Looking to spice up your wardrobe or something with a lil’ more flair for your next party? We have a couple of sensual and all-so-feisty fits that are perfect for those bold, confident souls or even those looking to experiment with something different. It can be difficult however to really get what is the difference between leotards, bodices, unitards and bodysuits… Here’s your 101 to the basics of this product category:
Very briefly, as a start: A unitard is a skintight, one-piece garment with (long) legs. It differs from a leotard which does not have legs.
The History of the Leotard
Before the leotard, female dancers in the 1800s would wear bloomers under a dress that consisted of a bodice and layered net or muslin skirt that resembled a long tutu. The name “leotard” can be attributed to french acrobat Jules Leotard who designed for himself a skin-tight all in one legging+bodice to wear during his acrobatic performances. Hence, the word leotard was born. BUT! Jules’ original leotard was in fact by today’s standards a unitard!
It was a full-body suit, an all-in-one that covered his arms to his wrists, his legs to his ankles and scooped close to the neck. It protected his modesty whilst at the same time making him appear almost bare-skinned or naked under the pair of shorts he wore on top. This figure-hugging outfit was designed for and worn only by men for many years.
Jules Leotard in his skin-tight design in during the mid to late 19th century.
LEOTARDS AND BODICES TODAY
When a new material called Nylon and specifically, Stretch Nylon was introduced things improved drastically, but it wasn’t until the creation of spandex and Lycra that leotards truly became the staple they are today.
We’ve taken the classic garment and put our own twist to it featuring a covered front but a very revealing bare back. Intricate yet minimal thin straps caress the edges of your back and slip in between your cheeks, keeping the whole outfit together through all your movement. Some of our leotards and bodices come with matching sleeves either in print or matching fabric.
UNITARD OR BODYSUIT?
The unitard was known for many years as a bodysuit and was used mainly to protect a performers modesty whilst at the same time letting them achieve the look of bare skin or being naked. It was exactly what Jules Leotard had created for himself. Nowadays, however, the word unitard is the name for the all-in-one worn as outer layer, whereas a bodysuit serves that same purpose in albeitan undergarment worn under a unitard or leotard.
All in all, the verdict is not yet completely out. We now understand some of the basic terminology and origins of both unitard and leotard, but with endless possibilities, (See for example our “Crochet Bodice” – would this be a unitard even though it doesn’t have a crotch?) The naming of many products within this category remain loose but – Pardon the French- WHO CARES?!
What we can all agree on though, is that these products are the HOTTEST thing in town right now, and we hope you’ll keep your eyes peeled on what’s next in this space – it’s gonna be a thrill!