Costume Advise for Someone Else

Amulya

Moderator
I have a FB group for costume tips, and this one is tricky:

“What's a good costume style for belly that bulges..? I also have an ostomy bag that I need to cover . I had surgery and my saiidi dresses are too tight around my hips.”
 

Ariadne

Well-known member
Years ago I used to watch dancers at the local fair, many of which were quite heavy. Believe it or not they would use extra scarves which were tucked under the belt so they floofed over the top. It accented the hips making them larger and, while you never thought they were thinner then they were, widening the hips did de-emphasize the size of their bellies. I think that could also help cover up other things such as an ostomy bag.
 

Amulya

Moderator
Years ago I used to watch dancers at the local fair, many of which were quite heavy. Believe it or not they would use extra scarves which were tucked under the belt so they floofed over the top. It accented the hips making them larger and, while you never thought they were thinner then they were, widening the hips did de-emphasize the size of their bellies. I think that could also help cover up other things such as an ostomy bag.
That I a great idea! How did they tuck them in other places, like in the top? I was thinking of pictures where I saw fabric floofed over and that was where my thought went instantly, but those were I think one pieve of fabric, that is maybe a wide top with straps, that the bra or top goes over and gets tucked into the belt and pulled out a bit, I am trying to remember where I have seen those pictures but I can’t
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
I was always self-conscious about my tummy- even in those years when I didn't have one! To disguise it,

a. I draped a veil over one shoulder and tucked the ends into the hipband on the opposite hip.

b. I cut a hole in the center of a three-yard length of chiffon and wore it over my bedlah and skirt like an open-sided belidi dress caught at the hips by the hip band. (This was my favorite method of hiding a post-baby tummy. The hips were emphasized and the torso was disguised; an opaque version would easily hide an appliance.)

c. With the center of the veil at my back, I tucked the ends of the veil under my straps with the right hand end tucked on the left hand side and the left end on the right hand side so the veil crossed by body in the front. This was also nice for veil removal during a spin.

The next time I am on my desktop computer, I'll see if I can find photos from my classes. Alas, I don't have photos from the seventies. My then-boyfriend was also my photographer. After we broke up, he absconded with my photos and I was unable to get them back. The cad, right? :mad:;)
 

Ariadne

Well-known member
That I a great idea! How did they tuck them in other places, like in the top?
Occasionally one of them would use a scarf like Shanazel's example "a" but most it was swag and floof. The middle of the scarf would swag across (usually) the back and the ends would be folded and tucked under then over the belt like fluffy "puppy" dog ears. Some did both, the shoulder part tucked into the bra strap so it wouldn't fall down. One tucked the end of the scarf into the shoulder, swaged across the belly, under the belt, and then further swagged and floofed. Most of them used at least 2 scarves so there were a lot of options and plenty of floof.

And I've never said floof so many times in one conversation.

Really though it's a technique that is only limited by your imagination.
 

Amulya

Moderator
I was always self-conscious about my tummy- even in those years when I didn't have one! To disguise it,

a. I draped a veil over one shoulder and tucked the ends into the hipband on the opposite hip.

b. I cut a hole in the center of a three-yard length of chiffon and wore it over my bedlah and skirt like an open-sided belidi dress caught at the hips by the hip band. (This was my favorite method of hiding a post-baby tummy. The hips were emphasized and the torso was disguised; an opaque version would easily hide an appliance.)

c. With the center of the veil at my back, I tucked the ends of the veil under my straps with the right hand end tucked on the left hand side and the left end on the right hand side so the veil crossed by body in the front. This was also nice for veil removal during a spin.

The next time I am on my desktop computer, I'll see if I can find photos from my classes. Alas, I don't have photos from the seventies. My then-boyfriend was also my photographer. After we broke up, he absconded with my photos and I was unable to get them back. The cad, right? :mad:;)
The cheek of that guy! Such a shame!

The beledi dress type thing was what I had in mind, I saw it somewhere with closed sides, maybe it was used in, I have forgotten the name of the dance troupe, famous one in the 60s or 70s, in America
(it is shocking how much belly dance information has gone lost from my brain! So sad)
 

Tourbeau

Active member
Sorry I am tardy to the party (the whole month of May has felt like one stretch of rough road for me), but this isn't the sort of problem that resolves itself in a week, so I'll post anyway. FWIW, I don't have an ostomy, but I come from a family with a history of colon and bladder cancers and older relatives who find themselves alone at the end of their life with nobody to help them but me, so I have changed lots of ostomy bags. Let's talk....

I wasn't sure at first what the problem was with the OP's Saidi dresses not fitting. I didn't know if it was an issue that the OP was always somewhat concerned with foundational smoothing, the profile of the ostomy pouch was the issue, or the stoma had created a hernia, making a roller coaster of abdominal bumps. I don't think it really matters. Part of the challenge of an ostomy is that it is what gamers call "chaotic evil." No matter how well you think you've been managing it, it won't hesitate to make trouble. I think no matter what you do costume-wise, you want something that is going to provide coverage and support so the pouch doesn't flop around and break the seal on the wafer while you're dancing. An ostomy pouch is not something you want to see vibrating during a shimmy, and you don't want to ruin your costume with leaks.

I don't mean to imply that there's anything shameful about an ostomy. You're a survivor. You're a fighter. You deserve to be respected and seen...but an audience doesn't want to think about a bag of feces or urine unless you're doing a piece of avant garde performance art about the realities of the human excretory system. Moreover, if you are preoccupied with the stability of your ostomy, it's going to take attention away from your dancing and ultimately your opportunity to create a moment of Tarab. The more confident you are that your ostomy won't blow a gasket, the more "Tarab-tunity" you can have, so you want to lock everything down as best you can without restricting your movement. I don't know if you've already explored ostomy belts. They make a couple different styles, possibly look for one that is a wide, stretchy tube.

You can also achieve some support with the stomach covers that have already been suggested. If you are concerned about showing through a thinner one, you can always layer them or make/order one that is a double layer in the front (same idea as a swimsuit with a flesh-colored lining). I wouldn't want to get involved with a full Sugar-Petals-style bodysuit. You want something that you can conveniently get in and out of, and an ankle-to-shoulder leotard that goes under a costume isn't. Definitely don't settle for less than a snap crotch, and don't put up with middle-only style that won't play nice with your pouch.

I should also add that you might want to consider switching to the fill-and-toss short-use pouches (if that works for your type of ostomy) when you are performing. They're much smaller and flatter and they don't have a bulging port for emptying at the bottom. The disadvantage is if you have a colostomy and an issue with ballooning, you might need to watch what you eat beforehand and use an anti-gassing additive in the pouch. It goes without saying that everything should be thoroughly test driven before you take the stage.

In terms of costume specifics, the best looks depend on the position of your stoma. Poofing and flooffing probably work better if your stoma is toward the side. If it's more centered, then you might want another option. I would still recommend an underlayer of a nude stomach cover for stabilizing the pouch and smoothing the contour. The extra layer also helps to prevent fringe, veils, etc. from getting tangled up with the pouch.

Those stretch velvet Turkish belly dance dresses used to be notorious for strategic cutouts. Sometimes they'd only have a hole in the middle. Other times, they'd be like an I-beam covering the center, with the sides cut out. They are sort of dated looking, often pretty tacky, and to dancers of a certain age, they scream "Turkish!!!!" and won't work for other dance styles, but they might be a possibility, deoending on your stoma placement.

https://turkishemporium.co.uk/belly-dance-costumes/aseenah-belly-dancing-costume-99.html


https://turkishemporium.co.uk/belly-dance-costumes/damla-belly-dance-costume.html


I can't find an example of the I-beam style today....anybody have one? This is Egyptian and isn't quite what I'm thinking of, but the shape is similar.
https://bellydancestore.com/collections/costumes/products/mumtaz-one-piece-costume-25011


As far as other costumes, it has also been a popular style for a while to run sashes of ruched chiffon all over...around the back of the neck, under the bra, diagonally across the stomach, down over the skirt slit, etc.... You might be able to modify an existing costume in that spirit if you can't find one that already covers what you need it to.

https://bellydancestore.com/collections/costumes/products/mirage-6


https://bellydancestore.com/collections/costumes/products/two-piece-costume-clearance-313

(Black or white chiffon would be easy to match/replace to make a larger drape.)
 

Tourbeau

Active member
You could also theoretically replace the gold drape on this one with something bigger and move it where you need it.
https://bellydancestore.com/collections/costumes/products/bds-couture-25097


There are fustan raqs styles that might work, too.
https://bellydancestore.com/collections/costumes/products/bds-couture-dress


https://bellydancestore.com/collections/costumes/products/mumtaz-one-piece-costume-25005


https://bellydancestore.com/collections/costumes/products/eman-zaki-costume-25025


Maybe even this one with enough extra lining...
https://bellydancestore.com/collections/costumes/products/eman-zaki-costume-sale-25099


This one probably wouldn't work as is, but it could conceptually inspire one that would by closing up most of the torso space.
https://bellydancestore.com/collections/costumes/products/mumtaz-one-piece-costume-25070


You'll notice that most of these costumes are asymmetrical and textural, because those features make it easier to camouflage that one part of your torso isn't as flat as the rest. I also think loud, busy costumes lend themselves more to what you need than sedate, sleek ones. Even an old-school shimmy dress might work, because you're drawing the audience's attention to the layer above the fabric.
https://bellydancestore.com/collections/fringe-dress


If you want to stick with the two-piece look, I wouldn't hesitate to move the beltline up or down as necessary. Because of the Hays Code (no visible navel), the bottom of old Hollywood BD costumes sometimes came up to the natural waist, not low where we are used to thinking of them. There's also the classic wall-of-fringe bra and large appliques or silk flowers sewn to a nude base as other possible visual diversions.

And this is...a lot of lewk...
https://bellydancestore.com/collections/costumes/products/bds-couture-23842


I suppose this discussion also hinges on whether these are soloist costumes or if they have to be troupe compliant, and if the OP can sew or would have to find someone to custom create/alter for her.

But since the original question was about Saidi dresses, the TL;DR answer is to go with a more Tahtib stylization and a folkloric costume like what Fifi is wearing below. You can always engineer the dress to make sure the "belt indentation" hits you at the best spot by gathering it there and attaching the sash to the dress on top of it. (Google "80's drop-waist blouson dress" to get the structural idea I'm talking about.)


Another option if you don't mind going more of a drag-king route would be the men's style with the overcoat and thobe, like the red and blue costume Dr. Ezzat is wearing in this old 4M clip:


Both costumes are totally authentic Saidi and spacious. You wouldn't have to worry about hiding an ostomy bag here. You could hide half a spit of shawarma meat under these last two outfits.

Between the climate in the Middle East and Islamic modesty prescriptions, folkloric costumes generally tend to be loose anyway, so there are lots of other possibilities down those roads. HTH...
 

Tourbeau

Active member
b. I cut a hole in the center of a three-yard length of chiffon and wore it over my bedlah and skirt like an open-sided belidi dress caught at the hips by the hip band.
The first troupe I was in used to do something similar with veils, but they basted the bottom halves of the sides shut, making it sort of like a sleeveless Khaleeji thobe. They called them "Alima dresses," but I don't think anyone remembered where the name came from.
 

Amulya

Moderator
But since the original question was about Saidi dresses, the TL;DR answer is to go with a more Tahtib stylization and a folkloric costume like what Fifi is wearing below. You can always engineer the dress to make sure the "belt indentation" hits you at the best spot by gathering it there and attaching the sash to the dress on top of it. (Google "80's drop-waist blouson dress" to get the structural idea I'm talking about.)
Thanks for all the information! I assume she knows all the hazards that come with the bags, and she has been dancing so she would know what a shimmy would do etc. A body suit with snap clips underneath sounds like a really good idea!
And what I had in mind but couldn’t find pictures of was indeed Fifi’s style!

Looking at all the saidi dresses: they are so tight now and with cut outs. I tried to attach a picture of a costume that looks closer to the one I have that is an oldfashioned modest saidi dress. But instead I was only able to attach this kind of ugly picture that shows it’s more baggy and what the fabric kind of used to be like.
 

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Tourbeau

Active member
I wasn't sure what had prompted the OP. It seemed like a bit of an odd question to ask if someone had a lot of dance experience and had had an ostomy for a while, so I guess I assumed since she was talking about her dresses no longer fitting, she was new to the ostomy as a dancer. I didn't mean it to come across as talking down or [___]-splaining, and if it did, I apologize.

I remember a similar question coming up years ago on Bhuz, and you never know who is lurking or will find a thread in the future. There surely are others out there who wonder about belly dancing and ostomies, or who have similar questions about a costuming need to cover an abdominal issue, so maybe it's still useful...
 

Shanazel

Super Moderator
I wasn't sure what had prompted the OP. It seemed like a bit of an odd question to ask if someone had a lot of dance experience and had had an ostomy for a while, so I guess I assumed since she was talking about her dresses no longer fitting, she was new to the ostomy as a dancer. I didn't mean it to come across as talking down or [___]-splaining, and if it did, I apologize.

I remember a similar question coming up years ago on Bhuz, and you never know who is lurking or will find a thread in the future. There surely are others out there who wonder about belly dancing and ostomies, or who have similar questions about a costuming need to cover an abdominal issue, so maybe it's still useful...
I found it fascinating from a costumer's stand point and hope I never need the information for personal couture. Thanks for some very thoughtful posts.
 
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