Sunday, January 25, 2015

Guide to wearing a bra with your leotard

It's a common myth that all dancers are completely flat chested.  This is just not true.  For many of us,  just the stretchy fabric of a leotard is not enough support to make it through class without unwanted bounce.  While I am very petite, I still like to feel very secure and covered when I am dancing.  I will be explaining the best methods to use when choosing a bra to wear under your leotard.

Note: If you are young and have just started wearing a bra, it may seem fun to wear your bra to dance class.  If you don't really need the bra for support during class, it's best not to wear it (especially if it shows under your leotard).  Your teachers may see it as breaking dress code.  If you really do need a bra and no one else in your class seems to be wearing one, ask your teacher if it's ok to wear a bra under your leo.  She may have suggestions for the style you should use.

1.  Consider your leotard.  If you have a choice in what leotard you can wear, pick one with either a racer back, a high back/mandarin collar, or a relatively high scoop back.  If you can, wear a leotard with either thick tank straps or sleeves.  These attributes will help hide your bra under the leotard.  Avoid super strappy backs with big cutouts

Here are a few styles that work well:

Capezio basic short sleeve
Yumiko Laura
Yumiko Jessica

2.  Choose a style of bra that corresponds with the leotard.  If you have a racerback leo, choose a racerback bra (usually with thin straps so they won't show).  If you have a high back leo, any style of bra will work (straight across back with crossed straps or racerback styles can be hidden well--the straps stay in place and don't "peek" out).  If you have a scoop back leo, choose a bra with a straight across back and straps that are not crossed.

3.  Consider your needs in a bra.  Do you need compression?  Bounce control?  Concealment of headlights?  Choose a bra that meets your needs in a style that is compatible with your leotard.  Some dancewear companies like MotionWear, Eurotard, and Capezio sell sports bras.  Sports wear companies like Lululemon, Moving Comfort, and Nike usually have lots of choices as well.  Target's sportswear department usually has some good options too.

If you can, choose an option that is a sports bra that you can pull over your head.  If you choose a day-wear bra with a clasp in the back, it will make a bump under your leotard.  This may hurt if you do floorwork.

Take your leotard with you when bra shopping to make sure you have a good match.  Once you build up a collection of dance bras, take a few of them with you when you go leotard shopping.

4.  When choosing a color for your bra, try to pick either skin tone, black, or the color of your leotard.   Ideally, your leotard will completely cover the bra.  Sometimes this is not possible and a little bit of bra fabric will remain visible.  In this case, try to match the bra color with either your skin or your leotard.  If you wear a bra in a color that contrasts your leotard, it can look sloppy (especially if your school has a strict dress code).

If it's difficult to find a bra in the exact color of your leo (like hunter green, navy blue, or lilac), choose either a skin color or black.  A tiny bit of black bra showing is more refined and less "underwear" looking than white or light pink.

If your leotard is a light color like white or baby pink, always choose a skin colored bra so it doesn't show through the light fabric.

If you need a bra to go under your leotard for a performance, you can try a skin colored bra, or one with clear straps (if your director will allow this--sometimes clear straps can catch stage lights).  If it's super-important that the bra match your leo, get a white bra and use fabric dye to make it the right color.

5.  Always store your dance bras with your leotards and dancewear.  If a specific bra goes with a specific leo, fold or hang them together so you can always find them.  You don't want to be late for class because you can't find your bra.

  Do you have a favorite style of bra to wear with your leotard?  Leave a comment!


20 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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  2. It can be so difficult wearing a bra with a leotard sometimes. It just gets in the way and you can always see the straps. All of my leotards are black so I should buy some black bras! I didn't think about that so thank you. That way the straps might just look like part of the leotard!

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  3. I have this problem with my sports bras. They tend to cut into my neck in the shoulder area because my shoulders are so square; is there a fix for this when trying to hide my bra under my leotard?

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    1. Racerback style sports bras often cut into the neck and shoulders, and they show through any style of leotard that isn't also racerback. Camisole-style sports bras like this one from capezio (http://www.capezio.com/women/dancewear/bra-tops/camisole-bra-top) have camisole straps and a straight-across back, which keeps the straps away from your neck and makes it easier to hide under a leo.

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  4. I've been buying foam bra cups and stitching them between the leotard's liner/shelf bra, as many of my legs have bra-revealing backs. I was coming here hoping to find a solution that didn't require me to sew :)~

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  5. So, I really like having the pretty leotards with a back, and I have a 30C bra size, and the shelf bras in the leotards often end on top of my nipples, but I'm an extra small or a small. Any ideas of where I might be able to find a leotard? I have a plain old boring black one, which I can wear a bra with, and a pretty purple one that as of right now, I can wear a strapless bra with. So, any ideas? I also did recently get some new bras, so I would need to try them with the purple, but since I go to dance from school, I need to wear the strapless bra to school and that kinda sucks. So, ideas of a pretty leotard that I might be able to find? Or a bra that works with lower backs?

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    1. I feel your pain! I've met a lot of dancers with the same issues. Unfortunately the best solutions tend to be a bit pricy. Look for bras from brands like moving comfort and title nine, which are women's wear sports fashion brands with emphasis on function and comfort. They make sports bras that have straight backs instead of strappy or racerbacks. Yumiko makes the best selection of pretty leotards that work with bras. The Wendy, Jessica, and Marieke are especially good. A lot of other leotards with wide straps are not as cute, but sometimes SoDanca has some good fashion releases. Check out websites and catalogues at the beginning of each season so you can see the newest leo releases and check if you think anything will work for you.

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    2. The brands you mentioned: How much is a leotard generally? I'm only 13, so I don't want to spend a lot of money.

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    3. Yumiko leos run in the $60 to $100 range, and So Danca tends to run in the $30 to $50 range. Since the holidays are coming up, nice leos could be things to ask for as gifts.

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  6. OK, thank you for the advice!

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  7. This is very common issue with leotards. Thanks for your advice.

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  8. Thanks for the discussion, You may also like Dance leotards for girls in Canada

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  9. Little late but looking to hear what leotard brand has the most supportive shelf bra?
    I am not allowed to wear a bra with my leotards in ballet but luckily I don't have much-32A, still I like sturdy support, for modern dance I usually wear light padded sport bras underneath. Hope someone can recommend something.

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    1. I know that Capezio sells a leotard that has an actual bra in it, and I think a small might work. That's just what I've seen online, and I've never worn it, but that might be helpful. I also have a racerback leo from DDS that doesn't have any padding, but is relatively supportive.

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    2. Capezio sell a bratek leotard and also a seamless bratek bra, I am 4'11 with 30DD bust and this feels secure and comfortable x

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