What do ballerinas wear when they're not dancing?
January 9, 2010 8:48 PM   Subscribe

Is there such a thing as leotard style underwear? My googling is turning up nothing useful. If no such style exists, can I wear leotards as underwear? Or what is a great style that won't leave marks?

A few years ago I worked with a girl that mentioned she wears "leotard type underwear." We were discussing those uncomfortable marks that some pairs of underwear leave on your skin. Y'know, when the elastic cuts into your hips 'cuz your jeans are too snug (or whatever). I can't ask this girl, because we've lost touch, and googling only brought me a bunch of mothers asking if their precious angels can wear panties under their dance class leotards. There were also some links to "leotard back bras" which look just like regular bras to me.
SO... my question is, can you recommend me a source for leotard type underwear, or underwear that won't leave marks? Is this just basically a dance leotard, or do they have built in bras? Barring that, is it really just fine to wear actual dance leotards? I'd probably still have to wear a bra right? (40DD is not so comfy unsupported)
posted by purpletangerine to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (20 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I think the term you're looking for is bodysuit - that will help you find the underwear you're looking for. Here's one site to look at the different options.
posted by witchstone at 8:53 PM on January 9, 2010

There's spanx, pantyhose, stuff like that. They do leave marks where they begin/end as they have extra fabric/elastic there. They cover more than panties would. Lots of manufacturers would like you to believe they don't show lines, but hey, they do. Pick your poison, I guess!
posted by bebrave! at 8:57 PM on January 9, 2010

You probably want to search for "bodysuit" (and possibly also "catsuit", "bodystocking", and/or "unitard"). You'll probably find a fair amount of fetish wear, but I've known plenty of women who wore them for exactly the reasons you outline.
posted by asterix at 9:01 PM on January 9, 2010

I might be completely misunderstanding what you are asking for, but that you just want something that doesn't leave those dig-in marks, make me think seamless panties might do the trick. If instead you just want all your underthings - bra and panties - in one piece, then yes, I guess a leotard or bodysuit.

I've gotta tell you, that the idea of wearing a leotard for 10 hours a day instead of regular underclothes, just makes me cringe. I grew up spending a vast amount of my non-school time in ballet classes/performances until college, and just thinking about that leotard digging in after a few hours....ouch. Oh god, ouch.
posted by bunnycup at 9:02 PM on January 9, 2010

Response by poster: Well thanks, Witchstone! It's good to have a useful searchterm. The site you linked has a LOT of very pricey options, and I'm not so much looking for "shapers" like spanx, but this is a great place to start.
posted by purpletangerine at 9:02 PM on January 9, 2010

Y'know, when the elastic cuts into your hips 'cuz your jeans are too snug (or whatever).

? See, I don't know this at all. Maybe either your underwear or your jeans are too small? If your underwear and your trousers fit correctly, you don't get marks on your skin.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:03 PM on January 9, 2010 [4 favorites]

Ballet dancers wear cotton bikinis, thongs, or boy shorts, because wearing leotards and tights all day is Yeast Infection City. Actually, some of the ballet dancers I used to know went commando most of the time.
posted by Sidhedevil at 9:04 PM on January 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

Yeah I used to wear bodysuits all the time in the nineties when they were fashionable. I hate how my singlet comes untucked and this avoided that problem. The ones I had were cotton, no built in bra, no control whatever, no long legs, literally just like a cotton camisole singlet joined to matching cotton underpants (it was Elle Macpherson I think). A ballerina's leotard would actually be pretty close as long as you found fabric you like.

Another option is look for is a teddy. It's usually more in the lines of fancy lingerie, with lace and stuff and often a snap closed crotch, but otherwise the same principle.
posted by shelleycat at 9:07 PM on January 9, 2010

Response by poster: I guess I should have mentioned cotton would be preferable.
posted by purpletangerine at 9:08 PM on January 9, 2010

Best answer: You might want to look for microfiber "boyshort" panties. They don't cut into the buttock or leave marks on the body and there are no panty lines. Boyshorts are invisible under clothes and unlike a brief, you don't have to worry about your underwear peeking out on top of your jeans. Unlike a bikini they cover the abdomen but not up to the belly button. They are very flattering.

Avoid bulky stitching when shopping for underwear. If there are bulky seams -- like most cotton underwear -- they will leave marks and panty lines. Notice the seams on these panties. Avoid these. They will leave the indentations on the body and pantylines under clothing. The seams should be smooth, flat, and nearly undetectable.

These are the styles I wear. One , two, three, four. I especially love modal. If you can find it, buy it. It is so comfortable.
posted by Fairchild at 9:20 PM on January 9, 2010 [3 favorites]

Dancer here. Not sure if you want to wear a leotard. When I used to wear them (haven't danced in one in years) it was always a hassle when I used the bathroom to take the whole thing down. If you're looking for just the bottoms ie. dance briefs, here is a link to the Danskin website. I didn't check prices but the brief bottoms on this page are usually what dancers wear when wearing a costume that exposes their bottoms. You can also try Capezios. Otherwise, look for a local dancewear store in your area. I remember buying some really comfy underwear that I ended up using specifically when I dance at American Apparel.
posted by Hydrofiend at 9:21 PM on January 9, 2010

I like lace boyshorts - comfy, sexy and don't leave pantylines
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:33 PM on January 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

yikes! I just noticed that the ones I just linked to are $35! mental! - these are better
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:36 PM on January 9, 2010

Seconding fairchild: the trick is to find regular underwear that's either seamless or has cotton-covered elastic seams that aren't too bulky. If the issue is that the seams are cutting into a bit of upper thigh/lower tummy pudge, you can both (a) go up a size and (b) look for lower-rise styles that will hit your torso at a less uncomfortable spot. Alternatively, just wear thongs; it's easy to adjust the side strings so that they don't cut into your hips.

As for cotton boyshorts, these are the best I've come across.
posted by thisjax at 10:44 PM on January 9, 2010

Seconding lace boy shorts.

Weird that this is the second thread in 24 hours where I'm recommending these, but I'm a big fan of the following underwear: Sweet Nothings brand no stitch bra (which I think has been discontinued--please if anyone knows of a similar bra, let me know!), which has no stitching along the back and reduces itchiness, and Hanes authentic core boxer briefs, which look just like men's boxer briefs, and are amazing--insanely comfortable, no lines, and no wedgies, ever.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 10:45 PM on January 9, 2010

I don't think your friend was suggesting you should wear a leotard -- I think she may have been looking for a word to describe the stretchy material used for "seamless" undergarments, which really are very comfortable. They come in every popular cut, including bikini, brief, boyshort, etc. I've seen items of this nature everywhere from Target to TJ Maxx to Macy's.
posted by biggity at 11:53 PM on January 9, 2010

For the cold of winter, also look into silk long johns.
posted by megatherium at 4:35 AM on January 10, 2010

Ugh I hate when underwear digs in! Ouch!

I don't have any bodysuit suggestions, but you might want to go out and just look at a lot of different types of underwear. I find that the cheapy store-brand ones at department stores tend to have flat, soft elastic. You can also find ones that have a wide band of lace, which doesn't dig. I have a really cute set of thongs from Old Navy like this.

Also, I buy them often and toss old ones, because older elastic tends to get hard and dig. Sometimes I suck it up and go up a size, because bigger=looser!
posted by radioamy at 9:54 AM on January 10, 2010

If you're looking for the top half, check out Unbelievabra. I don't have one (yet), but I have friends (several who are on the large size) who rave. They say it's not too tight, and that it doesn't roll up from the bottom.
posted by kch at 9:59 AM on January 10, 2010

Response by poster: thanks everyone, I'll definitely try some of these suggestions.
posted by purpletangerine at 7:38 PM on January 10, 2010

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