If you have a dancer or gymnast in the family and modesty is important to you, you may be wondering if it's possible to find modest leotards. Leotards need to be fitted to allow for a full range of movement, but in spite of that fact, there are also many features that can make them look a bit more modest. While shopping, you may want to look for the following designs.
1. Covered Back Areas
Many contemporary styles of leotards feature very open or low-cut backs, and others feature straps along the backs of the leotards. To create a sense of modesty, look for a leotard that has a fully covered back. Ideally, the back should go all the way up to the neckline.
2. Ample Coverage in Other Areas
Also, when it comes to coverage, look for necklines that are more like t-shirts than scoop necks. If you can't find a neckline that you like, have your child layer a fitted t-shirt or tank top under the leotard. When worn backwards, boys' undershirts go right up to the neck and are relatively fitted so they can go under a leotard.
Similarly, look for leg openings that are below rather than above the hip bone. That creates modesty without curtailing movement.
While traditional leotards are often sleeveless, many more-modest styles feature sleeves. You can opt for little cap sleeves, three-quarter sleeves or full sleeves. They can be the same color and pattern as the rest of the leotard or something that contrasts. If you are crafty, you can also try to sew cap sleeves onto a sleeveless leotard.
Tights can easily be paired with leotards, and in fact, for rehearsals, they are a standard among the dancers in the New York City Ballet. Look for tights that can easily fit under the leotard. To create an even more modest look, you may want to opt for dark colors rather than light colors or skin tones.
Note that it can get cold to practice in tights. You may also want to get your child some leg warmers. You can get leg warmers that just cover the calves, as well as styles that go up the whole leg. That can also add extra coverage and reveals less of the body's shape.
If it works with your child's studio and their dance routine, you may even want to consider lightweight sweatpants. They can be slipped over the leotard and offer much more modesty than just tights on their own. This tends to work for dancing, but it does not work for gymnastics. Loose or hanging clothing in that environment could get caught on the equipment.
Skirts and tutus are also ideal to slip over a leotard. For parents or dancers who are leery about having the shape of their bottoms exposed, skirts can be ideal for this purpose.
You don't have to buy standalone skirts; you can find leotards that have skirts built into them. These come in a range of styles but are similar to bathing suits with attached skirts. Generally, relatively short skirts that just cover the bottom but don't extend to the legs are the easiest for movement.
In some cases, your child may be required to wear certain types of leotards by the dance or gymnastics studio. If you don't like the styles chosen, talk with the studio's reps about making modifications, or consider looking for a studio that specializes in relatively modest attire. There are a lot of options on the market, and a leotard expert can also point you in the right direction.