Salsa-proof clothes for the chicas
to Nadine Knows
You know that salsa is taking over your life if
when shopping, you end up buying more clothes for salsa dancing than for work.
However, some items that look great on the rack, may end up wreaking havoc on
the dance floor. So how can you tell if the clothes are salsa-proof? Read on.
Where to get your salsawear
Yes, you can go to Nordstrom, Bebe’s, Macy’s, or
even Express or the Limited for cool, styling, fresh-off-the runway apparel. The
clothes are made well and tend to be high quality stuff. If you’ve got the
money to spend, more power to you. But it ain’t what you need for salsa dancing.
For salsa dancing, does it really matter that there is no lining under the
garment, or that the seam is running down the middle of the back? In a club,
who’s gonna be standing long enough for the imperfection to be noticed? Nope,
for dancing, you need clothes that you can move and look sexy in but aren’t
gonna worry about drenching with sweat. You need clothes that you could care
less about having left deodorant stains under the armpits. It’s salsa gear
you’ll love to wear every week for a month, and then toss into a corner in back
of your closet when you’ve found a new favorite top. You need Disposable
Chain stores or those little Korean or Mexican or
name-your-ethnic-preference places sell trendy stuff for under $20. Two of my
favorite chains to head to are Charlotte Russe and Forever 21.
Sometimes you can find stuff at Contempo, Rave, Mariposa, or Mr. Raggs. Aside
from these teeny bopper stores, I also keep an eye out for fashionable
fifteen dolla’ duds from those aforementioned mom-and-pop boutiques. In
Seattle, great places to check out are Broadway Boutique or Rockin’
Betty (where they’ve got trendy stuff for larger sized women as well) in
Capital Hill. Definitely head to Casual Choice in Westlake Shopping
Mall or Juxtapose in the Alderwood Mall.
If in LA, you MUST go to THE ALLEY in the
garment district (where you can even bargain down the prices and bring cash) for
the BEST stuff (for men and women). Oh, how I long for the clothes in
the Alley. Talk about fashion for the right price! The Alley is a few blocks
long and has open store fronts displaying the latest. It’s one block north of
Maple Street. Start around 12th and head west down The Alley (Santee
Alley) toward Olympic. (The Garment District is usually defined by 7th St.
(north), Wall St. (east), 17th St. (south) and Main St. (west) Link to GIF of
the Garment District map. For a link to a good article describing the Garment District:
If you’ve got a choice, avoid cotton. They soak
sweat and don’t dry quickly. I prefer nylon or polyester-spandex mixes. You
might get hot, but once wet, these materials will dry quickly. Some people like
silk, but silk stays wet, too. I definitely think salsa wear needs to follow in
the footsteps of athletic gear, and we should think about wearing clothes that
wick sweat away from the body.
Once you’ve picked out your stylin’ stuff, you’ve
gotta put them through the “Clothing Calisthenics” test. This is the process of
wiggling and sitting and bending and stuff in the dressing room to test the
Here’s my Clothing Calisthenics Checklist:
Raise arms up. Swing arms around. Wiggle your chest. Roll your shoulders.
Are the straps slipping off your shoulders? If so, can a safety pin do the
trick? (see section on strap tops)
Lean over facing the mirror. Are you over-exposing your chest? Turn
around with your back to the mirror and lean over again. Are you exposing your
Sit or squat in your outfit. Does the dress ride up? Are the low-riders
exposing your thong straps? Did the skin-tight pants split in the rear?
Salsa-Proof Tops (link to tops article)
Salsa-Proof Bottoms (link to bottoms
Here’s an invaluable salsa-wear
tip. Bring safety pins with you to the club. Safety pins are a
salsera’s best friend. I never leave home without them. A life-saver for
those times when BOINGGG! The strap on your $10 top snapped loose mid-dance. You
can easily pin a couple of safety pins to the inside of your shirt, pants,
purse, or coat.