A recent wardrobe re-organisation reveals that a full 25% of my shirts and trousers are Designated Tango Clothing.
Not actual tango clothing – that would feel a bit pretentious at my stage of the game – but clothing almost exclusively used for tango. This includes an unlikely mix of expensive shirts and cheap trousers …
Expensive shirts because it quickly became apparent that dancing in cotton shirts is hot work. I had a couple of linen shirts Before Tango, so tried one, and sure enough, it was much cooler. Linen also has the advantage that it can absorb 20% of its own weight in moisture before it feels damp to the touch.
But as important as the material is taking a spare one. I change between class and milonga, or halfway through a milonga. I loosely fold the spare in four lengthwise, then roll it. It then fits into any bag and emerges more-or-less wrinkle-free when unrolled.
Which is why I bought four more of them. The shirts were expensive because good-quality linen is anyway, and because I made the mistake a while back of buying some made-to-measure shirts and now nothing else will do. But I did get an an amusing story thrown in.
Fortunately this is balanced by the cost of my trousers. One of my tango teachers let me in on a secret: golf trousers are more-or-less the same thing as actual tango trousers. Which makes sense if you think of a tango pivot and a golf swing: they are very similar movements.
Specifically, Mariano’s recommendation was Slazenger golf trousers from Sports Direct, which come in a wide range of colours and cost … £17 for two pairs! Like tango trousers, their flowing cut means they smooth out leg movements, so you get to look good for £8.50.
My only Real Tango indulgence is a pair of handmade Italian leather tango shoes from Balanceo. I’ve never been a shoe guy, so these are the most expensive shoes I’ve ever bought, but fit beautifully, are superbly comfortable and I can really feel the floor. I love them. If you’re going to spend real money on anything tango-related (other than lessons, obviously), shoes are the thing. Plus, as guys, we can buy one pair and be done. Women, not so much …
And outdoor shoes
Expensive tango shoes and concrete isn’t a good mix, however, so I have a separate pair of shoes for outdoor dancing. Once again, Sports Direct to the rescue, and once more you can’t get cheaper: a £4(!) pair of canvas plimsolls. The soles are really thin, so you can feel the floor well – though that does mean they aren’t very comfortable for walking to and from outdoor milongas. We’re only just over a mile away from Spitalfields, so I can cope with that.
Lastly, one other low-cost investment I highly recommend is a fan. Mine is silk, but very basic, and cost £9 from Amazon. Great for keeping cool between tandas, and fits into a rear trouser pocket while dancing.
Have any clothing tips of your own? Please share them in the comments!