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Beverlyheels StyleClothing: Leotards

Clothing: Leotards

Posted on Sun, Apr 22nd, 2018

A new staple - the leotard!

Ever seen Jane Fonda in those barely-there leotards and wonder where that workout costume came from? It is the leotard that catapulted her from actress to a worldwide sex symbol and is used as an example of fitness till now. A leotard is a skin-tight one-piece garment that covers the torso and leaves the legs exposed. Worn by acrobats, dancers, athletes and circus performers among others, they are often teamed up with ballet skirts on top and tights and, sometimes, bike shorts as underwear.

This garment was first made famous by French acrobat performer Jules Leotard in 1886. Typically, the leotard enters through the neck as opposed to bodysuits that generally snaps at the crotch allowing the garment to be pulled over the neck. Scoop necked leotards have wide neck openings and are held in place by the elasticity of the garment. Other variants can be the crew necked or polo necked that can be closed at the back of the neck with zips or snaps.

In the 1920s, the leotards started to be worn as one-piece swimsuits as well. Professionally worn by the showgirls of Broadway, they typically coordinated the garment with tights. By 1950, traditional leotards were worn by stage performers and its variants started being used as workout garment. Its more colorful and visually appealing design variants remained an in thing between the 50s and 70s in the ballets and during exercise. It was in the 80s that the leotards were extensively used as clothing for aerobics and eventually started being made by Lycra. Made popular in Hollywood through movies like “Flashdance”, they were quite the rage during that time as casual garments.

With the US national gymnastics team sporting the leotards as their uniform, it had a big role to play as gymnastics costume. Traditionally, competition leotards are long sleeves. However, as time progressed sleeves became half-length or sleeveless. Men too wear leotards for competition. They wear two layers of clothing. The first a singlet which is a sleeveless leotard and a pair of very short shorts over it. For other events they wear a pair of long pants, attached to the bottom of the feet with stirrups.

Today, a perfectly fitting leotard is a blessing to be worn with jeans or trousers. Be it cotton, pastel rib knit, or stretch type fabric, the leotard can give a slimming and extremely practical dressing style to be worn with boots, slippers or even loafers. Find your leotard in

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