More than ever, ballerinas are being recognized not only as artists but—pardon my language—f*cking beasts who use every single muscle in their bodies to do physics-defying things. Because of this unique dichotomy of delicacy and athleticism (and also because we really wanted to know what kind of underwear one could possibly wear under a leotard), we consulted three top ballerinas, who tipped us off on everything from the dancer-preferred method of layering to tights that basically give you stilts for legs.
The unexpected place they shop for activewear
Hint: It sounds kind of like Schmorever Schwenty-one. Although Lauren Post, a corps de ballet member with American Ballet Theater, swears by Bandier for leggings and tops, she also shops at the affordable retailer for "cute and functional" pieces.
They make bras out of...tights
Don't even pretend you've never MacGyvered a bra out of something weirder. Sara Mearns, principal dancer with New York City Ballet, says that while she's outfitted in personalized undergarments (fancy), dancers who need a little extra support will chop the top off a pair of tights to make a bandeau. *mentally bookmarks for next strapless-dress-induced panic session*
Oh, and speaking of tights, Mearns goes with pink, which she said is the best color for elongating and looking more streamlined.
Where to buy leotards that don't suck/are cool enough to wear as real clothes
Layer like a ballerina™
Preparing for Swan Lake and simply wanting to not trip over your own feet during Zumba are kind of different, but either way, it couldn't hurt to learn how Mearns dresses for peak performance. The base: a leotard with tights on top. Then come a fitted long-sleeve shirt, a sweatshirt, a scarf, and knit calf warmers. As she warms up, she'll remove layers until she's back down to the base. Anybody else plotting to do this this winter?
What they wear under transparent/super-tight costumes
Ah, the million-dollar question. "I wear seamless nude thongs under my costumes," Post says. "They're comfortable and can be hidden in almost any material. Victoria's Secret and Gap Body make nice ones. I don't usually wear bras under costumes, but if a costume is transparent, I will wear a nude leotard from Capezio underneath." Naked dresses, here we come.
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