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Spin-off on Adult Dancewear Topic


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I've just recently started taking an adult beginner ballet class (following encouragement by my daughter who dances). I'm trying to overcome my own insecurities and accept the body that I have to work with and get on with it. I've just been wearing workout gear -- capri yoga pants and t-shirts. But I'm feeling bold enough, I think, to give some proper dancewear a try.


Do you have any suggestions for what looks good on a grown-up dancer? I tried on some black footless tights, but they were shiny and did not look good. I tried on some pink Capezio tights and could barely get them up. I'm worried about ordering online if sizing is going to be a problem. Is there a specific cut of leotard or brand of tights that will fit a mom figure? Is there any way to minimize the bits I'm less fond of? Any secrets?



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Firstly, ballet sizes are crazy. I am short, and wear a below average size in street clothing, but wear a large in leotards and tights. Dancers tend not to have hips, so I size up a lot when buying dancewear because I have curves. For tights, I get brands which have L/XL, rather than brands which are one size fits all.


To see a lot of styles, try the Discount Dance Supply website. You can search leotards by style, and read the comments that other people have left. This is very helpful! Even if you don't buy from them, you can see lots of styles and reviews. Look for tank styles rather than strappy camisoles, and read reviews to see how low cut they are. Go for matte fabrics (cotton) rather than shiny nylon.


Personally, I don't like wearing shorts to cover my butt, because the legline of the shorts cuts across my widest point (thighs). I find a skirt more flattering if I want that extra coverage.

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Unitards are great..the little shortie ones with a short skirt over top ( this one is amazing..I wear it all the time... http://www.discountdance.com/dancewear/style_MAT89504.html?pid=8350&Shop=Style&SID=297300195 )...very flattering, in my opinion. Also, long legwarmers of the stirrup variety (worn over your slippers) look good in black with black leggings. They create a longer leg. A short skirt over the little unitard is cute and in a pretty color is very flattering.

I sometimes just buy nylon type leggings at Express....they are nice and thick and opaque and can take a washing!


So true about sizing, as Wembly said...so don't feel discouraged. I just bought an extra small ina party dress for the holidays but wear a large in a unitard!!!

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What looks good on an a dancer does depend on body type too. For instance, when it comes to leotards, I find that people with short necks look better in a v-cut neckline or a deep scoop neckline versus a boatneck or halter. Dancers with short legs look good with higher cut leg line leotards (I'm actually searching for some myself - I fall in this category). There are varying skirt cuts and lengths that you can experiment with as well, and luckily, if you find a leotard that you like for yourself very well, then luckily skirts are pretty universal in sizing since they tend to be wraps or elastic waists. If you're pretty new to purchasing dance clothes and you're unsure what combinations you like yet, I'd recommend pairing things with a nice leotard like knit pants or shorts by KD Dance or Harmonie, various skirts, stretch shorts and capris by Mirella or Bloch, etc. I wouldn't go for a dance-dress immediately without trying on a few in person first. The dance dress can be a beast to order online! Where the skirt sits on your hips is hard to estimate from a picture, there are variables like length, girth, general stretchiness around the waist area where the skirt is sewn... phew. Quite a hassle sometimes.

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For dance tights, go with the larger sizes...they tend to run small. I've learned to completely disregard any numbers or letters as far as sizes go and just get what fits. I'm thin but tall and I ALWAYS opt for the XL in tights AND leotards...I basically look at a brand and get whatever the largest size is that they make!


For leotards, the girth measurement (from one shoulder down the torso, between the legs and back up to the same shoulder) is the one that *really* matters for fit and the sizes again run small. I like tights, tank top, short shorts or tights, leotard, and ballet skirt because I feel both balletic and comfortable in them. My teacher can see my joints (knees, hips, etc) but my rear end is covered up! I agree with the advice to try on a bunch of dancewear to get a feel what looks and feels good on you as well as to get an idea of the sizing. Enjoy the experimentation...it's fun! :)

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A good secret I use is wearing body tights instead of the regular tights. This prevents the buldging from regular tights at the waist (aka muffin top) and can hide some of the not so "toned" parts of your body from jiggling around.


For leotards - most adults look good in a tank, modest cut cami, or longer sleeved type. But really it depends on your body type to decide what looks best. Go to a dance wear store and try lots of styles on!

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BlleFille, Just when I thought I had enough dancewear... In LOVE with that shorty unitard. How does it fit? I'm 5'6", slim but not skinny, with a long-ish torso. Usually wear a medium in leotards but have normally found unitards a bit short in the torso for me.


I'm a modern/contemporary dancer but do quite a bit of ballet and this type of unitard is the best of both worlds. It's very pretty.

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Just a note on leotards.

I like the look of long or three-quarter sleeved leotards, but I have found that especially the newer materials tend to smell kind of bad fairly soon. So... I now only wear spaghetti-strapped ones, but wear "arm-tights" (thin tights with feet cut off and crotch removed) underneath the leotard, so that my arms are covered. (firstly, it is COLD where I am, and secondly, though I am fit, my upper arms _are_ just those of an older woman... :P )

As a teacher I appreciate it if my students do try to wear things which are tight-fitting enough so that I can see what is necessary to see in order to correct and help them.

If the females wear skirts, then I prefer them to be nearly see-through, as the area around the front of the hips is important to see. :)



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Lampwick, this is the BEST unitard!!!! I am 5' 6" also and the large fits well. My torso is not long but I have a slim hourglass figure, which gives me more of a girth...so I would go for the large if you have a long torso!

Let me know how you like it:)

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If you want to ease into wearing more traditional dancewear you could start by adding a leo with tights under your capris. Then as you become more comfortable exchange the pants for a georgette skirt. I have found that Dancewear Solutions sells a brand called Balera that runs almost a full size larger than most other leotards. They have a pretty nice selection of them too. As you get used to the tights you will find they do kind of pull it all together in the abdominal area which can be a good thing. It is just a matter of getting used to seeing yourself a bit more exposed than you may be used to. Good luck!

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  • 2 months later...

Cutting the waistband off the tights changed my life! Haha, seriously though it is great. It always bothered me that the waistband cut into my "curves" because you could see it but thanks so much for the suggestion mandabailey!

Edited by Tinybucket
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Tinybucket... or anyone else who has cut the waistband out....


Are there issues with the tights staying up once you cut out the waistband?


Thinking about trying it myself. :)

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A couple of the women in my ballet class have switched from capri pants and loose fitting tops to leotards and tights. They say they now feel much more comfortable with their bodies, and that they like to look and feel the part of a ballerina. For guys it's not much of a big deal. Thankfully men's traditional ballet attire is just a pair of black tights and a tee shirt so I don't feel like I'm too exposed. I doubt I could ever wear a unitard or a leotard. We adults do have serious issues with our bodies because lets face it, we're not kids anymore. Our bodies have matured, we're not as active as we once were (in most cases) and our metabolism has slowed down so we cannot burn off the calories like we used to. You should wear whatever you are most comfortable in. Don't wear tights/leotards that are too snug, but don't cover up your legs with loose fitting pants/leggings either.

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  • 2 weeks later...

The class you attend will give you clues as to that is accepted or standard to wear. I attend an adult class and the clothing adopted varies according to experience, budget and length of time in dance training. I hope that you are accepted in whatever you choose to wear and be accepted as you are. Dance and enjoy it :)

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