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Thread: Flesh colored material on costumes. Yay or nay?

  1. #1
    Custom Title Johar's Avatar
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    Flesh colored material on costumes. Yay or nay?

    The person I live with can't stand the flesh colored material used on costumes and asked why even bother using it. I know it's a rule but can someone elaborate more as to why and how much of a costume has to be covering bare flesh?

    Personally I don't care too much one way or the other as long as it blends in well with the skin tone.

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    Well for functional purposes, it's really cold out there and that material, although thin, really does make a difference in body warmth. Imagine skating in the rink in Bern without that extra material! No thanks!!

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    Custom Title Johar's Avatar
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    But they are skating for 5 minutes or less in a competition. I've seen what they wear in practice.

  4. #4
    I cannot stand the flesh colored material when is a noticeably different color from the skater's skin but I realize it is necessary in certain cases. I believe the rule is that the flesh colored fabric must be included if the costume has a deep V-neck or if it is an off the shoulder cut. Nobody wants to see cleavage on a figure skater or a dress that is falling off of the shoulder. I've seen many a thin strapped costume or bare-back costume that doesn't use this flesh-toned fabric. Three examples I can think of this season where the fabric is barely noticeable is Meryl Davis' off-the-shoulder short dance dress, Alissa Czisny's one-strapped short program dress, and Amanda Evora's diagonal cut free skate dress. Costumes where the "fake skin" as I call it is excessive or doesn't match include Kostner's free skate dress where it is much to dark for her skin, and Caydee Denney's free skate dress where the flesh-colored material makes a full sleeve.

  5. #5
    Custom Title Johar's Avatar
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    My friend went into a 10 minute rant about it one night. She even talked of writing a letter to someone to complain about it. I thought she was going to break something in anger, haha.

  6. #6
    can't come down to Earth prettykeys's Avatar
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    I generally like them and imagine that when appropriately done, they help the costumes properly stick to the skaters' bodies (thereby streamlining them...)

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    I like the flesh colored material mostly because.....remember the ice dancer who had a shoulder strap break while she was skating and her boob fell out? A costume malfunction that could have been prevented if she had more material to the costume on her shoulders. That video was all over the place. The poor girl must have been so embarrassed.

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    Skaters can't really skate in those sexy skimpy outfits alluded to with flesh colore fabrics. The fabric gives illusion of skin while the skaters perform with no fear of wardrobe disfunction or costume deduction. Without these kind of fabric, there would be much less glamour and sexiness in figure skating. Remember the old fashioned skating costumes?

  9. #9
    Like subtlety in ice dancing Serious Business's Avatar
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    Here are the exact rules on figure skating costumes from ISU rule 612 from the current document on the ISU website:

    At ISU Championships and International Competitions, the clothing must be modest, dignified and appropriate for athletic competitions – not garish or theatrical in design. Clothing may, however, reflect the character of the music chosen.

    Ladies must wear a skirt. The Ladies dress must not give the effect of excessive nudity inappropriate for an athletic sport. Men must wear full-length trousers: no tights are allowed and the man’s costume may not be sleeveless.

    Hmm, I thought ladies were allowed to wear pants as per a rule change a few seasons ago (everyone from Irina Slutskaya to Fumie Suguri did it). But maybe they changed that. I haven't seen a chick skating in pants for a while now, come to think of it.

    Some further background on costume violation rules: At first figure skating had no rule about nudity and propriety in costumes. It was just a matter of tradition that everybody followed. However, sometime in the early 80's, I believe, the very buxom and high profile Katarina Witt was competing somewhere, and during a camel spin, she showed her camel. Let's just say the reeds on the river Nile were parted and baby Moses almost came peeking out. Monocles were dropped everywhere in shock. And a new rule about modesty in costuming was quickly implemented.

    So how do figure skating's couturiers interpret this rule? Well it's important for the costume to showcase the character the skater is portraying. That's taken as gospel by everybody, and skaters who don't do enough of that will get friendly reminders by judges after competitions. And well, there's no nice way to say it (my favorite kind of thing to say!) so I'll just say it: a lot of the characters female skaters have to portray are floozies. Salome? History's most famous stripper. Carmen? Two timing tart. And you don't even want to know what the faun did in Afternoon of a Faun. Now obviously such characters aren't going to dress like sister wives on a fundamentalist commune. They're going to show skin and flaunt it. But wait, the rules also say the clothes have to be modest! Luckily for all, flesh-colored fabric came marching in like a naked but not actually naked knight on a horse. Now skaters get to have it both ways: portray a sexy character without showing any skin. And everybody was happy about that!

    Except your roommate. And also every other time I post a figure skating pic (like this one of Ashley Wagner) to non-skating fans they will freak out at me about how the tights/leggings go over the boot. I hardly ever notice whether leggings go over boots myself, but based on the reactions I've seen from not just people I know but non-skating blogs that happen to show a pic of skating, it is the thing that most concerns people new to figure skating. If leggings over boots were banned it might bring millions of new fans to the sport who would otherwise spit on it.

  10. #10
    We should also talk about tights. I always assumed they were required for ladies (even though Surya Bonaly never wore them) but I've been noticing that Meryl Davis & Tessa Virtue do not wear them, and Marina Zoueva's other skaters may not either. I've been told they do not wear tights because they can cause the man's hands to slip on the difficult lifts. It sounds like they are taking appropriate measures for safety but I know if it were me I'd be nervous about the brief-like bottoms of the dresses riding up. But then again I guess it is no different than a gymnast in a leotard.

  11. #11
    Custom Title Mathman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serious Business View Post
    ...appropriate for athletic competitions...
    That's the one. I have never seen a skating costume that is appropriate for an athletic competition.

    (Except maybe Scott Hamilton's blue frog costume.)

    People do not dress up like Carmen to engage in athletic competitions.

    If leggings over boots were banned it might bring millions of new fans to the sport who would otherwise spit on it.
    This is true.

  12. #12
    Like subtlety in ice dancing Serious Business's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mathman View Post
    People do not dress up like Carmen to engage in athletic competitions.
    They have for decades in figure skating! Unless you don't consider it a sport, blasphemer!

    All sports have their uniforms. Figure skating just happens to be one sport that allows the most variety. And that's just one of the things I like about it.

    Quote Originally Posted by stevlin View Post
    I like the flesh colored material mostly because.....remember the ice dancer who had a shoulder strap break while she was skating and her boob fell out? A costume malfunction that could have been prevented if she had more material to the costume on her shoulders. That video was all over the place. The poor girl must have been so embarrassed.
    You don't need flesh colored panels to hold a costume in place. With eons of dress making behind us, the needs of securing fabric to a woman's curves while showing enough of them are well studied. For instance, Akiko Suzuki in this picture demonstrates how you can show off a strong and beautiful back in an elegant way without using any flesh fabric.

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    I think Meryl wears VERY thin skin colored fishnets - you can only see them if you look for them.

    http://nimg.sulekha.com/sports/thumb...4-13-10-40.jpg

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Serious Business View Post

    You don't need flesh colored panels to hold a costume in place.
    Depends on the costume.

    With eons of dress making behind us, the needs of securing fabric to a woman's curves while showing enough of them are well studied.
    Depends on what is enough.

    Skating costumes are more than pretty dresses. They are athletic activewear, very active-wear, which also needs to look elegant, or sexy, or airy, or almost nude........

    There are reasons flesh color material is used even on men's costumes, other than pretending they're wearing only body paints. It serves to hold the costume together, to keep skimpy looking outfit on, to give an illusion of a flimsy costume with skinny strings and just enough cover-up with strategically placed decorations, while offering the athletes security to perform with confidence.

    I suspect most female skaters wouldn't dare wear actual dresses similar to their costumes in real life, let alone skate in them. On ice, in their costumes, they know they are fully and securely clothed even if it seems they are very exposed.

  15. #15
    Like subtlety in ice dancing Serious Business's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SkateFiguring View Post
    There are reasons flesh color material is used even on men's costumes, other than pretending they're wearing only body paints. It serves to hold the costume together, to keep skimpy looking outfit on, to give an illusion of a flimsy costume with skinny strings and just enough cover-up with strategically placed decorations, while offering the athletes security to perform with confidence.
    There is no magical property of flesh colored fabric that makes them better able to hold a costume together than other material and other colors. The sole reason they're used is to imitate flesh, which you seem to realize too when you say they're there to give the illusion of a flimsy costume. Otherwise using the fabric the rest of the costume use will work just fine or even better.

    There are plenty of ways to construct an outfit that shows skin that won't fall apart under exertion. Metal chains, netting, plastic, translucent fabric can secure a large see through patch. And the most important thing is the cut of the costume. If you have enough material with the proper amount of give surrounding the nude patch, things will stay in place. Check out the plunge in Nathalie Pechalat's short dance outfit. It provides a nice view without risking a costume deduction. Although I'm sure some will argue that it should get a deduction as it is.

    It's not actually keeping a costume together that makes skaters choose flesh colored fabric over other materials. First as always is the worry that actually showing skin will get an immodesty deduction. They may simply be more comfortable with the feel of it. Or they prefer the weight. Or they actually need it to keep warm. Or they need it to prevent chafing. Or they need it to hide an unsightly rash or birthmark. Or ya know, they actually don't want to show their real skin for actual modesty reasons beyond the score while still wanting to play a sexy part.
    Last edited by Serious Business; 02-07-2011 at 10:16 PM.

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