Choosing Colours for Your Irish Dancing Costume
Just as with any other item of clothing, selecting an Irish dance costume in a colour, cut and style that suits you is important. Since colour is a very important element of Irish dancing dresses, we have devoted a whole page to helping you choose the colours that are right for you.
The Colour Wheel
The colour wheel can be a very useful tool when trying to choose good colour combinations.
The key to using the colour wheel is to choose colours that are of a similar tone and intensity, for example a pale blue will go much better with a pale yellow than it would with a stong bright yellow.
The position of colours in relation to each other on the colour wheel determines the effect that combining them will have.
If you want to create a bold statement with strong colour contrasts, choose colours that are opposite each other on the wheel.
If a more subtle dress is what you prefer, then adjacent colours are the better option. Choosing subtle colours for the main fabrics of the dress does not mean it will be dull - contrasting bright colours can be used in decoration to bring a little drama.
Colours to Suit Your Colouring
You probably already have a good idea of colours that look good on you, so don't suddenly forget about this when choosing fabric for an Irish dancing dress! Careful choice and use of colour and fabric is very important and it should enhance the dancer’s looks, figure and personality.
There are certain general rules that apply to people with the same colouring.
Fair/Blonde Hair and a Pale Complexion
People with fair hair and pale skin can wear most colours well, put look particularly good in softer shades.
Pinks, purples and blues are good colours to choose. These colours also mix very well and a number of different ones can easily be combined in the same costume.
Dark Hair and/or a Sallow Complexion
Pale shades tend not to be the best choice. On darker skins especially vivid colours and strong hues work very well.
Dark hair and skin can take very strong contrasts, but it is usually best to stick to just a few colours for the main part of the dress, adding others with decoration. To get good strong contrasts, choose colours opposite each other on the colour wheel.
Red/Auburn Hair or a High Complexion
Red or auburn hair generally look best in colours such as green or blue. If you have a high complexion these colours also have the effect of toning it down, while red or orange hues will emphasise it.
Since red hair is often accompanied by blue or green eyes, use your eye colour to help you choose the shade that work best.
Remember too that darker colours have a slimming effect whereas pale colours can make you look bigger.
However you shouldn’t feel you always have to stick to the rules, be a little adventurous as it could look more dramatic! Or think about colours to use in the decoration of your dress to add some drama.