Dress code

A few days ago, I was talking with a milonguero by telephone.  I wanted to know why he hasn’t been seen in the milongas for years.  I thought he would tell me it was for health or economic reasons.  He said that he can’t stand the way young people dress these days for the milongas.  He always wore a suit and tie with good shoes.  Today many are wearing jeans with shirts hanging out and athletic shoes.  He told me it makes him sick, so he has stayed away.

It was impossible not to notice the tall man at Lo de Celia Tango Club last week wearing a turtleneck shirt, blue jeans and sneakers.  He was dressed for a practica rather than a milonga.  Celia doesn’t permit anyone to wear athletic shoes at her milonga.  I assumed he was from the USA by the way he dressed, but I learned that he is from Chubut, Argentina.  Everyone dresses well for the Wednesday evening milonga.  The man had brought along street shoes, but didn’t bother to change.  The lower attendance that day made him even more noticeable on the dance floor.  I heard comments about it from my partners.

Get a few milongueros together and there is bound to be a discussion about tango.  Sunday was no exception when Juan had Alito over for lunch with a few friends.  The topic was how people dress for the milongas today.  Juan admitted that he would rather be comfortable in a shirt and dance sneakers than wear a suit.  Jorge (almost 80) strongly disagreed with this because he always wears a suit and tie.  This is the way he has always dressed for the milonga.  Roberto (77) agreed.  Alito (81) couldn’t get a word into the conversation, but I know he agrees with Jorge and Roberto.  Alito has always worn a suit, shirt and tie to the milonga.  He wouldn’t dress any other way after 65 years. 

People make a point to inquire in advance about the dress code for social functions.  They can do the same for the milongas by calling the organizer.  I know who the better dancers are by the way they are dressed.  Milongueros would never wear jeans and sneakers to a milonga because they respect the codes and tango.


4 Responses to “Dress code”

  1. Lorna Says:

    It is lovely that the milongeros dress formally and a shame that some of the younger dancers dress so informally. However, life has always been like this, the elders think their ways are the right ways and the youngsters do it their way. My personal feelings are I prefer the man to look good whether that is formal or smart casual but then I am middle-aged.

  2. jantango Says:

    In the 1930s, boys didn’t graduate to long pants until the age of 12. They could hardly wait for their first pair of long trousers so they could attend dances. Wearing a suit, pressed shirt with collar and a tie, and shined leather shoes were standard uniform in every dance venue of Buenos Aires. It showed respect for the women who wore new dresses every week. The young milongueros were in a competition with one another for the prettiest girls, so they had to be dressed well.

    The standard of “elegant sport” for the milongas has been maintained in many venues. The level of dancing appears to drop when the dress code is relaxed. Tango isn’t a sport for those who want exercise. “Formal dress” means blacktie to me. That has never been required for the milongas since most men can’t afford a tuxedo. The milongueros viejos continue the tradition that they learned when they were young; that of dressing appropriately for the dance. Today, young dancers can learn from the milongueros.

    Dressing well will never go out of style as far as dance is concerned. Tango certainly deserves it. If the standard is relaxed too much, we are going to see young women in jeans and sneakers for comfort as well. I wonder if we will even recognize the dance. Part of the attraction for many is the elegance and dressing up for tango.

  3. b Says:

    While I agree with you that lovely garments and shoes are more attractive, I would prefer to dance with a woman with whom I have chemistry, which does not wear clothes, regardless of what her body is draped in.

  4. Enrique Madris Says:

    Lamentablemente, en otros sitios, los organizadores aceptan la entrada a bailarines con zapatillas, hombres con pantalones cortos (seguramente turistas)- Serías deseable que actuaron como Celia. En lo de Celia tampoco permiten que el hombre revolee a la mujer, concretamente que bailen molestando a los demás (antes lo llamábamos hacer verdura) en otros bailes, si-
    Sobre el tema central, hay un antes y un después, por los usos y costumbres. Hace años, las mujeres y los hombres concurrían impecables, vestimenta, aseo, perfumes, etc. A nadie se le hubiese ocurrido, concurrir en mangas de camisa. Hoy en día, y especialmente en bailes a la tarde, no veo inconveniente alguno. Hay que adaptarse a la época . Lo cual, de manera alguna es no respetar los códigos Es mi opinión, conozco ambas épocas de baile, tengo más de setenta.

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