Every dancer has a drawer full of tights, whether they’re ballet pink or black bedazzled fishnets. Dance Informa has compiled a list of tips and tricks to keep your tights beautiful for dancing and usable after you’ve retired them from class or the stage.
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#1. Wash them after every class.
Sweat and bacteria can build up in the fabric and cause odor and sometimes even infection over time. That’s why it is very important to always come to class, rehearsal or a performance in clean, dry dancewear. You can wash your tights in the washing machine with cold water and delicate detergent (like Woolite). Be careful not to wash your light tights with dark colors that might dull the hue or with zippered clothing that might snag the fabric. You can also hand wash your tights with a simple bar of Dove soap. But instead of throwing your tights in the dryer, hang them to air dry over your shower to maintain their elasticity and prevent pilling.
#2. Stop a snag with clear nail polish.
A tiny hole in a pair of tights can quickly turn into a run all the way down your leg! Prevent holes from expanding and snags from running by dabbing a bit of clear nail polish along the frayed seam. The sticky polish (or a spritz of hairspray) will act as a “glue” to hold the fabric together.
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#3. Don’t stay in sweaty tights.
Sitting in sweaty, tight clothing can cause irritation or even an infection “down there.” Pack baby wipes and an extra pair of tights in your dance bag if you have a long day of rehearsal or class.
#4. Know your options.
There are many different kinds of tights to choose from. A traditional pair of tights, like a pair of stockings, is fully-footed. Nowadays, however, you can purchase transition/convertible tights with an elastic hole in the sole so you can cover or free your feet from your tights (great for going from pointe shoes to flip flops!). Stirrup tights leave your forefoot and heel open — great for contemporary or lyrical dances where you’re barefoot. Another option for barefoot dancing is footless tights that stop at your ankle. And then fishnet tights — which literally look like netting to catch fish because of the diamond-shaped knit material — are common in musical theater and jazz dance.
#5. You can finally find your shade!
Nylon/spandex material takes very well to dye, if you want to create a specific skin color (or a vibrant color…or even tie dye!), but make sure you rinse the tights several times with white vinegar (to wash out the excess dye) before throwing them in the washing machine with other clothes.
#6. Recycle your old tights.
Pierced a hole in the foot of your tights? Can’t get the dirty marks off your knees? Cut your tights with scissors to make a pair of “shorts” to wear over your leotard in ballet class or under your leotard and skirt for a little extra coverage. Or, you can use an old pair of tights to remove deodorant marks on dark clothes, shine a dull pair of shoes or even dust your room. Fill a cut square of your tights with dried lavender, and tie it off with a bow to create a potpourri sachet for your sock drawer or dance bag. You can also cut loops from your tight legs to use as hair ties and hairbands!
Do you have more ideas and advice when it comes to tights? Share them with us in the comments section below!
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By Mary Callahan of Dance Informa.