Ballet. Leotard sizing and girth measurement.


Finding the right fit for a leotard with girth measurement.


I’m about 29″ bust, 23″ waist, and 33″ hips. By most leotard sizing charts, those numbers would make me an adult extra-small or petite. But my leotards tend to creep down in front, precariously low. I know I had told myself I should order up to account for my long waist, but looking at the recent dance class photos, I thought, oh, I must have been vain and bought an xs. Checked the tag. Small. I remeasured my bust, waist, hips. No change.

Girth is—with the brands I’ve bought, M. Stevens and Mirella—the most important consideration in finding something close to a “right” fit. Capezio does have a “tall” option in some styles, but I’ve not tried them. I’m assuming the tall option would make me a x-small/tall.

Since most dancers are probably thin relative to their height, I suspect many such as myself do not realize they need to order a size or two up. (Simply ordering any old big size though is not the answer. Too large and straps can slip, breasts can be inadequately covered by gaping fabric, and chafing or general discomfort from excess fabric do nothing to help create nice lines.)

The measurement is obtained by measuring around one’s torso, from shoulder down through the legs and back up to the shoulder. Measuring just the front or back and doubling will not account for differences in volume. In my case, my butt sticks out much more than my chest. (Which I’m okay with on both counts.)

If you’re larger than 60″—the average sewing tape measure is 60″—use a ribbon or something similar (heck, dental floss if that’s all you got) and wrap that around yourself, then measure that length either with a tape measure or a ruler.