Dancewear Trends Forecast: Your 2019 Guide From Industry Insiders

There’s a fashion front moving in, and we have the inside scoop to help you prepare for the latest season of style. Looking toward a new year means mapping out what the dancewear industry has to offer—and finding the retail options dancers will love. To help you track what’s hot and what’s not in 2019 dance fashion, Dance Retailer News gathered the information you need about the latest trends in color, material, manufacturing and more.


We polled manufacturers and they all agree: elegant, earthy jewel tones are in for 2019, and burgundy is leading the way.

“I believe that people are stepping back from technology and getting back to nature with activities and lifestyles, and this is driving the color trends. Deep, warm caramels and honey colors and jewel tones, like vibrant green, deep burgundy, rich purple and peacock blue are at the forefront of this year’s bouquet of colors.” —Sharene Lewis Santos, owner; Covet Dance

“General fashion trends continue to inspire trends in dancewear, and colors like burgundy and rich shades of blue are popular this year.” —Trudy Christ, marketing director; Body Wrappers/Angelo Luzio

“Rich colors like plum, peacock blue and burgundy are trending. In general, I think those rich colors are universally flattering, so I don’t think it’s just a passing trend—these colors will be popular for a while.” —Sasha Souki, apparel designer for dance and activewear; Motionwear

Fashion-Forward Cuts

Dramatic backs allow dancers to show off lines and musculature in or out of class. Paired with a deep V, these styles are head-turning.

“A low back is very popular—it accentuates the dancer’s line, and it’s both dramatic and elegant. It’s also trending to pair a low back with a deep V. Long-sleeve leotards are trending again, too.” —Anel Piñon, designer; Mondor

“Fashion-forward leotards with adventuristic looks and dramatic cuts have become very versatile. Women are buying and wearing them for style in the classroom but also using them as part of their everyday and even evening wardrobe. The boundaries between the worlds of fashion and dance have really been blurred, and dancers are loving this crossover.” —Noga Bartour, studio manager; Lulli Dancewear

“Low necklines paired with low backs are trending for 2019. Anything that accentuates the dancer’s line is always a popular choice, and they’re inspired by dancers looking for something different. Everyone wants to stand out, and a dramatic cut on a great leo is the perfect way!” —Kelly McCaughey, North American sales and marketing director; Só Dança

Fabric Fun and Additional Accents

Manufacturers know dancers still approve of fun accents to spice up their in-class look.

“Velour is definitely trending this year. For more casual dance fashion, all-over velour is everywhere, and for more formal ballet dancewear, tonal and contrasting velour accents in binding or small bands are a simple way to add elegance to a leotard. Cutouts, mesh and lace are still popular, too, because they serve the purpose of elevating basic dancewear styles with details that are easily dress-code-friendly. Embossed body fabrics are a different way to bring a pattern into the mix without needing a sheer element on the garment—a good option for those looking for more modest fashion pieces.” —Sasha Souki, Motionwear

“Dancers have a lot of confidence now to experiment with their individuality. This drive toward high-spirited individualism has led to a love of pushing the boundaries with fashion choices like roulette lace-up treatments and zipper accents, which are prominent right now, because dancers are looking for alternatives to traditional trends and treatments. Zippers allow for versatility in one piece, depending on how high or low you wear the zipper.” —Irene Criticos, head of apparel design and development; Bloch Inc.

“We’re seeing a lot of luxurious, rich fabrics, like plush microfiber and soft knitwear. Mesh and cutouts remain popular, too. Dancers are active creatures who spend all their time in front of the mirror, and their fashion isn’t just about function. They want to wear flattering styles that still allow them comfort and the ability to move the way they need to, without being too revealing. Mesh cutouts are a perfect solution! We find dancers are demanding more and more that their clothing be both comfortable and elegant.” —Maria Montanez, marketing director; Gaynor Minden

Making the World a Better Place

The dancewear industry is seizing the opportunity to reflect a social and environmental consciousness embraced by their customers.

“Dancers are always looking for something different, and making a move into eco-friendly fabric choices has been big in recent years. That trend has now moved into footwear. Vegan shoes are now popular, and offerings are now available in ballet flats, jazz shoes and contemporary turners. These styles still offer beautiful lines and extreme comfort.” —Kelly McCaughey, Só Dança

“In shoes and accessories (ribbons, elastic and tights), this is the year of brown! The dance industry has been full of discussion about race and the need to evolve to actively include dancers of color. Dancers are having much-needed discussions with their artistic directors about their ability to wear brown tights and shoes onstage, and organizations like Brown Girls Do Ballet [] are making brown ballerinas of all levels more and more visible.” —Maria Montanez, Gaynor Minden

“There’s been a push to offer a greater range of sizes. Body positivity is a big movement right now, and thanks to social media, the message has spread much faster and into niche markets—including dance fashion—that might not have paid much attention otherwise. It’s inspiring to see dancers of all sizes, and as that kind of imagery becomes more commonplace, dancewear brands feel a bigger demand to include more sizing options.” —Sasha Souki, Motionwear

Alyssa Marks, a former DanceMedia editor, now is an English teacher and writer based in Alabama.

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