Leotards aren't just for Beyonce and ballerinas, you guys.

By Charlotte Hilton Andersen
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Not being old enough to have participated in the Jane Fonda glory days of the leotard-as-workout-wear, my first experience wearing one to the gym was under slightly different circumstances: a costume party. For Halloween, my whole kickboxing class at the Y decided to go full 80s. There's nothing I love more than dressing up, so I went all out with a gold lamé leotard over leggings-belted, of course-high tops and sky-high hair. I expected it to be fun and a good workout (it did not disappoint!) but what I hadn't expected was how amazingly comfortable it was.

Oh yes, you heard me right: Working out in a leotard felt amazing. Since then, because I care (too much) what people think of me in public, I've mostly stuck to more traditional workout wear like running capris, shorts, and tank tops. But over the past year, I've started to work onesies back into my workout wardrobe. (Psst...We have The Best Leggings for Every Workout.)

It started with a ballet class that required a leo and tights. The tights I could definitely do without but again I was pleasantly surprised by how functional the leotard was. After that, I started sneaking my onesies into yoga class, camouflaging them with a pair of shorts over the top. It was bliss. No longer did I have to do downward dog on one hand so I could pull my shirt down with the other. There were no more hurried adjustments of waistbands between poses. And, best of all, when I went upside down I no longer had to worry about a too-loose top slipping over my head and arms, essentially hog-tying me. (Turns out there's no official yoga pose called "upside down blind squirrel stuck in a sock," but I still like to think I made it look good.)

But what about the rumor that bodysuits give you terrible camel toe and make it impossible to pee? For me, that hasn't been a problem. I have a long torso but as long as I buy "tall" sizes, there aren't any front (or back) wedgie issues. Plus, I wear shorts over mine. As for the bathroom, I normally don't have to pee in the middle of a workout, but if it happens, I just pull it to the side. It's fine. And these small inconveniences are more than made up for by the functionality and comfort a leotard provides.

So now I'm on a mission to spread the joy of working out in a leotard. Mostly because I care about your comfort, but also because the more ladies I can convince to join me, the less I'll look like a time warp.

Here are six reasons you should try a workout onesie too:

It's a legit trend.

Like all good fashion trends, the bodysuit is definitely having a comeback. Everyone from Beyonce to Kate Hudson has been wearing them, and there are four one-piece outfits in Beyonce's new workout wear line Ivy Park (more about the Ivy Park collection here). There's even a yoga clothing company called Onzie! Is it a little silly? Yes. Is it lots of fun? Also yes.

They don't roll up.

No more slippery tank tops slowly creeping up your tummy or doing the "window shade roll" when you bend over. Bodysuits stay down no matter which way you twist and turn. It's a game changer for women who love yoga.

They hold you in.

I wouldn't call them shapewear (they're way too comfy for that), but because there's no seam in the middle, there's less bulging. Plus, the elastic does hold you in a little and smooths things out.

No tricky waistbands to fall down or ride up.

Have you ever been sprinting and realized that while you're running forward, your bottoms are headed downward? With a onesie, you never need to worry about pulling up your pants again. Or even wearing pants! No pants dance!

You don't need to worry about matching.

Onesies are, well, an outfit all in one. You can pretty much get dressed in the dark and not go wrong.

They're more flattering than you think.

Probably the thing I hear most about workout onesies though is, "I could never wear one, I don't have the body for it!" (Which, by that standard, I probably shouldn't be wearing one either.) But I am here to tell you that it is a myth that you have to have a model body to wear a bodysuit-or to wear anything you love, for that matter. For one thing, gym wear should be about comfort and functionality first and foremost, so wear whatever you feel good in. Second, the right leotard can be very flattering and they come in many lengths (shorts, skirts, full leggings), colors, and fabrics. Not to mention, it's perfectly acceptable to throw on a pair of shorts or a tee over the top to get the best of both worlds. Either way, don't knock it 'til you've tried it!

Comments (8)

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Anonymous
April 15, 2018
Leotards were invented by a man and just prior to the Jane Fonda era, were worn by powerlifters and wrestlers in the late 70's and early 80's. I have had singlets made that are very much leotards but with thin straps that expose the chest designed for men. I now wrestle men and women wearing them. They feel very comfortable and hold everything in place. No one seems to be bothered by the lack of modesty. My matches are held in private. I appreciate your article. I'll also add that leotards are sexy. On both men and women they accentuate the leg line and rear end. I wish we could go back to being able to wear the most without shorts. Maybe someday...
Anonymous
March 13, 2018
I love my Leotards and Tights! I wear them all the time Too! You can't go wrong with a Leotard and Tights. It's like the perfect Outfit!
Anonymous
February 26, 2018
I agree. A lot of guys don't realize that basic leotards are unisex, and can be worn under shorts for an awesome workout. The benefits are tremendous!
Anonymous
January 23, 2018
I agree. A side note, leotard can be fore both women and men. As a guy, I took yoga classes in my regular workout clothes and was horrible when doing upside down posts. I started wearing my ballet leotard to yoga classes and felt great. I wear leggings or tights outside the leotard, with a dancebelt underneath to make the area flat and modest.
Anonymous
January 11, 2018
I wear leotards and tights all the time. They are great in ballet class and for workouts at the gym.