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A leotard is a unisex skin-tight one-piece garment that covers the torso from the crotch to the shoulder. The garment was made famous by the French acrobatic performer Jules Léotard (1838–1870). There are sleeveless, short-sleeved, and long-sleeved leotards. A variation is the unitard, which also covers the legs. Leotards are designed as sports and dance wear, and are commonly worn by male dancers (particularly for ballet) and gymnasts.

A female ballet dancer in a sleeveless leotard and tights.
A male wearing white leotard (thong cut), rear view.
The same, front view.

A leotard has much in common to a bodysuit, but bodysuits are generally worn as an undergarment and bodysuits for adults are generally a female garment. They also have much in common with one-piece swimsuits.

Leotards are usually entered through the neck. Scoop-necked leotards have wide neck openings and are held in place by the elasticity of the garment. Others are crew necked or polo necked and close at the back of the neck with a zipper or snaps.

Leotards are often worn combined with tights, and in that case thong cuts are usually preferred because the tights are to be seen and the lines created by the garment underneath the tights may be considered unsightly. It is also possible to wear a leotard over tights instead of under them.

See also


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