Click to Shop PoleFit Right Meow!” title=

Pole Dance Competitions Outfits: What You Need To Know

By on October 4, 2017

Are you one of those people who obsesses about those beautiful, shiny pole dance outfits on stage? I know I am. Ever since I was little I have always loved sparkly things, and that is why I love pole dance competition outfits!

Fortunately, I am not alone! Lots of men and women who pole get excited about dance costumes. Fellow writer Niva wrote in a post on the Bad Kitty blog in 2014 that “a costume isn’t complete without sequins, diamantes or Swarovski crystals”.

Costumes evolve like everything else in the pole dance world. Not only are there more specific regulations about what you can and cannot wear to a pole dance competition than when pole first started, but people are more aware of the importance of their costume as part of their overall performance. Your costume has to be something that is comfortable enough to do all of your tricks in, flexible enough to stretch in all of your super flexy moves, and it has to match the message of your performance. If you are performing a comedy piece, you probably are not going to be wearing a sequined red thong, a bikini top and ten inch stillettos.

Differences in pole art and pole sport

There are important differences between costumes for pole art competitions and costumes for pole sport championships. The competition you sign up for likely has regulations about what the outfit can include, and what it can’t include. It’s so important that you could get deductions for wardrobe malfunction or for using something that is not in regulation.

Pole art competitions usually weigh the outfit more heavily as part of the overall performance score than pole sport competitions do. For instance, Pole Art America 2017 lists  “Costume, Hair and Make-up” as something judges will be looking for in a dancer’s s routine as part of the scoring on their website. Your costume is part of the artistic section and it must be consistent with the choreography, they explain.


Pink Puma and Dimitry Politov, winners of the 2016 Pole Art Duets category

Pink Puma and Dimitry Politov, winners of the 2016 Pole Art Duets category

Other things Pole Art America judges on include: theme/concept; originality; emotional and artistic expression; floor work; perfection of moves; lines and flexibility; dynamic/strength; and musicality; but they give the costume, hair and makeup 10% of the total points of the athletes evaluation!

This competition also states that “judges and organizers can disqualify a candidate or impose a point penalty if there is a violation of the dress code of the competition”, which means that they take this topic very seriously.

The international version of Pole Art, which takes place in Cyprus every year, has slightly more specific regulations. They say  in their costume performance regulations manual that you can use whatever materials you like, “however, topless underwear such as thong or any erotic lingerie is forbidden”. They do allow men to show a naked upper body.


Ulyana Zadalina Pole Art Junior Category 2016 Winner wearing a Harley Quinn Inspired costume


Ulyana Zadalina Pole Art Junior Category 2016 Winner wearing a Harley Quinn Inspired costume

In Pole Art International you can’t take your clothes off or show any form of nudity, however the contestants may take parts of the costume off, such as coats, masks, jackets, shirts, if after removing them the person is still dressed. This event indicates that you may use footwear if you like, such as ballet shoes, jazz shoes, sport shoes, gymnastics footwear, high heel shoes (if they are not danger to contestant/contestants and /or public and jury), or simply stay barefoot.

Pole Art disqualifies anyone who violates the dress code, and they give even more points than Pole Art America for costume: 10 out of 80 total points! Some examples of costume dress code violations includes using latex in the costume, gloves, thongs or boots and hair accessories that could interfere with the performance.

Look at who the Mr. Pole Fitness UK 2014 awarded for Best Costume!


For pole sport type of competitions IPSF regulations (found on their website) state that  contestants must wear a “suitable dance attire”. They explain: “All intimate body parts must be covered. The top must cover as much skin as a regular bra. The bottom must be no smaller than a Bad Kitty® Brazil short, and must completely cover the gluteal cleft”.

Felipe Mendoza at an IPSF championship

They also say that if you are wondering if your shorts are IPSF competition approved you should put on a pair of neon yellow Bad Kitty® Brazil shorts and put your costume on over them. If you can see any neon, then your bottoms do not fit PSO (Pole Sport Organization) requirements!

Bad Kitty® Brazil shorts

Of course, nudity is prohibited, and they also recommend that male performers use dance belts or lined shorts. Violation of the dress code requirement can lead to disqualification or point deduction.

As for point deductions they are very strict:

-5 points per judge: Competitor clearly violates all costume coverage rules with breasts uncovered (women only), thongs/G-strings, or costume pieces that are damaging to the pole finish.

-4 points per judge: For men and women: lower body genitalia becomes uncovered or is visible during a piece (unintentional).

-3 points points per judge: Costume hinders movement or creates an unsafe environment for competitor.

-2 points points per judge: For women: 1 or more breasts become uncovered during a piece (unintentional).

-1 point points per judge: Mild violation one of the costume coverage rules. (Ex. shorts are smaller than a Bad Kitty® Brazil short).

So while the rules seem to be similar in pole art and pole sport competitions, the major differences between the two styles of competition have to do with three things:

1. Whether or not the gluteal fold is uncovered

2. What kind of  bling is allowed on the costume and

3.  In pole art championships the costume HAS to mean something and is judged as part of the performance as a whole.


Pole Dance Venezuela (

@poledancev @s0natagrl


Ermelinda Maglione
Follow me

Ermelinda Maglione

I'm a Venezuelan pole addict and a digital journalist. Combining these two passions together I've created a monster hehe. I love to write about controversial pole topics, give tips, do interviews and organize pole events in my country.
Ermelinda Maglione
Follow me

Latest posts by Ermelinda Maglione (see all)

You must be logged in to post a comment Login