top of page
Milwaukee People's Flag Shamrock for Milwaukee Irish Dance Studio

2023-24 Competition and Performance Appearance Guide

We strive to create a positive, growth-focused environment for all students by promoting individuality and confidence.

While lots of people have a “wigs and jigs” impression of competitive Irish dance, at Milwaukee Irish Dance we promote the choice of natural hair as well as curly wigs. We strive to ensure our school image is in keeping with tradition, and we want to make sure that families feel not overwhelmed by expensive costume elements.

Milwaukee Irish dance studio graphic dancers.

Please utilize this guide as a resource of approved looks and

“pro tips”. It’s important to maintain consistent appearances especially for performances and dancers who compete in teams.

Irish Dance Shoes

Irish Dance Shoes

Dancers start in soft shoes - they can also commonly be called ghillies, light shoes, or pumps. These are similar to ballet slippers. After a year or so of dancing, they will add on hard shoes which resemble tap shoes.


Irish shoe sizes are typically 2 sizes down from American shoe sizes and dance shoes should fit tightly so we recommend going another size or half size down. Each brand will fit each foot slightly differently which is why we recommend going to a local feis to purchase shoes or buying from a store that specializes in Irish dance shoes. We like to work with a local shop called Gibson Irish Dance Imports

We also sell used shoes at the studio ($20 for soft shoes / $50 for hard shoes). We do not adjust the price based on the condition of the shoes - they are donations to the studio and therefore offered at a very steep discount. 

How To Tie Soft Shoes
Play Video

Competition (Feis) Costumes

First Feis + Grade Dancers

Tiny Dancers + Preschool Class (Girls)

 white hair bow, short sleeve white leotard*, navy wrap skirt*, poodle socks, black ballet slippers*

Beginner Class (Girls) 

white hair bow, short sleeve white leotard*, navy wrap skirt*, poodle socks, Irish dance shoes

Advanced Beginner + Novice / Intermediate Class (Girls) 

white hair bow, short sleeve studio dress, poodle socks, Irish dance shoes

Boys (all levels)

white t-shirt*, navy pants*, black or navy socks*, Irish dance shoes


Shoes should be neatly tied (double knotted!) and dancers should have clean socks. Please ask if your sparkly poodle socks/shoe buckles are appropriate for your dancers level.

*these items can be found on our Discount Dance Store (teacher ID: 144050)

Preliminary + Champion Dancers

Solo or “Blackout” costumes.

Adult Dancers

School, Solo or “Blackout” costumes with black tights and black shoelaces/no white tape.