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How to wear a leotard with leggings

Updated February 21, 2017

Professional dancers have worn leotards and leggings or tights in the dance studio for decades, adding garments such as wraparound skirts, leg warmers, wool warm-up trousers and shorts, dance sweaters, plastic shorts and other items. Leotards and leggings, however, experienced widespread popularity by non-dancers as well in the eighties, when movies like "Flashdance" and "Dirty Dancing" popularised such fashions. Recently, celebrities like Madonna and Beyonce have performed in leotards and leggings, thus sparking curiosity as to whether the leotard might return as a fad or a phase. Here's how to wear these items, just in case.

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  1. Put on seamless underwear, preferably a thong. Because leotards are so skintight, they will effortlessly show the seams and lines of virtually any underwear you choose. You can buy special brands sold in dancewear shops that come without seams and are virtually invisible underneath a leotard. Or you can choose not to wear underwear, which is what many professional dancers do.

  2. Decide if you want a traditional or contemporary look. Wearing your leggings under your leotard is more traditional, whereas putting your leggings on over your leotard is more contemporary and showcases the leotard less.

  3. Take off your bra. Most leotards made for professional dancers comes with a special lining or underwire so you shouldn't need to wear a bra.

  4. Put on the leotard or the leggings on first, depending upon which look you prefer. Follow with the leggings or leotard, respectively.

  5. Add accessories however you like. If using this look for dance or exercise, consider wearing leg-warmers. If wearing this outfit outside of the dance studio, add a belt or a long necklace.

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Things You'll Need

  • Seamless underwear
  • Leotard
  • Leggings
  • Accessories

About the Author

Lane Cummings is originally from New York City. She attended the High School of Performing Arts in dance before receiving her Bachelor of Arts in literature and her Master of Arts in Russian literature at the University of Chicago. She has lived in St. Petersburg, Russia, where she lectured and studied Russian. She began writing professionally in 2004 for the "St. Petersburg Times."

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