Q ~ Do I have to buy a costume right away?

NO! I generally recommend that students wear a shawl of some kind at the hips. It is helpful that it be a coin or bead  scarf made for bellydance, as these have movement and sound that helps focus, guide, and motivate. Some students may need special dance slippers. Otherwise, wear what you would wear to any other dance or exercise class.  I find bare feet are best.
It is reasonable to expect that if your teacher is asking you to dance in a studio recital or other larger event, that you may have to sew or buy some basic costume pieces to match other students in the class.For a beginner to intermediate student, I suggest a coin scarf or 2 (basic colours like black or red), a crop top (again, a basic colour), and a straight skirt, circle skirt, or harem pants. We often wear “powernet” body stockings as a middle layer.  Your teacher should be able to offer you some advice and help with sewing and shopping.

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