The evolution of gymnastic leotards for girls

Every sport evolves over time. Gymnastics in particular has seen one of the most interesting evolutions though. It started over 2,500 years ago in ancient Greece as a form of dance and has evolved into the discipline seen today. In 1881 it became a recognised organised sport and appeared at the Olympic Games in 1896. Since then the changes have been incredible. Artistic gymnastics as we know it today first appeared at the 1956 Olympics.

As the sport itself has evolved so has the clothing gymnasts wear when practising and competing. Looking back shows just how much gymnastic leotards for girls have changed.

In the 1930s and 40s leotards weren’t as close fitting as the skin-tight designs we see today and the materials weren’t as stretchy. In addition, the leg lines were low and square to offer coverage.

In the 70s the leg lines got higher to allow more freedom of movement. This also helped to give the impression that the gymnasts had longer legs. The materials became closer fitting but the movements in the sport at this time were still very similar to dance.

Modern leotards are skin-tight and highly elastic due to the development of modern materials. These fabrics can stretch four ways without tearing and give complete freedom of movement. If you put a leotard made from traditional materials next to a modern one you would see a huge difference.

Perhaps most surprisingly older leotards had very little decoration and embellishments. From the 70s to the 90s it was most common to see Olympic gymnasts wearing the colours of their country. Teams soon began moving away from this however, choosing bright and metallic colours to make the performers stand out.

The biggest change was the introduction of crystallisation. This was influenced by figure skating and the dazzling effect of light striking the crystals as the skaters moved. This introduction made gymnastics look even more amazing. Now leotards can feature thousands of crystals.

At Dancewear Universe we are very proud to stock a broad range of striking leotards for girls. There is a great selection on offer, including the eye-catching Kaleidoscope range from Tappers & Pointers. Ordering from us is easy and you can expect the very best service and quality. Have a look at our website to check out these wonderful products.