Knowing what your teen should wear under their leotard during gymnastics or dance class can be tricky. Should they wear a thong or high-cut briefs? Should they wear underwear at all? What about when they're on your period?
So many questions. The good news? We have so many answers below. (Interested in a quick solution? Check out Kt's Period-Proof Activewear Collection.)
Many professional gymnasts and dancers tend to not wear any underwear under their leotards. This is typically for two reasons: underwear can move around or show during their routine (which may cause point deductions from the judges) or they can bunch up and give them an uncomfortable wedgie while performing.
Some leotards have built-in liners which can be removed and washed, and dancers who wear tights, such as ballet dancers, often wear their tights as underwear.
But what should a dancer or gymnast wear when they're on their period? We've got options.
When it comes to balancing your musical flow with your personal flow, here are our recommendations:
1. Kt’s Leakproof Leotard is a great option for period protection and comfort for dancers and gymnasts. It looks and moves like regular dance gear, but with period-fighting power that holds up to 3 tampons or pads worth of blood. You can wear the Leakproof Leotard all on its own on light days or in anticipation of your period’s arrival (no underwear mishaps or deductions) or pair it with a second option for extra peace of mind for heavier days.
2. Kt’s Leakproof Tights are another solid choice both on their own or as part of a dynamic duo. Similar to the Leakproof Leotard, our stretchy and comfortable Leakproof Tights look and move like regular tights, but with the same (yup, you guessed it) ability to hold up to 3 tampons or pads worth of blood. You can wear them under a regular leotard, or pair them with Kt’s Leakproof Leotard for double the protection.
3. Kt Period Underwear are perfect for practice or workouts as primary or backup protection for heavy days! They're designed to have no visible seam lines so are extra discreet while holding about 3 - 8 regular tampons worth of blood, depending on the absorbency you choose.
4. Kt Period Activewear are your teen's go-to workout wear for training. Kt offers both leakproof biker shorts and leggings that are designed for performance to keep up with your teen's routine.
5. Menstrual cups work well for dancers and gymnasts who are on their period because of their invisible nature. Menstrual cups tend to hold a lot more blood than tampons and can be worn for longer periods (no pun intended) before needing to be changed. If your teen is worried about the string of their tampon poking out during the middle of a routine, a menstrual cup is a great alternative. For a step-by-step guide, here's the lowdown on how to use a menstrual cup. For an extra layer of protection and peace of mind, we recommend pairing a menstrual cup with either Kt’s Leakproof Leotard, Leakproof Tights, or both.
6. Tampons are a common choice for many dancers and gymnasts for a lot of the same reasons as the menstrual cup – they’re invisible under a leotard. If your teen is comfortable with using tampons, this can be a good option. If they've been wanting to use tampons but are a bit nervous about where to start, check out our guide on how to put in a tampon. Some downfalls to tampons are they require more frequent changes, are harder on the environment, and have a greater potential for leaks. Just like a menstrual cup, tampons can also be paired with Kt’s Leakproof Leotard or Leakproof Tights to prevent leaks.
Many of these options let you go undie-less under your leotard to prevent visible underwear lines or discomfort. If you choose to go commando while using a tampon or menstrual cup, we recommend using a layer of backup protection just in case. (Leaks wait for no one, not even your gold-medal routine. Rude, we know.)
Avoid wearing pads under your leotard
Pads are not something we’d recommend wearing under their gear. Even the smallest of pads can peek out of a leotard, and there’s a risk that the bright stage lights could make them visible. While Reusable Pads are one of our fave choices for some activities, all pads are absolutely benched when it comes to all things twists, turns, and backflip-related while wearing a leotard.
Going commando? On their period? Not their thing. What else ya got for period protection under a leotard?
Going commando is great for some and a huge NO WAY for others, both of which are 100% fair. If the idea of going pantie-less gives your teen the heebie-jeebies, they've still got options:
1. Kt’s Period Underwear are super thin and have no visible seam lines, so there are no panty lines to worry about when your teen is out there doing their thing. They’re breathable and have awesome anti-wicking technology to banish sweat, to help them feel calm and collected under pressure. Oh, and did we mention, they can hold about 3 - 8 tampons or pads worth of blood, depending on the absorbency level. Kt’s Leakproof Bikini and Super Leakproof Bikini are great go-tos.
2. Thongs are usually cut high enough so they won’t bunch up under a leotard or peak out at the sides. However, if your teen decides to wear a thong, make sure it’s seamless so the lines won’t show. Oh, and be wary of bedazzles and bows. They are cute as heck, we agree, but they are very likely to show when pressed up against the leotard material so it’s best to opt for something more on the plain side.
Your teen still just feels like everyone will know they're on their period...
It’s normal when your teen is on their period for them to feel like everyone around them knows. Reassure them that, believe it or not, their coach is not equipped with a built-in period radar. And even if someone does know (because let’s say, they told them), periods are nothing to be ashamed of! Letting their coach know it’s their time of the month may even help them help your teen be fully prepared.
Regardless of their comfort level with sharing, with the right protection the only one who will know they're pirouetting on their period is THEM! If they still don’t feel super comfortable wearing their leotard on your period, experiment with gymnastics outfits by popping on a pair of shorts or a skirt. The most important thing about your period is making sure they feel comfortable and confident.
They can even wear a pair of Kt's Active Shorts for that extra feeling of security! Just make sure they check with their coach first to make sure there are no issues adding an extra layer, especially before a competition or show.
Let’s talk about the upper bod – should they wear a bra under their leotard?
What to wear under the top half of their leotard can feel as tricky as navigating what to wear under the bottom half. Some dancers and gymnasts feel comfortable wearing no bra or nipple coverings under their leotard and rock their performances bra-less. A completely normal and solid option. However, not everyone feels comfortable taking that route and that is a-okay! (The fear of nip slips can be very real, we get it).
If they opt to wear a bra under your leotard, make sure they're choosing the right one. Underwire can dig into your body during a routine or show through the leotard. Your teen can even lose points in competitions for having a bra strap slip out of place — eek! If they're somewhere between being cool not wearing a bra, but not totally cool only wearing a leotard, try band-aids or nipple covers. This will help them feel covered up without having to go on a suitable bra hunt.
If your teen has larger breasts that need the support of a bra (or they just prefer wearing one), there are still plenty of options. Stick to nude bras, and match the bra style with that of your leotard. For example, if they've got a racerback leotard, go for a racerback bra to help keep the straps hidden.
Is it even okay to exercise while they're on their period?
This might sound totally made up, (it’s not, we promise), but exercising while on your period is not only okay, it’s actually beneficial! Exercising helps improve mood and reduce stress because it basically increases the production of happy chemicals in the brain. It also helps to fight menstrual headaches, bloating, and cramps. Not bad, hey?
Sometimes it’s okay to say, “not today.”
Just because your teen can twist, turn, jump, and flip on their period doesn’t necessarily mean they want to. Period cramps, mood swings, and heavy flows are tough, and sometimes they just need some time to focus on themselves. If that means missing practice to curl up and watch Netflix every now and then, honor that! Their best looks different every day – some days it’s landing the perfect one-and-one-half twist, some days it’s binge-watching Stranger Things (again). Both are valid, and both make them a champ.
Finding what to wear under a leotard during your period can feel tough, but your teen has options! Choose whatever makes them feel comfortable and confident, and if they or you have any questions about Kt products, always feel free to ask! (We love to chat, you’re so great to talk to!)