Ask the Costume Goddess
Ask the Costume Goddess:
Bosom Support Under a Choli
by Dina Lydia
Dear Costume Goddess:
I love the look of backless choli and halter tops, but unfortunately
as a 36D, I cannot imagine dancing comfortably without support.
Is there a way to add bra cups to a backless choli top? Do you
have any alternative ideas?
The Costume Goddess Responds
This craze for the backless choli has caused no end of headaches. Most women with B or C-cup and larger bust prefer not to dance without a bra, nor is it flattering for most. The breasts will be bouncing, and this is distracting for the audience, as well as uncomfortable for the dancer. Those with an A-cup bust might be comfortable, but will appear completely flat-chested - which is fine for some.
Here are some alternatives.
The East Indian choli more often than not does
have a back, so there is no traditional reason to wear a backless
one, that I know of. A choli with a wide, deep back neckline,
in a scooped, square, or V shape, still shows a lot of back,
and will cover a bra underneath, as in the photo. If it tends
to slip off the shoulder, add ribbon ties to the back neck, just
as with a backless style, to avoid that problem.
Bra Cups In Choli
Bra cups can be sewn inside of the choli on a band attached
at the side seams and/or tacked to the choli front. But since
there's so little holding the back and the back neck of the choli
together, it's difficult for these cups to do their job, which
is holding the breasts firmly in place while dancing.
If the choli material is stretchy but firm, and really snug,
it might function like a bra for those with moderate need for
support. (You have to make sure there's enough decoration on
top so no nipple shows through when a stiff breeze blows.)
Some dancers cut the back out of their bra and replace it
one or two sets of ribbons attached to the side of the bra, thus
having both choli ties and bra ties visible in the back. That
might work for you.
You might decorate the back of the bra to look like part of
the costume. Start with a bra that's black, or close to the choli
color. Don't leave any spandex or hooks visible; cover the entire
back with fabric, if necessary. (See "How
To Cover A Bra.") Ornament it with shisha mirrors, coins,
or beads to match the choli or coin bra in front. Cover the closure
with a decorative pin or other ornament.
--The Costume Goddess
Other articles on this web
site related to bustline support include:
About the Costume Goddess
Dina has been sewing for more than twenty-five
years (yes, she started as a toddler!)
She's also an artist (Maryland Institute of Art) and perfected
her sewing techniques apprenticed to various designers, freelancing
for small theaters, restyling vintage garments, and altering
Dina fell in love with belly dancing costumes upon her very
first lesson. Now the pleasure of wearing her own designs, and
seeing others wear them, offers as much pleasure as dancing. She's
become expert as well in altering those troublesome ready-made
Egyptian costumes, and modifying designs to flatter individual
She holds workshops in Seattle to teach design and construction
of cabaret costumes, and analysis of figure characteristics.
She will also give private lessons, or resize or repair a secondhand
costume. She's thus earned her Costume Goddess title.
The Costume Goddess Tells All Costuming Books
Dina has published six books of her own on belly dance costuming
as well as writing nearly all the costuming section for The
Belly Dance Book. For information on her series of books, The Costume Goddess Tells All, see her web site at www.costumegoddess.com.
For reviews here on Shira.net of some of her books, see:
Costume Goddess Photos
To view a photo gallery featuring pictures of Dina, costumes
she has designed, and her friends, either click on the choices below or visit her web site:
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