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Belly Dance Costume - Harem Pants

Kashmira Lad
One of the most sensual dances, the belly dance has gained widespread popularity. The costume for this dance form, plays a major role, as it focuses the bold and powerful moves of the dancer.
Though belly dance has been in form for many years, it gained prominence with the likes of Shakira's crossover into the mainstream music. Her chartbusting tracks showcased this talent and Shakira's name became synonymous with belly dancing. She has been known for her powerful and sensual movements in all her videos and live performances.
Developed in the Middle East, this Arabic style of dancing is now the most sought after, from even amongst the elite crowd. Considered not just a form of dance, it is also popular among women, who desire to maintain their fitness levels!
Performed mainly at nightclubs, belly dancing always conjures up images of vivacious and sensual costumes. They form an integral part of the dance. The technique required for this dance entails the dancer to make circular motions, shimmies, and usage of the hips and belly to the maximum.
The costumes are designed in such a way that it adds more glamor to the dance. One often sees the use of props being interspersed during the performance.

The Costume

The basic costumes consist bustier, harem pants, layered skirts, veils, flamboyant belts, etc. Different regions have varied designs of the same.

Turkish Style Belly Dance Costume

The Turkish belly dance costumes have some interesting detailing on them. Fringes rate high on the popularity chart, and they are found adorned on the bustier and the belts as well. The fringe is attached to the base of the bustier, and extended to the back.
The common Turkish designs showcase beaded work, and also glass stone embellishments on the costume. The belt is generally designed in a V-shape.
Contrasting colors are used to add some dramatic look. The top is often crafted in points or curlicues. The shapes of the bustier vary from being asymmetrical to large diamond shapes.
The skirt or the pant is often made in sheer, see-through material. Sometimes, you can even find cutouts or keyholes in the skirt. If the costume is designer-made, it gets more decorative with an increase in the detailing. Headbands are glamorized, and the veils get sassier. The fabrics used are generally velvet and chiffon, with a blend of lycra.

Egyptian Belly Dance Costume

The Egyptian belly dance costume primarily leans towards the conservative kind. The dancers were not allowed to show the bare midriff. Therefore, it consisted of two-piece suits with a skin colored cloth as the base.
Fringes on the bustier are sometimes combined with beads. Sequins are also used to cover the entire costume. There is not much variation seen for the top. Generally, the decoration is minimal. However, some of the designer Egyptian costumes vary from the basic pattern.
One can see ample use of beads and embroidery. The designs used are mainly floral or abstract patterns. Multi-tiered skirts, veils, arm bands, headbands all form a part of this attire.
One can see many other modifications in other parts of the world. The ornamentation varies from place to place. There are also a lot of metal embellishments being used today. These metals are either antique looking or polished.
Large coins, chains, sequins, mirror work, etc., are also used as a part of the decoration. The headbands are now decorated with fringes all over. This in turn, enhances the entire look of the dance when the fringes dangle delicately on the forehead.
Skirts are now being widely made using the chiffon material. These are often layered in sheer material. Yet another popular option is the Harem pants.

Harem Pants

Initially, a part of any belly dancer's wardrobe, the harem pants are now being seen on the streets as a casual wear. Belly dancers generally wear them under the skirt, or even as an individual garment. Often these pants are slit on the sides, sometimes, up till the knees or the thigh area. These pants are known to add a touch of authenticity to the costume.
The side slits of the pants are often outlined with decorative trims. Some dancers prefer to connect these two halves of the pant with beaded strands, metallic ribbons, etc. Scarves are sometimes sewed to the belt. At times, we can also find panels being added to these pants to attract attention to a specific area.
If one has to avoid sewing the scarf onto the pants, one can use an elastic belt for the same purpose. The cut of the harem pants is of utmost importance. Pants with wrong silhouettes can tend to give a fuller look to the legs. A long legged woman, best carries out fuller harems.
Fabrics for these pants can range from georgette, lace, velvet, sheer knits, lightweight silk, etc. Today, they look great when teamed with short tops and shrugs for a casual look. Flats work best with harem pants for an evening out.
So, what are you waiting for? Grab your costume, and go the Shakira way!