Leggings or booty shorts
Tank top or form fitting top
Sports Bra (for advanced classes)*
Platform stripper heels (see "Stripper Heels-To Wear or Not To Wear" section below) *
* if necessary
Fishnet pantyhose (Medium to wide net industrial strength with reinforced toe)
Thigh high stockings
What to Wear?
For the warm-up, it’s best to wear comfortable attire that you can move freely in, preferably form fitting to allow you to see your body's silhouette and ensure you are practicing proper form and engaging your core. You want to avoid loose pants and tops that can fall down, ride up, or get tangled or caught up while we are working out. Layers are the way to go. Yoga pants, leggings, or leg warmers with shorts and t-shirt, long sleeved shirt, or tank top are all good choices.
Form fitting/revealing attire is especially important once we begin pole dancing. You want to be able to see your curves and the mechanics of your movements. Most beginner pole moves do not involve body grips (using the skin of your legs, waist, armpit, etc. to hold on to the pole) so leggings and tops with sleeves are fine. Just wear something that makes you feel sexy yet comfortable.
Booty shorts are necessary for intermediate/advanced classes as well as classes that involve spinner pole, climbing, pole sits, poses or inversions. Booty shorts are optional for beginner students.. See section below for a more in-depth explanation of when and why booty shorts are necessary for pole dancing.
Knee pads help protect your knees and enable you to slide easily and painlessly when doing floorwork and landing certain spins. Cheerleading, dance, gymnastics, volleyball, or knee pads specifically for pole dancing work the best and can be purchased in most sporting goods stores or online. We have extra knee pads for students to borrow until they are able to purchase a pair of their own. Here are some links to our favorite knee pads:
What NOT to Wear
Lotions, oils or otherwise slippery products that could impede your ability to effectively grip the pole.
Rings, bracelets, jewelry and/or clothing/shoes that include rivets, studs, buckles, or other hardware that may scratch the poles or interfere with climbing.
Street shoes, socks, tights or pantyhose (fishnets are ok) that may cause your feet to slip/slide.
Weightlifting gloves or clothing that partially or fully covers any part of the hand.
Jeans and/or any stiff or constricting articles of clothing that prevent you from moving freely.
Baggy clothing or clothing with long tassels, straps, strings, cords, laces or anything else that has the potential to tangle around limbs or the pole, creating a safety hazard.
If this resonates with you, you'll be relieved to learn that booty shorts are not necessary for any of the Pole Dancing101 Series classes or for most of our level 1 and 2 classes. You don't need to wear booty shorts for floor work, basic pole moves, or spins on static pole. This is because these moves don't require you to grip the pole with any part of your legs.
So why and when are booty shorts necessary?
When executing moves that require us to grip the pole and support our weight using our legs (such as climbs, Pole Sits, Leg Hangs, Inverted Crucifix, and spinner pole poses) friction is needed and bare skin offers just that. A pole sit relies on upper inner thigh friction while a climb uses the skin of the inner knee, shin, calf, and the top of the foot. An inverted crucifix uses nearly the entire leg, from the inner thigh down to the ankle while a leg hang requires that a dancer grip the pole with their knee pit. These are intermediate to advanced moves, however, and by the time a student is ready to start learning these moves, they tend to have developed a level of comfort with their body that makes booty shorts far less intimidating than they were when they began their pole journey.
Oh, booty shorts--
the bane of many aspiring pole
dancers' existence. The thought of
wearing these skimpy little numbers is enough
to make you change your mind about pursuing
pole dancing. Picturing ourselves in public with our cellulite, stretch marks, spider and/or varicose veins, stubble, or any of the other million things that we might feel insecure about on display gives some of us flashbacks of the locker room in high school.
Click on the links below for some examples of pole appropriate booty shorts:
Thanks to the increasing popularity of pole dance classes resulting in a growing demand for pole gear, there are now leggings designed to grip the pole. Not only do they offer a modest alternative to booty shorts, they also make leg grips virtually painless AND they look great on any body type! We have tried most of the brands currently available and prefer the Gecko Grip leggings by Creatures of XiX for their high waisted, flattering fit, superior grip, and durability. They are spendy, but not more so than other brands of grippy leggings and we think they are worth the price tag. Just remember-- grippy leggings are not a substitute for strength and experience. Just because you can suddenly bust out a Leg Hang when wearing them doesn't mean you should. They are not magic pants (although they may feel like it) and you should first master a move sans grippy leggings.
To Wear or Not to Wear
You may dance barefoot or in heels. Heels help protect the tops of your feet for certain pole and floorwork moves AND they help you feel sexy. They also help prevent injuries to the ligaments of the knee by shifting your weight to the ball of your foot when pivoting. If you do opt for heels, make sure they are “stripper heels” (Pleasers and Ellie are the most widely available brands) that include an ankle strap so that they secure to your foot. Avoid heels with a pointed toe and/or any rhinestones, studs, extra buckles or other hardware that may scratch the poles and impede climbing. And although glitter is super enticing, it's a pain in the butt to clean up. If you must go with glitter, try sealing the glittered areas with Modge Podge.
Here are a couple of articles that explain the mechanics of stripper heels and what to look for when choosing a pair:
And here are our favorite places to purchase stripper heels online: