What you wear to Tango is almost as important as how you dance. Dressing appropriately will definitely get you on the dance floor a lot faster and the proper shoe will help you to dance better. When dressing for Tango think elegant.
Tango shoes for women usually range between 1-4″ high and can come with either a closed or open toe. They usually have a hard leather sole. These features allow you to stay on the balls of your feet and pivot easily. If you are just learning and not used to high heels, it’s best to start with a lower heel. Comme Il Faut are the most popular, but Neo Tango come in a close second. There are also many other brands that are of very good quality such as Greta Flora and Darcos. My personal favorites, Turquoise shoes, made in Turkey, are beautiful and very comfortable. These shoes really make me feel like I can dance better. They just recently opened a store on Melrose street in Los Angeles. You can also find them at many Tango Festivals.
A must-read article on Tango shoes for women: How to Choose A Tango Shoe That is Right For You: A Detailed Buying Guide For Beginner to Advanced Dancers.
Dress for practice, it’s best to dress comfortably in clothes that let you move. Flowing skirts, gaucho or bambucha pants are a good option.
Dress for Milonga, look for dresses that hug your curves but stretch and flow near your legs. Slits in the skirt allow you to move and are sexy. Make sure you can do boleos and open steps without hindrance.
One of the best Tango shoes for men is 2×4 al pie. These are not easy to buy in the States, but if you are in New York, Charles at Axis Tango sells 2×4 al pie and many other quality Tango shoes (Ladies styles too).
Some men swear by Soy Porteno designed by Gabrielle Misse. Turquoise men’s Tango shoes are also very comfortable and well made. Another option is to wear street shoes, but make sure they have a smooth leather sole and are fairly lightweight. A few men I know buy Puma shoes and have a cobbler put suede on the sole.
Here is a great article to read by Florentino Guizar: Selecting The Right Men’s Tango Shoes: Tips and Tricks for Buying.
Dress for practice – Jeans are fine or pants that are loose and allow movement. Shorts are never worn. Depending on how much you sweat, bringing a change of shirt or a sweat rag is recommended.
Dress for Milonga – Depending on the milonga, men either wear a suit and tie or nice slacks and a collard dress shirt. Nice jeans are also acceptable with a dress shirt.