How to Choose Comfortable Leotards for Your First Ballet Class
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picture of a ballerina dancing wearing leotards

How to Choose Comfortable Leotards for Your First Ballet Class

Ah yes, ballet – a beautiful dance form that is not just about grace and poise, but also about comfort. Moving as one with the music while wearing a leotard that fits perfectly is undoubtedly a crucial part of the process. Not only does it make you feel confident, but also helps to create an elegant line for the instructor to observe.

Those in line for their first ballet class often make the rookie mistake of assuming they can get away with any type of leotard. After all, they all look pretty much the same, so what difference does it make? Quite a lot actually, which is why choosing a ladies’ ballet leotard is a matter of considering various factors.

How Do You Find the Right Leotard?

Oftentimes, the easiest way to choose a leotard is to look at it from a practical perspective. What you need is something that is comfortable and fits correctly. Some of the topics to consider include the following:

Cut and Silhouette

picture of ballerinas rehearsing wearing leotards

Everyone’s bodies are different, with distinct curves and lines that make us so beautifully unique and individual. Since leotards generally have a form-hugging fit, you should look for something that follows the lines of your body instead of squeezing or pulling.

The most common options include long-sleeved models, which offer more coverage and warmth in cooler temperatures, while short-sleeved and sleeveless ones are cool, breezy choices for summer.

Either way, the fabric should look and feel like a second skin. It shouldn’t be loose around the arms, chest or torso, or ride up when you move. Going for a smaller size is generally not a good idea, as it can make you feel restricted and uncomfortable. If you’re between sizes, it’s better to go for the larger one as it provides more freedom of movement.

You should also be mindful of the leg line – some leotards have a higher cut, while others are lower. The latter can be more flattering for those with long legs, but if you’re petite, then it may make your torso appear shorter than it actually is.


The fabric of the leotard should be soft and lightweight for unrestricted motion. Cotton and lycra blends are quite popular as they are breathable and stretchy. But if you’re looking for something more robust, try microfibers or spandex-based fabrics. They may feel a bit stiffer but will last longer and provide better support.

There are certainly other options as well, such as velvet and metallic finishes – although these may not be the best choice for your first class. They’re generally reserved for more experienced dancers and special performances as they tend to be quite flashy. Plus, metallic options can be quite stiff and uncomfortable, which is certainly something you should avoid.

Adequate Breast Support

picture of a woman dancing ballet in leotard

Speaking of support, one of the trickiest parts of choosing a ladies’ ballet leotard is finding one that offers adequate breast support. Some leotards have built-in shelf bras or cups, while others provide more coverage with a wider back panel.

When you’re moving around a lot, the last thing you want is for your top to be slipping or sliding down. So, if you’re well-endowed, then look for something with wider straps and a secure fit that won’t come undone during the class. For less endowed figures, a simple camisole-style leotard should suffice.

If you’re still unsure, try on several styles and take note of how they feel against your body. There should be no pinching or tightness – it should be snug but not restrictive.

Colour and Design

The fun part about choosing a leotard is that you can pick one according to your own personal style. Ballet classes don’t usually require any specific colour or design, so why not make the most of it? Bright and pastel shades are widespread choices, as they let you stand out from the crowd while still looking elegant and graceful.

Other appealing choices are horizontal stripes, sequin patterns and lace detailing. If you’re feeling creative, go for something with a mix of textures – from sheer tulle to velvet and chiffon. Just be aware that embellishments and extra fabric aren’t suitable for more intensive classes, as they can be too bulky and interfere with your movements.

How to Take Care of Your Leotard

picture of three ballerinas in leotards

After all that hard work and extensive physical activity, your leotard deserves a bit of love and care. Most ballet garments are washing machine-friendly, but if you prefer to hand wash them, make sure you use lukewarm water and a mild detergent.

Air drying is best, as tumble drying can cause shrinkage and damage the fabric. Given the delicate nature of most ballet wear, always inspect the label for special care instructions before you wash it.

If you happen to come across some stubborn stains, don’t be too quick to reach for the bleach. Instead, try some gentle stain remover and rub it on the affected areas. Leave it to rest for a few minutes and then rinse it off with cold water. Any remaining residue should then come off with ease and without causing any further damage.

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