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8 Australian creatives show us how they style a leotard 

WORDS By Ruby Staley 

All the fun in one. 

As an ex semi-pro gymnast, leotards were a huge part of my younger years. It was a relationship that was at times fraught (think ugly wedgies and bra straps showing), but for the most part, I loved and cherished my leotards like no other piece of clothing. Forever lusting over a sparkly new leo – usually completely covered in rhinestones and in bright clashing colours – my motto was ‘the crazier the better’. 

So, it made my little 10-year-old gym-rats heart sing when I noticed leotards and one-pieces becoming a bit of a trend. Although I don’t own any of my old leotards anymore (thanks, puberty), I love re-appropriating my former love for leos by wearing one-pieces with low rise pants. 


For more fashion news, shoots, articles and features, head to our Fashion section. 


Lately, I’ve been wearing them yanked up so the sides of my stomach and hip bones are exposed – sort of my take on the Y2K whale tale trend. To help prove to you that leotards are back in style (or maybe that they never left) and it’s not just another of my nostalgic reveries, I rounded up some of my favourite fashionable pals to show you just how the trend is done. 

Jai Kaldor, model, creator and model manager

I’ve lived in leotards since I was a bub-teen dancing five days a week. It’s the tighter top than bottom ratio, the figure-hugging flattery and extreme comfort. Being 6ft, a baggy bottom and fitted top work best on my body. There’s also the convenience of not having to constantly tuck your top in too. Sexy and elegant at the same time.

I’m styling a vintage silk lace leotard with leather or suit pants, chunky black leather shoes or short cowboy boots, silver jewellery and a leather bag. Or if I’m feeling cutesy I’ll pair a leotard with a flowy sheer maxi skirt, high vintage boots and a mini shoulder bag. Or I’m wearing a leotard and nothing else at all, drinking coffee at home. That’s the comfiest!

@jaikaldorr 

Meg Wilcher, founder of Aprés Studio

I love bodysuits. To me, they feel supportive and flattering and require zero effort. Doesn’t everybody need a bit more of that combination in their lives? This super flattering Kelly Underwire One-Piece by Palm Swim has a serious bonus that it’s technically a swimsuit and I am a literal mermaid. It also eliminates the worries of VPL (visible panty line) and navigating the weird crotch fastening situation.

It’s made out of carvico econyl recycled fabric, so it gets great environmental clout. It is made in Denpasar, Bali by Palm Swim’s very own factory, one I have personally visited many times. I know who made it and that the workers are very well looked after. The one-piece is quite refined in its design so I like to pair it back with a reimagined version of an Australian classic – the blue jean.

These Après Studio jeans are made from 100 per cent repurposed denim offcuts so although the fit is the same each pair is unique in its colouring and patch placement. This pairing is refined enough to wear to work, and relaxed enough for the weekend all the while maintaining a level of effortlessly fun fashion that outlasts the trends of time.

@megwilcher 

Ruchi Page, model, columnist and online creator

The leotard or bodysuit has quickly become my go-to fashion piece for almost any occasion. Leotards come in multiple styles and materials, but what they all have in common is the ability to perfectly slide into a pair of shorts, pants, jeans or skirts. 

Effortless chic looks that are elevated, simple and comfortable. There’s no need for tucking in or having material sit strangely behind the button of your favourite bottoms. A sleek leotard is that trusting fashion friend. I style a leotard with a pair of shorts and an oversized coat or jacket draping off the shoulders.

@ruchipage 

Bella Nolan, co-founder and brand director at Project Bowman

I’ve been making a conscious effort to add more colour to my wardrobe, as I’m finally starting to agree with my mother that black does in fact not do anything for my complexion. I found this dusty blue piece at a Dion Lee warehouse sale recently and thought the tone was gorgeous. I have a very small clothing budget but don’t want to compromise on quality and make, so I try to find sneaky designer bargains and purchase secondhand where I can.

I paired it with three pieces I wear constantly: my favourite vintage wide-leg pants, Poppy Lissiman JimBob sunglasses and very worn-out cowboy boots. All topped off with a silk headscarf to hide the bed hair. It felt fun, which was the goal! 

@projectbowman 

Sandy Mcintyre, actor, producer and writer

Wearing a leotard or bodysuit can be like your best friend; you can take them anywhere, to any occasion and will 100 per cent have a good time. I love this trend as it allows me to live out my early ’00s fantasy of feeling like I’m in a gorgeous dance film about to win both the ballet scholarship and the leading man.  

When I saw this leotard, it immediately reminded me of the bathers from the 1930s. So, when styling I wanted to remain classic with a modern twist. I wore the leo back to front and placed one of the straps across my body to create an asymmetrical look while pairing it with a high-waisted cream tailored short.  

@sandymcintyre_ 

Onella Muralidharan, model and designer

One-pieces are so versatile and come in many styles and colours, but my favourite has to be my black, plunge neck one-piece swimwear. I can think of many ways of styling it depending on the event but my favourite is classic and simple. 

Styled with light wash denim, a white blazer and black heels, it’s my take on causal chic [and] perfect for my design presentations. It encompasses professionalism and personality all in one. Comfortable, casual, classy and fun – just what I like an outfit to be.

@onella_am 

Hattie Nixon, online beauty and fashion creator 

One-pieces are something I don’t style often, but when I do I always feel my outfit is secure and they can really elevate an outfit whether worn under or over something, or on its own. I found this Levi’s leotard at my local Vinnies and loved the thick straps on it.

Here, I styled it with my pineapple earrings, a thrifted green mesh collared blouse (easing back into layering now that the weather has cooled down), some fruit pants and a pair of my favourite heels and a yellow beaded bag. I feel at my best when I am wearing colour, and I love the true red of this leotard and how it pops on its own underneath the green top.

@hattienixon 

Kitch Catterall, founder of Bispha Studios and digital content and social media producer

I bought this black leotard back when I was at uni. It was just a nice simple statement piece and I’m so glad I did as it’s grown with me over the years now and I’ve re-worn it too many times to count.

I love leotards because I like to wear them tucked into jeans, pants and things like that, and the design of leotards means they stay tucked in and smooth rather than giving me that weird fabric roll line through my pants, so [it] just makes my outfit look chicer and put together. The only annoying thing is when you go to the toilet!

@soybabie_

Interested to learn about the history of the leoatard? Try this.

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