We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Unitard?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated May 23, 2024
Our promise to you
Musical Expert is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At Musical Expert, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A unitard is a body-length, single-piece garment, usually made of stretchy fabrics like Lycra®, which closely adheres to the body. The earliest styles were likely the wetsuit, which was worn for the very specific application of snorkeling and diving in colder temperatures. For all intents and purposes, a wetsuit is really a unitard, though it is made of rubber and is much bulkier than most versions.

The catsuit also predates the unitard and is a form-fitting, one-piece garment that gained popularity during the 1960s. These early garments were popular on television adventure and spy shows like The Avengers. Today, the catsuit is seen and worn by characters in a number of science fiction movies. Early catsuits could be made of either stretchy fabric or leather. The leather version is a very constricting outfit, and for women, often features a built-in corset. Michelle Pfeiffer has stated in the past that her decision not to play Catwoman again was largely based on having to fit into the very restrictive catsuit costuming.

Lycra®, invented in the late 1950s, was not commonly available for several decades, but by the 1970s, it was much easier to find. Rock stars, like Freddy Mercury and David Bowie, often wore unitards when performing. The garment also migrated to the dance world, where many dancers found them preferable to the leotard and tights ensemble. Both male and female gymnasts may wear one as well, and male and female ice skaters frequently use them for performance or practice.

For a while in the 1980s, unitards became extremely popular as everyday clothing, as opposed to athletic clothing, and might be worn alone or with a big shirt or skirt. In health clubs all over the world, they were often the preferred dress code for aerobics instructors. Today, it is quite common to see acrobats, gymnasts and a variety of other athletes perform in them. In Las Vegas at burlesque shows, women often wear sheer ones that add support but give the illusion of nudity.

The unitard in early versions always featured long sleeves. Some sleeveless ones, with a tank top, are now popular and a little cooler to wear. Actually, the tank top version seems to be inspired by the wrestling singlet, a one-piece garment with a tank top that ends just above the knee.

Musical Expert is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Musical Expert contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Related Articles

Discussion Comments

By umbra21 — On Sep 20, 2012
@KoiwiGal - I associate them with women doing aerobics, particularly in the 80's when I was a kid and used to go along to my mother's aerobics classes. If you've been to those kinds of classes you know that the average person doesn't look all that great in a Lycra unitard.

With that said, I wouldn't judge someone for wearing it to exercise. They are comfortable and bright and allow you to kick and so forth without any restriction and they also allow you to see what your body is doing clearly, which baggy clothes don't do.

And if someone is exercising that means they are trying their best to improve themselves. I would never mock someone for doing that.

By KoiwiGal — On Sep 19, 2012

I didn't know that about Michelle Pfeiffer playing Catwoman. I knew she wore a tight outfit in the movie, but it didn't occur to me that it was particularly uncomfortable, especially when you see the kinds of moves she makes in that film.

It kind of brings home how much extra actors go through in order to look perfect for a film. You think that it's all effortless (which can lead to low self esteem, because people wonder why they don't wake up looking like that?) but in reality it's a lot of hard work fitting into that kind of clothing. And anyone who can make a unitard look good must have been working movie magic.

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen

Writer

With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a Musical Expert contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
Musical Expert, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

Musical Expert, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.