Costuming and Makeup


These suggestions can help

you create a belly dance

costume and use makeup

effectively to present your

most beautiful self when you

dance. Use the Talk to Me!

page to share costuming and

makeup ideas that have

worked for you....

Costume Tips

For petite women, under 5'4"

Limit colors—Use the same color bra and belt, and the same colors for skirts, accessories, vest, etc.

Watch your proportions—Make sure your bra, belt, cuffs and jewelry are scaled to your body size. Don't drown yourself in beads or heavy drapes.

Create vertical or diagonal lines—Use fabrics with a vertical feel to them, like striped designs. Consider an interesting headpiece or necklace to draw the eye upward.

Wear slimmer styles—Puffy wide circle skirts or full harem pants will cut you in half. Better for you are straight and A-line type skirts, tapered harem pants and fitted vests.

Use clean lines—Don't clutter your costume with bric-a-brac. Don't wear too many accessories, or you will look like a tiny Christmas tree.

For tall and slender women, 5'8" and over

Use colors—Differing colors will break up your line, giving you a more proportioned look. Try layering 2-3 colors.

Watch your proportions—Use wider belts and bras; elaborate belly drapes are good for your body style, too. Add puffs at your hips, and a vest with puff sleeves. This will help you appear more curvy.

Create horizontal lines—Use fabrics with horizontal lines; again, a belly drape or elaborate belt will draw attention to your middle.

Wear fuller styles—Circle skirts are great for you. Keep them nice and full. Relaxed fit harem pants and vests are good, too.

Use complicated lines—You will be able to pull off more accessories and different styles of bras and belts.

For full-figured women

Limit colors—A monochromatic color scheme (tints and shades of the same color) have a slimming effect.

Watch your proportions—Don't wear the "skimpy" look, or anything overly tight. Make sure your bra is fitted to cover the majority of you. Wear your belt higher on your hips, rather than at your widest.

Create slender lines—Fabrics with a vertical line are great for you, as are heavily draped beads in a "V" shape covering your tummy. Take advantage of the wonderful body stockings on the market now. A vest with streamlined sleeves will cover ample arms, and will also cover your chest more (less flesh showing from your bra).

Wear a leaner style—Straight or A-line skirts work well, and if you have nice legs, a slit skirt will be sexy. Skip the puffs on shoulders and hips. Adding longer fringe from the hip down adds to a lean look.

Use simple lines—Especially the diagonal and asymmetric look. Nothing that's fussy or cluttered.

For all body types, draw attention to your best features, and become creative at concealing your not so good ones....


Contouring—in my opinion, this usually backfires. When done incorrectly, you will create a "Lily Munster" look with strange looking cheekbones, and shadows across your face. Do use a highlighter on the apples of your cheeks.

Don't use frosted white eye shadow under your brows, as the lights and any camera will distort the image. Do use a flat white pencil instead.

Don't line your lips with black or dark brown. Instead, choose a color 2-3 shades darker than your lipstick. Ths will define your lips, but still appear natural.

Take extra care when doing your eyes. The eyes are the window of the soul. For centuries, women in the Middle East have been veiled, revealing only their eyes. Aspire to create expressive and beautiful eyes with your makeup. Blondes and redheads should use brown liners, so as not to give a "hard" look, while brunettes can wear brown-black to black colors.

Experiment with your makeup. Have a friend take a picture, and maybe a video clip of you. Do you look natural, but exotic as well? Do your colors blend, or are there distinct lines where rouge or shadows meet? Study magazines or books which feature Middle Eastern women. Be open to suggestion and be creative! Try to develop a beautiful and glamorous look that is all your own.