How To Sell Your Used Ballroom Dance Costume

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How-To-Sell-Your-Used-Ballroom-Dance-Costume

A few tips on Selling Your Used Ballroom Dance Costume


[dropcap]B[/dropcap]allroom Dancers go through quite a number of ballroom dance costumes. There is probably a pretty big section of a ballroom dancer’s closet dedicated just to his or her costumes. But, unfortunately, budget sometimes (or rather said, most of the time) is pretty tight, and we must let let some “armour” go. And here are a few tips how:

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Whether you should sell is mainly determined by how likely it is that the costume will sell at a reasonable price.


  • [highlight]Has it been seen very recently and frequently on the floor?[/highlight] If so, you might wait a bit before selling it so it is not as recognizable as your costume.
  • [highlight]Is it in perfect condition?[/highlight] Yes I do mean perfect.  Make sure that missing rhinestones have been replaced, and it is completely clean. Also, take a look at our post on cleaning ballroom costumes. If it is not in perfect condition, you will need to discount the price since the buyer will need to spend the time and money on cleaning and repair before wearing it. Even with this discount, however, your market for buyers will be smaller than if you prepare the costume properly yourself.
  • [highlight]Is the size and proportion likely to fit many people? [/highlight]One great thing about the material used to make ballroom costumes is that a range of body sizes can typically fit into the same garment. There is a limit however. Very tall, short, busty or flat-chested costumes will have a more limited group of buyers since more alteration will be necessary. If this is the case, you might want to consider remodeling the costume for your own use. We will discuss this later.
  • [highlight]Ask yourself what you would by spend on that costume if you were the buyer. Be honest. Do not think of how much you paid,[/highlight] think of how much you would pay for it now as a used garment in its current condition.  Then, take 15% off that price. No matter what you originally come up with, you will be biased to over pricing your own stuff unless you have successfully sold many used costumes.

If you think you can sell at a fair price, then you need to market it to let buyers know that the costume is for sale, and why it is a good buy.


  • [highlight]How quickly you sell is based on how well you market and how realistic the price is, not how beautiful the garment is.[/highlight] You need to make your dress stand out in an appealing way. Remember that there are typically more sellers than buyers in the resale market so your costume needs to attract attention. For pictures, avoid podium shots since they typically hide the costume a bit too much. Action shots in the dress are great, close ups of detail and full shots under bright white light help show costumes at their best. An all white background with no clutter in the area helps the costume stand out in the photo. An all black background can work as well, but only for a white or very bright costume. Also make sure that the costume is shown on a body or on a dress form. A hanger will never show it as well.
  • [highlight]There are many internet sites for resale ballroom costumes. If you use them, post on as many as you can.[/highlight] The advantage of these is that there is a wide audience. The disadvantage is that people some people  may not buy a garment  unless they have seen it in person. For these buyers, you may need to have a ship and try-on arrangement that allows the buyer to return a costume that does not look or fit the way they had hoped. Typically a deposit is required before shipping to make sure that the buyer is serious, to cover the shipping and protect you if the garment is damaged by the buyer when trying it on. You can also arrange to meet at a competition or event that you both might be travelling to.
  • [highlight]Resale through the original designer is a great option.[/highlight] The designer will make sure that it is in good repair, and will offer high quality alterations. Also, potential buyers who see the costume are already are interested in that designer’s work. The designer will however take a commission, so be prepared for this and understand the terms.
  • [highlight]A consignment store for resale ballroom costumes is another option.[/highlight] They may or may not have the repair and alteration service of the designer, but they will take a commission as well.
  • [highlight]Your best bet to get more money in your pocket is a local buyer who can see and try on the costume.[/highlight] Internet sites and social media that target local buyers  is an option. Even more effective is showing it at local studios. If the garment does not sell in a studio after 2 weeks however, it probably won’t sell there, so take it to another studio.

You also have remodelling as an option to selling.


  • [highlight]The best option for remodeling is the original designer.[/highlight] Other designers can also help, though not all will do this for garments that are not their own.
  • [highlight]Remodeling can mean almost anything you want. [/highlight]Changing a latin costume to smooth by adding length, ballroom to smooth  by removing crinoline, latin to rhythm  by adding volume, and literally any other style change.  Even within the same dance style the look and flow of skirt can be changed, so can the neck, arms and other features. Really, there are several possibilities that can make an older costume look like a brand new design for even the same style of dance.  Remodeling will generally cost much less than a new garment of similar quality, and can extend the value of your initial investment.
  • [highlight]While on the topic of remodeling, why not also consider a new life for older shoes[/highlight]. Adding rhinestones to your most comfortable worn out shoes gives you the best of both worlds. A stunning new look, for broken in comfortable shoes. Check out [AP Glamour] who are experts in this and can provide more information.

Author: Miss P [Celebrate DanceSport]
Photography: Egorich.ca
Exclusively for Dance Comp Review

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