How To Look Good On The Dance Floor
Mr Fred Astaire in Easter Parade, 1947. Photograph by LFI/Photoshot
What to wear when you hit the tiles this party season – from the dancing shoes to the dapper jacket.
According to the Victoria and Albert Museum, Mr Fred Astaire tested his Anderson & Sheppard suits by performing dance steps in front of a full-length mirror. The museum, which has one of Mr Astaire’s tailcoats in its permanent collection, states in the accompanying notes that, “He wanted to make sure the suit would stay perfectly in line with his body as he danced, so there were a series of seams sewn into the jacket to ensure this flexibility.”
Whether you aspire to Mr Astaire’s dancing steps (you probably shouldn’t bother), or are merely hoping to escape from your seedy office disco with your dignity relatively intact, the right choice of clothing can make all the difference when it comes to the festive free-for-all that is party season, and the concomitant and inevitable shaking of your money-maker. In fact, opting for pieces that offer high style, comfort and freedom of movement is the best way to ensure that you look as good on the dance floor as off it. Scroll down for some key tips on how to do it right.
Pick a dark jacket and light shirt
The simplicity and understated drama of eveningwear relies upon the stark combination of black and white. While not all of us will be spending the season sashaying between balls and black tie events, the underlying principle of black tie – contrasting a dark jacket or suit with a light-coloured shirt (black and white is nice, but navy and pale pink, or grey and blue are also good options) – still works for less formal parties. Think of it as dressed-down eveningwear.
Don’t just wear your work suit
The jacket you wear should have a subtle point of difference from your business uniform – to make it marked, go for some something with a little bit of colour, pattern or lustre. Try one of the many dark-checked jackets on offer this season from MP Massimo Piombo. Alternatively, the subtle lustre of a velvet jacket, like this softly tailored example from Giorgio Armani, will add a touch of glamour to the office Christmas party.
Invest in stretch
The most important property of a proper party shirt is not, contrary to popular belief, a busy pattern. (We would actually recommend avoiding these for any sort of eveningwear, unless the palette is very restricted, such as in Saint Laurent’s polka dot example.) Actually, it’s better to pick a variation with a little bit of elasticity built into the fabric, so buttons don’t fly in all directions as soon as “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” comes on the soundsystem. The below shirts from Brunello Cucinelli and Canali will stretch and move as you do, offering maximum comfort.
Consider a vest
It’s best not to overdo it on the dance floor, but should you start to feel the beat, all that movement means you will also begin to feel the heat. To avoid unsightly stains on your pale shirt, and also to stay comfortable, opt for a white vest, like this one from Hanro, which will wick away moisture, or Sunspel’s superfine cotton variation, and avoid the unsightly see-through-ness that can sometimes afflict shirts in such scenarios.
Wear the ultimate dancing shoes
Has there ever been a more perfect dance-floor shoe? Despite first appearing in the 1950s, the Gucci loafer seems almost precision tooled for disco glamour. Its light moccasin construction and soft leather means that they offer much more comfort and movement than a more formal brogue or Derby style, while the gold buckle gives us just a whiff of the ironic playboy flash, which is also, in its own way, quite festive. Just try not to moonwalk in them after one too many eggnogs. And it’s probably best, for the moment, to avoid Mr Alessandro Michele’s backless variations – one high kick too many and these could end up flying across the room and hitting someone in the face. Safety first, please.