What You Need to Know about Leotards: Quick History and Trivia

When your child tells you that they want to dance, the first thing that should pop into your mind is to buy them a kid’s leotard. The leotard is one of the first costume pieces that every little dancer would own. Nowadays, it has a reputation synonymous with dance, but did you know that it was not always meant to be like that? Leotards have a rich history as well.

Here are some facts you might not know about this well-loved dancewear:

The Leotard Was Named after a Person

Frenchmen Jules Léotard invented the one-piece body garment known now as the leotard. He wore a bodysuit called a loin-cloth, and it was not considered comfortable enough. He came up with the idea of combining a shirt and shorts, which were made of two different fabrics.

The name of the French inventor was immortalised in leotards as he became famous for its invention. However, that only happened after his death in 1870.

It Was a Dance Outfit for Men

The leotard was originally designed for male dancers. It was worn by the strictly classical ballet dancers, who were the first to use it. The male dancers wore these tight-fitting clothing to make their muscles look toned and sleek. However, it’s now known today as a versatile dancewear for girls and boys alike.

It Was Not Meant for Kids

In its early days, leotards were not worn by children. It was not until the 20th century when kids started wearing the garment. During that time, it was known as the Little Dancer’s Leotard.

During this time, parents found it difficult to buy one for their little girls. Most department stores had not started selling leotards for kids, so they bought one for the children through their local dance studios.

The Design Evolution of Leotards

Right after the invention of the leotard, the garment underwent a lot of changes. It started in plain black, then came in different colours, designs, prints, and patterns.

Today, the typical leotards have a high-neck design and are worn with a midriff-baring shirt on top. This design was not originally common. It was only in the 20th century when the legendary female ballet dancer, Carolyn Sue Gilbert, first used it. From then on, the high-neck design became the standard for leotards.

The leotard evolved from a one-piece bodysuit to a two-piece bodysuit. The two-piece leotards are also known as the two-piece tights. This style is known for its versatility as it can be worn as a bodysuit by itself or as a costume when paired with a skirt or skirt-like garment.

Modern Leotards are Different

Today’s leotards are different in design, especially regarding the neckline styles. They are designed with a high-cut neckline, which is practical. The high-cut neckline eliminates the need to wear a tank top or a camisole when one is dancing.

The modern leotard is also made of different fabrics made for any gender. These fabrics are breathable, stretchable, and very comfortable to wear. They come in different sizes and are designed for adult and young dancers.

The modern leotards’ designs are also different from the older versions because of the contrasting colours and patterns you can observe nowadays. These patterns come in various prints, such as basic geometric shapes like circles, squares, triangles and stripes.


The history of leotards is a timeline of the fashion pieces first used by ballerinas and later for anyone who wears them. Modern leotards have evolved into something convenient and comfortable to wear. The leotards for kids come in a wide range of designs and can be customised to suit a dancer’s taste. When kids put on their leotards, they are not only joining the revolutionary dancewear, but they are also joining the history of dance.

Find the perfect leotards for girls in Pink Lemon. We are an Australian-owned and made store that produces the best kids leotards, shorts, crops, and leggings for your children. Start browsing our collection now.

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