Review: Lone Reed Butterfly Print Leotard


One good thing about my last full class was that I got to wear this butterfly print leotard I’d ordered from Lone Reed Designs for the first time.

I’d been looking for a leo upgrade for a while — my two cotton Capezio Bra-Teks (supportive! comfy! cheap!) were looking pretty washed out and threadbare after more than a year of weekly wear. I wanted something pretty, something not black or burgundy, something unique but not too high-maintenance. And something that actually fit. I’d tried on lots of bodysuits at local dance stores, but (as many of us have moaned and groaned on about) a lot of the designs just aren’t made with a regular adult’s body type in mind. Say I have the waistline of a Medium but the torso length of an Extra Small — do I squeeze into the tiny suit that’s just the right length but creates multiple bulges, or the one that skims over the tummy but droops in the butt and hangs off the shoulders? Let’s not even start with the flimsy “shelf lining” of some leotards — I don’t want my, uh, shelf lined, I want it locked and loaded and refusing to budge.

I looked online. The Yumiko and Eleve leotards all the professionals seem to be wearing were gorgeous, with fancy colour and pattern combinations. But they were pricey if you added front lining or sleeves, with shipping taking up to 8 weeks. And there was no certainty I’d be getting the perfect fit without trying it on beforehand — especially since their size guides come with the warning that “our leotards are designed for the dancer’s body — long and lean”. Then a blog post by Entrechat directed me to Lone Reed Designs, an Etsy shop run by former Houston Ballet dancer Jordan Reed.

I ooh-ed and aah-ed. Her designs are beautiful — lots of lace, gradient colours, fun prints. The one I fell in love with the most was the butterfly print leotard. I found out while browsing that I could customize many of her designs with my preferred colours and prints. Plus — she’ll ask for your measurements and height to ensure the right fit. Score! So I ordered the butterfly print with a hunter green bottom.

The Etsy shop said most items are ready to ship in 3-4 weeks, though I expected a longer wait. To my surprise, my leo arrived barely 3 weeks after ordering — not bad at all, for custom-made dancewear shipped from the U.S. to Canada. The leo itself is a stunner. The floral butterfly print is really pretty up close, with splashes of orange, magenta, blue and moss greens. The material is a shiny nylon spandex that feels substantial, not too thin. The shape makes me think of the Yumiko Sofiane — it’s a high, boat-neck style that’s flattering, with a lovely low back. Not only does it fit perfectly — it’s also supportive! Something about the high neck and front lining really holds that shelf in. I wore it to class without a bra (don’t laugh — it was my first time bra-less in ballet class since I was, oh, 11 years old) — OK, I had body tights under it, so that helped too. But trust me, that was a milestone.

My classmates loved the leo and wanted to know where I’d bought it. Mr. B said I should wear it with a tangerine skirt — that’s a traffic-stopping colour combo, even for me. Did the leo make me feel dancer-like? Definitely. Would I wear it often? Yes, to different studios — it’s pretty memorable, so I wouldn’t want to reach for it every single week. Would I order from Lone Reed Designs again? For sure — but I have to feel like I deserve it first. I could easily get carried away…


9 thoughts on “Review: Lone Reed Butterfly Print Leotard

    • I know — overwhelming in a good way, eh? I really love the ones with lace and keyholes at the back. My goal is to order one in cerise or teal when I can do clean attitude & arabesque turns en dedans to the left. Or for Christmas. Whichever event happens first. 😉

  1. That leo is fabulous! I’ll have to give one of them a try (the shop is on vacation right now). I like that you submit measurements to her–I’m pear-shaped, so I have problems finding things that fit me up top without being too snug on the bottom! I have a couple Eleve’s, and while they’re lovely, they are a bit tight on my legs. Thanks for reviewing 🙂

    • Another pear shape in the house! 😉 Oh, I guess that means there’ll be more style and colour choices when the shop reopens. Which Eleve styles do you have? I came so close to ordering one weeks ago, but got really overwhelmed by colour and pattern choices, then chickened out when I found out how much it all added up to. But I’d like to know which styles are flattering…you know…just for future “rewards” 😀

      • Haha pear shapes unite! ;D I have Laico and Robbin. I like both, though if I were to order another Laico, I’d get it without the open back–it comes really far forward (you can see it in the pics on the Eleve site), and I feel a little more exposed than I’d like! I tend to gravitate towards the designs that have something interesting happening up top (to draw the eye), which is why I opted for those two at the time (Catherine is similar to Robbin, and is another I’ve been eyeballing). When I tried them on for my mom, I think she preferred the Robbin, though that might have been because it is mostly black (with a blue/green splatter pattern and turquoise mesh straps) and therefore more camouflaging, whereas my Laico is gray. Like I said though, the leg openings are a bit snug for me, so I’ve been debating about ordering again.

        • Ooh, I like the S-shape of the Robbin and Catherine a lot. The Laico with the back cut-out looks sexy — own it! 😉 The one I was eyeing was the Chris — I find the bolero-like sleeves really elegant. The Caitlin with the buttons looks really fun too, if a bit low-cut. Oh, the options! Oh, finding the balance between camouflage and display!

          • Oh no, I forgot about the Chris! LOL I love it too! I actually didn’t recognize it when I went back to the page, because I’d been looking at it back when it was just offered with short sleeves. I am totally digging both versions, though. Hmm, I think we could be bad for each others wallets ;D If you do decide to get one, please post about it!

  2. I’ve seen this store and was in love with that particular leotard for some time. It sadly, will just make me look like a linebacker. But I may still try something from this company. Right now I’m in love wit my Elevé leotards because they’re so long, but I love that I can send this girl my measurements.

    I think you shouldn’t get too scared by the size guides online though. After all, they are made of spandex so they’re somewhat forgiving. I think it’s just important to recognize what specific body types the different companies cater to. Elevé is great if you’re tall and kind of shapeless. Yumiko is better if you’re shorter.

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