Not being sufficiently mature to have participated in the era of leotards as workout attire in the glorious days of Jane Fonda, my initial experience of wearing one to the gym was in a slightly different setting: a costume party. To celebrate Halloween one year, my entire kickboxing class at the Y decided to dress up in full ’80s fashion. As someone who thoroughly enjoys dressing up, I went all out with a gleaming gold leotard worn over leggings — complete with a belt, of course — paired with high-top sneakers and sky-high hair. I anticipated it to be enjoyable and provide a good workout (and it certainly did not disappoint!), but what surprised me was how remarkably comfortable the retro outfit felt.
Yes, you heard correctly: Working out in a leotard was an incredible experience. Since then, due to my perhaps excessive concern about public opinion, I mostly stuck to more conventional workout apparel (think: running capris, shorts, and tank tops). However, over the past year, I’ve slowly reintroduced onesies into my workout wardrobe.
It all began with a ballet class that required a workout leotard and tights. I could definitely do without the tights, but once again, I was pleasantly surprised by how practical it was to move in the leotard. After that, I started discreetly incorporating my onesies into yoga class by wearing a pair of shorts over them. It was pure bliss. No longer did I have to contort myself during downward dog in order to adjust my shirt. There were no more frantic waistband adjustments between poses. And, most importantly, when I went into upside down positions, I no longer had to worry about a loose top slipping over my head and arms, essentially trapping me. (There may not be an official yoga pose called “upside down blind squirrel stuck in a sock,” but I like to believe I still managed to pull it off.)
But what about the rumor that bodysuits lead to uncomfortable wedgies and make going to the bathroom impossible? For me, that hasn’t been an issue. I have a long torso, but as long as I purchase tall-sized workout leotards, I don’t experience any front (or back) wedgie problems. Plus, I always wear shorts over mine. As for using the bathroom, I usually don’t need to go during a workout, but if it does happen, I simply adjust it to the side. It’s not a problem — and these minor inconveniences are more than compensated for by the functionality and comfort provided by a workout leotard.
Advantages of Exercise Leotards
Now, I’m on a mission to spread the delight of exercising in a leotard. Mostly because I care about your convenience, but also because the more individuals I can persuade to join me, the less I’ll appear like a time warp.
Here are a few reasons you should give a workout onesie a try:
Similar to all excellent fashion trends, the bodysuit has experienced a permanent resurgence. Celebrities from Brie Larson to Gabrielle Union to Ariana Grande have rocked workout bodysuits, and for valid reasons — they’ll make certain that you’re the best dressed at the gym. Moreover, if you’ve observed the workout routines of the celebrities in question, you understand that they don’t play around and necessitate workout attire that doesn’t hinder their movements.
No more slippery tank tops gradually crawling up your abdomen or performing the “window shade roll” when you bend over. Bodysuits stay in place no matter how you twist and turn. Seriously, workout leotards are a game-changer if you adore yoga.
I wouldn’t label them shapewear (they’re far too comfortable for that), but since there’s no seam in the middle, you acquire more of a smoothing effect — plus, the elastic does offer some support. (Workout leotards aren’t exactly compressive, but just so you know, there are actually advantages to compression workout gear.)
No Irritating Waistband
Have you ever been sprinting and realized that while you’re running forward, your bottoms are slowly sliding downward? With a onesie, you never need to fret about pulling up your pants ever again. You can even forego pants altogether!
Probably the comment I hear most about workout onesies is, “I could never wear one, I don’t have the figure for it!” Firstly, if you have a physique, then you possess “the figure” for a workout leotard. (Just like every single person has a “summer-ready figure.”) It’s a misconception that you must have a specific body type to don a onesie — or to wear any garment you love, for that matter.
For one thing, exercise attire should prioritize comfort and functionality above all else, so wear whatever makes you feel good.
The appropriate exercise bodysuit can be extremely attractive, and they are available in numerous varieties (read: shorts, skirts, complete leggings), shades, and materials to fit your preferences. Furthermore, it is completely acceptable to wear shorts or a T-shirt over it to enjoy the advantages of both options. In any case, do not criticize it until you experience it!