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Are you in the market to buy a used or off-the-rack Latin, Country or Skate dress?

If yes, this article is for you.

P.S. Ballroom dancers, don’t miss this video. All the fitting tips I suggest here work for ballgowns too!


How to buy the best used or off-the-rack Dancesport, Country or Skate dress - buy Latin dance dress

Fun facts about today’s blog:

Back on March 26, 2014, I got the idea to create the world’s first online sewing school specifically for making competition-quality Dancesport, Country and Skate dresses.

Within a week of getting the idea, I purchased cameras, lights and a microphone so I could begin filming.

I had a lot of information in my head from decades of dressmaking. It was bursting to come out!

YouTube alone was the answer back then since I didn’t have a website.

The video I share with you today is one of three I filmed in April, 2014. Long ago I posted the original version on YouTube and it has over 1,300 views so far.

But I never turned it into a blog so non-YouTubers could see it. …. What a shame because there are some FANTASTIC tips on making alterations and which fitting aspects to look for so you can choose the best used or off-the-rack Latin or Skate dress!

So here you go.  Total retro video with fresh editing. Can you spot differences in how I say or do things in this video compared to recent releases? 🙂

Additionally, if you aren’t sure where to start dress shopping, be sure to check out my blog about Dance Dress Couture, a dance dress consignment shop.



Get the best fitting dress for your money.


Things to consider when buying a used or off-the-rack competition Latin, Country or Skate dress.



#1 How well does the dress fit?  Will it need a little or a lot of alterations?

How to buy the best Dancesport, Country or Skate dress - buy used Latin dance dress


Is the dress too tight or too loose? Are the sleeves and the skirt the right length? Do you need to exchange the bra cups for a better look?

All this and many more possible alterations can impact how much work is needed to make the costume suitable for your body shape and size.

NOTE: I suggest you take photos of yourself in the dress –  front, back and each side – to get a true view of how it looks on you.



#2  Can you do some or all of the alterations yourself on an off-the-rack or used dress?  Will you need to hire someone to do the work?

How to buy the best Dancesport, Country or Skate dress - buy used Latin dance dress


If you are a seamstress and can do all the alterations yourself, estimate how much time it will take. Add three hours to your estimate. I’m not kidding.

Estimate how much money it will cost to do the alterations and add at least 15% to the total.

Then ask yourself:  “Is the overall dress – both in fit and style – worth the time and money when compared to the asking price?”  In other words, is the dress a good bargain or is it something you like enough to put time and money into it?

Check out this blog in which I demonstrate altering a ballgown when the owner lost weight.


If you do not know how to sew and need to hire someone to do the alterations, be sure to get a written estimate. Having a ballpark price of $200 or several hours is perfectly acceptable.

If you need to save money, ask the dressmaker if you can peel off any rhinestones that need to be removed for the work to be done.

Once you have an idea of how much the alterations will cost for your off-the-rack or used dress, you will then be able to decide if you like the design enough and if the asking price is low enough to make the dress worth investing more money into alterations.



Check out the video for more details.

Do you have a dress search tip you’d like to share so other women can avoid buying a dress that isn’t a good value?

Leave a message at the bottom of the page!



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