Friday, December 28, 2018

10 Ways Latin Dancing Has Influenced My Daily Style

If you follow along either here or on Instagram, you probably know that I've been doing a lot of Latin dancing over the past two years and I actually really love it. I take lessons, attend classes and most recently, I've started competing. From the first minute I was taken by the glamour of the Latin dancing world. Spray tans, sparkles and sass are always part of the deal when you watch or participate in a dance competition and I've found myself being drawn to the glamour in my everyday life as well. It's become my major source of style inspiration and without going full tilt, looking like Carmen Miranda with tail feathers and fruit on my head as I walk down the high street (not that there's anything wrong with that), I find myself more and more consistently drawn to things that remind me of the high glamour on the dance floor. Here are 10 ways that Latin dancing has inspired my daily style.

black fringe dress

1. Fabulous Fringe
Whether it's a sassy pair of shoulder-grazing earrings or a full-on skirt or dress, I can't stop scouring the internet and every shop I go to for pieces that are loaded with fringe and all the movement it brings. I love the swish of a fringe skirt or dress and it's fun to experiment with different textures. The first fringe piece I bought was a leather skirt, but since then I buy every swishy thing I can find because life's too short not to wear the fun pieces in everyday life.

gingham tiered skirt with lace socks and black heels with jewels on them

2. Bling & Sparkles
I find it hard to resist a bit of sparkle and my glitz factor has definitely quadrupled since I started Latin dancing. Statement earrings, chunky, glittering necklaces and cocktail rings are a start, but lately I'm feeling like sequins and crystals will start to make an appearance in my closet as well. Bling it on!

3. Middle Part Updo's
Latin dancers generally slick their hair right back in order to keep it in place. This generally requires layer after layer of hairspray and lots of other product. I love the sleek, chic look of a middle parted bun and lately I'm wearing my hair like this all the time. I think it looks classy and dramatic, but truth be told, it's also really easy, especially on bad hair days - it takes less than 10 minutes.

4. All Dolled Up
I've always worn make-up and my style in this department has changed quite drastically over the years. As a teen and in my early twenties I was a full-on glamour girl with liquid black eyeliner and red lips almost every day... Very Marilyn Monroe. At some point I started to go for a more natural look, trading heavy foundation for tinted moisturiser and bright lipstick for lighter lipglosses. Since the first dance competition I watched, I've started to really get into wearing a lot of make-up again. Glittering, smokey eyes, lots of eyeliner, contouring, glowing highlighter and really sexy lip colours from nude to bright red are all on the menu. It's a lot of fun and I love taking inspiration from the  extreme performance make-up and translating it into a more wearable version for everyday life.

tartan skirt

5. Swishy Skirts
I love a skirt that gives good twirl and these days I'm looking for that every time I buy a skirt. Of course a pencil skirt is always sexy and chic, but I love the swish of a fuller skirt whether it's long or short as I sashay down the street. If I wear it for a dance social and it has a bit of movement - even better!

6. Mesh
Sheer mesh is so sexy on dance dresses, but it's gorgeous for a night out as well. I use mesh pieces for evening and daytime layering these days. It's a great way of showing a bit of skin without freezing to death. I don't currently wear suits, but if I did, I also love the idea of a sheer mesh top underneath a sexy suit jacket with some power trousers and heels. The options are endless and when it comes to layering, mesh makes a summer sundress wearable in winter, adds sleeves to your favourite warm weather top and even adds another dimension to your favourite v-neck sweater.

7. Strappy Heels
When I first moved to New York, my first job was working in a dance wear store where I sold, among other things, ballroom and Latin dancing shoes. Women used to come in all the time to buy the beautiful, satin Latin heels, but not for dancing. They would take them to a cobbler and have the suede sole covered with a rubber one so that they could wear them with evening dresses for weddings and special events. Not only are the Latin shoes beautiful, but they're also really comfortable, so it's not surprising that women would opt for them on a day when they might be standing or dancing a lot, but still want comfort. I wouldn't particularly want to wear my Latin shoes on the street, but they do make me want to invest in lots of strappy sandals and heels because they're sexy and they go with just about anything!

8. Ruffles
Ruffles are an obvious choice for dancers because they have movement, but I love wearing them in daily life for the same reason. Anything that adds a little texture or movement is fun to wear and adds a point of interest to a look. Ruffles can be minimal and subtle or full-on, but either way I find myself drawn to them so much more now than I was before.

9. Slits & Mini's
I've always been a mini-skirt kind of girl, but since I started dancing, I've come to appreciate them even more. Similarly, a dress or skirt with a thigh-high slit is a great way to make a statement and I can't stop reaching for them.

10. Bronzer
If I was independently wealthy, I'd probably have a person on staff to spray tan me all the time, but since I don't have that and I live in England where it's cold most of the time, I settle for bronzer and lots of it. People are always asking me if I've just been on holiday and I'm always responding with "It's just the bronzer..." I find some well-placed bronzer keeps even the most pale of us from looking sickly during the colder months and I'm not at all above brushing some bronzer onto exposed parts of my body such as the d├ęcolletage, shoulders or even my arms. If I'm showing my legs or back, I'll probably break out the self-tanner, but for just a few inches of skin, I find bronzer is a good thing to have around.

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