If you read my last post you’d know that two out of my three new Elevé leotards had fit issues. I was really surprised by that and even more so when I laid them out on top of one of my existing leotards.
To say this was shocking would be an understatement. For a while there I really thought the issue was just with me. You know how sometimes you try and put something on and it doesn’t fit and you just get that sad feeling like, maybe I got fat and didn’t notice? Yeah, I kind of had that. Even though I know I weigh less and I’m even building muscle. I wish I’d just done this sooner. I would have been less mopey.
These two leotards were really too uncomfortable to wear and my plan to just loose weight by continuing with class was clearly never going to help in making me shorter. And really, the length was more of an issue than anything else. So it was a bit snug around the midsection. Who cares? That one in the second photo would have been downright painful to wear. I’m flinching just thinking about it digging into my shoulders and riding up as I sit here writing. So I contacted Elevé and they’re helping out.
Elevé really does have great customer service. I’ve never had an issue with them, and I have had to contact them in the past. I honestly didn’t expect them to take them back as these are custom but it’s exactly what they’re going to do. They made sure they had more of my preferred fabric in stock and they told me they’d get straight to work on my new leotards as soon as they received my current leos. They also had me send in my measurements so they could be sure they’re cutting me the right size. Since I sew I was able to take them myself and send them straight off. I kind of already knew them but double checking is always a good idea under these circumstances. As expected they’ve shrunk a bit.
Since I did have to contact Elevé I decided this was the perfect opportunity to find out exactly what they can and cannot do in terms of customization. I had heard in the past from others that they’d do things like remove sleeves, or remove back holes from some of their designs and it turns out this is true. Here’s an excerpt from an email I had from the company,
“When customers come to us with small requests, like sleeves, back holes being removed, or a higher or lower leg hole cut-it all has to be passed and approved by Lisa, the owner and creator of Elevé Dancewear. Whether these requests are approved or not is solely dependent on whether these changes will effect the integrity, fit, or design of the leotard itself. For example, our Anna leotard can have the lower back hole completely removed from it, but our Elizabeth cannot because it would prevent our customers from being able to put it on. If an alteration that is not available on the website is approved, then the next step is to make sure it makes it on the paper work of the order itself. The way to do this is to type it in to the Order Instructions/Comments at the end of your checkout through the website. Anything that is typed into that box, we will be able to acknowledge when that set of orders is printed out.”
So basically it’s common sense stuff. If you want to buy a high necked leotard it’s going to have to have a cutout in the back and a clasp so you can get into it. Unless you’ve somehow figured out how to get in through a leg hole… And you want to contact the company before placing your order because if they really can’t (or won’t) make a change it’s better to know that before you wait however long before the problem is caught. Jessica, the person I’ve spoken to (who is very quick to respond to emails) said that they’re swift to contact people by email if they notice a potential issue with an order. But I don’t know when those orders get reviewed. Is it when they first come in, or once your order reaches the top of the pile? Even if it’s when the order first comes in there are still holidays and weekends to consider. And with a construction time of 6-8 weeks the last thing you want is to have to wait longer because you were a bit impulsive and placed your order asking for customizations that haven’t been approved. And I totally understand the company founder wanting the last say in what changes are made. She came up with the designs, so if you want to change them she deserves the right to say “I love it” or “No way is that going out of here with my name on it”. Cause at the end of the day you don’t want someone’s crazy desire for something dowdy, or risqué hurting your brand’s image.
I also wanted to know more about their tights, fabric options, and fitting info. I get a lot of hits on this blog looking for fitting info so I’m going to start there.
When it comes to sizing they recommend you start with looking at their size chart. That’s a pretty standard recommendation and it is where you should start. But they do understand how frustrating it can be to pick dance wear sizes. So if you have any fitting questions you can always contact them. And if you’ve placed your order but you’re just sitting at home worried it really won’t fit, email them. So long as they haven’t cut the fabric it’s not too late. They’re really more than happy to help you find the right size. I truly believe my leotards were a fluke. As I’ve said before I own three from them that fit identical. These two were just off. I’m going to put it down to the holidays. Sometimes things get overlooked or a person just isn’t paying as much attention as they should because their mind is other places. These things happen when you’re dealing with humans and as you can see here, they’re working to make things right. I’m going to be brutally honest here, my measurements are as follows:
So I should be in the low range for their Large size. Accidents happen. Fabric types vary, and that can effect fit. I think just looking at the sizing chart makes me feel better about this being a one off. But in the future I know if I really wanted to I could attach my measurements to the comments box when placing my order. I probably don’t need to, but I could and they’d have it attached to my order form there to jog their memory. To me it’s overkill so I don’t think I’ll do it but you could with no harm done.
Moving on to tights. I don’t actually have any of these from them but I won’t deny being intrigued. There are actually a few girls in my studio who like to wear cool patterned tights/leggings. One girl has these fantastic Romero Britto leggings and another has ones that make one of her legs look bionic. The teacher actually walked in one day and freaked, thought she was wearing some kind of freaky brace or something. They’re awesome. Now Elevé’s tights are more like leggings as they have no feet. They’re made of the same fabric as their leotards (no mesh allowed) and they don’t currently have a women’s selection. So you have to place your order from the mens section of the site, the style name is Nicholas. To gauge your size just pick the same size you buy for your leotard based off of their sizing chart. If you’re in-between go with the larger unless you’re very petite. And very important! When placing your order you need to put your gender preference in the comments box! That way they know to cut a smaller women’s size and not a mens.
I’m really on the fence about buying the tights myself. Sometimes I think I really want a pair (and not just for ballet…) but other times I think I’m happy enough with my current stuff. I really hope as they continue to grow and expand their site they’ll offer more options for women’s tights. I get why they wouldn’t offer mesh for men, but for women? We wear leotards and shorts and stuff. So I would totally see the mesh looking amazing as tights. But given the nature of mesh stretch material it might be hard to pull off. It generally doesn’t have the same level of stretch and they’d probably have to alter all of their existing patterns as a result. Then there’s the issue of some mesh fabric being two way stretch and others being four. I don’t know if all of Elevé’s mesh is one or the other, or if they have a mix. But if they have a mix it could lead to one pair fitting well and another not even going on. So I could see why they might want to avoid it for that reason or at least limit it to certain patterns. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what they come out with in the future.
Lastly I’m going to talk about fabric. I noticed some old fabric choices were gone and some new stuff added, and I waned to know if they were planning on adding any more fabrics anytime soon. I was told it’s mainly to do with supply and demand. When they run out or something gets discontinued they try their best to replace it. And I understand, fabric gets discontinued all the time. Usually after a few years, although sometimes much sooner. So if you see something you like you might want to get something made in it. Because if it’s popular it might not be available after a season or two. I personally like patterns with roses, but they always seem to have something with them so I’m happy. I was also told that if the owner Lisa come across something that fits their aesthetic she orders it straight away. I guess that’s why the new mesh in smoke is up on their site. I’m sure it was kind of a no brainer when she spotted it, and it is an awesome print. And I know that when it comes to spandex, stretch mesh, and lace fabrics there’s not a lot out there. Well there is, but it’s not like quilting cotton or something like that. For every one printed spandex in the world there’s probably thirty printed cottons- or more floating around. It’s just not a super in demand fabric and not a lot of places stock it. You’re lucky to find even a couple decent four way stretch spandex fabrics at your local Jo-Annes and it’s because it doesn’t sell well. It’s an intimidating fabric and most people don’t want to deal with the hassle when they could buy a swimsuit (what most people are sewing with it) for the price of a single yard. So designers aren’t in a rush to churn out new designs. I will tell you this. I know Elevé has had velvet and burnout velvet in the past. Kathryn Morgan has this one really amazing red leotard with their burnout velvet and I’m incredibly jealous. If they ever come out with another similar fabric I’m buying something in it. I don’t care. I will show no restraint. I cannot miss out on something like that again. And I’m not surprised Elevé doesn’t have any fabrics like that on offer right now since I’ve searched every spandex wholesaler site I could find and there’s virtually nothing in that category. So I couldn’t even buy a little and sew a leotard myself. So sad. 😦
So basically if something good actually comes out, they buy it. But if there are no awesome patterns to be had then there’s really nothing they can do. I won’t fault them for that. So waiting for the next season to place an order hoping they’ll have a bunch of new fabrics release just isn’t the best choice. If you like something they currently have in stock, get it. If you really hate everything they have then you just have to be patient and wait for something to pop up at random.
I really hope this post helps the people who come to my blog looking for the answers to some of these question. If you do have a question I didn’t answer here feel free to comment or contact the company itself. I do want to point out I’m not being paid or compensated in any way for this review. I’m just a fan of the brand and I love to share things I like. And really, I’m just sort of over the moon thrilled with how great they’ve been in wanting to help me and answering all my many, many questions. Companies like this deserve attention so far as I’m concerned. I’ll be sure to post a follow up review after my replacement leotards come in so keep an eye out!