Leotard Vs Swimsuit: What is the Difference

Growing up as a young girl, I have played many games involved myself in athletic activities and outdoor games with my siblings, but the one thing I never did was swim in the closest river to my house. Looking back now, I don’t know why I never did. However, recently my love for swimming doubled, and I found myself looking at many options. On my search, I came across swimsuits and leotards.

As you know, I love to help you on your swimsuits journey. This is one of the pieces of information I believe you will need when you are getting your swimsuits. Leotards and bathing suits (swimsuits) may now have been used interchangeably but what most people don’t bother to know is the fact that these two garments are different from each other.

Today, I will share the differences and similarities between Leotards and swimsuits.

Leotard Vs Swimsuit

The main difference between leotard and swimsuit is that Leotard is a one-piece garment that is supposed to be worn while exercising or engaging in any physical activities such as dancing or performing acrobatics. Swimsuit suit on the other hand is designed for one to wear while doing various types of water sports including swimming, surfing, water polo, or diving.

In summary, Leotard is commonly used in most stage performances but swimsuits are mostly used in events and activities related to water.

Comparison Table Between Leotard and Swimsuit

DesignOne piece garmentOne and two-piece designs
Activities Used ForUsed for dancing, acrobatics and other physical activitiesUsed for swimming and other water related activities
MaterialsLycra, Nylon and SpandexPolyester and Elastane

What are Leotards?

Leotards are tight-fitting, one-piece clothing that covers the body. They have been designed to be worn while performing physical activities like gymnastics, dancing, athletics, acrobatics etc. They can be worn with tights or shorts, depending on your preference.

ALSO READ: Should A Swimsuit Be Tight?

They are also made out of light, breathable materials that provide flexibility and comfort simultaneously. They can be short-sleeved or long-sleeved, or sleeveless. Leotards are made from breathable fabrics like nylon, spandex etc., to fit and give flexibility for the activities they would be used for.

According to history, Leotards were initially made for men. The Frenchman made them and was named after, Leotard. It was essentially worn under clothes to protect the skin from rough fabrics and materials. But over the years, leotards have evolved and can generally be worn by females and males.

Are Leotards Appropriate?

Leotards are appropriate, but it depends on the situation. Leotards can be worn for workouts, dance, and casual wear. In other hand, a leotard would be inappropriate for a class or a dance recital as it would not be practical.

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If you are a fashion stylist or love to mix things up as I do, you wonder if, since you do not go to the gym anymore (sigh), wearing your leotards out is appropriate.

Well, the thing is, there are no rules that say you cannot wear your leotards out. However, there are some situations where your leotards are appropriate or inappropriate.

So, your leotards are suitable when;

1. You are Performing on Stage

If you are a performer and have a stage performance, you can get away with wearing your Leotard on stage. Nobody will castigate you for that.

2. All Other Situation

I told you, you can wear your leotards. So far as you wear them well, and probably with shorts on top, you can make your leotards look very stylish.

However leotards are not appropriate for you if;

1. You are Overweight

Well, never say never, and there are no strict rules that say you can’t, but you shouldn’t go close to leotards if you are overweight. The reason is that leotards are meant to be form-fitting, and they might not look perfect on you. So you might have to stay away from them unless you are wearing something on top.

To make your leotards more appropriate, you can wear them with;

1. Jeans and trousers: This can be very comfortable, cosy and fashionable.

2. Pencil Skirt: Your Leotard can also be paired with a pencil skirt.

3. Suit: You can also pair your Leotard with suits. So the next time you need a camisole for your dress you can wear it under your suit.

While leotards are appropriate and can be worn for any reason, the best way to wear them is to pair them with shorts, skirts, trousers, blazers or sheer gowns. Unless you are performing on stage, it is advisable to wear them just like that.

Can I Wear Leotard as a Swimsuit?

If you are wondering if you can wear a leotard as a swimsuit, probably because you do not have a swimsuit and your Leotard is glaring at you. Well, the answer is no. No, you can’t wear a Leotard as a swimsuit.

I’ll tell you why;

You cannot wear your Leotard as a swimsuit because leotards are not made for swimming. They will quickly soak in water and become wet and uncomfortable. They will also not give you the flexibility and comfortability you get when you wear your swimsuits. In addition, they are not as breathable and lightweight as the swimsuit is. So, you cannot ever use them as a swimsuit.

What Are Swimsuits?

Swimsuits are a piece of clothing used for water-related activities such as swimming, sunbathing, diving, skiing etc. They are meant to be tight-fitting and snug when worn. Swimsuits can be in one piece or two-piece styles, and they can be short-sleeved, long-sleeved or sleeveless, according to your preference. Bathing suits help the wearer to swim or perform their activities with ease and without any discomfort.

READ ALSO: Are One Piece Bathing Suit Attractive?

Swimsuits are made from materials such as polyester and elastane. For this reason, they are lightweight, breathable and soak as little water as possible. In addition, swimsuits are designed so that the person wearing them will not get too wet as the materials allow them to stay dry on the inside.

They can also be used for other outdoor activities, including beauty pageants and acrobatics. Swimsuits were made due to the popularity of Leotards to give comfortability and elasticity when using.

Can I Wear Swimsuits as a Leotard?

Yes, you can. You can wear a swimsuit in place of the Leotard for your outdoor activities. Wearing a swimsuit as a leotard makes the workout more enjoyable and gives you an opportunity to exercise in a comfortable environment.

This is possible though there are some factors you should consider;

1. Durability

Some swimsuits are not durable enough to be used as a Leotard. They may explore very quickly, and there will be nothing you can do about it.

2. Material Your Swimsuits is made of

It is essential to know which material your swimsuit is made out of to be easy for you to use them. However, it has been advised that when you want to wear your swimsuit in place of Leotard, you should go for nylon and spandex suits. The reason is that they are lighter than the others and can be used for balance and stretching without problems or wear and tear.

Difference Between Leotards and Swimsuits

While they are very similar, leotards and swimsuits are not the same things; there are also some differences between materials that distinguish one from the other. Let’s take a look.

1. Leotards are Meant for Athletics and Acrobatic Activities While Swimsuits are Not

Leotards are meant for outdoor, athletic and acrobatic activities, while swimsuits are meant for swimming and other water-related activities.

2. Leotards Have Just a Design While Swimsuits Have More Than One Design

Leotards have just the one-piece suit design, unlike Swimsuits. The swimsuits have more than one design, and they could be one-piece or two-piece and come in different forms and designs.

3. Leotards Cannot be Used for Other Activities While Swimsuits Can be Used for Other Activities

Because of the materials the Leotards are made out of, they cannot be used for any water-related activities; they can only be suitable for outdoor activities, while the swimsuits can be used for both water-related activities and outdoor activities without being awkward.

4. Leotards Soak in Water While Swimsuits Do Not

Leotards will also soak water when used inside water because they are only made for outdoor activities and not swimming, so the materials are spandex, but the swimsuits are made out of materials like polythene; therefore, they will not soak water.

Differences Between Swimsuit and Swimwear

Swimsuits and Swimwear are used for swimming and water-related activities such as sunbathing, water skiing, sea diving etc. However, there is one main difference between them.

A swimsuit is a piece of clothing designed for water-related activities. It can be a one-piece or two-piece set of clothing. On the other hand, Swimwear is any piece of clothing that can be used for swimming and other related activities. It can include swimming trunks, suits, bikinis, tankini and even the swimming suit.

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However, these two can be used interchangeably as they do not have a big substantial difference, as you can see. Therefore, there is nothing wrong if you use one for the other.

Conclusion – Leotard Vs Swimsuit

Swimsuits and Leotards are similar in design, especially when a it’s a one-piece swimsuit. However, that is where the similarities end.

The Leotard is made from spandex, nylon material and made for outdoor and athletic activities, while the swimsuit is made from Polythene material, suitable for water and outdoor-related activities and can be one-piece or two-piece.

So the next time you need to get yourself a leotard or a swimsuit, you know what to look out for.


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