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Everything you need to know about Ballet Leotards

Step-By-Step Guide on How to Choose the Perfect Dance Leotard

A dance leotard is a piece of dancewear designed specifically for dance. It's skin tight, covers the torso leaving the legs and usually the arms free, and its main purpose is to allow for complete freedom of movement.

CC123-BD-B CC102-AT-F BD101 X-Cross Camisole Leotard

The dance leotard is particularly well suited to dance because of its tight fitting or formfitting quality. This holds the leotard close to the dancer's body to accentuate their physique whilst allowing them complete freedom of unrestricted movement. In turn, this allows the dance teacher, choreographer and audience to clearly see the placement of the dancer's body which is highly important to provide the best possible performance.

Step 1: Choose your style

There are simply hundreds, if not thousands, of different designs of leotard available between which we can choose the one that fits us better. The most popular ones are:

Beth Child's Tank Leotard with scrunched bust

Tank: This is the most basic of all leotards. It consists of a simple sleeveless tank-style torso.

Camisole: These are similar to tank leotards but have thinner shoulder straps which allow for more intricate designs such as double strap, criss-cross back, lattice back or rib back.

Short Sleeved: This style of leotard has short sleeves and can have several variations on design such as an open back, ruche or polo neck.

Long Sleeved: As the title suggests, leotards of this nature have full length sleeves. Similar to the cap sleeve variety, the long sleeve leotard can have several variations on design such as an open back, ruche or polo neck.

Frilled or Skirted: The frill or skirt is usually attached to the leotard near the waist of the dancer. However, sometimes the skirt can originate from higher up the leotard such as on the Lyrical Dress where the skirt originates from just under the bust line.

Child's Lyrical Dress Skirted Sleeveless Camisole Leotard

Step 2: What fabrics are available?

When you think of ballet leotards, you probably think of Cotton Lycra or Nylon Lycra in black, white and pastel colours such as pink and blue. However, leotards actually look superb in a range of different fabrics too. Here we have some examples of the most popular ones:


Nylon Lycra: It has a slight shine. It offers a wide variety of colours which means that even the most basic of leotards can be used to either contrast or harmonise with the themes explored by the dance.

Cotton Lycra: It has a matt finish. As well as nylon lycra, cotton lycra also offers a wide variety of colours with the same benefits.

Metallic: These fabrics have a light reflective quality to create a glittery or sparkly effect.

Printed FabricsLeotards made from printed fabrics are available in prints ranging from tiger or zebra through to harlequin and rainbow.

Velour: It has the rich appearance and feel of velvet.

Dance Gear one shoulder sleeveless leotard with thin strap and skirt


Step 3: What's my size?

If you want to know if a leotard fits you or you want to know if you've bought the right size, you can follow the next steps in order to find it out:

  1. Try it on and move around.
  2. Bend forward, backward and maybe to the sides too.
  3. If the straps on the front of the leotard don't move too much then it's likely that the leotard is a good fit.
  4. Other good tell-tale places of a well-fitting leotard are between the legs and under the arms. If your leotard pulls under the arms or between the legs when you try it on you need to choose a larger size. If, however, your leotard is baggy in any way, try a size smaller

Step 4: What about children leotards?

RAD Faith Women's; gathered bustline leotard


The importance of choosing quality leotards cannot be underestimated in providing the correct fit for your child. More and more dance teachers are allowing their students to wear their own choice of leotard, so there is a range of factors to consider when buying yours so we thought we'd outline a few of them here:

Firstly, does your school follow a regulatory body?

RAD Chloe Child's Leotard with scoop neck and short sleeves

Before you purchase your dance leotard, check with your dance teacher whether your school follows a certain regulation such as RAD or ISTD. There are different uniform requirements for different exams, so your child may start in a short sleeved leotard but change to a sleeveless dance leotard as they progress through different grades.

Different styles make a huge difference

Fashion leotards with more intricate strap designs are genCHLOE-Main-CHILDerally more limited to adult leotards. However, an increasing number of leotards with fashionable designs such as criss-cross straps, spaghetti straps and low backs are becoming available to children which further increases your choice.

Ensure that you get the correct size

When your child tries their leotard on at home or in a shop, allow them to do a few simple movements to see whether there is any irritation and whether there is a suitable amount of growing room. If you get the leotard too large though, there may be the risk of the leotard falling down off the shoulders. Equally, if the leotard is too small it may cause some discomfort in areas such as under the arms.

Capezio and Bloch Leotards


Capezio and Bloch provide excellent choice of style, design and quality to all their dance leotards and now provide a large variety of children's leotards. A number of these are in cotton with a mixture of nylon to give better stretch but also breath-ability.

Dance Gear's own unique range of leotards is also available in over 80 colours & patterns and five 5 fabrics. We even make leotards in a combination of two different fabrics for something completely unique .Purple and pink colours being particularly popular with children. Don't ignore other makes as well, Roch Valley have a variety of different styles for children.

Dance Gear Direct are experts in providing dancewear with over 30 years experience. For more information about our extensive range of ballet leotards, please visit our website

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