Figure Skating Clothing
What you wear on ice depends on your purpose for getting on ice. Will you be joining a competition or taking a figure skating test? Are you there just for recreational figure skating? How many hours do you expect to spend on practice?
When you are on practice, your comfort and safety top the list of priorities in selecting clothing. Your garments should neither be too loose nor too tight, but just right to give you the freedom to move. Too loose is dangerous, because it forms loops that can get dragged on ice or by others, leading to possible harm. When it is too tight, on the other hand, there is no room for your movements, so you effectively limit your motion.
During practice, you should also make sure that your clothing is able to keep you warm. You might want to try a layered approach, meaning, prefer many thin ones rather than one piece of thick clothing, because the former permits adjustment to the cold. Rather than the sparkly tights used in competitions, try on jogging pants or sweat suits for practice, because these are way more comfortable. If available, nylon windsuits are also nice choices, because they are lightweight, they can keep you warm, are loose enough to allow movement, and they tend to keep water away from your skin. To further keep you warm, always wear hand gloves and socks in practice. These are ideal for the cold, and gloves also assist you when you get up the ice in the event of a fall.
If, however, you are joining a competition, your clothing should be different. It needs to be a little bit more special, because it is one way by which you can capture the audiences and the judges attention. Your comfort gets ranked lower in your priorities. The U.S. Figure Skating Association has set standards for clothing during competitions, and these are the following: 1) modest, dignified clothing, which is appropriate for the competition, 2) full-length trousers for men, 3) clothing with a neckline and sleeves for men, 4) skirts or pants for women that cover the entire hips, 5) prohibition of wearing unitards and bare midriffs, 5) avoidance of excessive decoration like beads and sequins, and if they are used, care should be ensured such that they do not fall off. It does not really matter where you want your figure skating clothing made.
What is more important is that these standards are well understood and followed, to avoid disqualifications and any other untoward event. In selecting the fabric, you might want those which are stretchable, to allow you more room for movement, without tearing your clothing out. Finally, always remember that you are being judged by what you do on ice, rather than what you wear. Thus you can always keep it simple, neat, modest, tidy, and appropriate for your age and what you are going to do.
What you wear is dictated by what you do on the ice. First make certain that it is appropriate for the event, and then take into consideration your comfort while performing.
Drew Mers is an advertising consultant to City Ice Pavilion, a rooftop ice skating rink in Long Island City, Queens, New York.