When you're a dancer, you spend most of your time in leotards and tights. You're probably in dance clothes more often then regular clothes and so, it makes sense to want to elevate your leo wardrobe just as you would your closet staples.... You are living your life in this stuff after all!
While training at my ballet school, we all had to wear uniform leotards which designated what level we were in. As you moved up in levels, you changed leotard colors, and it was a nice added incentive. But even still, our uniform leotards were far from stylish - basic as basic could be, and with very thin fabrics and cuts. By the time I moved up in levels, my uniform leos were practically falling apart from wear, tear and daily classes.
I basically thought that fashion wasn't much of an option when it came to ballet class. But after becoming a professional ballet dancer, I discovered there are lots of amazing brands out there creating gorgeous and unique leotards that make getting dressed for class actually a stylish affair! Some of my most loved leos are ones that a friend of mine made when she began her own line of dancewear called LolaStretch. The brand has since closed, but there are tons of other indie leo makers out there these days creating gorgeous designs that are functional AND fashion forward.
Case in 'pointe' - Barreto Dancewear.
I stumbled across this Etsy shop one night when just browsing around, and instantly fell in love with the fun colors, playful use of prints and mesh accents used. Created by current Ballet Idaho dancer Elizabeth Barreto, Barreto Dancewear offers unusual styles and customizable colors, and cuts.
What's especially cool about dancewear designed by a dancer is that it tends to have all the functionality features every dancer craves, making these stylish leotards not only beautiful, but comfortable and built to last. What's more, Barreto has made a conscious effort to keep the cost of her lovely leos low, ensuring that dancers can actually afford them on their often tiny salaries. How cool is that?
I haven't ordered anything from Barreto dancewear yet, but here are a few leos that I'm currently crushing on... It's enough to get me back into ballet class!