All the fun in one.
As a former semi-professional gymnast, leotards were an integral part of my youth. It was a relationship that was strained at times (think ugly wedges and bra straps), but for the most part, I loved and treasured my leotards like no other piece of clothing. Always on the hunt for a sparkling new leo – usually completely covered in rhinestones and bright, contrasting colors – my motto was “the crazier the better”.
So it made my little 10-year-old gym rat heart sing when I noticed leotards and one-pieces are becoming a bit of a trend. Although I don’t own any of my old leotards anymore (thanks, puberty), I love reclaiming my old love for leos by wearing one-pieces with low-rise pants.
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Lately I’ve worn them pulled up so the sides of my stomach and hips are exposed – sort of my take on the Year 2000 Whale Tales Trend. To prove to you that leotards are back in fashion (or maybe they never left) and that it’s not just another one of my nostalgic musings, I rounded up some of my friends at the fashion favorites to show you just how fashionable the trend is.
Jai Kaldor, model, designer and model manager
I’ve lived in a leotard since I was a teenager dancing five days a week. It’s the top ratio tighter than the bottom, form-fitting flattery and extreme comfort. Being 6ft tall, a loose bottom and fitted top works best on my body. There’s also the convenience of not having to constantly tuck your top in. Sexy and elegant at the same time.
I wear a vintage silk lace leotard with leather pants or a suit, chunky black leather shoes or short cowboy boots, silver jewelry and a leather bag. Or if I’m feeling cute, I’ll pair a leotard with a sheer flowy maxi skirt, vintage knee-high boots and a mini crossbody bag. Or I’m wearing a leotard and nothing else at all, drinking coffee at home. It’s the most comfortable!
Meg Wilcher, founder of After Studio
I love bodysuits. To me, they feel supportive and flattering and require no effort. Doesn’t everyone need a little more of this combination in their life? This super flattering Underwired Kelly one-piece by Palm Swim has one serious advantage that it’s technically a swimsuit and I’m a literal mermaid. It also eliminates the worries of VPL (visible panty line) and navigating the odd crotch fastening situation.
It is made from recycled carvico econyl fabric, which gives it a great impact on the environment. It is made in Denpasar, Bali by Palm Swim’s own factory, which I have personally visited several times. I know who did it and that the workers are very well looked after. The one-piece is quite refined in its design, so I like to pair it with a reinvented version of an Aussie classic – blue jeans.
these Jean After Studio are made from 100% repurposed denim scraps, so while the fit is the same, each pair is unique in its coloring and patch placement. This pair is refined enough to wear to work and casual enough for the weekend while maintaining a level of effortless fun fashion that outlasts the trends of the times.
Ruchi Page, model, columnist and online creator
The leotard or bodysuit has quickly become my go-to fashion piece for almost any occasion. Leotards come in many styles and materials, but they all have in common the ability to slip perfectly into shorts, pants, jeans or skirts.
Effortlessly chic looks that are elevated, simple and comfortable. There’s no need to tuck in or have gear sitting oddly behind the button of your favorite bottoms. A stylish leotard is that trusted friend of fashion. I style a leotard with a pair of shorts and an oversized coat or jacket that falls over the shoulders.
Bella Nolan, co-founder and brand director at Bowman Project
I’ve made a conscious effort to add more color to my wardrobe, as I’m finally starting to agree with my mom that black doesn’t actually do anything for my skin tone. I recently found this dusty blue piece at a Dion Lee warehouse sale and thought the tone was gorgeous. I have a very small clothing budget but don’t want to compromise on quality and workmanship, so I try to find sneaky designer bargains and buy used where I can.
I paired it with three pieces that I wear constantly: my favorite vintage wide leg pants, Poppy Lissiman JimBob sunglasses and heavily worn cowboy boots. All topped with a silk scarf to hide the hair from the bed. It was fun, that was the point!
Sandy Mcintyre, actor, producer and writer
Wearing a leotard or bodysuit can be like your best friend; you can take them anywhere, on any occasion and you will have a 100% good time. I love this trend because it lets me live out my early 2000s fantasy of feeling like I’m in a beautiful dance movie about to win both the ballet scholarship and the lead role.
When I saw this leotard, it immediately reminded me of bathers from the 30s. So when styling, I wanted to keep it classic with a modern twist. I wore the leo inside out and pulled one of the straps up my body to create an asymmetrical look while pairing it with cream high waisted shorts.
Onella Muralidhara, model and designer
One-pieces are so versatile and come in so many styles and colors, but my favorite is still my black plunging one-piece swimsuit. I can think of many ways to style it depending on the event, but my favorite is classic and simple.
Worn with light wash denim, a white blazer and black heels, it’s my take on casual chic [and] perfect for my design presentations. It encompasses professionalism and personality all in one. Comfy, casual, chic and fun – exactly what I like an outfit to be.
Hattie Nixon, online beauty and fashion designer
One-pieces are something I don’t wear often, but when I do I always feel like my outfit is secure and they can really elevate an outfit whether worn under or over. something, or alone. I found this Levi’s leotard at my local Vinnies and loved the chunky straps.
Here I styled it with my pineapple earrings, a green mesh collar blouse (returning to layering now that the weather has cooled), fruit pants and a pair of my favorite heels and a yellow pearl bag. I look my best when I wear color, and I love the true red of this leotard and how it pops on its own under the green top.
Kitch Catterall, founder of Bispha Studios and producer of digital content and social media
I bought this black leotard when I was in college. It was just a nice simple statement piece and I’m so glad I did because it’s grown with me over the years now and I’ve re-worn it too many times to count.
I love leotards because I like to wear them tucked into jeans and pants and things like that, and the design of the leotards means they stay tucked in and smooth rather than giving me that weird line of fabric through my pants, so [it] just makes my outfit more chic and put together. The only annoying thing is when you go to the bathroom!
Would you like to know more about the history of the leotard? Try this.