Gymnastics Fashion

My 8-year-old, J, is on the brand-new gymnastics team at Cartwheels. I’m fretting about it a little bit, actually. She’s one of the younger kids in her little group, and she’s not ready for her first meet, which is fine, because they are wonderful and low-key about the whole thing (unlike some places we’ve experienced). But she tends to be very hard on herself, so I’m pretty much in suspense about whether she’ll improve enough to feel successful (learning that hard work pays off and Growing As A Person), or if she’ll not do too well but manage to hold herself together (facing her fears and persevering and Growing As A Person), or if she’ll just fall apart completely (and send us both into therapy). So, we’ll see how that goes. But there’s one thing that J absolutely loves already: access to the team uniform.

Okay, so we got the team leotard, and it made me laugh, and I’ll tell you why in a minute, but when I started thinking about gymnastics leotards, it occurred to me that I have to rant, just a teensy bit, about the gymnastics clothing in general.

I’m an old biddy.

Seriously, I just am. In the vast universe of all gymnastics clothing everywhere, I find at least 80% of it just way too tacky for me to handle. Too many sparkles, leopard prints, snakeskin prints, cutouts, neon, metallic stuff. . . ugh, I hate it. And really, I’m unreasonable about it. Like this one (I’ve got a bunch of pictures, some of which may be more for dance than gymnastics, but it gives you the idea and I didn’t want to spend a ton of time looking for them. These are just some examples. And I’m not linking back because I feel a little guilty about insulting what no doubt some nice little girls are wearing with pride):

leo one shoulder

I can’t help it. This is not so bad, I know intellectually, but I hate the assymetrical-shoulder leotards. Pretty much all of them. And they’re super-popular. I just have an unreasonable aversion to this style. It calls to mind, I don’t know, bad soap opera evening gowns. Or, you know,

leo metallic one shouldSolid Gold Dancers or something.

Another trend that I detest is cut-outs.

leo cut out blue

Oh, my gosh, it is just horrifying, isn’t it? That’s a particularly egregious example, but there are a lot of leotards out there that have bathing-suit-style cutouts. And I don’t mind them so much in bathing suits, so why do I hate-hate-hate them so much in leotards? It’s unreasonable. Or, I don’t know, maybe it’s reasonable, because I’m okay with a bikini at the pool but not in math class. So maybe it’s a time-and-a-place sort of thing. But I am clearly deviant in my old-biddiness, because plenty of cute little girls with perfectly normal looking parents show up at J’s gym wearing something like this:

leo leopard cut out

Ugh!  Animal print and neon and cut-out and I just hate it.

Another super-popular-but-I-just-hate-it style are the shorty-shorts the gymnasts wear.

leo shorts

And this is ridiculous, because, really, they offer more coverage than a leotard does. You don’t have to worry about wedgies. It makes perfect sense. I’ve even offered to get a pair for J (she has declined–she’s inherited my clothing tastes, for now at least), because I see that they make sense. But so many of them have words across the rear (hate that), and many are velour. Which, to me, seems to scream, please touch my ass. I just don’t like it. Tonight J went to Open Gym, where the kids range in ages. And when I see some of those tweens and teens decked out in their teensy shorts and their neon pink zebra-print open-backed numbers, I want to run onto the mats and pass out terry-cloth robes.

Cute leos are few and far between. My favorite of J’s right now is this one below  from Dreamlight. This is a random model, and it’s much more adorable on J in person. With the matching scrunchie. I had to give Dreamlight some props first, because it’s almost time to for me to make fun of them. And, really, the Dreamlight leotards that J has are very cute and fit well and wear well.

PT05-0-3 blu wht swirl line with grn

Anyway, when I knew it was time for a team leotard, I was a little worried about what we’d end up with. If you eliminate everything I hate about leotards, there are not many left. But I do like J’s team leotard. Cute, right?


It’s got a little bit of sparkle, but not too much. Alas, I didn’t get a photo of J wearing her leotard. They all got to try them on at the gym (I heard there was quite a bit of squealing), but once we returned home, we removed it and hung it up, petrified that we’d damage the merchandise. Check out this ridiculous tag.


Dang it. I thought you’d be able to read this tag, but it’s tough. Here it is



First dip the item in a large volume of cold water to let any excess dye rinse out. Remove immediately-Do Not Soak!

Then wash the item in a large amount of fresh cold water (bottles or distilled water is recommended) with Woolite or Ivory detergent ONLY!! Do Not Soak! DO NOT use fabric softener of any kind. If you notice the water staring to discolor, remove the item IMMEDIATELY and rinse in fresh cold water until bleeding stops. After washing, rinse with cold fresh water. Lay the leotard between two towels and roll up to remove excess water. Never twist or wring leotard. NEVER hang up soaking wet! Hang to dry in front of a fan ONLY! (Do not let the leotard touch itself, front to back, as while drying the dampness may cause bleeding).

*It is advised that gymnast let their leotard air dry after wearing before placing in gym bag. (The dampness from perspiration my cause bleeding). Dreamlight recommends you wash the leotard after every wear to rinse out body fluids before they can discolor the leotard.

Dreamlight is not responsible if colors bleed together.

Can you imagine how terrified I am to launder the damn thing?

I read this tag out loud to Cute W and he summarized it as follows: “Please, no sweating in your leotards, athletes.”

And J’s favorite, favorite part of the team uniform?


The team jacket! We LOVE it, sparkles and all.


  1. Cheri

    This is hysterical but I completely agree on all fronts! Yea, J! We can’t wait to come and cheer you on…when she’s ready.

  2. Longtime lurker, but I had to pipe up to agree with all of this- my six year old just went into gymnastics last week and she’s on the team with the kindergarteners and such, and I was just, ugh. No. No thank you. Mine wears a pink cotton long-sleeved ballet leotard with a pair of gray leggings overtop. Like, no, kid. No leopard shorty-shorts or wedgies-in-front-of-god-and-everyone for you.

  3. @Cheri, yeah–I don’t know if the idea of L coming to a meet would be exciting or terrifying for J. But they’re going to have a home meet sometime, so I’ll tell you when.
    @Ali, thanks for “unlurking” and way to fight the good fight! And I clicked over and I love all those gorgeous photos on your blog.

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