What to Wear Under Leotards

What to wear under your leotard depends on the purpose of the garment.

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The snug fit and stretchy fabric of a leotard can be freeing and sexy. Dancers and gymnasts live in leotards because the garment allows for maximum movement while emphasizing a body's form. If you've got the body for it, go for it, right? The ever-present, burning question remains: what do you actually wear underneath your leo? It all depends on what you're planning to do in your leotard.


Gymnastics leotards are cut high in the legs, making regular panties extremely visible. If tumbling is your thing, go nude underneath. Don't worry about coverage; gymnastics leotards are cut more tightly against the thighs than a dance garment and won't cause you to flash anyone. You're only baring as much as you show when you're wearing a swimsuit. A seamless sports bra can help keep you from jiggling too much during your workout.


Traditionally, dancers who wear leotards go bare underneath save for a pair of tights due to the high-legged cut, and can even be penalized in a competition if panties show through the leotard. Each studio has its own rules about such things; check before you go shopping for a ballet class. If you just aren't comfortable with all that freedom, look into a high-tech type of underwear called NVPL -- short for non-visible panty lines. NVPL underwear is laser thin and in most cases, can't be detected under a leotard. You can also wear a low-backed sports bra or a barely-there camisole leotard, also called a body wrapper, under your dance leotard to lend some extra support.

Casual Wear

Leotards aren't just for sports and dance; the sleek lines of a leotard can show off your sexy shoulders and arms beautifully when you're out on the town. Thong underwear or NVPL panties remove the risk of the dreaded visible panty lines, but if you're wearing a skirt or jeans with the leotard, you don't need to worry about your bottom half quite as much as during ballet class. Keep your lines looking as smooth as possible with a seamless low-back bra or a self-adhesive silicone style.

Hygiene and Grooming

Proper hygiene is an important factor to remember when wearing leotards. Wash your leotard in warm water and a delicate laundry detergent after every use to kill bacteria that forms from sweat and other bodily secretions. Grooming your bikini line is another job you'll need to perform before donning the Lycra. Waxing, shaving or depilating helps keep your body leotard-ready.

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