As you are in the midst of Recital Costume Selection, it is important to implement a standardized costume measurement protocol. Sizing is critical in creating a polished, well-tailored look for your performers.

One of our costume reps attended last spring’s recital, and she followed up with the kindest compliment, “Whether simply through careful measurement, or alterations, the costumes looked stunning!  I was very impressed with how great your dancers made them look. ” When I received the note, we chatted back and forth, and I mentioned that, aside from simple strap adjustments, we usually do not have to alter our recital costumes.

This is how we systematize our measuring process:

1. We have a notebook that is divided into: (1) studio class division, (2) class day/time, and (3) costume.

2. A standardized form lists student’s names with measurements. There is a separate column for costume size conversion, as well as a detailed top block with costume and accessory ordering details for that page. There is a “for office use only” segment at the bottom that allows us to mark the order date/ship week as well as the quantitative order for that page (this is helpful for costume sorting).

3. In measuring students, only the director (myself) and assistant director measure students. We use the same measuring tape for size consistency and mark down each student’s actual sizing.

4. To convert measurements to costume company sizing, place the highest emphasis on the girth measurement. During the conversion process, we add an inch or two to each measurement to guarantee the costume fits great at the end of the season. Take time to make sure your conversions are accurate!

5. Set up a coding process to identify benchmark needs. We have codes for: (a) boys’ costuming, (b) paid costumes, (c)  ordered costumes, and (d) delivered and processed costumes.

6. Check your information multiple times. Double check your measurements, class rosters, and ordering cart; ordering bulk costumes is a tedious process, but if you invest the time to make your order right, you will feel much more confident and relieved during the actual recital season (when you will have many other items, issues, and concerns to address).

Organize now, and your measuring and ordering cycle will be much easier! And, that’s something that should make all of us smile! 🙂

measuring tape