Tag Archives: leotards

My Leotard Shopping Do’s And Don’ts

(…or would that be “don’t’s”?)

Anyway, I went leotard shopping this weekend, as I’m getting ready for an increased load of dance classes. Came home with several new leotards, and my head full of leotard-shopping advice!

Obviously we all – referring to adult non-professional dancers/dance students – have different body shapes and sizes, as well as style preferences. So rather than saying stuff like “avoid halter tops” or “stick to solid colors” I’m just going to give some (hopefully) helpful general guidelines for leotard shopping time. ¬†With the exception of my very first time leotard shopping (when I picked up my black Capezio short sleeve leotard – my first leotard ever) I’ve gone to dancewear outlets where there’s a vast variety of styles and brands to choose from (and the $10 price tag definitely doesn’t hurt!). As I walked out of the store after my latest leotard shopping experience, these guidelines came to mind. Wish I’d realized some of them sooner!

My new leotards!

My new leotards!

1) Do be ready to try stuff on – lots and lots of stuff. I mean, that’s the main advantage to buying dance clothes in person vs. online (where stuff may be cheaper), the opportunity to see how each of these unique garments looks and feels on your unique body (well, that and the instant gratification! ūüôā ). Also, this may sound like a no-brainer, but the way the leotard looks on the hanger or in the bin is almost irrelevant to how it’ll look while being worn – try on anything that is even remotely a possibility. If you tend to run out of energy during things like long clothes shopping marathons (as I do), try having a snack prior to going leotard shopping.

2) Don’t compromise. ¬†Hold out until you find a leotard that’s a definite “yes”. Don’t settle for “maybe”s, ¬†but continue to try stuff on until you find that leotard that will help you feel – and dance – your best. ¬†It is out there – it just may be hiding behind the 15 or so leotards that you try on first. ¬†Seriously, you should see the piles and piles of leotards that I take to the fitting room only to emerge with 2 or 3 perfect picks! At times it can feel very discouraging, and I worried that nothing would look quite right. But then, I found something that was actually somewhat flattering!

3) Do be selective. Just say no to anything that is short of perfect for your body. If you do not see yourself wearing it DO NOT get it, no matter how pretty the color is! Your wallet and your drawer/closet space will thank you. This latest trip to the dance store I found several gorgeous leotards in bright, vibrant colors, and dramatic styles. Unfortunately, despite the beautiful hues they looked much better on the clothes hanger than on me. So as hard as it was to say no to some of them, I did. After all, I need pretty and fuctional dancewear, not wall decorations.

4) Do mind the logistics. What I mean by this is, will the leotard be practical for you to get in and out of? If you’re constantly rushing to prepare for and arrive to class on time, perhaps something with a lot of buttons or clasps will not be as practical as a leotard that you can just pull on. As I tried on various leotards, I struggled so much with the ones with buttons (perhaps I have clumsy fingers?) that I decided they were a no-go even if they looked ok once fully on me. ¬†Same goes for zippers, especially the kind running up the back – I struggled to get myself zipped up and knew that I couldn’t rely on having a trusted classmate help me zip up every day (or at all, lol), so I didn’t get a zipper-back leotard. ¬†Zippers in the front may be easier to work with, but I’m leery of them – wouldn’t want that to accidentally unzip mid-class!

5) Don’t be limited by the size tag. I’ve found sizing for leotards to be incredibly innacurate and it can vary widely depending on the brand or style of the leotard. One brand’s small is another brand’s large. ¬†This may be even more so if you will be shopping at an outlet store, where some of the items may have in fact wound up there because they ran larger or smaller than usual. ¬†Grab anything that you think may fit for trying on purposes, regardless of the size advertised.

Like these 2... one's a size large, the other a size small, and they look - and fit - exactly the same. In fact, I think the small one looks bigger...

Like these 2… one’s a size large, the other a size small, and they look – and fit – exactly the same. In fact, I think the small one looks bigger…

6) Do check with your teacher first if there is a dress code, regarding color and style. It’s sad if you buy the perfect new leotard, and then find out you can’t wear it! A few semesters ago I took class with a very strict teacher who only allowed solid black leotards in specific styles. ¬†May be a rarity as far as adult ballet classes go, but better to be safe ūüôā

7) Do, if possible, wear the same type of undergarments that you will be wearing to class when you go leotard shopping. This’ll help ensure an accurate fit. Not following this rule is how I ended up with more than one otherwise perfectly-fitting leotard (at the store) that unfortunately shows way too much cleavage when worn with my 2 sport bra combo for class. ¬†Learn from my dumb mistakes, LOL!

This one! Looked way more modest when I wasn't all pushed up...

This one! Looked way more modest when I wasn’t all pushed up…

8) Do have fun! Ballet class is the most fun you’ll ever have while sweating buckets and dressing for it should not be a drag. Happy dancewear shopping and dancing!

Any other dancewear shopping tips welcomed in the comments, of course…

The Dance Bag Challenge, Kit Edition

Questions in italics, answers in regular type. From http://www.welliesandpearlsandballetshoes.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/are-you-ready-for-the-dance-bag-challenge/ ¬† (oops, for whatever reason link doesn’t want to work – even though I could swear I have no typos…)

What’s in your dance bag and why?

Now that I get dressed for class at school rather than at home, a lot of stuff:

All the gear: leotards, tights, leg warmers, slippers, hair supplies, brushes, and the bag in the background. Not pictured: tennis ball, theraband

All the gear: leotards, tights, leg warmers, slippers, hair supplies, brushes, and the bag in the background. Not pictured: tennis ball, theraband

2 leotards (I like to feel like I have options, I guess?), tights (2 pairs, an emergency pair that stays in the bag, and a pair that I’m planning on wearing), ballet slippers, extra pair of ballet slippers, extra sports bra, leg warmers, little cover-up ¬†sweater, brush, small pouch containing: lots of bobby pins, hair elastics, hair nets, and ummmmm, “girl products” (really don’t want to get caught wearing leo and tights and nothing else without that…), theraband, tennis ball, water bottle, snack. Oh, and once I start going to drop-in Evening Class again, I should keep some cash in case I forget my wallet and can’t pay for my class again like that one time…

I keep spares of (almost) everything because I tend towards scatter-brainedness and forget my slippers on average once a week. You have no idea how many times I’ve been comfortably about to drift off to sleep and then it’s “Oh crap! I have to take my freshly washed leotard and tights off the shower curtain rod and put them in my bag so I don’t forget them tomorrow. But I don’t want to get up – what to do?”

At least if I know I have spares it helps me to relax a little (instead of staying up half the night worrying about it). All the hair-related stuff will ensure that I get Рand keep Рmy hair in a proper ballet bun, instead of it flying around during turns.  A tennis ball and theraband are good to warm up, strengthen, or massage the feet.  Water and a snack are necessities.

Bun-making supplies! I recently switched it up to both straight bobby pins and these newer curled ones that hold better.

Bun-making supplies! I recently switched it up to both straight bobby pins and these newer curled ones that hold better.

Of course, if I forgot the whole bag at home I’d be screwed. Lately I’ve been thinking about having a back-up dance bag that stays in the car at all times…

Where did you get your bag and how long have you been using it?

Funny story: The day that I first bought my ballet gear – at least my very first leotard, slippers , and (now long-dead) tights – was the same day that I picked up my textbooks for the semester. I went by the dance store right after finishing up with my classes for the day, and when it came time to put away the ballet stuff, so that I wouldn’t forget it the next day, I stuck it in the textbook’s bag. ¬†The pretty pink dance bag store ripped fairly quickly, but I noticed the textbook’s bag was super durable. A dance bag was born!

(Just realized I didn’t answer the question until later – at the school bookstore and for 2 years.)

Is there anything dance-related you keep in your bag at all times?

All the stuff listed in the first question is in my bag at all times (except while it’s getting washed. Then only the spares would be.)

Is there anything you keep in your bag for good luck?

Actually, no. Now I’m thinking maybe I should…

If your bag had a name what would it be?

Oh gosh, I don’t know…I am terrible at naming things.

“Name me!” says the still-unnamed bag, pictured here with a theraband.

How badly does your bag smell right now?

It smells lovely ūüôā No, seriously, when I get home I immediately take out the slippers I wore that day to air them out. And since I don’t change again after class, but wear my ballet gear home, it doesn’t sit in my bag to stink it up and doesn’t wind up in the bag again until it’s been washed and aired out. ¬†(And according to one of my classmates, my homemade lotion smells like cupcakes, so yeah, yummy…)

If there is anything you could change about your bag and its contents, what would it be?

If there was an unlimited supply of leotards that sprouted out of it, that would be nice ūüôā Or if it had magical ballet-powers that would make me a good dancer that’d be even better…

Anything else you want to mention?

Yeah: when we started our relationship two years ago I never dreamed we’d make it this far. Here’s to many more years of our dance bag-dance student partnership!

An outtake with my cat Mudgey, reponsible for destroying my first ever pair of pink tights

An outtake with my cat Mudgey, reponsible for destroying my first ever pair of pink tights

Surprise Wednesday Class

In a nutshell…

Got out of lab early so I raced on over to Evening Studio. Since I knew the first day of lab we usually do very little, I had packed a pair of tights, leotard and shoes in case I had time to make it to class. ¬†Well, traffic sucked (even though it’s all of 8 blocks – I think I could have sprinted there faster…) so while I¬†did¬†make it to class, I didn’t have time to change into ballet gear. Luckily, I had my clothes from Pilates class on me as well, so I didn’t have to take class in jeans.

And it felt so strange! I realized during the first barre combination (that I got to participate in) that I hadn’t taken class without my leotard and tights ever. Practice at home, sure, but class felt so odd. ¬†I couldn’t see in the mirror if my body was aligned properly or anything. ¬†And – TMI alert – ever since that first time I took class without undies (using the tights as the undies) I kind of got used to it. ¬†All the extra fabric was so getting on my nerves – and unlike practicing at home, you can’t really adjust your clothes in a roomful of people. At least I can’t…

However, I am completely positive that it would have taken too long to change into my leotard and tights, as opposed to throwing on a pair of yoga pants.  I considered it briefly, looked at my footed tights (I was already wearing socks), considered the somewhat sweaty state of my upper back (it was hot today!), and decided there was nothing that sounded more unnappealing than trying to squeeze into a leotard and tights in a hurry.          Whenever I try to do things in a hurry I always manage to take even longer!  As it was, I missed the first combination (plies), so as E Teacher was explaining the next combination I was sort of plieing lyself warm.

This is one of the times when I’m glad for the extremely laid back atmosphere at Evening Studio; not only did E Teacher not mind my late arrival, but also I fit right in as not one person wore a leotard. ¬†Still though, I missed my ballet attire, and felt like a mess. Much respect to people who can feel balletish while wearing other clothing, but I think I need to dress the part. ¬†For some reason though, at home it’s ok and I have no problem feeling balletish. Weird (actually though, I have a theory. But it is just too¬†out there¬†so I will be keeping this one to myself for now. It’d be a really long and convoluted blog post though…) …

Class went well though. We had time for frappes at the barre.  We did the tendu, plie, passe relelve combination and it could be my imagination but I think I went up into the first passe releve a little straighter and qucker than usual. We did the 3 glissades to the right, pas de bourree, 3 glissades to the left, pas de bourre, repeat combination again which was fun.  We did the jete prep (step, leap, arabesque arms) and then a faster version of it that I really enjoyed.

And that was it. I was pretty glad I could make it.

Oh, and I had a chance to extensively youtube pas de basque. It looks to me like it’s part rond de jambe, glissade and chasse, but all rolled into one. Like half a rond de jambe, jump from what had been the supporting foot to the other as if it were a glissade, then chasse on through it. Well, at least that’s how it looked to my unsophisticated eyes, lol.

Apparently, I’m Tall…

… or at least that’s my leotard size.

As this blurry picture shows, it's size Tall

As this blurry picture shows, it’s size Tall

Went on another expedition to the Big City that included a stop at the dance outlet shop. ¬†When I went last time, right as I was paying for my stuff I saw that they had those little knit bun covers and I thought they were so cute, but I already had exact change in hand. ¬†So I figured it wouldn’t hurt to go by and see if I could pick one up. ¬†And the best thing about (dance) outlets is that you have no idea what cool (dance-related) stuff you might find (Now, the worst thing about outlets is that often times everything is there for a reason…). Unlike last time I went there, I decided to not go by the sizes marked alone; instead if I saw something that may fit I would put it on the Maybe Pile regardless what size it says. ¬†Besides, as an outlet, you almost got to expect that the sizes will be a bit irregular. One of the leotards I tried on was marked Large and wouldn’t even come up over my thighs, so yeah… Anyway, this not-paying-attention-to-size resulted in me trying on a variety of leotards that I previously wouldn’t have. I’d tried on about 5 or 6 when I picked up a shiny navy blue camisole leotard. Under size, it was labeled Tall. ¬†As a short-waisted (meaning proportionally my legs are waayyyyy too long for my torso) person, I sometimes may¬†appear¬†tall, due to the excessive leg length, but I’m only 5’4, (1.63 M) – not short, but not tall either. Since not only am I not tall, but my height is mostly in my legs, I figured the leotard, probably made for a tall person’s torso may not fit. ¬†But the feel of the fabric felt so nice and smooth and shiny that I was willing to give it a shot.

The front

The front

So, on comes the leotard and it fits perfectly. ¬†It’s snug – as a leotard should be – but it doesn’t feel like it’s pulling on something. ¬†It doesn’t squeeze in an unpleasant way that makes me feel smooshed up, like I can’t breathe (or pull up). ¬†I loved it! I’ve bought several leotards now and while there’s been some that fit okay¬†(as opposed to not at all), this has been the first one that fits great. It went from Maybe Pile to For Sure Pile. Now having worn it to class, I still think it fits great but I really wish I’d been wearing both of my sport bras when I tried it on – apparently there’s a slight cleavage problem in class that wasn’t there in the fitting room. At least it’s only a problem when I’m bending forward (as I found out while getting down on the floor to stretch – awkward), when I’m upright it’s fine. I still would have bought it if I’d known at the time I tried it on, but I guess it’s a good rule to wear the same undergarment set-up to try stuff on as you’d wear to class. ¬†(Except please don’t try on stuff without underwear, that’s just gross)

The back view. I like how it has full front lining. It's also not cut too low on the back.

The back view. I like how it has full front lining. It’s also not cut too low on the back.

I went through the rest of the leotards, but, having experienced what a perfectly-fitting leotard feels like, there was just no way anything could compare.  But since the leotards at the dance outlet are so cheap, I was planning on getting a second one.  I settled on another navy blue one, this one a tank style with a ruched front.  There was another one that was almost identical but without the ruched front. At first I thought that any detail in the front of the leotard would be a bad idea (in a drawing attention to myself way) Рand who knows, it may be Рbut that one felt so much more comfortable and less constricting than the flat front one. So that one it is.

This is actually front view, but it's so dark that it's hard to see the details

This is actually front view, but it’s so dark that it’s hard to see the details

In addition to the 2 leotards, I picked up another little dance sweater to wear over my leotards. ¬†Ever since I got my little sweater on my last trip here I’ve been wearing it to every class and it’s really helped me feel more comfortable. It disguises my chest to the point that from the front in the mirror I don’t even notice that it’s there. I don’t know if anyone else is fooled, but it still helps me feel less awkward about my body in class and therefore I am able to focus on dancing instead. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to have a second one on hand in case the first gets dirty and I don’t have a chance to wash it.

I guess if I hold it up to the light I'm able to get a picture of the ruched front...

I guess if I hold it up to the light I’m able to get a picture of the ruched front…

As I was browsing through the leotards, the guy that worked there asked me if I wanted some tights. ¬†At $3 each, sure! I ended up getting 3 pairs of Body Wrappers footed tights. The material of the tights feels a bit coarse compared to the silky smoothness of my favorite tights ever (which tore after about a week of wearing them – that would be the Theatrical tights… silky smooth but flimsy as hell), but we’ll see how they hold up. ¬†They have the outline of where the heel goes already in them, which I thought was kind of weird (and I guess that means I can’t wear them forward-side-back, which makes them very unversatile).

See what I mean? Little shapes of feet!

See what I mean? Little shapes of feet!

A pair of regular tights (above) and these foot-outlined tights (bottom) for comparison

A pair of regular tights (above) and these foot-outlined tights (bottom) for comparison

Notice how I didn’t say I got a bun cover. That’s because they were all out, which really sucks. I wonder if there’s a lesson to be learned in this… However, one of the leotards came with this elastic band. Is it a hairband? Am I supposed to already know what it’s for? ¬†(And no, it’s not a replacement strap, as this leotard is a tank style, not spaghetti-strap.)

The elastic band that came with the leotard

The elastic band that came with the leotard

(Edit: my last dance clothes trip to the Big City)