At the first competition I ever attended, there were sparkly dresses everywhere! Beautifully decorated, rhinestoned dresses with feathers and skirts for all types of ballroom dance! I couldn't get enough! I wanted to wear them all!
I was brand new to ballroom dancing and decided that, I too, wanted to compete and look amazing on the dance floor, and that meant I was gonna need a dress or two. So I went to the vendors row to check out all these magnificent dresses.
Dore'. Elle, LeNique, etc had all kinds of shiny and sparkly fabulousness and were eager to let me try on anything I wanted! Awesome!
I started glancing through the racks of dresses and decided to check the price tags, as I figured they were $500 tops. Imagine my shock when the first dresses I looked at were between 3 and 5 thousand dollars! My jaw hit the floor. I hadn't spent that kind of money on anything outside of a house or a car before, and I use those everyday. This seemed like a hefty investment.
I gathered myself together and I kept looking, thinking I must've just been looking on the wrong rack. Wrong. All the dresses were thousands of dollars. Maybe some in the $1500 range. I had just recently reconciled with myself the cost of ballroom lessons, but my desire to compete had just created a new money issue. How was I going to afford a dress to compete in? This was a new expense I was not prepared for. I felt way out of my league, suddenly surrounded by people who were able to spend thousands of dollars on a single dress.
These dresses each cost an entire year's worth of dancing lessons! For ONE dress! ONE DRESS!
Deflated, I went back to watching the comp without trying anything on, albeit, a bit more anxious then I was before this experience. How was I going to afford dancing and dresses?! Maybe this wasn't the activity for me.
After watching for a bit, I realized that it wasn't the prettiest or the most expensive dress that won, but the dancer with the best technique. The dancer who looked confident. The dancer whom interacted the best with their partner. All the rhinestones in the world can't make up for bad footwork, sloppy technique, or lack of confidence. But you will be sparkly!
I knew that spending that money on lessons was a way smarter proposition than having that fancy dress hanging in my closet for 360+ days a year. It's not like I could wear it to work, or anywhere else. I'd have to figure something out.
So I did some research on the internet and was relieved to discover that I could rent an appropriate dress at a reasonable price. Phew!
Now I could get back to concentrating on dancing and using that money for lessons! I booked lessons with national champion coaches. I took extra lessons with my instructor. I went to group lessons weekly. I spent all of that dress money on learning.
And it worked! I improved. I danced more. I improved more.
Take a look at the price of your favorite ballroom dress. How many lessons is that worth? If you can afford both an expensive dress and all the lessons in the world, you are probably not reading this blog. But for the rest of us who want to be able to be part of ballroom dancing and look the part, renting dresses made it possible.
I love all the designer dresses and wish I could just have a closet full of them! But that doesn't make financial sense, because for me, taking lessons is more important.
Renting items that you don't use everyday has become the norm. Think of all the businesses out there that can you rent you anything: cars, RVs, clothes, tools, electronics, movies, tents, costumes, even pets! Things that make more sense to only pay for them when you need to use them, which may be rarely. How many competitions would it take to make that $3000 dress affordable when you can rent one? 10? 15? More? How many lessons is that?
It really does come down to priorities: do you want to look fabulous or dance fabulous? Luckily you can do both! It just means being wise with your dancing money!