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Considerations for Circus Costumes

Updated: Apr 9, 2020

Originally published June 30, 2015

Ready to debut your new circus act? There are a few things to consider when you’re picking out your costume:

Does it keep your boobs contained?

It might look and feel great when you’re right side up on the ground, but what about when you’re rotating through the air or hanging upside down? Make sure the girls stay put! Then again…Janet Jackson got some great publicity after the superbowl…

YEG Fashion Week - Photograph by Christopher Chan

Does it protect you from rope burn?

Pretty costumes are useless if they aren’t sturdy. Make sure that your costume covers any bits of you that the rope or silks rubs across, and make sure that the material is thick enough that it won’t rip (or melt! –cough-cough-slack drop!-cough-) during your act.

Will it get caught in the equipment during your routine?

Tutus and trapeze rolls do NOT mix! If your costume isn’t skin tight or if you have any bits that stick out, have a friend stand by with scissors for your first few runs in costume.


Start by considering the colour of the silks that you are performing on. Does it clash with your costume? Is it the exact same colour as your costume, meaning that you will blend in? Also try to avoid dark colours like grey and black; most theatres are black boxes and dark costumes will make you disappear. That said, beware of white costumes during certain times of the lunar cycle!

Bright colours that are complimentary to the silks are awesome!

How does my bum look guys?


Sparkles look great, but…sometimes they get in your eyes when you flip upside-down. Take this (and the clean up) into consideration when picking an excessively sparkly costume.

Are you wearing the right underwear?

Underwear lines aren’t always noticeable, but full length unitards tend to look pretty crappy if your underwear is showing. Commando is sometimes the best option here…

Does it match the tone of your piece?

If your act is sad and somber, perhaps a bright yellow jumper with yellow and pink polka dots isn’t the most appropriate choice.

Is it too slippery?

Some people struggle with this more than others. If you have any sort of knee hook climb or knee hang, you may want to opt for a fabric that’s a little grippy. Spray rosin can only help you so much!

Most importantly, try out your costume several times before you perform, and make sure you have time to change it if there’s a problem!

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