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Ballet Talk for Dancers

A wardrobe question for the ladies...


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Hi there! I have not made a post in ages... Here goes...


This is rather embarrassing (:rolleyes:) but I've always wondered if women wore anything underneath their leotards. And I don't mean underpants. See, in spite of the fact that many leotards come with "shelf lining" or "shelf bra," the fact remains that they're still very thin and reveal more than you'd would like to, whether you're small or large busted. Some people tell me that they wear bras, but bras limit your leotard choices to only those with high backs and sleeves, and I hate those styles. Thus for some leotards I've instead cut and sewn the front old bras to the inner lining.


Now, I don't know if sewing bras into leotards is normal practice, but I do know that it is more time consuming than I would like. So my question is: How do people who wear camisole leotards maintain modesty?




(I tried to do a search on this but came out with really nonspecific results.)

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Guest Matti18

Well, you can use the stick on flower petal things http://www.breasttalk.co.uk/directtoyou/sh...22&catid=11 like these. Or you can get a converter bra, that can be converted to strapless or criss-cross straps, although they tend to be a bit padded for skinny leos. However I have found that in class, with a bunch of other girls nobody says anything, either to mention the fact that someone is not wearing a bra or that they have obvious bra straps. As women all have the same issues it would be cruel for someone to bring it to the attention of everyone, so essentially it is a modesty thing :rolleyes: Do whatever makes you feel most comfortable, if you hate dancing while wearing a bra under your leo then don't, if the thought of going bra-less (not to mention in a leotard) makes you cringe then find another option. And don't be embarrassed we're all in the same boat!



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I'm afraid I've generally got rather more important things to think about in class -- alignment, breathing, turn out, stretching up out of my hips ... the list goes on. I can imagine that if one needed more support than a leotard offers, that's an issue, but as for what people might see? nope, don't think about it. Tights and leotard seem quite enough coverage. People wear far less in the street or on the beach.


We have had many threads, both in the Adult Students forum, and in more general fora, about this topic. I think if you did a search, you'd find some solutions and suggestions, maybe ...

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If you're worried about "headlights", I would try the flower- shaped stickies that Matti18 brought up, or you can use band-aids. MerdeGirl.com sells adhesive covers as well. There are also the bras with the clear plastic backs that may be of help. Most dancewear sites will have these.

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I wear nude "undergarment" leos under my regular leos. Yes, the straps show and sometimes the back if I'm wearing a low-back leo, but these are thin, provide more support than the traditional shelf bra alone, and look more streamlined than a sports bra (which is what I used to wear).

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I wear cotton/blend leotards and find they cover up everything nicely. The darker colors I prefer (black, navy, burgundy) also help.


With my one thin, lavender leotard, I use "h" style band-aids to smooth everything out. Or, I take a cue from the teenagers and wear a tank top over it.

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I hope nobody is offended if a guy responds. I see sports bras under leotards often enough, it looks perfectly appropriate and perfectly natural. It's dance class, not a fashion show. Trust me, adult (amateur/recreational) dancer men have similar issues (yes you can see the lard lapping over the dance belt waistline). We may not be as culturally conditioned to stress about it, but we do feel exposed by our relative rarity. Mostly, all any of us really pays attention to is our own dancing - that is, after all, why we are in class!

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DD's friend is a very curvy girl, and when she danced, she always wore a black sports bra under her leo no matter the style of the latter. I don't think that anyone thought one thing about it.

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Sewing bras into leotards is way more work than I can or want to manage! I'm not sure if your issue is that the fabric is too thin or if you feel that the leotard is too low. I would try several different brands to find leotards with a higher neckline if that is your issue, and you can try different kinds of fabric for 'more coverage'. You might want to try those high neck leotards with a zipper; maybe the Bal Togs mock turtleneck leotard (this is available at Discount Dance and I'm sure many other retailers-click leotards, then search by brand, then Bal Togs, and its on the first page). I'm sure this style of leotard is made by other brands as well, this is just the first one that I thought of. If I have a really low cut leotard, I might wear a sports bra under it, but usually I just wear the leotard without anything under it except tights. There are also sports bras with skinny, camisole type straps, besides the 'traditional' sports bra; they are made by brands carried at Walmart & by some dance brands as well.

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The Capezio regular leotard doesn't have too low a back so I can sometimes wear a bra with that, but a regular bra not a sports bra (I always find those chunky hideous straps more uncomfortable than they're worth in sports bras and I simply cannot wear a racer back I hate things digging into my spine). I just bought a seamfree kayser bra in skintone and it's pretty well hidden. Otherwise Kookai make these cute little stretchy crop tops with really thin straps that are nice and comfy and good for an extra layer if you need.

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I can pretty much manage with leotards' shelf bras if they're made well and fit well. But I have one leotard with no built-in shelf bra, and the back is just slightly too low to wear with a regular bra. So, I sewed (vertical) loops into the back that I pull the back strap of a regular bra through, keeping it out of sight. It has worked very well.

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If you are handy at all with a needle and thread, one easy and cheap (free) way to give better coverage on a leotard. especially when the problem is an issue of transparency or smoothness, is to use the waistband area of an old pair of tights. Just cut the waistband off of the old tights a few (4-5) inches down from the elastic. Now turn it upside down and pull it on so that the elastic band is under your bust, and the cut edge under your arms. Now pull the offending leotard on overtop. Now trace the leotard neckline onto the tights and mark where the leotards side seams are. Now cut where you have marked, and stitch the section of waistband to the inside top edge and down to the elastic on the side seams. I have done this on many of my daughters leotards. Works like a charm.

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I am what you would call "very busty", but I don't wear anything under my leotard. All of my leotards fit me well enough so that I do not have to wear undergarments. I won't buy a leotard unless I feel comfortable enough to wear it without a bra. Please note that finding the perfect leotard for me can sometimes be kind of expensive. But I think it's well worth it. If you feel that you really need to wear a bra, believe me, no one will even notice. There are girls in my classes that wear dance bras or sports bras under their leotards, and we don't even think twice about it. Dance class is the one place where you are supposed to feel comfortable and free. The only thing that should be on anyone's mind is their dancing.

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  • 1 month later...

I gave up on the modesty part of not wearing a bra under my leotards when I was a teen. Of course it was the 70's so people didn't get too upset about being bra-less, but I was shy about being small so I wore a bra the rest of the time. The only time I was ever cold was on the way in anyway and I had something to cover up for then so "headlights" were not a problem either.


My issue was that I was ruining my bras at a ridiculous rate from the sweat and they were hard to replace as could barely find one I could fill up in the first place. Support was not the issue in or out of class for me, but one does need some privacy.


In college I found my first "dance" bra which was cut to go under almost any leotard except a camisole, but the straps were nude color so if I had to I could wear it. That was also not long after they started putting lycra in leotards and I suppose I wore mine tight, so that seemed like all anyone might need to me. I never experienced the problem of heavy breasts though.


Those plastic clear straps you see these days on dance bras do not scream comfort to me so I don't try them but I have found some pastel colored cotton blend sports bras that some might wear to go running and I don't mind those sticking out of my leotard at all. They were also inexpensive at a major discount store so I don't mind ruining them with sweat. They are only for class.


Stick on "petals" things make me worry about wardrobe malfunctions. I lost one of small silicone kind that stick on up to 25 times at a picnic once. I guess it was done sticking. I can't imagine where it might have turned up or who might have found it. :thumbsup:

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