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Hello all,

I’m having an issue just now where I am trying to order leotards/dance underwear/general dancewear... it seems UK size 12 is ‘large’ and 14 is rarely available as ‘xl’. 
Are bigger/adult bodies really all that rare in dance classes and dance exams these days? Surely we’ve come so far in pushing for equality. So where is the inclusive dancewear?

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Hello DeveloppeD, we've had discussions about adult dance wear, including sizing, before but I'll be blowed if I can find them.  If anyone else can...

 

Anyway, I'm sure some of our many adult dancers will be able to chip in with advice and recommendations.  Sheila Beelam of Just Ballet may be a great source of information.

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I think maybe some of the less "glamourous" brands do larger sizes for adults: when I was between a large 14 and a small 16, I found that Plume leotards (available from DanceDirect) were good, whereas Capezio was always small, even in the L size. But I suppose it's supply and demand. Most women buying leotards etc for ballet are not larger than the average female body (which is a size 14 across the UK I think?), I suppose.

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Capezio does run small  - I'm a size 10 and their large is very snug on me. Katz dancewear seems to be true to size (ie.e when they say it's a size 10, it actually fits) and are quite stretchy though I'm not overly keen on the fabric they use.

 

I am tall so finding dancewear long enough in the torso is a pain. Nylon leotards tend to have more stretch than cotton ones and black cotton leotards always seem to be a size smaller than other colours.

 

I currently make made-to-order wrap skirts for dancers of any size and would love to one day expand to offer leotards in a wide range of sizes.

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And men too! Wear can one get nice warm up pants with gathered ankle? Wear Moi Belem is one (and only?) example but, but.. black or navy? Need more attire for the menz!! 

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I constantly despair....& have basically been wearing the same Speedo swimsuit under a baggy t-short for years now (other than when I did my Inter exam at RAD HQ.... I was not a pretty sight in navy cotton camisole....compounded by then being in exam with 2 skinny Minnie’s aged 12 🤣🤣😱😱

Have tried on sizes large, XL even once an XXL in dancewear shop....always leave cubicle with severe depression generally! And I’m not THAT big in the real world....size 8 Asda jeans & size 12 Tesco tops.....just nothing is very firm so needs a bit (a lot) of ‘clever contouring’ but not st Herve Leger prices 🤣

There is no allowance in currentvdance wear ranges for baby tum, a DD+ (where DID they come from???) bust, or the sneaky side boob or backfat! Yep, tell it like it (oh so sadly) is!!

And trouble is if you don’t feel comfortable or feel you look remotely ok then it’s too easy to ‘just miss class today’ or ‘sod it, I look crap anyway, might as well have cake!’ ....& so situation gets worse!

I keep trying to promise myself a shoooing trip to Just Ballet as reckon Shiela may well be able to help from her massive range of stock & great knowledge....

I’d love to see an (affordable) range of Real World Woman sized Ballet Wear (not funky fitness as I’m sure that must be catered for bearing in mind all these new body positive tv ad campaigns!!) 

So go Balletgremlin!! This Balletogre wants a leotard!! 

Edited by Peanut68
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27 minutes ago, Peanut68 said:

There is no allowance in currentvdance wear ranges for baby tum, a DD+ (where DID they come from???) bust, or the sneaky side boob or backfat! Yep, tell it like it (oh so sadly) is!!

And trouble is if you don’t feel comfortable or feel you look remotely ok then it’s too easy to ‘just miss class today’ or ‘sod it, I look crap anyway, might as well have cake!’ ....& so situation gets worse!

I keep trying to promise myself a shoooing trip to Just Ballet as reckon Shiela may well be able to help from her massive range of stock & great knowledge....

 

@Sheila Beelam gave me some great advice about a year ago on just this issue.  I am a size 12-14 "in the body" but with a 32HH bust, and I ended up buying by mail-order a selection of the items she recommended I try.  I ended up keeping three So Danca leotards in a size L (leotard size 6) which fit nicely.  I think @LinMM, who is tall, broad-shouldered and a size XL, will have something to contribute on this subject as well.

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2 hours ago, Jan McNulty said:

Hello DeveloppeD, we've had discussions about adult dance wear, including sizing, before but I'll be blowed if I can find them.  If anyone else can...

 

Anyway, I'm sure some of our many adult dancers will be able to chip in with advice and recommendations.  Sheila Beelam of Just Ballet may be a great source of information.

 

Here’s one such thread; I’ll see if I can find any more:  

 

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Can't help with leotards as I don't have the right machine but happy to make warm up wear or skirts to fit in any size. Drop me a message if I can help.

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To be honest I’m not going to be that much help because I don’t really wear leotards any more especially now I’ve stopped performing. 

When I needed a plainer leotard for shows mine (and a few others) were ordered in especially usually got from USA...via Dance Direct I think. 
I’ve also bought a couple of the more nice Lacey   Topped typed leotards from Sheila Beelam in whatever the largest size was in the brand!! 

 

Like many I’m really a size 15 which doesn’t exist of course! So it’s a 14 for tops but usually 16 for the bottom half 🙄 

I don’t really like leotards that much anyway often not the most comfortable and a nuisance on Course  days for going to loo etc! 

 

So these days only use ballet shops for shoes.

 

Most of my ballet attire comes from Sweaty Betty ( yes I know a bit on expensive side) Uniqlo and good old M & S! 
That’s for tops and slack type bottoms and what I wear mostly. 

If Im in more of a girly mood will wear dance skirts ... nearly all made specifically for me from Dare to Pink or Ballet Mafia with a Uniqlo or Sweaty Betty top.. rarely with a leotard. 
 

Ive often had a good old moan in recent years about adult sizes....size 12 and above for most adults ....being available in ballet shops as they consider size 14 XXL 😳 They really STILL haven’t caught up with amateur adults doing ballet 😢 their focus is still on children and vocational level students. 

 

I disagree though that it’s not much more expensive to have things especially made.

For example you can have a made to measure leotard say by Wearmoi but it will cost £60 plus. 
 

On Tuesday I returned to first class of ballet since my accident and I was wearing black Sweaty Betty bottoms ( gorgeous soft slightly shiny material) and a longish pink Ballet Mafia top with pretty sleeves and the words Sugar Plum written on ( luckily in my case the word Fairy was absent) 

I just like to feel comfortable in class. 

 


 



 

 

 

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Finding larger sized ballet wear is a complete pain in the bum.  Whoever makes it obviously doesn't expect size 16 women to do ballet and makes no allowance for D cups. I think there is definitely a gap in the market.  It took me the best part of a year of class to feel confident enough to want to wear actuall ballet clothes so it's a bit of a downer that it's so difficult to find anything. 

 

@balletgremlin made me the most incredibly awesome wrap skirt (which makes everyone else in class wildly jealous) so I would recommend her work and I'd pay real money for her to make and sell  a leotard that would actually fit and have poppers between the legs. 

 

I found a leotard on Etsy from a seller called fashionfabrics17.  The quality is not amazing but they are cheap and they do larger sizes which is good.  I got another from Bezonnier through Amazon which is better quality but more expensive.  I don't like going to actual shops because I always think everyone else is laughing at the plump middle aged woman wanting ballet clothes so I prefer online if possible. 

 

I will check out Esme dance for custom made, thanks for the tip.   

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2 hours ago, RuthE said:

 

@Sheila Beelam gave me some great advice about a year ago on just this issue.  I am a size 12-14 "in the body" but with a 32HH bust, and I ended up buying by mail-order a selection of the items she recommended I try.  I ended up keeping three So Danca leotards in a size L (leotard size 6) which fit nicely.  I think @LinMM, who is tall, broad-shouldered and a size XL, will have something to contribute on this subject as well.

So Danca does seem to suit the tall, broad shouldered larger dancer 

@sophie_rebecca wrote a piece for her blog  a while ago https://sophiedancer.co.uk/2016/12/09/adult-attire/

and there's also  this post https://www.agirlreconstructed.com/2019/01/adult-ballet-attire-for-none-typical.html on agirlreconstructed.com  which references Sophie's posting 

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What about for the shorter bodied dancer? I find to get the ‘width’ required then I’m drowning in length....just imagine a toffee apple....that’s me! 

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Peanut68, look out for leotards with adjustable straps with sliders so you can adjust the torso length - most of these are camisole style though.

 

Some styles are amenable to having their strap length altered by sewing as well, esp high-backed ones.

Edited by RachelSkipper
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With bodysuits back in fashion and on the high street, would they be a good alternative if anyone needs slightly larger sizes than ballet manufacturers provide?  They’re often cheaper, too. 

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Do you mean those all in one ‘suits’ They were all the rage in the 70’s especially having a knitted one! However I was two stone lighter and had a nice flat tum in those days so wouldn’t be so keen these days...if they’re the ones I’m thinking of but they were incredibly comfortable to dance in though. 

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It’s a familiar shout, more larger leotards and more men’s wear!

 

We are trying! We always try and include L, XL and XXL in the ranges we stock, where they are available. Likewise we’ve recently got some lovely bright men’s/boys leotards in, but it does also come down to a “general” lack of demand, compared to smaller ballet sizes.
 

We are always left with the L and XL leotards in stock, but sell out of the XS-M? Likewise lots of boys leotards are hanging around in the shop :( 

 

Ainsliewear are good for long bodies and go up to XL, which is about a UK 14. There new season range will be extending up to XXL :) So Danca go up to a size 7/XXL in some styles and these are about a UK 16. 
 

Feel free to DM me with any specific requests :) 

 

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2 hours ago, Anna C said:

With bodysuits back in fashion and on the high street, would they be a good alternative if anyone needs slightly larger sizes than ballet manufacturers provide?  They’re often cheaper, too. 

Ha ha - have thought about this but worried about poppers unpopping!!! Of course could always remove poppers & sew up to be in effect a leotard..... fantastic suggestion Anna C!!!

 

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6 hours ago, Peanut68 said:

What about for the shorter bodied dancer? I find to get the ‘width’ required then I’m drowning in length....just imagine a toffee apple....that’s me! 

Thinking I might go for a forum name change to ToffeeAppleXXL!!!🤣😂😭

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3 hours ago, LinMM said:

Do you mean those all in one ‘suits’ They were all the rage in the 70’s especially having a knitted one! However I was two stone lighter and had a nice flat tum in those days so wouldn’t be so keen these days...if they’re the ones I’m thinking of but they were incredibly comfortable to dance in though. 

 

Ha, no Linn, these were fashionable in the 80s and are basically a leotard but with poppers at the gusset.  They’re back in fashion now and available in all sizes.  They’re often cheaper than leotards too but for dancing I think you’d need to check for stretchiness! 

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Just seen this post - looks to be some great pieces to go under most styles of dance wear..... could help us who want that little bit more discreet support & ‘holding in place’ !!!

always find Becky & team at The Dancers Room really knowledgeable & helpful with swift reliable mail out!

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Still doesn't help those of us who are (just a little) over a C cup...

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Perhaps - though it still wouldn't enable me to wear all the pretty backless leotards without anything in the way.  I don't think that's ever going to happen, frankly.  The option to have the straps drawn in at the back would at least give the option of some of the high-necked leos with narrow shoulders and a keyhole back - but high necks aren't a great look if you're busty anyway.

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If it is any consolation, women's cycling wear is much the same. A UK 14 is generally XL, or XXL in most brands, and is often not in stock. 

I imagine similar problems exist in other sports and activities.

And people wonder why there aren't more women participating in physical activities. 🙄

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