When a belly dancer performs, she wants to cast a professional appearance, even if she is a student performing for her first time. The costume that she wears is often the audience’s first impression of how interesting the dancer will be (unless she comes out draped in a veil that conceals her costume). Wearing a lingerie bra without embellishing it in any way should be avoided. And don’t think that those Frederick’s of Hollywood embellished bras will save you the bother.
A dancer shouldn’t appear on stage looking as if she forgot to get dressed for the show. Use basic hand sewing skills, or even a hot glue gun to add personalized elements to a bra. Scour craft stores and fabric shops for embellishments. This can allow for a lot of creativity.
Selecting a Base for a Belly Dance Bra
Make certain that the bra gives good coverage and that the breast isn’t bulging over the inner or outer portion of the cup. Jump up and down and try an exaggerated shoulder shimmy to observe the support the bra provides. A hard cup is better than a soft cup because you will be adding things to the bra and you don’t want the weight of the embellishments to cause the fabric to droop.
A satin or velvet bra will catch the light better than a cotton bra. Avoid sheer fabric. Also, avoid a bra that matches your skin tone as you don’t want to look like you’ve glued rhinestones to your naked flesh.
How to Trim a Bra
Look for beaded fringe, rhinestone trim, lace trim, sequin strands and other trim embellishments. These are “big” pieces that can be added to a bra and make it instantly look for dance-y. Add the trim along the top of the cups and along the back band, which will help the bra look less like ladies’ undergarments when you turn around.
Beaded trim that isn’t attached to a ribbon can also be hung below the bra cups in a variety of looping patterns. Longer strands of beads can be used as a belly cover. Look at both strands of small beads as well as larger beads for the variety they can offer.
Embellishments for Bras
Rhinestones, loose beads and sequins, appliqués, coins, buttons, and strands of beads or sequins can decorate the bra cup. One thing to keep in mind, the more stuff on the bra, the better. Remember that every embellishment has the opportunity to catch the light in the room and bring emphasis to your dance moves.
Either sew on pieces or use hot glue or fabric glue to attach the elements. Put on the bra and hold the larger embellishments in place. Mark the bra with a pencil or pen mark. Remove the bra and attach the decorations. Put the bra on again and add some smaller pieces. If combining trim with individual adornments attach a few of the individual elements first and then add the trim. Keep putting the bra on and checking how it looks in the mirror. Stand as far from the mirror as possible to get the effect of the piece from the distance. Also check side views and back view to see how the bra looks from all angles.
Cover the straps with wide pieces of ribbon trim or add a few rhinestones or beads. Another option is to wear a cropped vest that reveals the cups of a store bought bra, eliminating the need to decorate the back strap and the shoulder straps. Adorn the cups and slip the vest over it.
Embellishing a store bought bra allows a dancer to look like she is wearing a finished, well-thought out costume. Whether the performer is new to the dance or she is a seasoned performer low on cash and looking for a costume appropriate for a themed show, decorating a bra allows for a lot of creativity.