometimes wanted to show us their own, cheaper knockoffs of their boss's designs, and the knockoffs were lacking either in the design of the garment or the design of the beadwork, although the work itself was the same quality.


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    Master BHUZzer Michelle75's Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    Quote Originally Posted by anala View Post
    Regarding beading...one looks like a cartoon of a BD costume, crude designs drawn by a 6 year old. The other looks like an oil paining. When you turn it inside out how well organized is the threading that holds on the bead design? Is there a ton of thread just hanging?

    Fringe..can you see thru it to the other side? Skimpy. Not good. Does it look like dry bent grass that has been strung together? When touched does move like water?

    Fabric..when stressed by a slight pull in any direction does the surface treatment crackle? Is it so thin that you can see your leg hair ridges thru it?
    If I had to explain this to someone I would use Anala's words. This pretty much sums it up for me; especially the fringe part. GOD, I hate those costumes that havce a single row of fringe with a coin hanging off of the bottom. That screams "classroom outfit" to me. Please don't come to a gig or the restaurant wearing this.


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    Master BHUZzer Michelle75's Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    I'm just going to go ahead and do this. I know I will probably get some sore remarks, but I'm answering a question with my personal thoughts.

    These are examples of beginner costumes. They lack detail, design, and they are less flattering. I would be very upset if I was charged money to see a dancer perform in any of these costumes. All that said, they are fine for classroom attire.







  18. #18
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. anala's Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    How about this for a gross generalization? If it's comfy enough to wear to work...it aint real!


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    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    Quote Originally Posted by Michelle75 View Post
    I'm just going to go ahead and do this. I know I will probably get some sore remarks, but I'm answering a question with my personal thoughts.

    These are examples of beginner costumes. They lack detail, design, and they are less flattering. I would be very upset if I was charged money to see a dancer perform in any of these costumes. All that said, they are fine for classroom attire.
    I agree - these are good examples of costumes that would be fine for student recitals and haflas, but NOT for a paid performance at a restaurant or a wedding. They're cute, and I like the way the slits are done on the sides of the harem pants, but they don't have that feeling of elegance or sumptuousness that professional costumes do.


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    Advanced BHUZzer gisela's Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    No sore remarks from me :). I think those are very representative of beginner costumes. Gets you in the oriental mood without spending loads and they are at least not horribly skimpy.
    As a beginner you are also quite easily fooled by something shiny. Just a little bit of coins or gold coloured plastic beads can seduce you.


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    Ultimate BHUZzer *Shira*'s Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    Quote Originally Posted by Sonja2 View Post
    For example, I don't understand the cost of some of the Sahar costumes out there that are so sparse (just my personal taste). But there are some less expensive, more highly decorative costumes out there that are labeled as "beginner" costumes.
    I agree with you that the Sahar Okasha costumes seem overpriced for what they are. I would consider paying as much for one of her costumes as I do for one of Hanan's, but I'm not willing to pay the really high prices that she charges. In her case, you're not just paying for the costume and its workmanship, you're also paying for her reputation as having been a designer whose costumes Dina wears.


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    Ultimate BHUZzer mish_mish's Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    I think those costumes are appropriate for class only--but they are probably so much more expensive than just regular exercise/dance wear, so it seems like there really isn't a good use for those kinds of outfits. I think a better option for a "first" costume would be something like the Fortune and Fame set from Dahlal (about $140) and a simple skirt ($50), well-groomed hair and make-up and some simple jewelry. You could have a decent and versatile costume for less than $250.


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    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. Lauren_'s Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    Quote Originally Posted by mish_mish View Post
    I think those costumes are appropriate for class only--but they are probably so much more expensive than just regular exercise/dance wear, so it seems like there really isn't a good use for those kinds of outfits. I think a better option for a "first" costume would be something like the Fortune and Fame set from Dahlal (about $140) and a simple skirt ($50), well-groomed hair and make-up and some simple jewelry. You could have a decent and versatile costume for less than $250.
    Hmm... might be some regional differences at play here. In my area you'd look quite silly dressed like this for class. These outfits would be perfect for a dancer in her first group number, though.

    I wouldn't expect everyone in the group to spend $250 on her outfit.

    Most students around here don't spring for a bedlah until they're ready to solo. And even then not everyone does.


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    Ultimate BHUZzer Suzana's Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    For class? Really? At most places around here, you might get away with the bra in the first example, at most, but there would be giggling. They'd be cute and totally appropriate for a beginner group number at many schools, depending on the dance style and teacher preferences.


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    Established BHUZzer ambriehlmagycblade's Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    I liked those costumes for students at haflas, student/amateur night at restaurants, or maybe for a group of students performing a piece at an outdoor festival or something-where a teacher and her troupe might be dancing, and they want to let the students do a number as well.

    I don't really like them for class-especially seeing as they would get stinky pretty quick.


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    Ultimate BHUZzer tahiradancer's Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    I am going to agree with those who said that the costumes posted are fine for first performances at Haflas, etc. Although they really don't give the dancer pieces to build on. Circle skirts, hip scarves and some kind of sparkly top are good for this.

    If a dancer or group wants to drop money on bling, than yes, Fame & Fortune is a good option. As are several others. It is a matter of personal desire and finances.

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    Master BHUZzer Sonja2's Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    Hm. Let me clarify. The pictures here are what I would call "baby beginner" costumes. The typical silver & gold bra & belt with no extras I might call "beginner/troupe" costumes (although I'll admit that I still wear mine to dance at restaurants as long as I am wearing them with a very nice skirt combo, etc... and, interestingly, one time I wore my plain old very first silver bra & belt & the manager LOVED it...hmm.).

    The costumes I even MORE curious about are some of the ones posted on the swap meet that are called "beginner or troupe" costumes that, for all intents & purposes, look just like many of the $300-400 Joharas. So is a Johara a beginner cossie?


  28. #28
    Ultimate BHUZzer tahiradancer's Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    For some people, yes, a Johara is a troupe costume. I know a couple of troupes which wear Pharaonix. And if that is your point of reference, it may be difficult to think of them as anything else.

    the other issue is are they trying to sell the entire lot off at once in order to not have to deal with the bother of selling each costume individually? it is a consideration.

    Someone may also consider them beginner as they are used and being priced low.

    {{{HUGS}}}


  29. #29
    A journey of ten thousand miles begins with a single post. anala's Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    I would say that a brand new 300-400 Johara is a beginner "pro" costume. Someone in my position...not making money, but serious about my "hobby" (passion) would buy one. Never ever could I justify (even to my self indulgent self) more than that. Even for a used Bella..did you hear me universe? I said no....


  30. #30
    Mega BHUZzer maliaraqs's Avatar
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    Re: "Professional" vs "Beginner" Costumes

    Quote Originally Posted by Sonja2 View Post
    The costumes I even MORE curious about are some of the ones posted on the swap meet that are called "beginner or troupe" costumes that, for all intents & purposes, look just like many of the $300-400 Joharas. So is a Johara a beginner cossie?
    I wouldn't consider Johara a beginner costume. She has some that do look like a starter pro costume, but she also has some that are upwards of $500 and have lots of bling, interesting cuts, fringe, etc.

    Here's a cossie under $200 that I would consider professional:
    http://www.bhuz.com/forum/bellydance...ise-165-a.html

    Beautiful color with a nice gold accent, nice beading, looks like a decent cut too. So don't go off cost alone. Often two costumes will look very similar, but one has beads that are better sewn on (so they'll stay longer), better fabric/materials, better fit, finished seams, crystals rather than glass beads, nicely lined, etc. This will make it more expensive, but it doesn't make the other one less professional.


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