is a skin-tight
one-piece garment that covers the torso and body but leaves the legs free. It was made famous by the French acrobatic performer Jules Léotard (1839-1870), about whom the song "The daring young man on the Flying Trapeze" was written.
The name "leotard" was applied retroactively; Léotard himself apparently called the garment a "maillot".
Leotards are worn by acrobats, gymnasts, dancers and circus performers both as practice garments and performance costumes. They are often worn together with tights.
Leotards are entered through the neck. (Constrast with bodysuits, which generally have snaps at the crotch, allowing the garment to be pulled on over the head.) Scoop-necked leotards have wide neck openings and are held in place by the elasticity of the garment. Others are crew-necked or turtle-necked and close at the back of the neck with a zipper or snaps.
There are sleeveless, short-sleeved and long-sleeved leotards. A variation is the unitard, which also covers the legs.
Leotards can also be worn as lingerie and are eroticized by some people, often as part of a wider spandex fetishism.