Irish Dance Costumes

Every Irish dancer loves the dresses! Who wouldn’t?! Each dress is it’s own masterpiece and it is wonderful to see all of the different designs and colors that the dancers wear. Irish dance costumes have changed over the years and today you can see that the costume has evolved into something more. Here we will outline some of the current trends in Irish dancing costumes.greendress1

The Dress
The Irish dance dress is a beautiful creation that takes many hours of dedication to sew and put together. There are so many different designs and colors used. Many Irish dance schools have their own costume design with specific school colors and patterns. If you attend a feis (Irish dance competition) you can see many different school costumes on the dance floor. Most schools will have their dancers use their school costume for parades, group dances, performances and other events.
At a feis, however, not every dancer will wear their school uniform. As dancers progress and move up into higher dancing categories (such as prizewinner and championship dancers) they will wear what is called a solo outfit. With a solo outfit the dancer can pick any dress of any color and style to wear. And many girls love this as they can customize and taylor dresses to their own personality.


The Shoes and Socks
circleofshoesNow we can’t forget the shoes! There are two different types of shoes used for Irish dance: the ghillie (or soft shoe) and the hard shoe. Soft shoes are made of soft leather with loops that the laces run through. These shoes are soft and do not make noise as the dancer crosses the floor in a jig, slip jig or reel dance. Soft shoes are only used for certain Irish dances.
Irish dance hard shoes are the shoes that make noise as dancers do a jig or hornpipe dance. These shoes are also made of leather, but have a hard sole with a heel and toe piece that clicks. The toe piece also allows the dancers to stand on their toes as part of their routine.
And what about socks? They wear socks called “poodle socks” which are white socks that come up the leg, but below the knee. Poodle socks are covered with tiny bumps which give them a different look, almost like they are knitted by hand.


The Hair

irishdancewigAnd to complete the Irish dancers look, we can’t forget to mention the hair. Irish dancers always seem to dance with curly hair. Whether they have done up their hair in curlers overnight or are wearing a curly wig or bun, it seems that no dancer is complete without it! Today the general style at competitions is to wear your hair up and use a wig or bun over top of it. Although this is not required, it does seem to be the general trend.

Where To Get Irish Dance Costumes?

There are lots of shops online that provide Irish dance items, such as shoes, wigs, dresses, vests, etc.  There are stores that sell new items, and also online communities/sites where people post used items – which helps you save a lot!  Irish dance costumes get quite expensive.    A few of the most common shopping places are listed below: