Musique, and everyone else in here, have given great advice. Just to give a little background, I have never ordered a dress from Rainbow Shui (or anyone else, being as I'm a guy ). But being 5'5" with a 10" drop on suit measurements, pretty much everything I buy off the rack has to be altered/tailored to fit properly, so dealt with this a lot. Also, my mom designs and makes ballroom costumes (and alters costumes made by other people). Few things I've picked up, both from personal experience, and from that of others. A lot of this will be repeats of what has already been said, but trying to bring it all together in one place and add my .02. First, labor is huge part of expense of any ballroom costume, always will be. Looking at rhythm costume friend has (believe it was a Jordi), and some my mom has made, you're talking anywhere from 20 (tends to be bare minimum) to 40 gross or more of stones on the dress. Every one of these has been individually glued to the dress, by hand. This is after the initial labor to design dress, fit it to you (not just to your body, but to your personality and dancing style, though this of course only applies to custom dresses made locally by costume maker who takes time to do custom pieces individualized to dancer), design the stoning layout, and everything else. Yes, proper fabrics and swarovski crystals cost more than cheaper options, but the labor is what is going to kill you. So it is certainly possible to get a costume cheaper by going to a labor market where price of labor is noticably lower than here in states. This is actually a big things in bespoke (custom-made) suits, too. They face some of same challenges that we do in ballroom world though. First, is that if at all possible, you want to be there working with the maker, rather than trying to communicate over phone/mail/internet. This is unlikely to happen for most people, but is still the ideal (can do it with makers here in states, but then you're paying for labor here). Secondly, be very specific on material, including being willing to supply it yourself if you aren't satisfied with what they can get. If you don't use proper material, dress won't hang right on your body, the skirt won't flow right, and the stones won't look right. I've seen a dress made with inexpensive stones that had swarovski crystals added to it to add additional stoning (client's choice, not the seamstress in question, who suggested going with all one type of stone or all the other). As woman turned on the floor it was blatantly obvious where the swarovski stones were and where the cheaper ones were. The swarovskis shone out like a spotlight as she did her turns and light hits them. So I would definitely spend the extra on swarovskis even if you're ordering a dress from China. Make sure to clarify stones and fabrics being used BEFORE she starts making dress, not after. Third: Make sure to get measurements right, and get professional help if need be. This was rule when my mom used to(and still does, though not as often) bridesmaid dresses for people coming in from out of town, who would only be in town for week before wedding, so just enough time for a final fitting, and it applies even more for a dress that is going to have to come from Hong Kong or similar. You will save yourself a world of hassle if you make sure you have the measurements right in the first place. If you're not sure exactly what maker means in measurements she's asking for, ask her. Clarify these things BEFORE she starts working on dress (or tails, or latin shirt, whatever), not when you get it in mail and are trying to adjust it afterwards. Fourth: Make sure you have a clear idea of what you want before you go to the maker. Be willing to listen to her advice, particularly if you've seen their work before and know that you like their style, but always better with situations like this, where yo'ure tryint to communicate over thousands of miles, and over a language barrier, to have clera idea of what you want (ironically, if working with a local maker, I suggest almost opposite, to be very willing to listen to the maker and hear what they suggest). Pictures of examples dresses, specific colors you want (again with examples if possible, etc), will make life a lot easier (and this is taken almost word for word from advice I'd give and have received on getting bespoke suits in Asia. This is one of cases where same rules apply). I can't give particular advice on what to ask for in a dress, as I don't claim the knowledge on that. others in this thread have specified that well (body suit, etc). I will say that no matter how well you get these dresses done, always a good idea to have local maker/seamstress for alterations. This is nothing against Chinese makers, but refers to any costume you're ordering from someone thousands of miles away. i've seen items ranging from chinese dresses to custom one-off dresses and shirts from Randall and Jordi, all that needed to be altered by someone on hand, who could actually see how i fit on the body in question and make the necessary adjustments. In regards to RainbowShui in particular, my opinion is still kinda waiting on this one. I believe my teacher was wearing RainbowShui for at least her smooth dress at last competition, maybe Rhythm too. It was alright, good looking dress, I'm not sure I would call it a costume. But i also didn't get really close look at either of them, as I wans't competing, just watching. Also, the rhythm one definitely could have used more stoning or decorations of some kind, and stones on there were rather dull. This certainly doesn't mean RainbowShui can't do better (or that teacher looked bad, but she's one of people who can make most anythin look good ), just feedback on what I've seen. At least two more students should be wearing RainbowShui dresses at our October competition, as they were talking about it last week, so I will have a more informed opiinion then. I don't know if any of that was any help to anyone, but I hope so.