When preparing for a pole class, there are tons of resources for what to wear. But whether you are about to take your first class or are a seasoned pro, you need a list of what not to wear. The safety reasoning behind some habits can slip your mind. For example, you might show up for a class in glasses instead of your contacts. In other fitness classes, glasses aren’t an issue, but they can quickly go flying while pole dancing.
Avoid wearing the following while practicing pole dancing in a class or at home.
If you haven’t been to a pole dancing studio before, you may think you need to wear high-heeled shoes. While some classes are for practicing routines in heels, it’s not just any pair of heels. There are pole dancer shoes specifically made for this. The wrong footwear can lead to slipping and some serious injuries.
Socks are also slippery footwear that can lead to nasty falls. Bare feet are typically the safest and preferred style for pole classes. Occasionally, you’ll see pole dancers in other dance shoes with grip or in sneakers for the warm-up portion. Ask the studio what the expected footwear is, and go with bare feet if you’re still unsure.
3. Long Pants
Again, wearing a pair of long or loose pants is acceptable for the warm-up, but you’ll want shorts underneath for better grip and dancing on the pole. Long leggings or sweatpants will be slick when you try any pole moves.
While it may seem obvious, jeans and denim articles of clothing have minimal stretch and can lead to uncomfortable chafing. They will limit your movement and obstruct blood flow.
4. Loose Clothing
On the other hand, loose clothing can also affect your dancing. Most dance classes favor form-fitting attire, so you can properly check your alignment and posture. Loose tees or dresses can get tangled around the pole when you do spins, or they can cover your face when you do inversions. You will be exposed more by wearing loose clothing than tighter, more form-fitting clothes.
In addition to scratching the expensive poles, jewelry can get in the way of your dancing. Longer necklaces and even earrings can get caught around the pole. Bracelets and rings can cause rubs and chafing on your hands and wrists when spinning around. Lastly, your rings can get caught on the pole and lead to ring avulsion, a recovery Jimmy Fallon experienced that isn’t easy. While bracelets are a nonstarter, having a trusty hairband on hand never hurts.
While clear vision is essential for dancing, glasses can fly off, injure a classmate, or break on the unforgiving floor. Make sure you have a case in your bag to tuck them away for the whole class if possible, but definitely when working on spins, inversions, and new tricks. The risk of shelling out hundreds for new frames isn’t worth it.
7. Artificial Nails or Extensions
Long nails, even natural ones, can affect your grip. They can dig into your palms when you grab the pole. You can be more hesitant as they can get in the way of performing tricks. You may be cautious about breaking them as the pain is pretty unbearable, especially if that’s happened before. Same for pedicures. You are less likely to break a toenail, but you will scrape paint off and ruin your gorgeous designs. Save your long nails and pretty toes for vacation if you want to avoid unnecessary injury and repeat nail appointments.
8. Moisturizer or Body Oil
Moisturizing daily may be a hard habit to break. Especially in winter, when exposing more skin than usual, you may be tempted to moisturize before class. Or you may want to have your Magic Mike moment with some body oil. But your silky skin will be slick against a shiny metal pole. Either it won’t end well, or you will leave class frustrated that you can’t grip well enough to practice your moves. Try to save your moisturizing until after your dance for the day.
9. Heavy Makeup
Sometimes you have no choice if you come straight to class from work, but a full face of makeup will just sweat off. You risk it running into your eyes and stinging at inopportune moments. It can also rub off on the pole, affecting your grip, streaking your clothes, and clogging pores as it mixes with sweat. The same goes for any makeup containing glitter or shimmer, sunscreen, and fake tans. Save your done-up face for photo shoots and performances. Taking a page from Alicia Keys’ book, your natural look is perfect for practice sessions, classes, and performances if you wish.
In addition to being an allergy risk or bothersome to fellow class members with sensitive noses, many perfumes have ingredients that can degrade the coating on metal poles. Frequent perfume exposure will lead to erosion and damage over time.
11. Anything You’re Uncomfortable Wearing
Pole dancing is about confidence, expressing yourself, and how you feel through your art form. If you feel uneasy, that will show in your dancing. Find some pole dance outfits that make you feel good and aren’t a distraction from your dance moves. The moment you forget about what you’re wearing or how you look with your birthmarks, scars, stretch marks, cellulite, and skin conditions, the sooner you will get to focus on your dance and having fun.
When starting a new hobby, there can be a lot of information to remember. Refer to this list as a jumping-off point. As you get into your own practice, you will find more things that do not work for you. Keeping a running list on your phone will help you from repeating past mistakes. Speaking with your instructors and fellow dancers will also help to discover what is safe and what is better to avoid. Most studios provide an amazing, supportive community with deep pools of knowledge to guide you, whether you’re pursuing pole dancing as a fun hobby or serious sport.
Finding the right outfit for your pole dancing class can be a challenge. From tight clothes that limit movement to uncomfortable fabrics, all potential pitfalls are highlighted in this helpful infographic—perfect for those who want to take their pole dancing classes to the next level. Here, you'll learn the do's and don'ts of pole dance apparel so you can look your best and confidently perform.