Conscious Unbuttoning: My On-Off Relationship With Leotards

Between the ages of 16-18, I loved a good leotard. In fact, my go-to look of a night was a Topshop lace leotard (with a camisole underneath because I wasn’t so bold then) teamed with high-waisted patterned shorts, usually also from Topshop, and some form of impossibly high block heel that I really couldn’t walk in, and that were way too glamorous for my local Weatherspoon’s. Never has someone put so much effort into attending a ‘Spoon’s Curry Tuesday.

I loved my leotards. I wore those lace Topshop ones, as I said, the ones that everyone had in nude and black, where the lace was frazzled after one wash and the leotard would get that static, frayed quality so special to cheap lace. And the nude one always ended up a strange grey colour because I wasn’t so diligent with the division of whites and colours back then.

We had our ups and downs, me and my leotards, including an ill-conceived styling decision to layer a playsuit over a leotard, which made going to the toilet a lot more time-consuming. I take responsibility for that one. Then there’s the realisation of the painful truth of the ‘first fatal pee’. That’s the harsh reality that alcohol and its diuretic qualities would not be a good partner for a leotard. Buttons are tricky, especially when placed in your crotch, and they make the urinating process longer and more stressful. And so I retired all of my leotards, which was probably a good thing because I always think something that spends that much time in your area should have a short shelf-life. For hygiene reasons.

But 2015 saw the beginning of a return to the leotard, a flirtation, I suppose. And before I knew it, I had three new leotards, and my ASOS saved items section is filled with many more.

Here’s the great thing with leotards: They’re like Spanx that you can wear as outerwear. They suck everything in and they remain tucked, but you can justify wearing them as a top because it is a top. So it’s like a constant security blanket for your lady belly, without having to then layer something acceptable on top. It’s great. Also you can go bra-less and feel totally secure in a deep-v leotard because that sucker is so tight that there is nothing escaping. Last weekend I made the mistake of letting the twins fly free in a loose-fitting vest top, which, had it been a leotard, would have been fine. But when Britney Spears started playing and I got excited, obviously they did too. One popped out. See, had I worn a leotard like initially intended, then I would have maintained the air of mystery about me.

The downside is this: The urinating problem still stands. When I drink, I need the toilet a lot. That’s a fact. And so when I drink and need the toilet and I’m wearing a leotard, there is a sense of pressure, a time crunch on the time it takes me to go from bar stool to porcelain throne, because of the need to factor in the un-buttoning. I realise that popper-buttons should not be this complicated and yet here we are. It’s not even just that, but when you’ve had a few pints, the buttoning of three popper-buttons can be a really complex and daunting task to undertake, so usually I end the night with the leotard tucked in messily rather than done up properly.

But for now, I’m in a leotard renaissance and I am loving it. And I think the leotards are loving me right back.

Outfit: leotard, Missguided; jeans, Topshop (Jamie jeans); boots, Zara

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