Do you have a little ballerina in your life?
When Claire started taking ballet, I as so excited to buy her a little leotard and tights and ballet shoes. It turned out that my petite child with her miniature feet (she’s four-years-old and just barely outgrowing her size 6 shoes!) was super hard to shop for. Dance clothes were hard to find in her size!
I am going to share some of my favorite places to find toddler dance clothing on a budget, as well as some tips and tricks I learned the hard way for getting the most use possible out of your purchases.
First up – where to find toddler dancewear.
But first! You need to know that dance clothing isn’t always sized like “normal” clothing. Although most toddler items like tights and leotards will say toddler, shoes don’t follow the typical sizing. Be sure to check out a sizing chart for shoes (and tights, and leotards) before buying or being discouraged when you can’t find the right size…it’s likely that you DO have the right size available, you’re just not looking in the right place. 🙂
Also, if your child is taking ballet, you will probably need to buy a black or pink leotard, tights, and ballet shoes (or, instead of shoes, footless tights). At our studio, they were pretty lax and didn’t say anything when Claire would show up every now and then in purple or blue sparkle leotard, but the technical requirements were black or pink. You can buy a separate little skirt if you want. Some leotards come with an attached skirt. If yours has an attached skirt, make sure it is a short one – if the kids do any tumbling or learn to crab walk, etc., the skirt can trip them up.
So now, here’s where to buy your toddler dancewear on a budget.
1. Amazon. If you have a tiny toddler, you’ll probably have a hard time finding dance clothing at your typical stores (see below for those). Here’s a Toddler Girl’s Leotard from Amazon that will fit the tinier kids.
2. The dance studio. Many studios sell clothing, and if they don’t have the size you need in stock, they can order for you (bonus for ordering this way because you’ll have an expert that can help you size things and you may be able to try things on first, too).
3. Target and Kohl’s. Target and Kohl’s both have little dance departments in the little girl’s clothing (not the toddler girl clothing). I’ve found teeny leotards at both places, but even the smallest ones were too big when she first started. It’s definitely worth taking a look, though.
4. Your local kid consignment store or sale. Our local shop, Kid to Kid, sells used dancewear…but it also has a bunch of NEW dancewear, too.
5. Facebook. I asked on Facebook if anyone knew where I could find a little leotard and we found one to borrow for Claire’s early classes.
Although I think you can get away with secondhand leotards and shoes, I totally recommend new tights. Also, I recommend buying the more expensive tights than the ones you’ll find at Target or Kohl’s.
I bought a pair of tights for Claire at her dance studio. They were $18. I thought, THAT IS RIDICULOUS. And the next time I had to buy tights, I spent maybe $4 on them at Target. Well, guess what? Just a few weeks later and they were pilling and had holes. The expensive tights, although looking a little faded, were good as new.
There are plenty of inexpensive ballet shoe options out there, but here’s the lesson I learned the hard way. Many of them have little elastic bows that you tie to tighten the shoe (because they are leather, they will stretch). You’re supposed to tuck the bows into the shoes, but my sensitive toddler COULD. NOT. DEAL. So I cut them off and pulled out the elastic, which meant the shoes could no longer be tightened.
Our favorite shoes did not have elastic bows on them.
So there you have it!
We’re taking a little ballet break right now and Claire has really been asking for gymnastics, but I do hope she’ll choose to dance again – she had so much fun in her classes!
Do you have a little one that dances or wants to dance?