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A Review of

The Costume Goddess Tells All:
Headpieces for Bellydancers

by Dina Lydia




Many belly dancers look great from the neck down, but forget to carry their costume all the way up to the top of the head. In this book, Dina Lydia provides many ideas for head and hair accessories to complete the ensemble. Cover



Fact Sheet


The Costume Goddess Tells All: Headpieces for Bellydancers


Dina Lydia




Dina Lydia & Blair Johnson


Nonfiction: Costume Instruction



Number of Pages


Published In





In this book from her belly dance costuming series, Dina Lydia offers a rich array of ideas on decorative headpieces and hair styles for belly dance costuming. Many belly dance students wear costumes that look great from the neck down, but their hair styles look as though they came straight from the office. In this book, Dina offers many solutions to this problem with a wide range of ideas on headpieces, head jewelry, turbans, hair styles, and decoration. The scope of the book covers both glittery costuming ideas and Tribal style, so there is something for everyone.

Dina introduces the book with comments about hair considerations (short/long, straight/curly) and ideas for which types of looks might be flattering for different facial shapes.

The book is well organized. It is richly illustrated with photos of Dina and other dancers modeling the many headpiece costume items and hair styles discussed, each accompanied by instructions on how to achieve the look. Where needed, diagrams illustrate construction techniques. Many of the ideas offered can be achieved with little to no sewing. It's easy to follow the logical flow.

The instructional section begins with some quick and easy ideas for people who aren't very craft-oriented but want to add a bit of sparkle to their hair.

The scarf section offers ideas that could be incorporated by all styles of belly dancer, from the most glittery glamor look to earthy Tribal style.

A variety of headband ideas range from small and subtle to stuffed and ostentatious. Some of these could be suitable for decorating with Tribal jewelry and incorporating into a Tribal look, while others are pure glitz. Dina offers many ideas for decorating the headbands, including sequin appliqués, coins, jewels, beads, novelty items, and flowers.

Sections on drapes talk about ways to use small scarves or larger veils to create a soft look around the face, create the illusion of long hair, or achieve a bit of mystique. Some ideas cover the hair, while others complement it. This is followed by a section on using pillbox and fez hats as a starting point for a headdress.

The Tribal section shows photos of several well-known American Tribal Style dance ensembles, and talks about how they achieved their looks. It includes two different ways to wrap a turban, how to use heavy ethnic jewelry to accessorize, how to use assorted styles of hairpieces, and how to use items such as shells and feathers.

The book concludes with segments on Cleopatra-style beaded headdresses, coin-and-chain headdresses, and just-for-fun novelties.



Is It Right for You?


You Will Probably Enjoy This Book If...

  • You have never experimented much with hair styles and accessories and need simple tips on how to look great even with minimal experience.
  • You don't know where to begin in fixing up your hair for performance.
  • You're tired of your current approach to fixing up your hair for performance and looking for new ideas.
  • You enjoy Dina's Ask the Costume Goddess column here on the web site, particularly the ones on hair styles and headdresses. (The ones related to hair styles and headdresses are listed in the "Related Articles" section at the bottom of this page.)
  • You found the costuming section of The Belly Dance Book edited by Tazz Richards to be valuable. (That section was written and illustrated by Dina.)


This Book Probably Isn't Right for You If...

  • You're content with the ways that you currently use costuming on your head and don't feel a need for new ideas.



What I Liked, What I Didn't


What I Liked:

  • Dina offers a rich variety of headdress ideas, including something for everybody.
  • Some of the suggested headdresses are easy to make even for people who don't do crafts, while others offer opportunities for crafters to show off their skills.
  • Some of Dina's suggestions are suitable for people with short hair, while others accessorize long locks.
  • The ideas suggested are diverse - some look great with the beads-and-sequins look, others with the American Tribal Style look, and still others could work either way depending on the materials used.
  • The book is richly illustrated with photos of many dancers who are modeling the headdresses they made.
  • The photos show a variety of face shapes, hair styles, and costuming styles to spark ideas in readers.
  • Many of the headdresses shown can be made with inexpensive materials from thrift shops. Dancers on a tight budget will appreciate this!
  • Step-by-step instructions for each project provide a clear path to understanding how to make each item. Detailed drawings appear wherever needed to clarify points.
  • Periodic cross references in the text point the reader to pictures elsewhere in the book showing a particular headdress, jewelry, or technique being used in another way. This helps further clarify some points and spark ideas.


What I Didn't Like:

  • The second time I read this book, I spotted a couple of minor (very minor) proofreading errors. I didn't notice them the first time I read the book so that shows how minor they really are.
  • My only real complaint is the plastic binding, which tangles with other self-published books in my belly dance book collection when they sit side-by-side on my bookshelf.




I was one of those girls who never experimented much with hair styles and accessories as a teen-ager, and when I started belly dancing I had a lot to learn about taking the costumed look all the way up to the top of my head. I wish I would have had this book to help me! Dina's detailed instructions on things like how to make two different styles of buns in the hair are so well-explained that even I can figure out how to do them.

I've seen many belly dance students perform in lovely costumes that stop at the neck. Teachers (including me) are often so focused on advising students on skirts, hip wraps, and tops that they forget to mention ideas on how to bring the costumed look all the way up to the top of the head. Or, perhaps the teacher doesn't have any experience with hair styles different from her own and therefore doesn't know how to advise students with different styles. Dina offers a solution - an entire book full of ideas, including many easy, inexpensive ones, that can help students complete their look.




My association with Dina (the author) began when she offered to write an Ask the Costume Goddess column for this web site. She is a valued contributor, and I much appreciate the many articles that she wrote for me.



To Buy It


Contact Information

Dina Lydia
P.O. Box 30878
Seattle,WA 98103-0878

Web Site:



Related Articles

These articles were written by Dina Lydia, the Costume Goddess on the subject of hair styles and headdresses. If you find these useful, then there is a strong chance you would enjoy an entire book written by her on this subject.




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