Yumiko Leotards have long been the buzz of the ballet world for their quality, customization options, fit, and seemingly endless color combinations. It’s rare to walk into a pre-professional school or professional company class without seeing that oh-so-recognizable white tag on the side of their leotards. Yumikos have been synonymous to being the cool girl leotard, but they aren’t without a high price tag, posing the question: are they actually worth it?
Yumiko Leotard Pricing
Yumiko Leotards typically start around $69-82 for the base style (no lining, sleeves, or fabric upgrades). A far cry from the far less expensive options out there at your local dance store, or the internet, although I’d caution you towards some of those. The base model pricing is premium, but is relatively in line with other custom leotard brands such as Label Dancewear, Luckyleo, and Eleve Dancewear. Even a premium RTW leotard brand such as Wear Moi or Ainsliewear will run you similarly, the difference being that these brands already include sleeves, speciality fabrics (lace, mesh, velvet, prints), and lining in their pricing.
Where Yumiko leotards become priciest is definitely in their add on features (personally, I like lining in a leotard, but that’s just me. Imagine dancing in a non-lined white leotard! No, thank you). Lining is an $11 add-on, for both bust and full front lining. Nylon and techni fabrics are the base charge. Upgrading to microfiber is typically $8-10 extra. Velvet is the most expensive fabric upgrade at $15-20 additional.
Sleeves are an $11-15 upgrade, depending on length. Sleeves are only available for some styles.
Leg cut is no longer an additional charge. A high cut leg used to be a $22 additional fee when I was a YumiGirl! High cut leg is one of the best customization options Yumiko offers in my opinion — it is SO flattering and makes my leotards more comfortable to wear.
Shipping will run you $12, which in this day and age of free 2-day shipping does feel a bit steep (it is just a lightweight leotard, after all).
Which Yumiko Fabric is the Best?
The best Yumiko fabric is up to the dancer. I’d stay away from full velvet — my friends and I would complain that it got hot! I have a Denise with Nylon Black as the body, Velvet Black as the top, and Techni Candy as the trim. Velvet for only the bust definitely helps keep me cool in the studio.
Techni vs Nylon is a never ending debate. Personally, I prefer the nylon. I think it stretches more easily and is more comfortable to wear for extended amounts of time. I’ve always felt that the Techni fabric is a little bit heavier and thicker than the Nylon. I’ve found worse color fading in light colored nylon trims than I have in techni trims, when they’re sewn over dark colors.
Microfiber is best for dancers who prefer more of a soft cotton feel to their leotard, rather than a slippery synthetic. In my collection, I don’t believe I have a microfiber leotard (they’re just not my preference), however a few of my previous customers ordered them, and I can attest to them being soft. To be direct, if you’re prone to overheating or heavy sweating in the studio, I’d probably avoid the microfiber as it easily shows sweat stains.
Yumiko Sizing and Fit
My biggest gripe with Yumiko is that their sizing sometimes feels inconsistent. I own the following styles: Becky, Charlotte, Daniela, Denise, Heather, Sofiane, Tamara, Veronique, and Wendy. I’ve also worn the Larissa, Alicia, and Elise. Several of these styles I own in multiple fabrics and sleeve lengths, so I can definitely attest to the fact that your fabric choice might impact your sizing.
Yumiko now recommends going up a size if you’re adding half, 3/4 quarter, or long sleeves to your leotard.
I have a short torso, and I typically take a XS in my leotards. In mock neck leotards, or high neck leotards such as the Charlotte, Larissa, and Elise, I’ve found that they typically fit a little bit long and are best suited for dancers with longer torsos. The Denise and Alicia run a little tight through the bust (especially if your bust panel is velvet), and I’d probably recommend sizing up in those styles if you’re well endowed. The Denise is definitely a shorter leotard, if you have a long torso you may also want to consider sizing up.
The Becky runs long. Mine is a black label with allover mesh, which limits how much the leotard can stretch and makes it difficult to put on (frankly, I really don’t love this style). If you’re doing an allover mesh black label leotard, I’d consider sizing up.
The best, and most comfortable fitting leotards I’ve found are the Daniela, Heather, Sofiane, and Veronique. There’s no elegant way of saying this, but if you have anything of a chest, the Daniela, Heather, and Tamara are all very much prone to side boob. I own so many Sofianes that I’ve lost count — this leotard is so comfortable and flattering, and the sleeves aren’t too tight (although, you do see a lot of dancers cutting the trim off their long sleeve Yumikos because if your arms have any muscle at all, it can really cut in). The Veronique is a great basic leotard to have, and oftentimes is my audition leotard. Some feel like the Veronique does run a little small, but I personally don’t feel as though it runs small enough to size up.
The Wendy is also a relatively comfortable style, however the cap sleeves can be a bit tight and sometimes feel restrictive. If you have broad shoulders, this style might feel a little tighter to you.
Overall, Yumikos hold up. I’ve worn half of my collection past death and they still look great. The biggest issue I’ve found with Yumiko durability is that the lining sometimes does have a tendency to come undone. Unless you happen to have a coverstitch machine (which I SO wish I did), this isn’t the easiest of repairs to make on your own.
I’ve never once had a pilling or snagging issue with a Yumiko, which any dancer who’s ever purchased a leotard from a dancewear store well…anywhere, knows is major. Many of my favorite leotards over the years have ended up looking beat up after a few months of wear from snagged lace or a pilling body.
Are Yumikos Custom Only? Can I purchase Ready-to-Wear Leotards?
Absolutely! Yumiko stocks readymade leotards online, as well as in their boutiques in New York, Berlin, and Tokyo.
Do I think it’s worth purchasing Yumiko RTW pieces? Unless it’s a Black Label ($$$$), not really. Yumiko RTW pieces are charged at the same pricing as their custom leotards, and I’d so much rather be able to order my leotard exactly as I want it (especially when days in the studio can be 8+ hours during performance season).
Ordering Yumiko ready-to-wear is a great option for dancers in New York, Berlin, or Tokyo who need something quickly, or for dancers that need help choosing a cohesive color palette. Some dancers don’t want to play designer, and that’s totally okay!
Are Yumiko Leotards Worth It?
Yes, Yumiko leotards are definitely worth their price point. The quality, fit, and customization options make Yumiko leotards a very comfortable option for pre-professional and professional dancers.
Look, buying leotards can be a struggle. You’ll feel every leg that’s cut a little too low, every strap that’s a little too short, and every bust panel that cuts into you just a little too much. These are things that turn a good bun day into a very bad class. If I wear a leotard that doesn’t fit quite to my preference, I’m bothered by it all day (and this does include some of my Yumikos. Hello Becky, I’m looking at you). By the time you’re thinking about purchasing a Yumiko, you’re probably spending more time in the studio than out of it, and you’d invest in your street clothes, wouldn’t you?
While I wouldn’t recommend investing in a leotard like this for dancers who are still growing or for recreational dancers, for pre-professional and professional dancers who are no longer growing, these are leotards that can live in your collection for a lifetime.
Yumiko does a great job of offering styles that look good on everybody — while some competitor brands design really just for one torso length, Yumiko’s slight variations in torso fit by style really allow them to attract a broader range of dancers.
Shop Inexpensive Ballet Leotards
Eva Phan is the founder of Eva Darling, a travel and style website aiming to empower women to see the world solo while sharing on-trend, luxury feminine style inspiration. Featured in publications including Forbes, Thrillist, and Yahoo News, Eva has combined her education from Parsons School of Design with her incurable case of the travel bug to create a global destination that encourages others to romanticize their everyday.