Training leotards can be made from just about any pattern or colour you may think of. They also have different sleeve types and can be even a bit big. Leotards for competition, on the other hand, are an entirely different kind. Generally, they are extremely glitzy and made of solid colours. For some coaches, gyms and ballet dancers, the jazzier and more embellished the leotard is – the better.
The Right Fit
The leotard should allow the dancer to comfortably perform cartwheels and strong salutes without any restrictions. However, the fit can vary between competition and training leotards. For training, you can get a model that’s a bit looser and more comfortable. On the other hand, competition leotards must have a sleek fit to enable easy demonstration of precision. For this purpose, make sure you get a model made from stretchy performance fabric.
Which Style Leotard Should You Buy?
Sleeveless/tank leotards are a popular option among those who like to be free and stay cool during practice. However, in competitions, you should wear a long-sleeved leotard. For girls, the sparklier the leotard, the more she will stand out!
Which Fabric to Choose?
Leotards, whether for training or competition, come in a range of fabrics. Lycra is a popular material as it is extremely stretchy and gives a lot. However, it isn’t the most obvious choice for competition leotards as it doesn’t hold up rhinestones, appliques, foils and other decorations well. Velvet is another popular choice because it is extremely forgiving and it holds up well. The problem with this material is that it can make the dancer hot and sweaty, even with minimal effort.
Nylon/spandex is the golden middle between the above-mentioned options. While leotards made from this material don’t have a lot of decoration on them, they can be found in a variety of colours and designs. Metallic fabric leotards are flash and bright but the dancer may feel uncomfortable in them. In fact, dancers with wide shoulders may not appreciate the tightness around their shoulders and torso and, in most cases, going for a bigger size won’t fix the issue.
Where to Find Leotards?
Gyms and ballet schools often sell a limited amount of leotards and in most cases, these garments can be found in the office or lobby area of the gym or school. The benefit of buying a leotard at these places is that you can try it on before you buy it. This will also help you save on shipping costs. The problem with buying leotards from these places is the limited selection and sizes.
With online shopping, on the other hand, you have tons of options, when it comes to styles, designs, sizes and prices. However, you can’t really try the leotard before buying it. For that very reason, when shopping for leotards online, check their size chart carefully. Remember that there is no universal sizing chart. In fact, sizing charts tend to vary greatly among different brands, so knowing your measurements is very important. Companies that offer girth measurements on their sizing chart help you to get the most accurate fit by following the girth size recommendations. If you’re in between girth measurements, it’s recommended that you go for a model that’s one size up.
What do Gymnasts Wear Under Leotards?
Considering the fact that dancing is a sport, supportive garments are necessary. This doesn’t mean you will need a sports bra but an undergarment that offers the proper fit and support where you need it will do the job fine. When it comes to briefs, beware of visible panty lines. Smooth lines are a must for a neat, professional appearance so that no lace or hooks show through the leotard.
Young ballet students tend to wear regular panties underneath their tights and leotards. Depending on the school’s dress code, students may not be allowed to show bulk or ‘panty lines’ under their leotards so that the teacher can study the lines of their body. Older students prefer wearing thongs for a smooth and more aesthetically-pleasing look.