Two competitors in solo costumes.
Four competitors in solo costumes.

WHAT IS A SOLO DRESS/VEST?

A Solo dress (girls) or vest (boys) is worn by dancers competing in Feiseanna (competitions) at Novice level or higher. They are purchased independently by each dancer. If your dancer has qualified to wear a solo costume there are several websites in which to select a used or new one.

Solo dresses are very individual statements, and can be found used or new. Some designers will let you help design your own new dress. They can also be found used at feiseanna anywhere from $300 and up. If you are purchasing a costume, you must submit a photo of it (or its design sketch) for approval to Natalie at 612-703-2167 or to natalie@osheairishdance.com.

WHO NEEDS A SOLO VESTS/COSTUMES?

  • FOR FEISING DANCERS placing into majority of Novice Dance competitions.
    • Solos are required for any Prizewinner dance or above.
  • FOR TRADITIONAL SET DANCERS at OIREACHTAS

WHEN I NEED A SOLO, WHAT DOES THIS INVOLVE?

We want you to find something that meets your family’s needs in budget, and that reflects your individuality and style... We know, of course, the first question is always ‘How much?”. A solo is like buying your first car; there is a wide range of good and bad. You want to make an investment that will be right for what you need now, and will hold its value for a trade in. As you advance into the next solo, you will hopefully be able to retain some of that investment, and with a supplement, improve your make and model.

WHY DO I NEED THIS?

While a dance competition is STILL about the dancing - like it or not, a solo dress reflects to the judges and other dance world folks your “commitment” to dance, and like the technique of Irish Dance itself, it is all in the details. A dress that reflects current trends reflects you as a “contender”. As much as we don’t like it, Cormac and I explain it this way: judges are human, and competitions get tedious. Judges are often looking to see what stands out. Sadly, dresses have become a shorthand for how serious you are... While you still need the skills, a solo does make you memorable above and beyond your dancing. We have seen the results to prove this.

WHERE DO I START?

To get a sense of what would be a good investment, we recommend you surf the web to see the latest styles and cuts. The latest major championships are the best place to see what current champions (who set the trends) are wearing.

Google Image Search: Irish Nationals; All Irelands; Oireachtas; North American Nationals; World Championships; Great Britain Championships; All Scotland Championships

Facebook Search Top Designers: Celtic Star; Eire Designs; Siope Rince

 

WHAT ARE THE RULES AND REGULATIONS REGARDING SOLOS?

1. Follow the OID guidelines:

a. You must consult with Natalie (email or text pictures) before you buy @ 612-703-2167

b. BUY for FIT – FIT is MOST IMPORTANT! Too big is as bad as too small

* NATALIE OR SUE GOLDER WILL GIVE BLING (crystalling) LESSONS AS NEEDED

c. DO seek something appropriate to your dancer’s level and abilities. Entry level (Novice) solo dresses & vestscan be quite simple - Prizewinner needs to be getting more serious. For any Championship level, they shouldbe no more than 1-2 years old & following current trends.

d. Acquire a well- made/designed Irish Dance dress new or used by an experienced Irish Dress maker. (If theydon’t have experience at Irish Dance Dresses, please do not use them! No dresses made by helpful grandmasor aunties, please. )

e. No 3 D objects such as pom poms, fringe or feathers

f. Animal prints on U12 and below are discouraged

2. Follow the AN Coimisiún rules (these vary in seriousness)
N.B. SOLO DRESSES MAY NOT BE WORN IN ANY BEGINNER LEVEL COMPETITIONS

  • Costumes must consist of a full front and back section i.e. cut away styles are notacceptable. **YES**
  • Materials must be of equivalent weight to that used in the more traditional costumes, e.g.dress velvet, trevira, gaberdine, wool-mix, etc. **This is not enforced, at all.**
  • Skirt lengths - the minimum skirt length is not more than four inches above the knee level. It is hoped that the introduction of this rule will prevent excessively short skirtlengths.**This is now translated as “halfway   between the crease of the thigh and the crease of the knee.**
  • Neck lines must be of collar bone level or above. This does not preclude the use of alternative fabrics, e.g. lace, as an insert. **YES**
  • Where chiffon or lace material is used as sleeves, the sleeves must start at the shoulder line and end at the cuff. **YES**
  • Appropriate underwear (bloomers) must be worn. Where tights are worn they must be of a denier of not less than 70. **YES**

Casual group of kids in dress costume.

 

HOW DO I FIND A SOLO COSTUME?

1. USED ONLINE
You may always search online– there are more options than I can include here.

2. USED AT TEAM WORKSHOP/OID DRESS EXCHANGES
ANYONE with a solo dress or vest to sell or exchange is encouraged to bring it in. We will always try to help fit it to someone and sell it.

a. At Parent orientation

b. At Costume Days

c. At the Practice Feis in Feb & June

d. At MAJORS workshops

3. USED AT FEISEANNA/MAJORS

a. LOCAL FEISEANNA

b. AWAY FEISEANNA

c. MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIPS (LOTS of choice here - especially newly available ones)

4. NEW FROM VENDOR
New costumes can be costly, but they are custom fitted, and you generally have much more personal choice in the details. New makers are constantly cropping up, but they often run into big learning curves in their first few years.

Some experienced/recommended vendors are (also on Facebook):

  • Emerald Key
  • Celtic Solo
  • Eire Designs
  • Celtic Star
  • Elevation Design
  • Siope Rince
  • Doire Designs

HOW DO I ADAPT MY SOLO COSTUME?

If you can find one that fits closely there are things you can do to make them your own and/or bring them up to date:

  • Alterations can be made with Molly O’Brien
  • Bling can be applied (Sue Golder has Swarovski crystals for sale)
  • Accessories can be purchased (tiara or headband, earrings, etc.)
  • Wigs can be customized to compliment the dancer in that particular costume.
    • For wigs, we recommend Camelia Rose USA - our field rep is Kelly Schields Kzirishcurlz@att.net 630-247-6519 She has a FaceBook Page too!

We will be holding workshops where we review costumes with both teams and solo dancers. I will aim to schedule them at the start of the year in advance of each major championship or costume event. Please refer to the OID calendar for the next open date, or see Natalie for help.