This blog is a collection of my thoughts and experiences from ten years as a skate dad. For those of you sitting with your jackets in the bleachers, first I salute you, but second I want to give you an honest sense of what you are in for and what to expect. Ice skating is both a trying and a glorious sport, but it doesn't happen without the special group of folks who cheer, support, and console the participants. This is dedicated to you.
Sunday, March 1, 2015
Almost as complex as a modern paratrooper's clothes, a skating costume is one of the more technically engineered uniforms in existence. The fabric has to keep you both warm and cool yet also dry in an environment that is high humidity and windy (when you're moving). It has to be flexibly non-ripping under stressful body conformations, and it has to provide adequate support for decorative embellishment.
When you buy (or have somebody design) a costume for you, you are really looking for three things. First and foremost technical competence: fabric that flexibly breathes. Skate dress fabric usually must be four-way stretch; if you're making your own here's a site with some good representative examples.
Even though a fabric vendor recommends these I'd still check with your coaches and skatemates; some of these fabrics, although stretchy, may fail to provide effective thermal performance if used too liberally.
Second your dress has to thematically match your program's music. You don't have to aim for an outfit that exactly or literally expresses the song title: no need to wear a faux tux when you're skating to Putting on the Ritz. Yet in general terms your outfit should reflect the mood of your program's music.
And finally, not to belabor the obvious, but the fireworks from a competitive skating costume happens when it moves. It doesn't matter so much whether your costume is imposing on the hanger: what's important is its appearance through your spins, spirals, and jumps. Consider how the sparkles may reflect, how the skirt might extend or ruffle, how you may use extensions like tuxedo tails or arm flares to express specific embellishments.
It's a lot to ask from a dress. Which is why there are designers.