I’ve been looking at countless outfits and belts and noticed that the top of the belt sits at different places on the hip. I’m confused as to where is the best place for the top of the belt to sit (at the hip). Equally I’m just as confused as to how thick the belt should be and ideally where the bottom of the belt should come to. If it’s too long, the belt will get knocked by my leg as I dance(?).
Also, just how tight should be belt be? I’ve never had a belt, only scarfs so I would really appreciate your experience, insight, and information. ~ Michele
PLACEMENT: You decide how to wear your hipbelt. I’ve seen them worn anywhere from navel
level (about an inch below the waist) to so low, it’s almost illegal. I like it about halfway.
The line on the abdomen at the level you wear your belt is called the beltline (dotted line). Measure this line so you have a guide when making or adjusting a belt or a skirt. It should be at least an inch above your butt cleavage.
The actual belt must measure slightly larger than the body measurement, because of the thickness of the skirt or pant hipband underneath, and of the belt itself.
TIGHTNESS: The belt width needs to be adjusted for a perfect fit.
If the belt is too loose, the weight will cause it to rotate and/or slide lower as you dance, possibly exposing the skirt underneath or even butt cleavage! Probably you have seen dancers trying to hike up or straighten their belts when this happens – does not look good.
If the belt is too tight, it may tend to ride UP when you dance. Or, if you have extra flesh around the hip, it may cut into the flesh, creating an unflattering bulge.
THICKNESS: The belt thickness (vertical length) can vary, and should be proportioned to your height. I’ve illustrated the shape I prefer with panties underneath for clarity.
I’m short, so I tend to wear my belts fairly small. I like the front to dip lower at the top edge, but the back dips lower on the bottom edge. So the “thickness” is about 3 inches in the front and 5-6 in back.
The front of the belt is shaped so it will not get in the way of leg movements. You don’t want a lift of the knee to push your belt up or cause the edge to dig into the front of your thigh. So make sure the thigh has room to do this.
The back of the belt dips lower, so the fringe or coins will dangle freely off your butt. If the back lower edge of the belt is too short, the fringe will get hung up on your rear, and not move gracefully.
CLOSURE: The closure could be back, front or side (or both sides). I prefer front, because it’s easy to put on, and doesn’t add bulk on the side. I cover the closure with a decorative medallion. If I need to alter the belt slightly, I move the hooks and the medallion, and it still is symmetrical.
Book #3, Stage Belt & Bra for Bellydancers, shows how to make a custom-fitted belt pattern that starts out as a straight paper tube. After pinning it to fit your curves, you can then sculpt the belt edge so it is smaller in front and dips lower in back, as above. Different shapes can be drawn on the edges for interest, such as scallops.
The book illustrates dozens of belt shapes, plus variations in fringe placement and medallions.
~ Dina Lydia, Costume Goddess