Frequently Asked Questions About Competition Leotards and Shorts

What to Keep In Mind When Selecting a Competition Garment for Your Gymnast

If you’re new to the gymnastics world, you may be confused about all the rules and regulations surrounding competition wear and might be asking yourself, “why can’t my gymnast wear the same leotards she wears to practice during meets?” The USA Gymnastics (USAG) regulations for competition wear are constantly changing, yet there are some hard and fast rules which have been in place since the organization was founded in 1963. Today, we’re answering some of the most frequently asked questions surrounding competition leotards to help you make better decisions when selecting a leotard for your gymnast.

1. What Attire Will Cause A Deduction in Points?

In gymnastics competitions, there are only two types of attire as far as the judges are concerned: inappropriate attire and appropriate attire. The former will lead to a 0.20 point deduction for any gymnast falling under that category. Here is a list of what constitutes inappropriate attire and, therefore, should be avoided:

  • Bare midriffs
  • Backless leotards 
  • Leotards with “spaghetti straps”
  • T-shirts
  • Sneakers or tennis shoes
  • Boxers

Keep in mind that USA Gymnastics considers any leotard with a back that is lower than two inches and/or is lower than the shoulder blade a backless garment. However, if a flesh-toned mesh covers the area, then it is permissible.

2. What is Considered Appropriate Attire?

Now that we’ve covered what your gymnast cannot wear let’s explore what they can. Recently, there have been updates to the regulations to make gymnasts more comfortable in their competition attire. One of those updates has been the allowance of black shorts to be worn over the leotard during competitions. In addition, these garments should be above the knee or shorter and are allowed to have small brand logos without embellishments. For an example of competition-appropriate black shorts, check out our Raven Basic Shorts

Here is what to look for as appropriate competition attire:

  • Sleeveless leotards
  • Leotards with sleeves or ¾ -length sleeves
  • Ankle-length tights as long as they match the color of the leotard or are flesh-colored and worn under the leotard
  • Official gymnastics footwear
  • No exposed bra straps or undergarments

A difficult task for older gymnasts is finding undergarments that are easily concealed under a leotard, especially throughout their entire routine. It’s important to note that USAG does permit bras with clear straps to be shown during competition. However, this is also why many gymnasts choose modest competition wear, so they can compete confidently, knowing their leotard is secure and doesn’t reveal transparency.

3. What Are Other Considerations?

While following the attire requirements is a good start, there are many other factors to consider when looking for a great competition leotard. Yet, most of these can be broken down into three main categories:

  • Comfort
  • Reliability
  • Price


You may be thinking, “It doesn’t matter if my gymnast’s leotard is comfortable; she’s only wearing it during competitions.” But the worst time to find out a leotard is uncomfortable is mid-competition when a garment is too loose, too tight, or slides and reveals body parts, which typically includes the buttocks! Not only does this impact an athlete’s confidence, but also can affect their performance. That’s why it’s essential to look for leotards made with soft, comfortable fabric where the cut does not bunch, trim does not dig into the skin, and a fit that is made to move with your gymnast, not against them. 


Having a reliable leotard means more than having a garment that can withstand standard washing cycles, but one that maintains its composure during competitions, just like your gymnast! So, make sure you seek out a competition leotard that conceals undergarments and is snug enough in the right places to compete as hard as your gymnast does throughout the meet.


Gymnastics, in general, isn’t always inexpensive. Between lessons, practicewear, and travel, you’re probably looking to save wherever you can. For most families, it’s not realistic to spend excessive amounts on competitive leotards your gymnast will eventually grow out of, some sooner rather than later. So, finding an affordable leotard that doesn’t skimp on material or fit is essential. Check out the Sophia leotard, one of our more affordable yet beautiful styles!

Now that you know the best qualities to look for in a leotard, it’s time to start shopping! Head over to Plum’s website to browse the Simply Elegant Collection, where we have just launched three new styles Delilah, Brilliance, and Athena. Our signature competition line is affordable, fashionable, and most of all comfy, while our reliable material is crafted with quality at the forefront of our process. Browse our top styles and remember to Compete Confidently™!