Ballroom Dance > Tails for American smooth?

Discussion in 'Ballroom Dance' started by billman, Jan 2, 2013.

  1. Cal

    Cal Well-Known Member

    Following on from the thoughts of Madmaximus and Fascination, for me, whether the man wears a Suit or Tails depends on what the woman is wearing and how their respective costuming choices look as a “couple.” If the man is wearing Tails and the woman is in a more traditional formal gown, that look works for me – both going for the ultimate in formality. But if one of them opts for a less formal look, then the other should match it. So, if the woman is in a gown with lots of cut-outs and slits and skin, I then would prefer to see the man in a Suit. Tails in that instance would appear mismatched in formality to me. If the man wants to wear a Suit, then I prefer that the woman wear a less traditional gown. More formal, less formal – I’m open to either as long as it’s a “matched” look as a couple.
  2. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    I agree with you for the most part, but I'm not sure if I'm comfortable lumping Smooth suits, which have their own elegance and are usually less busy than tails, in with the rest of your examples.

    To co-opt your analogy (which I love BTW) walking on the Smooth floor in tails feels to me like going to a black-tie event in white-tie attire: not inappropriate, but also not exactly fitting the event.

    Heck, it even fits with what we've been discussing about history and the norm: white-tie used to be much more prevalent, but most formal events (especially in the US) are now black-tie. It's not inappropriate to show up in white-tie, but you will stand out. It makes sense for American Smooth to follow this trend, both because 1) it is popular in the US, and 2) it is less formal* and more fluid** than Standard.

    Of course, this all speaks to just clothes, not the physical interaction of clothing and movement. That is much more of a personal preference, and has probably been discussed to death at this point... I'll just add that to my preference, the choreography (drops, standing spins, extreme shaping, latin-inspired movements, etc. etc.) just don't look right combined with the formality and structure of a tailsuit. I love tailsuits... so as a counterpoint to m, I would say that you loose some of the elegance of a tailsuit by doing this kind of choreo in one.

    * formal as in 'strict' and 'standardized' - not 'dressed up'.
    **fluid as in 'changing,' or 'a lack of consistency and standardization' - not fluidity of movement. Let's not open that can of worms!
  3. dbk

    dbk Well-Known Member

    Agreed 100%.

    ...I've never seen sleeveless tails, but the thought terrifies me.
  4. fascination

    fascination Site Moderator Staff Member

    though, in fairness, I can imagine how annoying it would be to have to dance smooth in a jacket...I can imagine not enjoying it...that being said, until 1 inch heels are in vogue, I'm not crying a river for anyone :)
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  5. Larinda McRaven

    Larinda McRaven Site Moderator Staff Member

    And the answer.... straight from the NDCA judges mouths...

    (Q) "Hey, what do you think...would you think it is weird if someone were to were tails on the Smooth floor"

    All in a rush at the same time...
    (A) "Why would I think it is weird?"
    (A) "OMG I would love it, that would be so awesome!"
    (A) "That would be wonderful, I think someone should."
    (A) "We should go back to that."
    Requiem, ajiboyet, billman and 2 others like this.
  6. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Nice, Larinda. :)

    When your Smooth costuming is so flashy that you would fit right in during a Latin heat, something is not quite right.
    ajiboyet and danceronice like this.
  7. Joe

    Joe Well-Known Member

    Yes, the legs are much roomier...probably to enable ease of movement. However, I was actually referring to the jackets, which are just as fitted, if not more so, than Fred's.
  8. debmc

    debmc Well-Known Member

    I have noticed that smooth dresses are becoming more and more "latiny"... the dresses have become more revealing, lower backs, cutouts at the sides, slits up the legs,.....that seems to be a new trend too, and if that continues I don't think the female that wears that look will fit with the male wearing tails.
    ajiboyet and dbk like this.
  9. danceronice

    danceronice Well-Known Member

    Which means the women should probably put some clothes back on....I have honestly seen some dresses on the rack with vendors where I have had to really look to decide if a dress is meant for Smooth or Latin. Heck, I tried one on that was meant for Latin but these days I could have gotten away with it as a Smooth gown just fine.
    Mr 4 styles, debmc and smidra86 like this.
  10. madmaximus

    madmaximus Well-Known Member


    The fundamental question is simple:

    Is Smooth a White-Tie event/competition or NOT?

    Hasn't it always been?

    Unlike women's attire, men's dress, in terms of level of formality, is well-codified (from the most formal and elegant White-Tie down to formal-evening to business formal to business casual to informal to plain day-wear).

    So that doesn't really give much leeway for wild improvisation.

    At the risk of a generalization (for which I apologize), the fundamental issue among men is a painful discomfort with dressing-up (at least with the gentlemen I've discussed fashion and formal dress with, or observed, and I should mention: mainly American )---well to the point of insisting that a business suit is the height of formality (which it is not) and anything beyond that is simply "vain and unmanly".

    The disservice to men, with this mentality, is the acceptance that merely putting on a business suit, or even a neck-tie alone, in any "FORMAL" situation is an accepted standard.

    Is this the mentality that is overtaking Smooth? that Smooth should be dressed down instead of up? I truly don't know.

    If Larinda's informal survey above is any indication, however, there is a desire to keep it White-tie.

    Parting thoughts:

    One should dress up for an event as a measure of one's respect for said event (and one's partner, of course).

    And there's nothing wrong with being MORE formally dressed than the others attending the event--nor should it cause consternation, especially if the elegance of the event calls for such dressing-up.

    Being under-dressed however, like my example about the shorts and black socks at a state dinner or elegant dinner date, is simply bad manners.

    (even if the shorts is by Lacroix and the socks by Canali)

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  11. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

    <swoon> ;-)
  12. j_alexandra

    j_alexandra Well-Known Member

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  13. Mr 4 styles

    Mr 4 styles Well-Known Member

    canali socks rule

    lacroix shorts not so much
  14. billman

    billman Active Member

    After much thought, I have decided to go with a long dance vest. The cost of a good tailsuit is a little beyond my reach. (for the time being! lol) From what I have read, a good quality, fitted shirt would be fine to wear under it. Thanks for all of the advice!
  15. mindputtee

    mindputtee Well-Known Member

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  16. JudeMorrigan

    JudeMorrigan Well-Known Member

    Hee! My question: since this is ballroom dancing we're talking about, would the guys have to shave their legs if they went with that option? ;-)
    Sania likes this.
  17. mindputtee

    mindputtee Well-Known Member

    They would have to wear kilt hose of course.
  18. Warren J. Dew

    Warren J. Dew Well-Known Member

    I loved dancing smooth in a tailsuit. Properly tailored dance tailsuits are fine for dancing.
  19. ajiboyet

    ajiboyet Well-Known Member

    Even the choreography is becoming more latiny sometimes, to borrow your word. I always thought of Smooth as being cousins with Ballroom, and ditto Rhythm and Latin (I know you all get what I mean). But watching some Smooth foxtrots sometimes makes you wonder whether Smooth isn't actually cousins with Latin. It's very sexy, and some of the actions could become cucarachas and cuban rocks if you slowed them down just a tiny little bit. Wearing tails and executing such choreography is just "wrong", IYGWIM.

    And, I think of Anna Melnikova and her love for long dresses sometimes. Some of her dresses would pass for Smooth dresses today.

    Beautiful video. But people generally don't choreograph so you can count 1-2-3 with them in their waltz anymore.
  20. dlliba10

    dlliba10 Well-Known Member

    I've heard people consider Smooth as Latin from the waist up and Standard from the waist down. Pros and cons of looking at it that way, but take it as you will.

    I figure that in terms of modern Smooth aesthetics, aside from matching with a partner, tails for the gentleman would be more suited to routines that have a lot of rotary action and a lot of verticality. "Sexy" actions, though, I think could work if pulled off the right way -- the juxtaposition of a "classic" tail suit with cheeky choreography can make for a nice contrast.
    Sania likes this.

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