West Coast Swing Attire

What to Wear in West Coast Swing Dances & Practices

When it comes to West Coast Swing attire, there is just about as much flexibility as there is in the dance itself. The style of dance lets itself to the dancer’s unique choices in style – both in body movement and expression through fashion.



West Coast Swing attire

Just one of many WCS styles!

For the typical lesson and practice dance, there is no real need to dress up unless you prefer to. We always encourage dancers to dress comfortably in something that allows them to move or doesn’t hinder them as they move around the dance floor. In lessons and practices, it’s not uncommon for dancers of any skill level to opt for casual attire.

For Women

Typically in West Coast Swing, women wear pants as opposed to skirts. Pants is more common across the board, but from the last statement: it’s up to the dancer to choose what they feel comfortable in. It’s not completely uncommon for a woman to choose to wear a dress or skirt to dance West Coast Swing in.

For Men

In West Coast Swing, pants are preferred over shorts for most WCS dancers. The same rule applies for men as it does women: wearing what is comfortable and preferred in personal style always outweighs what a dancer “should” wear. Pants, however, lends itself to the style of the dance and can enhance the visual style of your movements.


Get Comfortable!

@sugar_dance Westies in some casual dance clothing!

For both men and women, always opt for clothing that is comfortable, fits your style, and allows you to move. The best way to get started if you don’t know is to look at other WCS dancers online or locally at our events. When starting out, go with something casual and comfortable that doesn’t restrict your movements.

The last thing you want is to feel restricted during your dancing. West Coast Swing is meant to be fun, playful, and sometimes sexy depending on what the music calls for. If you’re not sure what to wear for your first events, just go with any clothing you normally would wear when hanging out with friends (since you’ll be making a lot of new friends!) and that allow you to move freely without restriction.

Some events may call for dressier or more formal attire than what may be present at a lesson & practice, so make sure to check event details anywhere you go or ask an event host if you’re not certain.

Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask if you would like to learn more about West Coast Swing attire at our events, but you’re welcome to dress up or dress down as you desire!


Shoes & Footwear

Above all, the most recommended type of shoe is one that ranks the highest in your personal comfort.

Street Shoes – Sneakers

For beginners or dancers who haven’t committed to purchasing dance shoes, sneakers are usually okay. The major downside to sneakers and most street shoes is that the bottoms of the shoes are made of rubber, making it difficult to do a spin.

For dancers wearing street shoes or shoes with rubber soles, duct tape can be applied to the bottom as a temporary quick-fix. We don’t recommend this as a long term solution, as not all dance studios may allow duct tape on the bottom of shoes (as the duct tape can unfurl and cause the dance floor to become sticky).

Sometimes old, worn out shoes can be a great solution, as the rubbery bottoms have been worn out so much that they no longer stick to dance floors.

When not wearing shoes made specifically for dance (and for ladies especially), make sure that shoes have a secure back and won’t fall while dancing. (e.g., no flip flops.)

Dance Shoes

If you’re serious about West Coast Swing and dancing in general, we recommend picking up a pair of shoes to dance and practice with.

For Women

The most common type of women’s West Coast Swing shoe is an “open toed practice sandal” in black or tan. These shoes will typically have a 1.5″ heel with a sole made of suede. Recommended brands areĀ (?).

For Men

A typical men’s shoe for West Coast Swing are latin practice shoes (most commonly in black) with a heel of 1″ or 1.5″, also with a suede sole. Recommended brands are (?).

For both men and women, remember that the shoe we will always recommend is one that fits well, feels comfortable, and is not a rubber bottom (allowing you to spin with eases).

Recommended Stores:

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