Update! Travel Planner Essentials & More

Hi everyone I know it’s been a long time since I’ve blogged but as always, I’ve just been busy. I’m headed to Hawaii again and I’m hoping to do another “What’s in my travel planner bag” video. I did one before and that was just for shorter trips.

For some reason WordPress won’t let me embed this video, you can see it here though.

This is a different situation. I’m going to my house. So I have supplies there, as well as space to work. When you’re in a hotel you generally want to pack light. But when you know you’ll have space to work, it changes things a bit. Now granted we’re going out to pack up the place and turn it into a vacation rental. So I don’t want to pack too much stuff. In the past I’d have probably packed more cause if I didn’t want to bring something home to my mainland house, I’d just leave it. In theory I can still do that. But I don’t want strangers touching my stuff. Some of our neighbors have just installed a proper lock on the closet under the stairs. I may do that myself.

I may want to turn this into a series. I’ve seen some seriously great videos on this in the past. This one is my favorite.

Hopefully I can eventually create a system as great as this lady by popfizzpaper.

I stay with my BIL a lot and we have a bedroom there. I’m free to leave things and he’s encouraged me to do so. I really need to bring a coat and maybe a cardigan to leave there.  But beyond clothes I’d love a few crafty things. I want a few washi cards, some blank stickers, one of my favorite pens, and scissors for sure. My BIL somehow manages to exist without scissors. He does have one pair but they’re horrible and never in the same place twice. He’s a school teacher but has virtually nothing in the way of office supplies. So I really want to make a very small kit to leave there. I plan to use one of those Freckled Fawn poly zip bags. They’re the size of a 1 quart ziplock. So not super big, easy to store, yet still plenty of space to hold all of my essentials. I managed to carry a ton of stuff in a bag half the size, so I should have everything I need and more in a bag that size.

I’m happy to keep the original video up, just so people can see the evolution of my planning style. I love watching these videos but too often people show what they’re planning to bring and you never know what they actually used. I’m all about traveling light. So I want to be able to show what I actually used, and what I’ve phased out over time. I feel like that’s the information people really need.

I’m also hoping to do some journaling/scrapbooking. I bought a Zinnydori because I wanted something personal size, cute, and with plenty of pockets for decorating on the go. I also bought a Polaroid Zip pocket printer. I’ve been trying to use it but have so far been failing. I think the trick will be to actually carry it with me. When I went to Disney I carried just a passport sized notebook in my bag. I wrote the days schedule in it, then as I went about my day I added little things my son said, happy moments, sad/frustrating moments, stickers, etc. I really think doing this with my actual travel notebook and just carrying my printer with me will mean I get things recorded the way I want them and not result in just a pile of memorabilia that collects dust. I also think it’s kind of a cool way to engage my son while we’re waiting for food in restaurants, or taking a break someplace. Obviously I’m going to need to bring some washi, pens, stickers, tape runner, etc. with me. So I’ll be putting together a pocketbook sized stationary case. I may or may not get a video of that shot. But I’m hoping it happens.

On an unrelated note I bought another Elevé leotard. I decided to buy one of the Ready To Wear styles. I bought one in a limited edition fabric that’s exclusive to the RTW line. The particular style I bought is also limited to the RTW line. Naturally I’ve already contacted Elevé to ask a million questions. They know I’m writing another review and tried to answer to the best of their availability but it’s still a very new line so some things may change. I will share everything they told me though. As the RTW line ships right away it’ll be in Hawaii a day before I arrive! I decided to have it shipped there as I wanted to be sure I’d get it right away and I didn’t know if it’d get to me before I left. I’m so excited to get it! So like last year all my pictures will be in my crazy purple bathroom, lol. I’m not sure what other leo’s I’m going to bring. In addition to my review I may end up doing a post on what I pack when I’m going to go to class while traveling. How I care for my leo’s, how I pack them, shoes, and more.

So keep an eye out, more posts will “finally” be coming. I’m sorry I’ve been slacking so much. I’m just trying to do too much, too often and getting burnt out. I have a goals list that’s way too long. I really just need to pick one project per month. Otherwise nothing is going to get done. I have sewing projects (tulle skirts for my friend and I!), a dollhouse I’ve been building, a coat I want to sew, as well as some button downs. I really need those button downs before fall comes and our leaves have been changing for weeks now… As time allows I’ll be blogging about all of it. And as always, please feel free to comment and let me know if there’s any specific project you want to see covered here!

New Elevé Dancewear!

Hi all, this post was supposed to go up last week, but I’m pretending last week didn’t happen altogether, so there we are. I’m also still out of ballet and we’re going on six months now. I am considering going tomorrow but we’re just going to have to wait and see how it goes. My husband’s been working a lot, I’ve been trying to see how long I can go between food shopping trips before we literally have no food in the house, it’s just been crazy. I’m also still in a lot of pain. So even though we need to do things like eat (I should really just sign up for Amazon Fresh at this rate) I’m basing my attendance off of my pain scale and how much I’m willing/able to just suck it up. Right now there’s like a 50% chance I’m going, which in all fairness is way better than the zero percent it was last week. I really just need more injections. Not just to be able to do ballet, but just to be able to live. IDK, I’m expecting my doctor to call me by Friday. If he doesn’t I’m going to call to make an appointment on Monday and I’ll leave a message for him then. I’m lucky, my doctor is awesome. I actually have his home number and he told me I can call him any time. But I hate being “that patient” so I leave him alone (except that one time but I meant to call the office).

So even though I may or may not be wearing these anytime soon, I wanted to share my new leotards. I bought them forever ago so I can’t remember how long production was, but I don’t think it went outside the normal quoted times. I did have contact with the company. I asked for the solid fabric on both my Anna, and my Tri leotards and Jessica their awesome customer service rep contacted me to be sure that’s what I really wanted. I told her I definitely wanted to do a solid back on the Anna, but that I had been waffling on the Tri when I placed the order. I told her to surprise me. They sent the mesh and I was right, I did love what they picked! So it was kind of a fun surprise. I know some of you might not want to play that game. But I’ve bought from them so many times I felt confident I’d love whatever was sent.

First up is the Anna. This one is a Large, no back hole, and a bust liner. The colors are Bluish Purple and Orange, both are matte.

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As you may have guessed, I had trouble getting the colors to photograph accurately. There will be a photo at the end that shows all three leotards with a more accurate representation of their colors. But this one is still a little off. The color is deep, but not anywhere near this intense/fluorescent. I would say it is more blue, calmer, and very pretty. It’s a great contrast to the orange which I really like. I had debated getting the trim in white, but with the intense colors of the rest of the leotard, I was worried it wouldn’t stay crisp. Any bleeding and the look is just ruined. Knowing how some of the more intense colors have bled on me, I didn’t want to take the risk. I actually have this in the washing machine right now, on the delicate cycle so I can’t say if these colors do bleed. Probably should have washed it by hand for reviewing purposes. But I just wanted it done and I tossed it in without thinking. I probably should take this opportunity to point out, none of my reviews are paid. If I were being paid I’d probably be a LOT more thorough and wouldn’t skip the little things. But I buy all of these with my own money and my reviews are 100% my own thoughts! So while I miss a bit here and there, you can rest assured I’ve not been swayed in any way.

The fit on this was standard and comparable to my other Anna’s. I love the fit of this one in particular. The length is good, it’s not too tight or too loose. It’s a fantastic style if you want or need to wear a bra. Especially if you get a solid back. No one will ever see it. Obviously you’ll get lines or indents where it is, but you won’t have straps or anything peeking out. So great for fuller busted women. The style never seems to ride up either. So all around, perfect for those who are looking for something simple, easy to move in, but also don’t want to flash a ton of skin. It’s still really cute so you won’t feel dowdy in it either. It really is the ideal blend of traditional ballet leotard functionality and modern styling.

The next up is the Laico With Sleeves. This one is size X-Large, has the full back, bust liner, and the “above elbow” length sleeves. The base is Velvet Roses, and the top is Black Mesh.

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Once again, the colors of this are off. The base is very much a true Navy. The color you’ll see in the last photos with all three is almost 100% spot on for color accuracy. The color looks so weirdly intense here but I liked that because the trade off is a very clear look at the flocked rose design. I have to say, comparing the flocking on this to something like my Wear Moi leotards, this is miles away better. It’s very well done, there doesn’t appear to be any shedding, and it’s very soft. It’s not at all stiff and crunchy like this stuff can sometimes feel. The fabric really flexes well and the designs don’t split apart. I have so many leotards that my Wear Moi ones aren’t worn enough to show serious wear. But just based off of my initial impressions of both, I feel like this fabric would hold up far better over the long term. No flocked design lasts forever though so I would generally recommend hand washing this one if it’s a real favorite to preserve it’s lifespan. I did buy this one in an X-Large. It’s a size that Elevé really only offers in this style. I do feel that this particular style runs smaller than some of the others. So if you generally buy a large, you may want to go with the size up in this one. If you’re unsure you can always contact the company and Jessica is fantastic. She’s always happy to help. You can send her your measurements and tell her what size you usually wear in their brand and others and she should be able to help guide you. If you do want a leotard with sleeves, and you don’t have those amazing, incredibly thin dancer arms, having the X-Large option. I have thinner arms. Especially for someone 31 with a kid, but they’re hardly twigs. You can see them in some of my other review posts. I have normal person arms. These sleeves are seriously my perfect fit. It’s also worth mentioning that I do have disproportionately long limbs (we make a lot of positive ape index jokes in my family as I’m not alone) yet these sleeves literally stop, right above that first bone in my elbow (not the part that sticks out, but if you feel on your arm, you’ll find it it’s like that first divot above the joint). I would so trust them to make me a long sleeved one. I’d probably contact them first to give my measurements to be sure. But I feel like they cut the sleeves long. Yay!

*You can see my review on the Wear Moi ones here, please excuse how heavy I look in those photos! I was on a med that made me gain a lot and I didn’t know how bad it was at the time, so that review is a little skewed on sizing as well.*

The last one up is the Tri. I bought the size Large, no sleeves, with the bust panel. The base is Dragon, and the top is Arabian Mesh. Sadly it would appear that Dragon has been discontinued, Maharaja would be the closest alternative. I actually debated between the two when picking a fabric for this one. Overall I’m happy with my choice though I may still add Maharaja to my collection (availability permitting) in the future.

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Before I say anything else, I want to take the opportunity to point something out here. The design is perfectly centered on this leotard, both front and back. Some people won’t notice things like this, or just expect it as a given. But I do notice these things. This is something that takes extra effort when cutting the pattern and it’s an added expense for the company. When you cut fabric with a pattern like this you’re wasting quite a bit. When working with a solid, or a busier pattern you can just cut with a focus to getting the most pattern pieces out of every yard. With fabric like this, you’ll ultimately throw yards and yards, from every bolt, away. They did not charge extra for this fabric even though some small Etsy businesses would probably (and fairly) add a surcharge.

That said, I love the feel of this fabric. It’s definitely different from all of my other ones. With patterned fabric you never really know what you’re getting. Some are shiny, others are matte, the stretch is often different than that of a similar fabric that’s solid. This one is incredibly soft and would go as far as to say this is not their standard milliskin but more of a microfiber. I haven’t contacted the company to ask, but it’s a very different feel. Despite that, it had decent stretch and wasn’t restricting. I do feel that this particular style is cut a smidge shorter than some of the others, so there is that. But it’s not restricting in any way. This feels on par with my other Tri styles. So it’s not the most comfortable, that probably rests with my Anna styles. But it’s not going to bother me during class. I do sometimes notice that I have red marks on my shoulders after wearing leotards in this style though. So something to keep in mind if you’re going to be in this all day, or if you have a long torso. I have an average length torso, my height is 100% in my limbs. I have my measurements listed on another Elevé review but I can’t remember which one. If you’re here just for these reviews (and I know some of you are) then you’ve probably already seen them. Keep those measurements in mind when considering what size to buy.

I wanted to include a photo or two of all three side by side, the colors in these photos are most accurate.

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I feel as though the first photo shows the Velvet Roses most accurately and the second photo better showcases the Bluish Purple. It is still a bit more blue than purple in real life, but this is much closer. If you’re looking at the Elevé website the swatch they show looks pretty much identical to this, but the real life color is not this purple. It’s just very difficult to capture in a photo.

I’m often asked questions about liners, how transparent different fabrics might be, and so forth. It seems like Elevé has settled on using a piece of the leotard fabric to do their bust liners. I support this. They did use a plain piece of white spandex for the last one, but it matched the interior color of the fabric. I find that matching the leotard often works out better than going with a “nude” color because not everyone is the same version of nude! At least for the bust, it hides a colored bra a bit better. That’s just my opinion though. I found all three of my fabric choices to be opaque enough to hide a bra. I don’t usually fuss over the color of the back so I didn’t double check with the orange color. But I feel confident that most of my bras would hide well under it. I personally don’t care if my bra is visible under mesh. Sometimes I wear one, sometimes I don’t. All of my bras are purchased with the awareness that they may be seen. So bright colors and cute patterns, I don’t mind if they peek out. Or even if the entire back is on display.

I’m sorry there aren’t any shots of me in them. I’ve just really not been up to it. I did try them all on and record my thoughts so I could share them. I’ve taken photos of myself in these styles in the past and you can refer to those to consider fit. I hope to get better at the selfies in the future and one of these days I’ll find a full length mirror I like! At that point I promise to update this post.

If you want to see more of my Elevé posts, click on the links below.

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/my-eleve-leotards-are-here/

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2015/01/08/my-newst-eleve-leotards-a-review/

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2015/01/15/my-leotards-are-going-back-answers-from-eleve/

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/my-replacement-eleve-leotards-have-arrived/

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2015/06/08/a-review-of-my-newest-eleve-leotards/

https://thekoolchicken.wordpress.com/2015/07/20/eleve-skirts-and-pointe-shoes/

Heaven help me, I think that’s all of them! As always if you have any questions or comments please feel free to leave them down below. I always try to reply in a timely manner. The company is also super great about answering customer questions so I highly recommend contacting them. Good customer service is kind of a big deal with me, and this company is one others could stand to learn from. They have started a Ready To Wear line. Every style is limited stock and once supply is gone that’s it. So if you’ve wanted to try the brand but were unsure if it was worth the 6-8 week wait, this is your chance! They also accept returns and exchanges within a 2 week period on RTW items. So if you were hesitant to order based on size you can buy the size you think you are to try them out. But be fair! Don’t buy just to size them and then send it back and place your “real” order. They’ve made these in their most popular styles and color/pattern combos. So order something you’d really want to keep. There’s plenty to pick from!

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Something else worth mentioning, the absolutely beautiful Secret Garden spandex (shown above) and mesh appears limited to the RTW line. I hope it’s eventually added to the custom options. But even if it isn’t it’s great that they’re thinking ahead to help limit the cookie cutter look with fabrics only available in one form or the other.

That’s all for this post. For those of you that have been waiting for this I’m sorry it took so long. I don’t have any more leotard or ballet posts planned as I’ve been out for so long. Elevé did have a Fourth of July sale but I didn’t partake in it given my circumstances. Perhaps during their next sale.

Elevé Skirts And Pointe Shoes!!!!

Well, it’s been two years of classes and it’s official, I started pointe! I knew I was going back to Hawaii and I said to my husband if I’m going to start pointe I’d like to do it with my original teacher. So I said to her I’d like her to assess me when I come out and see if she thought I was ready. And she told me to get fitted! I actually went the next day and was fitted before class. After class I talked to my teacher and told her I also wanted her opinion on whether or not she thought this was a good idea. She was actually very enthusiastic and told me I was totally ready. I was pretty surprised by that. I’d been putting off asking week after week, month after month because I thought for sure I wasn’t strong enough. But after starting the meds for nerve pain, the lidocaine patches, and the steroid injections…. Something has changed.

*Time Out*

Those who have followed this blog since the very beginning know I have been suffering from chronic pain since my c section 2+ years ago. For those of you who are new here, well now you know. And I haven’t mentioned it on here before now but I’ve been seeking treatment and so far it’s working. The meds are hard core and not easy to be on, but it’s getting better. I’m hoping this sticks because I do not want to have to keep getting the injections or stay on these drugs indefinitely. I’m still in pain, but I’m a lot better so it’s easier to cope with. And it wasn’t until now that I thought I could do pointe. You need your core to do it, and until very recently I simply couldn’t use those muscles. Now I can.

*Time In*

Before when I went to do something like a pirouette, I’d arch my back, wobble wildly, and fall out of it. I’d do the same thing whenever I’d try to stand on one leg, etc. I started treatment and suddenly I was landing pirouettes, balancing, and my arabesque is halfway to decent. My teacher actually asked what happened and mentioned that my abs are now pretty prominent under my leotard. It really was like night and day and I suppose it probably seemed strange. I go away for a few weeks and come back a totally different student. But because of it I was actually feeling confident. I still worry the whole thing will come crashing down under me, and that overnight I’ll be back to where I started. And given that I still have sudden surges of pain I know I’ll probably be bed-ridden for a while if it all suddenly stops working one day. So I’m crossing my fingers that this holds. And I’m going to make the most of it while I can so I’m happy I have the support of two of my instructors. And then there’s what I was fitted with…

I tried easily fifteen pairs of shoes and five different brands. The Gaynor’s were my second favorite but they didn’t have my size. I’ll probably try them again in the future if I find someplace with a bigger selection just to see. The Bloch’s were a nightmare, but I wasn’t surprised since their flat shoes never fit me. Eventually we got to the Grishko’s. The sales lady didn’t think I’d be able to wear them, she said they were too hard for a beginner. But nothing else was working. Well, I can more than get over my box in them despite earlier predictions. I bought the Grishko 2007’s and I have to say, at the time I’m writing this I really like them. As I start actually wearing them, that might change, lol. If my feet are strong enough to do that despite never having done pointe before I’m sure I’ll kill them pretty quickly which is sad. But I didn’t get the hardest shank they make (I bought the medium) so I can still go up one. Regardless of all of this, I’m super excited. I’ve worked really hard, taking as many classes as I can. Pointe was a goal, but it wasn’t my main goal. If I never ended up on pointe I’d have lived. After all, I didn’t bring it up to my current teacher even though I’ve been at that studio taking enough classes, and for long enough for them to have given me the green light. I’m glad I waited until I felt ready.

Now that the big pointe news is out of the way, my newest Elevé order is here! This time I bought skirts! This is something totally different for me, previously I’d only ever ordered leotards from them. I’m glad I decided to branch out though, these skirts are super cute. I decided to buy colors and patterns that matched my favorite (at the time) leotards. I really love the look. Here they are!

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Aren’t you just in love with how the back of the tank style Vinzant looks with the matching mesh? It’s so pretty! Here’s a look at the skirt on it’s own and a closeup of the fabric.

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If you notice those crazy zig zaggy lines they aren’t a problem with the image, the fabric actually does this. I do not know why. But when it’s just presented as a single layer like on a leotard or in the skirt while worn it’s not something I’d noticed. This is the skirt folded so it’s four layers thick as that produced the most accurate colors. These colors are true to life. Somehow the skirt seems more vibrant than the leotard, but it’s definitely the same fabric and I’m thrilled! You’ll also notice that the skirt is longer in the back and may I just say, I love that. It’s a very flattering look. Now it’s not longer by much, as you can see. So if you have more of a rear end it may appear level with the front. I suppose this is one of those times I’m grateful to have no butt to speak of, lol.

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This one I didn’t think looked as good as the Vampire/Paint Your Roses Red combo. I think it’s because the reds just sort of blend together and it creates softer look overall. But this one has lighter mesh paired with a very dark spandex so it’s a little more jarring. Not that I think it looks bad, cause I don’t. But this is something to think about. I’ll actually probably be pairing this with some of my other leotards for now simply because it’s summer, and we’ve been having a heat wave. Mesh or not, I have no desire to pass out so sleeveless is the order of the day for now! That’s okay though, it’ll be fall before I know it. After all, September is only two months away.

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The colors you see in the first image are true to life. I feel like the closeup is just a bit paler and less blue overall. It’s mostly seen in the background. The background color is a very noticeable light blue that’s not as green leaning as it is in my second photo. I think this one would look fine with my black leotard, and I’ll probably try it out with my purple one. But I wish I had a green one to pair it with. I think that would look super pretty.

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I show you the back in this last photo not because I like the way it looks (I think it looks fine BTW) but to show you how the Tri looks with a skirt. The back panel is very long and designed to show off mesh/lace (although you could do a solid spandex if you wanted). And with the sheer skirt you’ll see that it covers part of it, even if it’s not much. So just keep that in mind if that’s going to bother you.

This leotard and skirt were incredibly difficult to photograph. The colors either come out way too bright or too dark. In these photos the colors look like they’re the same, and that’s good because they’re supposed to be (both are Raspberry). But they most certainly are not. Just take a look at the following photos.

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This skirt is very bright and the leotard is very subdued. I did not expect this. I know Kathryn Morgan likes to match her mesh to her leotard and hers all seem to match really well. They have a leotard on their site called the Michelle and it’s a mesh/solid spandex leotard and the colors are the same. The mesh sleeves on that leotard are the same vibrant pink my skirt is made out of. Sadly they didn’t list the fabric info on that one so I can’t see if they just used the wrong color. Honestly if I’m going just off their Fabric Gallery I’d say this looks like their Lipstick color and not like the Raspberry color.

I had a feeling they’d have another sale for the 4th of July and I was right. So I ended up buying a few more skirts and a couple more leotards. I said to my husband it’s barely a week into July and I’ve burned though almost half of my allowance already and he just laughed. But it’s totally worth it. My allowance is supposed to cover the expenses he doesn’t understand anyways so he can laugh all he wants. I don’t regret the purchase at all. Since this is being written in advance by the time this goes live we’ll be almost halfway though the wait till they arrive. I’m so excited about it. All I’ll say is that while there are both leotards and skirts, one of the skirts is lace. I can’t wait to see what it looks like. 😀

See you next week!

Sneak Peek Of Things To Come

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If you want to find out more you’ll have to keep checking back each Monday. 🙂

A Review Of My Newest Elevé Leotards

I mentioned on here months ago that I ordered a new Elevé leotard. Well a few weeks after that they had a sale so I ordered three more. There’s free shipping on orders of $150 or more, so really I was saving money by ordering more. 😉 I decided since the orders were placed pretty close together I should just wait until I had all four before doing a review on them. My first leotard took about six weeks to the day to arrive, so technically ahead of schedule. These last three took closer to eight, being one day shy of the day I placed my order. I’ve often found that the more I order at once the longer it takes for my order to arrive. Makes sense, I seriously doubt they spread different items from the same order to several seamstresses. They likely go to one, and she (or he) is responsible for the total order. And they finish when they finish. I’m fine with that, these are worth waiting for.

First up is my new Vinzant leotard. I picked “Bed Of Roses” for the base and “Celery” for the mesh. The size is Large and it feels a bit snug in some areas, as well as a smidge short. I’ve found that this is just the way the shiny spandex seems to be. It’s just tighter. My last Vinzant was in the matte spandex and even though the tag says Medium (an error on their part, I only noticed the other day) it fits fine.

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The next up is the Anna style. The base is “Blush”, the back is “Bed Of Roses” and the trim is “Ivory”. I bought a size Large and it’s spot on. I want to caution that the Blush color is very sheer. So sheer in fact I will not be sharing detailed photos of it. I even pulled on a pair of tights thinking it’d fix it, but nope. So you either need to be willing to wear black (or another dark color) tights, or shorts with this. I really wish I got the full front liner but it’s too late now. 😦 I tried a neutral thong, but it’s painfully obvious. As are the tights. This color is basically see through and I almost wonder why they didn’t contact me to say “what are you thinking”. The bust panel seems to do a decent job of covering up the girls. But I could obviously just wear a bra with this style. I have another Anna with a mesh back (and a back hole, I asked for that to be omitted from this one) and when there’s mesh a bra doesn’t look so great. Although I have been know to wear them sometimes, but I wear a bright contracting color so it’s clear it’s a deliberate choice.

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This one is the Laico With Sleeves. The Base is in “Jade” and the mesh is “Flower Bunches”. The size is a new one and it’s X-Large (please note as of the time I placed my order not all styles were available in an X-Large). Given how much trouble I had with this style I decided to try it out. I found that it is a much better fit. I laid this one out on top of my other Laico and as you can see there is a real size difference. Now granted it’s more in width than length but that’s okay, because it’s a four way stretch fabric. If you need more stretch one way, and less in another, the fabric will give where you need it. I often buy tights too big so that they’ll have the stretch lengthwise. So it’s snug enough, yet the perfect length. The fabric really blew me away too. I pulled it out of the mailer and it just took my breath away. These photos don’t do it justice. The Jade is bright! I tired taking photos under different lights but it made no difference, it refuses to be accurately captured, but the closeup of the mesh is spot on. It’s just absolutely stunning. I desperately want a skirt in this pattern now. Fingers crossed they have another sale soon cause I don’t think I’ll be able to resist. It’s funny too, since I knew I liked this pattern but it wasn’t at the top of my list or anything. I bought it because I was pressed for time. They announced a sale when I was at Disney and my husband wanted us to get ready for the day so we could hit the park. So I really rushed through the order. Clearly the best thing that could have happened to me since this is my new favorite leotard.

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This last one is one of their newest styles, the Tri. They describe it as being for mesh lovers and I would definitely fit that description! I picked the “Raspberry” color for the base and the “Black Tulip Lace” for the top/back. I bought this one in a size Large. Once on this fits perfectly, but getting it on is another story. This lace doesn’t have the best stretch, so it’s a bit snug going over my hips. That’s something you might want to keep in mind if you’re planning to do something like sleeves. Often stretch lace is two way stretch only so I’m not too surprised by this. Four way stretch fabrics are much more comfortable but most mesh and lace fabrics just don’t come in four way stretch, some printed spandex fabrics are two way only as well. So that’s something to remember when buying these crazy/fun patterns. If you’re concerned about fit I’ll tell you what I always do, just contact the company they’re happy to help. I opted for a sleeveless style so my broad shoulders and somewhat flabby arms wouldn’t be restricted. I’m glad I did. I feel like the photos on the website don’t really showcase the tulip design as well as they should. Somehow the tulips get lost in it, probably because the photo is taken from a distance. The photo on the site makes it seem like the lace is a smaller pattern, but in reality it’s very generously sized. The Raspberry fabric is to die for as well. I had a hard time photographing this one as well, but it’s just such a beautiful rich color in person. It’s actually much brighter and more pink in person. It’s very much a fuchsia/raspberry shade.

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All in all I’m very happy with this order. I’m definitely addicted to these leotards, they’re one of my favorite things. If I were Oprah there’d be nothing on my list besides these leotards and maybe washi tape, lol. I just love them that much. I really can’t think of a single bad thing to say about the brand or company. I had to contact them about this order and they got back to me straight away as they always do. And you can just tell the people who work for the company are happy. You can almost hear them smiling in their emails.

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This last photo is a comparison of the lining material they’re using. The one on the right is new, and the left is from my last round of leotards (I think that one is my Lauren in Smoke). The material is thicker, and more like a microfiber versus the same sort of spandex they use for the rest of the leotard. I really like it and I know that if my Anna had been fully lined in it, it would have been fine. Also worth mentioning. There was no bleeding when I washed these leotards. I know some people have mentioned a weird fluorescent yellow that comes off of their leotards for the first few washes and I thought it might be coming from the lining. Given that there was no bleeding (not even with the pink one) I think it’s safe to say it was probably the lining material and the new stuff doesn’t do it.

I do want to apologize for the photos in this post. I’ve been having trouble with my phone and computer and I had to email these to myself. The quality really suffered for it. Then there’s the lighting. I’m just horrible at selfies, sorry. The exposure is always off when I take them. I hope you’re all still able to get a good idea of what these look like in real life. I know there are a lot of people who visit my blog just for these reviews, so I try to get the best photos I can. But what can I say, I’m no great photographer. Please don’t hesitate to contact me or comment on this post if you have any questions I didn’t cover in the post. I’m always happy to help out!

See you next week!

My Replacement Elevé Leotards Have Arrived!

If you’ve been following along you’ll know I had a problem with the fit of my leotards. I contacted Elevé and they really came to the rescue. The representative I spoke to was really a dream to work with, so pleasant and helpful. They paid for postage back to them and put my leotards at the top of the queue. It still took a few weeks from the time they received them until I had my replacements back in hand. But I was happy to wait knowing the company was working hard to ensure my leotards would fit properly this time. They arrived in the mail late last week and I was soooo excited. I literally grabbed the packet from my husband and started running through the house screaming while trying to tear it open. I put them on immediately and they fit!!!! I was overjoyed. I hand washed them and set them aside for class. I was able to wear both once before getting sick and missing something crazy like 2-3 weeks of class! But since I’ve been back I’ve been able to wear both a few times each and they’re holding up super well, just as I would expect.

I find that the sleeves on the Laico are still a smidge tight, but that’s more to do with me than them. I know my arms look reasonably slim in my photos, but they’re easily my worst feature and they’re not that slim. I’m hoping that with continued class they’ll tone up a bit, then sleeves won’t be an issue. Honestly my arms are part of why I don’t buy leotards with sleeves most of the time. I’m always worried they’ll be too tight. These sleeves are pretty good on this though and not overly snug. I can definitely get in and out of them without worrying I’m going to rip them and they’re hardly cutting off my circulation. The length is really perfect though, much better than before. I find that this one is still a bit tight around the middle and I think it’s just down to the fabric I chose. I think the shiny spandex just has less give than the matte and I’ll remember that in the future. All said and done it fits way better than before and I would say is true to the sizing I expected initially.IMG_1551

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The Lauren is a much better fit as well. I did pop a few stitches on the neckline getting in and out of it, but that’s kind of to be expected when you’re squeezing yourself through a neck hole. I’ve gotten better at it though and it’s less of an issue. It’s much longer than the first one and so much more comfortable. I find that the spandex on this one is just super silky feeling and I really like it. I actually wore this one on St. Patricks Day since it was the closest to a green leotard I had. I’ve only worn both of these a few times and I’ve received a number of compliments so I think I did really well with my fabric selections!

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I do have another leotard I bought with my Christmas gift certificate and that came in as well. This was definitely the longest I’ve ever had to wait for a leotard from Elevé, it took the full 8 weeks. Actually it was a few days longer than that because for some reason my post office decided they didn’t want to deliver it on the day they were supposed to. The tracking said Friday but they actually held onto it until Monday. I was fuming. I’ve really had it with the USPS, the level of service they provide has seriously gone downhill over the past 8 years. And they wonder why people hate them… Well it finally got here and it’s stunning! I bought the Vinzant in Vampire and the mesh I picked for the top is Paint Your Roses Red. It came out so nicely and it fits perfectly. I might go as far as to say it’s my best fitting one yet. Now I know this particular pairing has been done to death, but I didn’t care. I just love that red and I really liked that mesh so I’m glad I had this one done up the way I did. I had briefly considered doing the base in black, but I’m happy with the choice I made.

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Now before I go, it’s confession time. Elevé got some new fabrics in, and me having no self control… Well I’ve already ordered another. But I can explain! This new fabric is just so beautiful I’d be devastated if they ran out of stock. So I figured I’d rather buy another leotard straight away rather than miss my chance. I don’t regret it for a second. I’d rather go without any number of other treats in the coming months than forgo a chance to have a leotard done up in this fabric. I’m not going to share with you all the fabrics I chose. If you visit the site you might be able to guess, but you’re all just going to have to wait and see! I’m keeping the style a secret as well. 🙂

My Leotards Are Going Back & Answers From Elevé

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.

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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:

Girth- 62.5
Bust- 35.5
Waist- 30
Hips- 38

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!

My Newst Elevé Leotards- A Review

Well, they’ve finally arrived. Through a stroke of good luck the post office delivered my mail early today. I ran down to the box with my son, who was complaining all the while. I didn’t think it was worth while to dress him just to go to the mailbox. But I forgot, it’s a rather arduous trek (insert sarcasm). And for that reason he felt the need to point to his romper and say “Uh-oh” over and over, and when we finally got outdoors he resorted to yelling “naughty, naughty” at me. Yeah, I’ve got you kid, I’m negligent. We did finally manage to get to the box and my leotards were in there! After racing back as quickly as I could drag Captain Naughty and setting him up with some food I tore them out of the packaging. I was able to take some quick shots of them and I tried all of them on. I do have some good first impressions as well as a proper review for one of the three. It was still a bit damp but I wore one of them to class. It was fine by the time I got there but boy I was cold on the way to the car.

First up is the, Amber With The Full Back.

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I really love this one, I’m not sure it’s my favorite style/color wise, but it definitely is fit wise. This fit the best out of the three. I opted to do this in “Branch Out” and “Black Mesh”, and only got the bust panel. The sleeves are “Below Elbow” length. This one just fits so well and looks so good. The black mesh on the back really sets it off. It looked fantastic while I was in center and I could see both the front and the back at the same time. I would definitely order this style again. This one was very comfy and fits just as well as the two I previously owned.

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Sorry for the super messy bathroom. I didn’t have time to tidy up before the photos. That weird blue thing is like my husbands favorite Christmas gift ever. It’s some stupid gun that tells you the temperature of stuff. Why he likes this I’ll never know, but whatever. Moving on… As you can see I’m still horrible at selfies but you still get an idea of the fit. I think the legs come down a little lower in a more traditional line, but that’s fine. The butt stays put and doesn’t ride up. I hate it when that happens, but even more so when it’s cold out and I’m wearing my sweater tights (I have the Gaynor Minden ones and they’re amazing). Just cause it’s weird to reach into your tights to rearrange your butt. It’s not attractive, don’t do that. I found this to be plenty warm to wear without a sweater, most days I have to wear one for the first half of class, sometimes even throughout the entire class. This was just enough that I wasn’t freezing, yet I never got so hot I overheated. I don’t think this will work in the summer, but it’ll be nice during the colder months.

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It has a mock turtle neck, no zipper, and is sleeveless. There is no back hole option for this one, so the full, high back is standard. This one and the one featured below this feel small. So much so that I thought I’d somehow ordered the wrong size. So either Elevé has changed the fit of their leotards, this particular seamstress cut them too small, or these two styles just don’t work for me. I’ll probably be contacting Elevé over this just to get their take. I literally had trouble getting both of these on. It was a real struggle. This is compared with my original two and the Amber above which fit really well, so much in fact I could probably size down and still be okay. Although I’m not so sure about that anymore…

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If you look at these two pictures you’ll see the warping of the fabric. This damage occurred just from trying to get it on. That’s really disappointing. It doesn’t seem as though it’s lacking in stretch, but when it’s on. Well… It’s short too. I’d say I’d just gained weight but I’ve actually lost weight since I first bought from this brand. I’m 142, down from 146. That might not seem like a lot but considering I’ve actually been putting on muscle as well, it is. I’ve noticed a real difference. I haven’t gotten taller either (I hope). So it was crazy when I had a hard time getting this past my thighs. There’s also the little bit of the collar, it’s not sewn the best. As you can see in the photos (left side) it’s curved. I actually noticed the way it was sewn before I even too it out of the bag. It’s probably just because I sew myself, but all I could think when I saw the stitching was “Oh, that’s sloppy”.

The color for this is “Smoke” and the mesh is “Mallard”. If I’m not mistaken they now have Smoke as a mesh option, but that was not possible when I placed my order. That’s fine. I’m very happy with my color choices and I think doing an entire leo in Smoke might be too much of a good thing. Also, even though this is called Smoke, and it does seem like a good descriptor, I think this is water scene. There are what look like tiny water bubbles in the design, like just here.

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You see that up in the top left? Those are little bubbles. At first I thought there was something on the leo. In fact it looked like perhaps it had rubbed against something rough and those were little pills. So while it may not come across well in photos, they have an almost 3D quality in real life. The fabric really is lovely and I’m super glad I picked it. I think the Mallard mesh really looks good with it. Elevé lists 11 different colors that are present in this print, so you really can’t go wrong picking a mesh to compliment it. You could also go with a solid spandex back, or keep it all the same color. Despite the issues I’m having with it it’s a great style and I really like it.

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You might be able to see (if you look at my butt) this one really digs in quite a bit. It was also a bit tight up by the shoulders. It’s probably not supposed to be this low cut, it is pulling a bit.

This last one is the Laico With Sleeves.

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This one is probably my favorite style/color wise. I opted for the “Below The Elbow” sleeves and had it made without the back hole. I’m really not into those. This one is really beautiful, the base color is “Navy” with the shiny finish and the top is “Antique Roses”. I know they show swatches on their website, but lets be honest, they’re never really enough are they? Here’s a good closeup of the mesh. 🙂

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Isn’t that just so much nicer than the tiny little off color swatch they show on their site? Don’t get me wrong I think they’re okay photos, but some are bigger than others and I find the colors are a bit dull compared to what you get in real life. The colors may be slightly off here because this is sheer fabric and it’s against a colored background, but I find them very true to life. The Elevé site lists the colors featured in this mesh as light blue, medium gray, steel, dusty rose, ivory, navy. I think that’s a fair assessment. But I personally wouldn’t pair this with their dusty rose spandex. Now it might work, but I think this would look best with blues, grey’s, ivory, and maybe even a dark forest green. I was actually torn between a dark green and the navy I went with. I think that while the navy was a safe choice, it was a good one. I love the way this looks.

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Sadly like the Lauren this one is a bit snug and short. I had an even harder time getting this one on. And getting my arms into the sleeves? It was a workout to say the least. Now my arms aren’t the thinnest, but as you can see, they’re hardly my worst feature. I was able to get this on, but it was actually tight up by my upper arms/underarms. So much so that it actually pinched. I just don’t understand why these two leo’s fit so very different from my others. I guess it’s probably just because all of these are handmade. A person really can’t expect things to fit the exact same way every time. Even with the same style. Because if the person who’s cutting and sewing this is the type to cut a bit small, or to take a bit too much off with the serger then it’s going to effect the fit. Humans are just that, human and I can’t really expect perfection. Something very close to it yes, but not total perfection.

I’m a very lucky lady since my mother and siblings gave me a gift certificate to Elevé for Christmas. I’ve decided to hold off on using it until after the move. I figure between now and February they’ll have a sale (probably for Valentine’s Day). And I want to be able to use my new address. Right now the house has been delayed. If something crazy should happen, we could see the move pushed back even farther. We’ve already been delayed once and there’s a limit to what you can predict. I mean, if there’s a problem getting the appliances installed, or the driveway poured then it’s going to be delayed again and that’s all there is to it. I’m telling myself we’ll be in by the end of next month and hopefully that’s true but I can’t know for sure. Besides, Elevé has a 6-8 week production time. This leotard came at just a day or so under 6 weeks. But it could always work out that if I put in my current address, we’ll have moved and it’ll be a hassle. My new address doesn’t actually exist yet anyways. So I’ll wait. It’ll give me some time to think about exactly what I want to get next. I’m thinking about the Vinzant. Kathryn Morgan likes that one and she suggested the Laico to me as well (you can ask her anything, she’s really sweet). She also has broad shoulders she tries to downplay and I agree, the Laico is a good style. I never would have thought I could wear it, but somehow it works. The Amber and the Lauren were pretty good too. I would recommend them to people with broad shoulders as well. The Vinzant is similar to the Laico in that it has sheer shoulders, if you get flesh tone mesh it’ll look strapless. It’ll take me a while to narrow down my selections and I really do need to contact Elevé to be sure there are no further fit issues. It’ll be hard not to be super impulsive, but I think waiting will be worth my while. 🙂

Elevé vs Yumiko

I mentioned in my last post that I’m starting to take more ballet classes. I go Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. In January my studio is starting a new class on Wednesday night at an even better time for me. Since I’ll only be able to do some Saturday classes (scheduling conflict) I want to try the Wednesday class out. It’s an intermediate level which I’m really not up to, but my instructor said I’m more than welcome. So when possible I’m going to try to do that class. Really I’m always trying to take as many classes as I can, and it’s a rarity I’m able to attend all of them. I think over the course of the next year I’d be lucky to go to class all five days a few times. But that’s okay, and the more classes I have open to me the better. After all, before last week I had never done a Saturday class. And unless I want to get my son (who sleeps till noon or later) up at 7am to feed, clothe, and drive him to the play center before backtracking to the studio there will be many Saturdays that I just don’t get to go to class. Just this week I had things to do on Monday and Tuesday and Thursday was a holiday so I’m happy for these past two Saturdays. And that’s how I’m trying to look at it. I want three classes a week minimum and it’s what I’ll need if I want to progress onto pointe.

My teacher in Hawaii (who I still talk to and see) said if I keep up what I’m doing now I’ll be getting my shoes in the next year. But I want to feel confident in them. My current studio will let anyone with a years training take pointe, so I could be doing it now (I could have been doing it in September to be honest). That’s great and all, and if I really just wanted the shoes I’d schedule a fitting tomorrow. But it’s not just about the shoes. I want to do more than just wear them, I want to be able to dance in them. I also don’t want to hurt myself, so while my current teacher says I have good ankle strength and really good feet (and I can do any foot exercise you throw at me without thinking twice about it, yes I’m a freak) I think I could still be better. So I’m going to keep taking class, and maybe in the spring or summer I’ll start thinking about getting pointe shoes.

Since I’m taking all of these classes I decided to get some more leotards and that’s what this post is really about. Right now I have one Gaynor Minden leotard (the Lyric in plum in case you’re interested) that fits well, as well as two Yumiko’s and two Elevé’s. I do have a few others but they were less expensive and ultimately the quality wasn’t there. Both Yumiko and Elevé are expensive but the quality is so much better than my super basic leos from Discount Dance. However, I’m starting to move away from Yumiko.

This is not to say that Yumiko is bad, or that the quality is lacking. It’s not that at all! I still feel like my Yumiko’s are super nice and they are beautiful. But they’re short, and the arms are snug, too snug. I find I don’t wear my Marieke at all. I’ve tried a few times, but the shoulders just keep popping off and it’s beyond annoying. The Anna is much better, but the arm holes are still a little annoying. I do wear that one a lot though so it’s not annoying to the point of distraction. The Marieke on the other hand… Perhaps if I hadn’t gotten it without the sleeves it would be better. Actually I know it would. I’ve thought about removing them in the past but I feel like it’ll ruin the look because I can’t match the trim. I would probably buy the Anna style again, but forgo the sleeves. That aside, there’s still the issue of length. For some reason the Anna isn’t as bad as the Marieke, but it’s still a bit too short as well. I feel like Yumiko’s are great if you’re under 5’6″, but anything over that and you’re really running the risk of it not fitting properly. Yumiko allows you to customize so much of their leotards, I wish they’d give you the option to pay for extra length. Perhaps this will be an option in the future. Until then I’ll be holding off on ordering any more.

Now on to Elevé, my new favorite brand. This company is fantastic if you’re looking for a longer leotard. It’s just they way they’re built, long. They also have mesh, which is something Yumiko is only now getting into, and with only one style. I find that in terms of quality my Elevé leotards are holding up super well, and I wear the two I own all the time. I hand wash them and hang them to dry, and both still look brand spanking new. There’s been no fading and I couldn’t be happier. I’ve actually decided to branch out a bit and order three new ones, in three different styles. I’m not going to tell you all my fabric choices, you’ll have to wait and see when they come in. 🙂

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The first one up is the “Amber”. I initially thought I could never wear this style, I was sure I’d look like a line backer in it. But Discount Dance had some of their new Yumiko knockoffs in stock and one of them was very similar to this. I was actually surprised at how good I looked in it. If it didn’t have the huge cut out in the back I probably would have bought it. But I’m not a fan of cutouts, and the price was $50. If you’re going to compare that to a Yumiko it’s a steal because a comparable style there will cost you $91- before shipping. So it’s half price. But an Elevé is $72 before shipping and unlike Yumiko the shipping charges are only $6-7 and if you spend a certain amount it’s free. Elevé also offers sales (like the 15% I got off this order). So I basically paid a bit over $10 more than the DDS one and got to pick my fabrics and have it made without the back cut out. I also didn’t pay tax on this, and I would have had to pay nearly 10% if I bought the DDS one. So I feel like I made out like a bandit and I’ll be looking good doing it!

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Next up is the “Laico With Sleeves”. I was initially wary of this style as well, because of the shoulder thing. But they had some Ainsliewear leotards at DDS that were similar but with short sleeves and that looked good as well. Kathryn Morgan also suggested this when I asker her opinion on styles since she feels her shoulders are broad as well. She wears this style a lot and I think she looks good, hopefully I’ll look good too. Like the Amber I opted for the 3/4 sleeves on this one, I got the longer ones that stop just below the elbow. And I know you’re probably all wondering, yes I’m still kicking myself for not buying that Ainsliewear one. It was so pretty in black and gold, and they have nothing similar on their website right now either but it’s part of their holiday collection so it probably sold out. It’s not available on DDS>com at all. It was less than $40 too (sobs). If I hand’t bought these I’d probably ask my BIL to go pick it up for me.

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This last one is the “Lauren”. This is the one I’m most nervous about as I think it has to potential to emphasize my shoulders more than the other two. But I’m counting on the v-neck to sort of cancel out the sleeveless style. Sort of like how the Amber style DDS leo looked fine so long as I didn’t zip it up all the way. Worst case I still look broad and I just suck it up and wear it anyways because I bought it in a beautiful fabric I’m going to be happy wearing. After all, they’re just shoulders and people are focusing on themselves. No one’s spending the entire class staring at me and if they are it’s my feet and arms they’re looking at, not my perceived flaws. If you notice on this one it has a cute little mock turtleneck to it. I thought that would look so cute peeking out under my wrap sweater. Just a fun little pop of color (or pattern, again not telling!) up by my face.

Some other good things I like about Elevé that I’m not getting with Yumiko are the style options. For starters Yumiko has 33 styles to pick from, Elevé has 55. Then once you’ve picked your base style, there are often sleeve styles. Both have the same number of sleeve options, but Yumiko’s cost far more. There’s also the bust panel or full front liners and you can get them on both. However bust panels are free with Elevé and they’re $10 for Yumiko. A full front lining won’t even run you that much with Elevé. Now many dancers will roll the legs of their leotards to make their legs look longer, or you can buy them higher cut. For this service Yumiko charges an extra $22. Yes you read that right, to use less fabric they’re tacking on an extra $22. Elevé leotards on the other hand come with a higher leg standard. Both have options for turning various styles into biketards and unitards but I’m not into the look. I do think it’s weird that Yumiko charges less to make something into a biketard which uses more fabric. But hey, they know what people want and will change for it. There’s also the issue of the cutouts. Both brands offer cutouts on many of their styles, but Elevé unlike Yumiko gives you the option to forgo the cutouts. On many of their styles there’s even an option to click “full back”, though I’m told when placing your order if you don’t want it just add it in the comments section and if it’s possible they’ll make it without the hole. So basically they’re giving you even more style options. Then there’s the mesh. Yumiko is just now moving into mesh and that’s great. But I do wonder what the limitations on it will be. In the promo images it looks like they just have black and white, Elevé has dozens of choices and many of them are prints. They also offer matte or shiny spandex (they stuff they use is called milliskin and it’s really cool) and prints. Sometimes they’ve even offered burnout velvets and lace (Kathryn Morgan has a Laico in Vampire with matching burnout velvet that I adore). Now Elevé leotards are a bit more “edgy” and they don’t do just the solid color with contrasting trim. But they have so much else that I personally don’t miss it. And if you do want to do something simple and streamlined you can, like my simple grey and orchid leo for instance. That one could be done solid color (or spandex with matching mesh or just spandex altogether) with a contrasting trim. And there are a few others as well. So you can get a similar look to Yumiko with at least a few of the Elevé’s, but for less. And lastly there’s length, Elevé has it and Yumiko just doesn’t. That’s fine, shorter dancers need something too and Yumiko might be a better fit for them. But for me I just love the length on Elevé’s leotards. They never ride up, they stay in place, and I don’t have marks on my shoulders when I get home from class.

I have mentioned some of these things in the past but I really feel like they bear repeating. Especially since I’m saying I really only want to buy from Elevé in the future. Again, if Yumiko started offering extended lengths I’d totally try them out. But for now I have so many styles, and fabric options with Elevé I’m not sad to say goodbye to Yumiko. And as I’ve mentioned before, Elevé rotates it’s stock, so once a fabric is gone it’s likely gone for good. So I’d rather buy two leotards from Elevé with cool mesh or crazy spandex before those patterns are gone than get just one really basic leotard from Yumiko that has a so so fit and colors that will pretty much always be there.

I just placed my order yesterday and I don’t expect to see my leotards before January. I am moving that month but something this awesome deserves to be shared. So you can be sure I’ll stop whatever it is I’m doing and take photos of these as soon as they get here. And I’m not making any promises but I might be updating my last Elevé post. Previously I was too self conscious to photograph myself in my current Elevé leotards. But suddenly, my back has stopped marshmallowing out of the cutouts. I don’t know how it happened because the scale insists I’ve lost nothing, but I suspect things are starting to shift. I noticed last years knee high boots are a bit snug, as are my skinny jeans so I think my leg muscles have started to bulk back up (oh dear) and I know my midsection is looking like it has a shape to it. I’m still a rectangle, but I now have almost a waist, I’m not the same measurement all the way down! It looks like this ballet stuff is having some nice side benefits. 😀 So I may take a few selfies and add them to the previous post. It’s fun and all seeing what other people have designed and what the fabrics look like in real life, but sometimes it helps to see them on an actual person. And I want to help anyone who’s on the fence about a style or color.

I know my leotard posts generate a lot of traffic and I still get comments on my Yumiko posts. So please, if anyone out there has something to ask or add please feel free to comment. Even if this post gets old I do read all of my comments and try to answer every question as best I can! Don’t be shy. 🙂

My Elevé Leotards Are Here!

I had no intention of writing this post so soon. But that’s 100% due to the fact I never thought these leotards would be here so soon. The tracking said they’d be delivered Saturday, so imagine my surprise to find them in box today! 

I bought two different styles. Here’s what they look like.

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This is the Anna style, I added a bust liner. 

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This is the Nicole style, I added a bust liner to this one as well.

I want to take this time to point out. There was no reason to omit the bust liner as unlike Yumiko, they do not charge extra for it. If you want a full front liner it is an additional $8 charge. That’s very reasonable considering it’s a $10 fee to add a bust liner or a full front liner on a Yumiko.

 Here are the photos of my leotards.

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As you can see, the bust liner is just that, a liner. It is not a shelf bra and offers no additional support. It is the same material as the rest of the leotard, whereas the crotch liner is beige. From what I can tell, the crotch liner is made out of the same type of fabric as the rest of the leotard it’s not the thinner stuff.

The colors I picked are Steel for the base color and Orchid for the mesh and trim. 

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This one features a beige bust liner. I’m guessing because it was easier since the front has two colors. It was really well done too. 

The colors for this are Black for the side panels, Vampire for the base, and the mesh is called Paint Your Roses Red. 

I will not be including photos of myself in these because I’ve already tried to take them and I hated how they came out. The cutouts make it a little more obvious I need to keep working hard in class. I’m almost exactly the same weight I was pre pregnancy (I’m off by like 2 pounds) I’m just a bit more doughy than before and in weird places like my back (seriously, how do you get a fat back?). I’m lucky, I’m not spilling out of the back. I just don’t like the way it looks on me. I’ll still wear this to class, but I’m not keen to share photos just now. However, if you are self conscience or are heavier you may want to skip leotards with the cutouts. 

If you do not specify what kind of fabric you want (shiny or matte) Elevé will pick for you. I elected to let them pick for me and they chose matte. While I love it, you need to be aware it makes every lump and bump visible. My various bumps and such were much more apparent in the Steel/Orchid leo. You could see the outline of my ribs and even the indent where my c section scar is (for the record mine barely goes in, this is just how obvious things are underneath this fabric). I can wear tights and undies underneath and it’ll be fine, but you need a lot of body confidence to wear this type of fabric. I would pick it again, but probably only if I’m getting a darker color. The red and black leo is the same matte fabric yet it does not show everything underneath. Something to keep in mind, not every color is available in both finishes. At present Vampire is only available in matte, same goes for the Orchid.

You do have a lot of control with these leotards, but Elevé reserves the final say. If they feel the colors/patterns you pick don’t match their aesthetic then they will not make it. If they can’t reach you to discuss color changes they’ll do it themselves. So to play it safe I opted to just pick from the list of colors under the mesh swatches. The list of colors is just what colors are featured in the mesh (the rose mesh had seven colors in that design) and since this was my first order with them I figured it would be best to play it safe. 

Size wise this brand is my perfect fit leotard. I bought a Large, but possibly could have gone down to a Medium. I think the material that they use is forgiving enough that even if I dropped 15 pounds I could still wear the Large. But I bought the Large to be safe since I’m so tall and I don’t regret it. They’re very long are I would 100% recommend them to people who are tall or have a long torso and have a hard time finding leotards that fit. So listen up tall people, this is your brand- stop looking. I took these out of their bags and all I could think is, “Wow! They’re so long!”. They’re very comfortable and I don’t expect there to be any issues with riding up or digging into the shoulders.

As you can see, there is a huge style difference between Elevé and Yumiko. I personally like both, and can see myself owing a number of pieces from each brand. But if you told me I could buy another leotard today I would pick Elevé. I just love that they have soooo many options and I’m in love with a couple more of their floral prints. They buy their patterned fabrics in small quantities too, so that their leotards are even more unique. So hopefully they’ll still have some of those prints when I’m finally ready to order again.

I also want to say that this was a fantastic company to work with. I ordered the Orchid/Steel leotard first then a day or so later decided I wanted to buy another. I was fully prepared to pay for shipping twice because it was my fault for not buying them at the same time. But there was something weird going on with the website and it kept trying to charge me extra for the shipping saying I was out of the country. So I contacted them and they got back to me so quickly. At that point I asked if they would just tack this on to the original order even if it bumped it out of line and they said it was no issue. So A++ for customer service! They’re also a U.S. based company and all of their leotards are made here. So if it’s important to you to support U.S. companies then this is the brand for you. 

Price is also something I wanted to talk about. For what you’re getting these are very reasonably priced. These were $63 and $65 plus $6 shipping for both, I do not recall paying tax. I’ve seen basic black ones selling in dance supply stores for at least that much. And while it is important to support local businesses, they do not have to overcharge to the point your credit card melts going through the machine. So if you’re looking for a custom leotard that won’t break the bank then Elevé is a great brand to consider and technically you are supporting a local business, assuming you live in the U.S..

I hope everyone liked this review and that people find it helpful. I’ll try to do an update after I’ve worn these but I don’t expect to run into any issues. The fabric feels sooooo soft and lovely. And my ring actually caught on one as I was putting it on and you couldn’t even tell so it’s sturdy stuff. My only concern is with the red one bleeding, but even there I think I’ll be okay. I just couldn’t be happier with these two and can’t wait until next week when I can wear them!