Someone was complaining to me a few months ago that they seemed to wait ages for a hafla and then three come along at once ... and then they didn't have a thing to wear.
It can be difficult to know what to wear for a hafla if you are going to watch and dance in the 'disco' bit at the end, but aren't performing. Obviously, you're not going to sit around in bedlah (a bra/skirt/belt set). They are generally casual parties, but with the sheer amount of bling being worn by dancers and audience, it's easy to feel under-dressed. So if you generally wear some sort of belly dance skirt and top for class, you could wear that, with extra jewellery. If your classwear is usually yoga pants and a T shirt, and the only other dress you have is more suitable for a prom/wedding/night at the opera, then you need to invest in some party wear. Don't wait until a week before the next hafla (which is actually only 3 weeks away), the January Sales are a good place to start.
What to wear depends a bit on your personal style, but here are some suggestions:
- Go for fluid, luxurious-looking fabrics - satin, chiffon, velour, crushed velvet, lurex knit.
- Look for tops which feature sequins and beading, or to which you can add sequins and beads.
- If you like trousers, look for flared or wide-legged evening trousers, such as palazzo trousers, which seem to be making a comeback at the moment. Harem pants are still fashionable too, and stretchy jersey trousers can also be used for class.
- Skirts and dresses should be long - ankle length. Go for something with enough fullness to swirl as you move, or a straight cut, with decorated side slit(s) to provide room for movement.
- You are surely not going to dance in killer heels? Look for sequinned and beaded sandals or ballerina flats.
- Charity shops can be another good source at this time of year, with the pre-Christmas influx of last year's party wear that doesn't fit any more, or has been seen at several parties already, or the results of a new year wardrobe clear-out. Staff are sometimes reluctant to remove what's in the window, but you can remind them that the most important thing is to make the sale and take the money.
- Look out too for dress jewellery such as diamante or crystal necklaces or brooches. You know you've got too much bling if a) you fall over under the weight of it or b) you can illuminate distant objects.
- Don't forget your hip scarf. Or layer a coin belt over a lurex scarf. Or wear all three.
A friend of mine went to a hafla last year in a dress she'd picked up very cheaply. It was a fairly plain, straight-ish, sleeveless black dress, but with brightly beaded panels extending down each side of the neckline onto the bust. Teamed with sandals, bangles and long earrings, with a veil as a stole, she could wear it to any party. Add a black and gold bead and coin hip scarf - instant belly dance goddess.