Dance Undergarments

This post was written by Lindy Shopper.

After a wardrobe malfunction in the middle of finals at Twin Cities Balboa Festival, the undergarments Lindy Shopper wears dancing have taken on new importance; thus, a post was necessary. These are some of the least talked about clothing items, probably because we don’t normally see the undergarments and generally people compliment or comment on what they see. I like to pick out undergarments with a specific function in mind, but I find myself constantly seeking better function for dancing. I would love to hear what works and what doesn’t work for you and invite commentary on this blog, as I am still seeking the perfect bra and pair of underwear for dancing. Gents, feel free to chime in on your choices as well…I can only imagine.

A swing dancer’s underwear should stay put, provide full coverage for your bum, and generally not inhibit dancing. I see a lot of women with biker shorts under their skirts, which provide maximum coverage of bum and upper leg. I do not subscribe to the wearing of biker shorts, so I can’t comment on what products may work best for this, but I would caution against getting something that may be too tight or too supportive, for fear that the shorts will cause a ripple effect (which I have witnessed on the dance floor).

Another full coverage option is to wear a slip, which I discussed at length in an earlier blog post.

I sometimes wear cheerleading bloomers, which are made for jumping around, tumbling, and dancing, so the function translated well from sport to dance. I’m a big fan of Varsity’s products and their bloomers are comfortable, immovable, and indestructible (I’ve had mine since the 7th grade). They also come in a lot of fun colors, but be careful if you order white, because the only underwear color that won’t show through is tan/nude.

My newest favorite option, as of late, is a thicker cotton, wedgie-resistant version of the granny panty – full coverage underwear almost up to your navel. I got this idea after looking at the shape of bloomers, which are essentially the same as granny panties, only with bloomers you have two layers – your regular, less coverage undies and the bloomers. I thought, why not eliminate the middle man? Unless I’m doing aerials, I don’t necessarily need the iron-clad security of bloomers. Granny panties provide the same amount of coverage as bloomers without having an extra layer of polyester fabric; thus, they are more breathable and comfortable.

The search was on and I stumbled upon Hanes’ Low Rise Modern Brief with Comfort Waistband , with a “No Ride Up” money back comfort guarantee, in my local Target. While labeled as low rise, they looked pretty high rise to me. When I got them home and held them up they looked intimidatingly large. I had to laugh at myself when I first put them on to wear to a dance because they were so different from the norm. They were big, but they were also very comfy. I didn’t even notice them during the dance and I think that’s the point – it’s good to wear something you don’t have to worry about under your dress.

I am at a loss for what to recommend for a bra. Dancers need the support of a really durable sports bra, but often wear clothes that don’t work with the kind of full coverage that a sports bra provides. I am left looking for a bra that can still be worn with a V-neck dress that can keep the girls locked and loaded.

My malfunction at TCBF incited discussion about other malfunctions and both Sylvia Sykes and Nick Williams agreed that, for the guys, it’s always a good idea to match your underwear to your pants color. Your pants may still fit and not be too tight, but still rip at the seams if a particular dance move puts too much strain on the pants. If your underwear matches your pants, people may not even notice the rip, even if it’s a rather large rip.

7 thoughts on “Dance Undergarments

  1. This is definitely something a follow has to figure out for herself – what works best and under which dresses!
    Over the years I’ve decided on boyshort underwear/ pajama shorts. I like the full coverage feeling of bike shorts, but they look anything BUT pretty when you spin! They can ruin some potentially cute pictures. Last summer I bought some little pajama shorts at American Eagle in black and pale grey (can wear them under white) that I just love. I get a little more coverage than conservative briefs, but they have an inch wide lace around the thigh, so they’re still lady like and I can feel pretty in them 🙂
    I also have some other little pajama shorts that my team bought to all match under our dresses for a competition with an aerial-ridden routine. (I think they came in packs at Wal-Mart) They’re blue with purple polka dots… so much fun!

  2. It’s too bad that you of all people had a wardrobe malfunction (and during a competition!), LS, but at least we get to learn from your experience.

    As a guy, I don’t know if I would ever have enough colors of underwear to match my different pants. (and I don’t know if I’ve ever seen khaki or blue jeans colored underwear).

    So, here are my “solutions.”
    1. Never wear pants that are so tight that you would worry about ripping.
    2. Test these pants in multiple situations so that you can be fairly confident they won’t rip. (you should always test run outfits before competition/performance)
    3. Wear black. (If the worst occurs and your pants rip, at least black goes with everything).

    Or you could wear novelty/holiday underwear or girls bloomers: If something bad happens, at least you can be in on the joke.

    On second thought, I’ll hold off my bra recommendations.

  3. If you know your undergarments are going to be displayed (because you’re wearing a short skirt; you’re doing air steps; or both), you might try matching them with something else. Here are some ideas from Camp Hollywood 2010.

    Match your bloomers to your partner’s suit (like Delilah in this video):

    Match the coloring of your hair (like Natasha):

    This is emphasized even more by the neat braid she uses for her bright yellow colored hair.

  4. An interesting article. I’ve just ordered a swing dress from
    Lady V, it’s a Hepburn style dress in blue with white Polka
    dots. Normally I wear Sloggi Basic’s panties but these only
    come in black or white. Should I look for undies in blue or
    Just wear my normal underwear?

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