What does a Scotsman wear under his kilt?

Same thing a ballerina wears under her tights.
First time I encountered this fun fact was in a fitting room during college. I was the one standing with a measuring tape looped around my neck, holding out the frilled panty and basque that were the first stages of the tutu I was making. My teacher was the one sitting on a bench, advising, and the ballet student who had been selected to have this tutu made just for her was the one shuffling out of her undies and putting on her pink tights.
Which surprised me because I’d been living in this ruffly universe of pleating tulle and dyeing silk and scalloping scallop templates and and then this ethereal creature walks in and just, like, drops trou.
It was so earthy.
Figured this was just a performance costume issue. I mean, there’s a lot going on in a tutu. I knew ’cause I was elbow deep in bone casing, bobinette and tiny rhinestones. There is no lack of coverage in a tutu, is what I’m sayin’. Underpants just add bulk. I could understand that.
Nevertheless, when I became the Adult Beginner and started reading up on what one wears to class, I came across the advice in several books that underwear are not worn under a leotard and tights. And I thought, “Like Hell they aren’t.”
I mean, I was not about to be going commando in class. Just didn’t seem right. Ya know, seemed unladylike.
So the first time I wore an actual leotard and tights to class I wore unmentionables as per usual. And spent the whole time fretting about VPL.
Had to concede that the experts were on to something there.
The thing is, showing up for class properly sans-underoos is all well and good, but sometimes you are coming directly from work and you have to change at the studio and you are suddenly faced with the unnerving prospect of getting bare-ass in a changing room full of dancers who aren’t beginners, and who may not even be adults.
For this I recommend that you already be wearing a circle or A-line skirt. You can do a lot of clothes-changing under cover of such a skirt without giving anyone the peep-show they never asked for. Gives you a little extra time to wrestle with those pink tights on hot summer days without turning the peep-show into a peep-miniseries.


About adultbeginner

Had my first ballet class Ever at the advanced age of thirty-two. Yikes.
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16 Responses to What does a Scotsman wear under his kilt?

  1. Wait, wait, wait. You MADE a tutu?? (I’m not going to analyze why this is the part of the story that interests me most!)

    I am completely jealous. Learning how to sew well and create a nice practice tutu is one of my life goals! How did you learn this? Who taught you?

  2. Oh PS, the tights are the underwear and leos have shelf bras. Nowadays they sell all manner of tissue-thin dance underoo liners, but like most dancers I just as soon dispense with the extra fuss and layers. They’re mostly worn by self-conscious preteens and those girls who can actually boast of having a chest to speak of (and therefore need, ahem, assistance.)

  3. I made two, a classical with twelve-piece bodice and the plate and all that, and a romantic with a Karinska bodice.
    I went to a conservatory style university; during my senior year I was given the choice of an advanced tailoring or tutu independent study, didn’t dither for even a second, I mean, duh, tutu!

  4. There’s a book called Beginning Ballet that I reviewed (in a post a while back called Book Report), which has a lot of patterns and pleating charts for the tutu, basque, and panty that are similar to the ones I worked from during that project. Might be a fun book to look through while daydreaming, after all, for the tutu itself it’s not the sewing that’s difficult, its the time. (Bodice is a whole ‘nother story though)

  5. Wow! I’m going to check that post out. I would love to learn how to sew really well in general, but creating something that’s so much a part of what I love to do would be incredible.

  6. cmsnifer says:

    To classicalballetteacher, you should check out tutu.com. It’s literally the only website I’ve found that sells books and patterns for making tutus as well as fabrics and notions. They also do tutu seminars! I’m in the middle of making a romantic tutu so I thought I’d mention it. :)

  7. Tony says:

    At least ladies get a dressing room. Guys, too often, get a stall in the john. If we’re lucky there’s a lid to actually sit on. ^_^

    • Ugh, that is the worst. Had to do that on occasion. Being barefoot in a bathroom stall is just not something you even wanna think about too much.

    • Mike says:

      Yep, stall in the john or maybe the janitor’s mop room. Sometimes it’s just easier changing in the open backstage. After all, unlike the the girls’ going commando, we always wear a dance belt, right?

      BTW, tutu.com seminars are great. My wife attended two and makes a good 20 or more tutus a year for different companies.

    • Kylara7 says:

      Hahaha…I think the universe is truly balanced then because I played boys sports as a child (ice hockey) and always had to get dressed in the bathroom, broom closet, or other random place. Then as a adult in recreational leagues, I just changed with the guys in the team locker room…actually much more comraderie and team bonding that way and as adults, we’re all much more chill and get used to mixed company. I got really good at changing in stages and planning ahead so I was never completely exposed.

      And I wear a thong or g-string undies under my tights and leotard…commando doesn’t feel comfortable physically or mentally to me and I do still want the option of changing in the hallway or in a corner of the studio when I come in a rush from work :)

  8. Kizzy says:

    (O_O) I’m more than just a wee bit grossed out *whispers* I mean,,,what do they do when its “that time of the month” (>_>) do they wear some sort of special dance knickers, or just not dance, or something else(maybe pro ballerina are so skinny they don’t get periods?)? (O_o) personally, I don’t give a twoddle about what the proffesionals do, I need my underwear! (>_<;) no underwear is like,,,well,,,there needs to be something for pads/liners to be placed on. Just seems rather disgusting, and not very hygienic(nor comfortable either) to "go commando", or maybe I'm just borderline ocd about personal hygiene(and comfort) issues XD also, I was taught that anything worn close to the body should only be worn once and needs to go in the wash straight away (-__-) I feel so sorry for ballet tights that get worn minus a decent pair of knickers(I wonder if they wash them, or just bin them then buy new).

    • Well Kizzy, I’d like to introduce you to one of the modern marvels of the 20th century: the tampon.
      The tampon is our friend, whether we are swimmers, dancers or cat-burglars. (you know, because they wear cat suits)
      In fact, I’m gonna take this question to it’s logical extreme, and answer it with a story-
      Long long ago in a land far far away called College, the Adult Beginner had a friend who worked as a nude model for Life Draw 101. One day I turned to my professionally nude friend and asked, “so, um, what do you do when it’s, you know, That Time?” and she said, “Aw Girl, it ain’t no thing, you just hide the string and Baby, don’t Nobody know the difference.”
      So there you have it.
      And as for laundry, you’re correct, tights serve as both socks and undies and therefor they must be washed after every wearing. This is why you almost always see tights dangling from the shower curtain rod in every dance movie. Hang-drying things is part of the arty bohemian lifestyle!
      I own four tights and leotards and three little shorts specifically so that I can throw it all in the laundry and still have something to wear next class, I’m guessing pros do the same on a much much bigger scale.

  9. Eirin Adriane says:

    Say WHAT! Girls dance with like, nothing under the thights and leos??? I’ve never even heard of that one before! I mean, like why would someone even think of doing that.. It sounds really uncomfortable. Personally, I even wear my bra under my leo! Well, that is mostly because those itsy bitsy things sewn into the leos ain’t big enough to hold nothing in place, but still!

  10. al says:

    I wear a g string. I havent had a problem with it showing yet.. that I know of anyway!

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