You might be a ballet dancer if…. your shower curtain rod generally looks something like this
I’ve blabbered on ad nauseum about pointe shoes and occasionally slippers, but haven’t gotten much into other dancewear, so figured I’d do a tights post.
As you can see from the picture I’m a pink tights girl myself. I own some in black and tan (hm, what an appropriate St. Paddy’s day reference!) but really only use those for performances (I’d use them for my classes in non-ballet styles, but I always have a ballet class on the same day, so I end up just throwing black jazz pants over the pink).
I wasn’t always a pink tights girl. I mean, as a kid I did for ballet class. Though I think for combo classes (excuse me while I shudder) I went with tan maybe. Don’t really remember. Those classes weren’t strict about… much of anything. For all I know I took to wearing sweatpants and t-shirts. Didn’t much matter.
In college I alternated between black and pink, usually black for modern, pink for ballet, but often enough black for ballet, too. Didn’t much matter there, either. It was college. No real rules aside from safety issues (no dangly jewelery, hair tied back and the like). In fact, the weirder the get-up the better, it seemed. Other rocked their plastic shorts and torn up shrug things and mismatched legwarmers. I remained a pretty staid tights and leo girl. But I did pick up a few oddities, such as insisting on wearing my tights OVER my leotard. It was What Was Done. I also joined the protest against tights with feet. It was so much chic-er to wear footless tights and either try to stretch them down over the heel (which eventually resulted in them popping back up to the ankle) or fold them just under the knee. Never wear them at the ankle. Never!
When I came back to ballet I studied my studio’s website before my first class. It listed the adult dress code as being a solid-colored leotard and pink tights. Having seen other ballet schools take the “comfortable, but form-fitting” tack for their adult dancers, I thought maybe this studio was a bit more strict, so before my first class I trotted out and got me an honest-to-goodness leotard and a pair of pink tights. Turns out that they really aren’t strict at all. I mean, a lot of people do wear pink tights, but I’ve seen tan tights and yoga leggings and whatnot and no one much cares. But by the time I realized this I’d grown to like the pink tights and leo look.
I also renewed my appreciation for wearing tights UNDER my leotard. As an adult the whole tights crotch shot squicks me out, plus it does your torso no favors to visually cut it off in the middle. And I returned to footed tights… or, more accurately, convertible tights. During the summer I did occasionally fold my tights up around my knee when it was super-warm in the studio, but I find my line looks much nicer if I have an uninterrupted color on my legs. Whether black or pink or tan the whole line under the knee tends to make me look rather squat. Somehow the footed tight balances the look out. That’s my story, anyway.
So I’ve settled on my color, style, and the location of tights in relation to my leotard. But there are so many options beyond that! SO MANY!!! Here are the results of a greater-than-year-long tights-wearing experiment:
First pair was the Bloch Hipstar Adaptoe. The lady at the store assured me these were quite popular. “Hipstar” refers to the fact that they are low-rise tights and I liked the idea of that, not being a fan of having my waist squeezed. But sadly, the waistband makes some nasty muffin-top. I still have a couple pairs in rotation, though. One pair is pretty ratty, but I’m waiting for a big ol’ run before I get rid of them. The other I bought to wear for Nut… one of my costumes was midriff-baring so I wanted a pair of tights that wasn’t going to be in danger of peeking out over the waistband of my harem pants. As for the Adaptoe part, well, if you want to fold these tights up on your leg, fugghedabout it… either my calves are enormous or the foot opening is really unforgiving.
I next tried some Capezio tights. No idea what specific kind. They were unremarkable aside from the squeeze in the middle, ouch… Plus the material is all scratchy and gross. It kind of reinforced my feeling about most Capezio products: functional, but not particularly attractive or high quality. I wore them until they ran, vowed not to buy any more.
Tried the Body Wrappers TotalStretch. They were super soft and comfortable, nice waistband, and I loved the foot opening. But… one day I put them on and watched as, before my very eyes, the toe proceeded to run. I don’t mean a single run. I mean, the entire toe disintegrated around my foot… as I wiggled my toes it went farther and farther. They were still pretty new-ish, too! I’ve been wanting to try these again, but I’m a bit hesitant after that experience!
From there I tried PrimaSoft. The company claims they invented the convertible tight. They also claim that their tights are one size fits all. Not sure how true that is, though they are plenty stretchy without being baggy. But… odd color. Kind of orangey-yellow. My bigger issue, though, it the toe. Very weird toe. When you try to wear it as a footed tight there’s all this extra fabric under the ball of the foot which has a tendency to migrate… you feel a cool breeze on your feet, look down and notice that the bottom half of your food is nekkid! This would have been good during my footless-tights-over-my-heel phase, but since I graduated from that… meh. Not my faves. Waiting for them to run. Probably means they’ll last forever. Oh well. Only benefit I noticed with these was during the summer: they are very nice for folding up under the knee without odd toe lumps… probably because they’re essentially a footless tight with a really long leg.
Now, onto the good stuff. First up, Grishko… if I can’t get my feet to work with their pointe shoes I can at least love up their tights. I’ve been wearing some of their “Slimz” line. Not sure if there’s any credence in the marketing, but they are super comfortable. The waistband is pretty soft and not too squeezy and the foot opening has the right amount of stretch. They’re nice and soft, too. Only complaint with these is the color. They seem to only make one shade of pink which they describe as “European Pink.” Pretty, but definitely not the same shade as your regular ballet pink. For that reason I keep these tights for class use only; I think they’d clash too obviously on stage. But aside from that… lovely.
And finally Gaynor Minden. Her pointe shoes might get people riled up (which I won’t comment on aside from observing that I find them kinda ugly, even on the prettiest feet), but these tights are probably my all-around favorite. Pretty pink color (a bit brighter than the Bloch and Capezio, but still a true ballet pink) and super-duper soft. The waistband, oh my, heaven. So forgiving, you don’t even notice it. But it doesn’t go migrating, either. Magic! And the foot opening has the right degree of stretch. I did get a tiny run in my first pair, but it hasn’t progressed even without dabbing on nail polish. These are the most spendy of all the tights, but the cost difference is minor (at least in the online world) and in my mind they’re well worth the extra dollar or so! Love ‘em!
So there you go. I can now add “rambling about tights” to my list of blog accomplishments. What are your favorites?