Updated: Jun 27, 2021
If girls wear leotards to dance classes, what do boys wear? Do they wear leotards too?
Yes, boys do wear leotards but they wear them under shorts, leggings or tights, and is more common for girls to wear their leotards on top of their tights or with a chiffon skirt so you can easily tell they are wearing one.
Just as there are differences between boys’ jeans and girls’ jeans, there are differences in their leotards. We will discuss how they are made differently including a whole heap of information on what a dance belt is, but first…..
What is a leotard and where did they come from?
The History Of Leotard
Leotards, believe it or not were first made by a man, for men and only worn by men for almost a century! Jule’s Leotard is credited by naming rights as the inventor of the leotard which first appeared more like an all-over bodysuit rather than what we would now call a leotard. He created the tightly knitted unitard as a way to show off his muscles during his acrobatic circus performances. He needed maximum freedom of movement without showing too much bare skin which was risque at the time in history – the 18th century. The real leotard look came in the form of the attire he wore over this bodysuit, a black V neck all in one suit that covered his torso with bike short like leg holes. Over time the design changed and was adapted until we have what we know as the leotard today.
What is a Leotard?
A leotard is a tight piece of clothing generally made from spandex or Lycra that covers the torso of a person. It has leg holes that can be configured in different ways such as hi-cut, low cut or boy cut to name a few with no leg coverings. A leotard also has armholes and they can remain sleeveless or have a sleeve of any length. A leotard might also have a sweetheart neckline and camisole straps, or have any other type of neckline imaginable. Dancers wear leotards as they are nonrestrictive and allow the dancer maximum freedom of movement.
Why Do Male Dancers Wear Leotards?
Male dancers wear leotards for the same reasons females do. Because they allow the best freedom of movement when dancing, whilst allowing the dancer to create beautiful lines at the same time as being covered.
Male dancers also wear leotards over the other option of wearing a tank or t-shirt with tights so the top doesn’t constantly need to be tucked in, as it pulls and stretches coming out from where they are tucked it into their tights as they move. Click here to see some of the boys leotards we recommend from danzastella.com
How are Male Leotards different from Female Leotards?
The main difference between a general all purpose female and male leotard is how they are cut before they are sewn together. The pattern used to make boys leotards is slightly different, being designed to fit the shape of a male body and to look more masculine.
The legs holes are lower cut and the neckline will generally be in a v or u shape. There is a lot less variety and are generally white or black and rarely navy or gray. Male leotard’s are generally tank top in style or have sleeves cut at the best length to show off the bicep muscles.
Biketards are also common for male dancers to wear – they are a leotard where the leg holes continue downwards and are cut around the upper thigh.
This all being said sometimes the differences between a general all-purpose male and female leotards is so minor that a leotard can be unisex, but may be marketed either to males or females especially when talking about children’s leotards as children’s bodies have not yet reached puberty and therefore the torso is shaped similarly.
The biggest difference is….
The biggest difference however between female and male adult or teen dance leotards is that a leotard worn by a male is usually a g-string or thong style and has an inbuilt dance belt!
Why are male leotards made with thong bottoms?
Men and boys wear their leotards under their tights, not over them. When a full seat leotard is worn under tights you can see where the elastic squeezes against the flesh of the buttocks – women call this VPL, visible panty line. A thong leotard, however, eliminates this problem giving the male dancer more aesthetically pleasing lines as the leg is given the look of having extra length and extension as it is not chopped at the bum with a leotard line. Many male dancers once they get over any inhibitions they initially have over wearing the thong-style leotard quickly get over them due to this one benefit!
It is not kosher to just wear a thong leotard with no tights or pants over the top to dance class. In fact, you wouldn’t normally wear one with loose shorts either because nobody wants to be seeing up the leg hole when you kick your leg and accidentally catching a glimpse of your bum crack. This is when whole seat leotards come in handy!