The Underpinnings

The Underpinnings

If you’re a dancer or and aerialist, you probably already know that you need a metric shedload of specialized equipment and that a surprising amount of that equipment is basically Super-Fancy Underwear (woo!).

Likewise, you’ll find that not everyone wants to discuss their Super-Fancy Underwear choices. I, on the other hand, have no shame, so I’m happy to discuss mine. Whilst this will be of little help to most of the ladies in the audience, it might be helpful to other guys and guy-like people and not-so-guy-like-people-who-happen-to-have-guy-like-appendages and so forth.

Below are links to the very varieties of Super-Fancy Underwear that I use, along with a link that every single male aerialist, dancer, and probably jogger/runner/equestrian/competitive four-square player/what have you on the face of the planet could stand to peruse: the eloquent Doctor Dancebelt’s Guide.

For Dancing While Male

Since I despise the feeling of narrow (okay, and even quasi-narrow) elastics, I’m extremely partial to the widest waistbands available.

Not everyone agrees with me about elastics, obviously, and Dr. Dancebelt reviews a much broader (and narrower!) array of dance belts than I’m ever likely to try, unless I somehow overcome my aversion to narrow elastics. He also includes a handy page on vintage dance belts that will make you feel glad you’re alive and dancing (or what have you) in the modern era, because holy cow, those things do not look comfortable.

Likewise, I don’t like dance diapers full-seat dance belts — they’re both less effective in terms of actual functionality and more awkward-looking under dance clothes (not to mention, if you’re me, flat-out uncomfortable), so I don’t know much of anything about them.

Anyhow. Here we go:

Doctor Dancebelt’s Guide

Dance Belts I’ve Tried So Far (or Have Ordered But Not Yet Received):

In brief (ha), I’ve shifted from being rather partial to Capezio’s N5930 towards really strongly preferring both the Body Wrappers models and the WearMoi, which is very similar in concept and design.

Both these models share some of the features that I like about the Capezio Quilted model (no awkward covering adding bulk to the waistband, thong back), and forego the giant-rope-right-up-the-backside problem endemic to the N5930.

This makes them significantly more comfortable than the N5930 when you’re going to be wearing them all day — especially if you’re an idiot like me and wind up scheduled so you’re doing class in one city, then driving for 90 minutes or more to class or an intensive or a rehearsal in another city without a chance to change first.

So, in short: for a solid recommendation, go with the Body Wrappers M006 or M007 or the WearMoi option. The WM dries quicker if you need to hand-wash it (for some reason, the pouch on the BW belts takes forever to dry unless you’re really, really good at wringing it out), while the BWs are just plain sleek and smooth in ways that nothing else is.

Oh, one last but incredibly important bit — sizing.

READ THE SIZE CHART. Then measure yourself. Then measure yourself again. Then compare your measurement to the size chart. Then order.

Your jeans or trousers size is not usually your actual, honest-to-goodness legit measurement (expressed a little more mathematically: nominalsize31 != 31″).

Likewise, like bike kit manufacturers, dancewear manufacturers are rather notorious for their creative ways of categorizing sizes. Thus:

  • According to Capezio’s size chart, I’m a small. The large is, in fact, officially too large for me at this point.
    ~
  • According to WearMoi’s, I split the difference between medium (waist) and large (tuchas), but next time I’ll probably go for a medium.
    ~
  • According to Body Wrappers, I am a large. This appears to be legit.

If you want a direct size comparison, here’s a photo of the two dance belts I still use and the Capezio that I don’t use, but keep around for emergencies, I guess?…

01-Size-Comparison

Top to Bottom: Capezio N5930, WearMoi WM131(1), BodyWrappers M006. 
These are all nominal Larges, I think. Maybe I ordered the M006 in a medium without realizing it? Anyway, it fits fine now.

In other words, make Bob Vila proud: measure twiceorder once. Dance belts are generally not returnable!

For Dancing with Moobs

I also feel that as a dude who dances (and cirques) with moobs (at least for a little bit longer, anyway; looks like that might finally get fixed), I could stand to post links to and review some moob-management solutions. The single, hands-down, no-holds-barred (even in acro-balancing) winner, as far as I’m concerned, is GC2B.

GC2B’s product is designed for transguys, but don’t let that stop you if you don’t fit into that category (I’m glad I didn’t). Their vests work better, wick sweat better, and breathe better than literally anything else I have ever tried, and I’ve been at this for a while.

I am sufficiently comfortable in these things to wear them with nothing on top, which is something I haven’t done since I was 16 (thanks, Risperdal!). People man-handle me in acro-balancing; instructors poke me in the chest during ballet; recently my modern instructor wrapped her arm around my chest from behind while correcting my high release and I didn’t feel weird about it.

To be fair, this might not be as possible for someone with moobs larger than mine, but the superb comfort and functionality of GC2B’s vests still puts them in a class by themselves.

I keep meaning to write a full review of the GC2B’s half and full-length vests; once I do, I’ll link it here.

For dance and aerials, by the way, I strongly recommend the full-length vest in black. It makes for smooth lines if worn under a shirt, stays put, wicks sweat from your torso, and (if, like me, you feel comfortable wearing it by itself) looks very much like traditional dancewear.

Oh, and it’s nice and fitted, so your instructor can yell at you about flaring your ribs, failing to properly engage your abs or back, doing your high release from the wrong part of your back, and all that jazz … or, well, ballet … or modern … or trapeze … or … or…

I’m hoping that, by the end of this year, I won’t need mine anymore for moob-control purposes, but I’ll probably keep it anyway because it’s frankly a great shirt for class.

crossback-straddle-inversion-trimmed

*In fact, I’m wearing it here!

The only other option I’ve found at all satisfying is Underworks’ Tri-Top half-length vest.

The fact that I own three of them and basically haven’t worn even one of them since I got my GC2B vests should tell you everything you need to know. So should the fact that I’m perfectly happy to be photographed in my GC2B vest*, but would never consider wearing the Tri-Top without something over it.

I used to consider Underworks’ Tri-Top the gold standard, and they’re still okay, but GC2B has them beat out by a long shot for my body. That said, Bodies Are Different™, and your mileage may vary.

Vests I’ve Tried:

GC2B Half-Tank**

GC2B Tank**

Underworks Tri-Top

**I’ve linked to the black ones here, but there are other colors. I like the charcoal grey a lot, and just ordered one of the new “nude” range to go under my white unitard for next Saturday’s performance.

  1. I’m not actually sure I have the right model number, but I think this is it. The description sounds right.

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