Dressing to Impress: How to Find the Right-Fitting Leotard

Many first-time dancers and parents don't know how a leotard is supposed to fit, so dancers come to class in ill-fitting clothes. Leotards are supposed to be tight, worn elegantly, with no sags or creases from extra material. 

Professional swimmers and gymnasts wear tight suits and leotards that hug their bodies without any space for error, especially when they are competing. This is why having the right attire isn’t just for show; it’s also for function.

The Importance of Right-Fitting Leotards

Uncomfortable leotards that reveal too much breast, cleavage, or cause arm and leg pain are unacceptable. On the other hand, when leotards are too big, they form slack straps or don't embrace the dancer’s bottom well, potentially exposing the dancer.

For their first ballet session, a child's leotard may seem "too tight." The leotard is usually not too small, but the child just needs to adjust it over time. Thankfully, almost all kids get used to wearing dancewear after two weeks.

The Qualities of Right-Fitting Leotards

Since a child's size fluctuates, it's not a reason to buy dancewear a whole size too big. This makes it difficult for a child to participate in dancing classes. Dancers above the age of eight should wear tight leotards with no extra space.

Here are ten tips to guide you on how a leotard should fit:

  • Armholes: The armholes of a leotard should be tight on the body, especially for girls. If the armholes are too large and allow breast exposure, use duct tape to gather them up. 
  • Chest: The chest of the leotard should be tight, not loose. A loose chest might reveal cleavage and is uncomfortable to wear.
  • Back: If the bottom of the leotard has a zipper, it should be straight up and down and not twisted. The leotard should have enough fabric under the zipper, so it doesn't cause a bulge when the zipper is closed. 
  • Waist: The waistline of a leotard should be tight, not loose. It should fit smoothly without wrinkling. 
  • Knees: The knees of the leotard should not be too big for the wearer. Instead, they should be snug but not tight.
  • Legs: The bottom of the leotard shouldn't reach the knees of the dancer. This makes it difficult to move one's legs freely. The bottom should fit just above the knee.
  • Length: The leotard should be short but not too short at the front. The length of the leotard should be above the belly button. A leotard that is too short can create blisters when dancing or hitching up.
  • Sleeves: The sleeves should be snug to the arm but without wrinkles.
  • Fabric: The leotard fabric should ideally be non-stretchy and thick enough to be supportive.
  • Material: The leotard material should feel luxurious, soft, and not itchy.

    The Routine of Buying the Right Leotard

    The first year of dancing can be a disaster for girls if they buy leotards too small or too big. Oftentimes, the leotards they get are not usually too tight but rather too large. This is why you must make sure to buy the correct size for your child. In most cases, that will even mean purchasing a size that is a tad bit smaller. This will allow them to use the leotard continuously and not replace it every year.

    Some people feel that it is necessary to buy custom-made leotards to get a good fit, but it is not. You can buy inexpensively made leotards at any ballerina store, and as long as they are the right fit, the dancer should be comfortable.  


    Often, for those looking for leotards for a beginning dancer, the biggest problem is finding the correct size. Up to the age of seven, girls will change sizes every six months. Even though it will be a recurring expense, it will save you several or more times that amount in the future.

    At Pink Lemon Dancewear, we are a Melbourne-based company providing Australian-designed and made girls dancewear, practice wear, and activewear for girls that are carefully hand-crafted and can be custom-made. We aim that dancers who wear our gear stand out for the right reasons and make a difference in the world. Check our latest arrivals today!

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