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With the holiday show on the schedule, I’ve been looking to acquire my first figure skating costume. Eek! I don’t know about you, but skating dresses always bring to mind fluffy skirts, poofy sleeves, sparkles, and glitter. I find a lot of the elite skater costumes really gorgeous, but for the rest of us down here on planet earth it seems the options are a lot more humble. Sequins, gaudy color combinations, dubious cutouts, and velour — those seem more our lot.

Don’t get me wrong, I think a lot of younger skaters manage to look cute in them. Maybe because their small size or generally stick-like shapes look fine in little pink dresses that barely cover their rears. Or maybe because their ability to throw themselves into the air and spin uncannily fast brings enough admiration that you’re distracted from the costuming. They can definitely get away with getups in a way that a 33-year-old woman really just can’t. As with other things in life, actually.

Those skirts? Just not gonna work on adult hips, no way.

Having never done dance or any sort of performance art, I was totally in over my head on this one, and didn’t really know where to start. As with most things, I turned to the internet.

My first instinct was to grab the simplest black dress and call it a day. Something functional, something that didn’t draw attention to me but also didn’t stick out for being TOO plain. But then I thought, why not get into the spirit of things and actually try to look pretty? It’s one of the things I’m struggling with in the program — feeling silly doing some of the moves, yet wanting to look good. It took a couple of practices to click in my brain that looking good necessitated a level of commitment that superseded my embarrassment. Simply put, I had to go all-out and not care about looking silly in order to not look silly.

With that in mind, I started looking at a wider range of dresses. I still found the selection limited, since (1) I’m an adult and some things just don’t come in sizes bigger than tiny, and (2) I’m buying ready-made, and (3) I don’t want to drop a ton of cash for my first costume ever.

Ebay turned out to have quite the range — almost too much range, since it was hard to sift through everything — and I found some that were really very attractive. Alas, since my name is not Yuna Kim and I’m barely managing single jumps, these seemed like overkill:

(But so pretty!)

I found a few dresses in my size on figure skating sites that might work, but they tended to be in the $100 range, which seemed awfully expensive. They were okay-looking, but nothing exciting.

Then Coach A suggested I try dancewear sites, because I didn’t have to wear something strictly marketed as a skating dress. It made sense, and it turns out there’s a lot more selection in the dance world. And for a lot cheaper, too. All I needed was something short with decent coverage, and maybe a little sparkle.

Like:

Those two were almost there, but not quite. I’m not a fan of looking pregnant while not being pregnant, so the high empire waist didn’t seem the best choice. The black one was too sheer for my taste.

Finally I settled on two choices I felt suited my needs. One’s a skating dress from Ebay and the other’s a dance dress (which I thought could be okay despite the slight empire waist), both for about $40.

I figured I’d get both in case one didn’t work out, and if I liked them both I could save the other for another occasion. One benefit of being an adult: No more growing to worry about. Except the outward kind, that is. And hopefully I can keep that in check.

So, the final decision? Here’s to hoping at least one of them works out!

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