throwback leotard rankings

Throwback Leotard Rankings: 1991 NCAAs

We’re bringing back throwback leo rankings this offseason to tide you over until 2019 arrives! The criteria is the same as always: up to three points for design; two points for fabric, sparkle, etc.; and two points for school spirit; three points for overall appearance. Guest judges this week will be Emily HF, our senior photographer, Emily M, our Big Ten and MIC editor, and Luci, our MAC and recruiting editor. The meet? We’re taking it way back again to the 1991 NCAA championships.

Oregon State: 7.900

Design Fabric/

Sparkle

School

Spirit

Overall

Appearance

Total
Elizabeth 2.5/3 1.6/2 1.4/2 2.6/3 8.1/10
Emily HF 2.3/3 1.9/2 1.0/2 2.4/3 7.6/10
Emily M 2.7/3 1.9/2 1.0/2 2.4/3 8.0/10
Luci 2.2/3 1.7/2 1.5/2 2.5/3 7.9/10

Elizabeth: I kind of love this? The holes aren’t even that offensive with this design (and I think they’re actually nude faux holes?). The white and orange really go well together (*cough* Florida). The millions of sequins are a bit weird, but I’m OK with it.

Emily HF: Please stop with the side cutouts—this isn’t a good look on anyone. Other than that I would really like this leo, but I just can’t with the side holes. Like.. why?

Emily M: I love the back. The deep-ish V surrounded by orange works, and I like a good white leo. It’s a little overly simplistic, but I don’t hate that because the orange is so bright. But what is going on with those gigantic side cutouts? NO. STOP IT. Remove those and add the Beaver head—small—maybe in black to one of the hips or arms, and I would love this.

Luci: I like the white and orange together. I could do without the side cutouts, but that seems to be the theme here. I’m glad they kept it simple.


LSU: 7.500

Design Fabric/

Sparkle

School

Spirit

Overall

Appearance

Total
Elizabeth 2.4/3 1.3/2 1.8/2 2.3/3 7.8/10
Emily HF 2.0/3 1.3/2 1.8/2 2.2/3 7.3/10
Emily M 2.3/3 1.0/2 1.8/2 2.1/3 7.2/10
Luci 2.2/3 1.4/2 1.9/2 2.2/3 7.7/10

Elizabeth: I actually really like this one? The purple color is really nice and the hole in the back flattering, but the yellow cuffs just don’t work. But that faux necklace thing stitched on the front of the leo? Why did anyone think that was a good idea let alone comfortable?

Emily HF: OK, at least this is a semi-normal place for a hole, and there’s not a bunch of other random ones. The waist line isn’t actually all that bad. That, like, stitched on lace/necklace design thing in the front is a no, though.

Emily M: I love a purple LSU leo, and this one is fascinating. I can’t stop looking at it. I like the low waist, which surprises me, and the back hole works with that line. Bonus points for getting the yellow in there on the cuffs. My big question is the neckline. It looks like those shirts you can buy with a pseudo necklace sewn in? I just…why?

Luci: I like the color combo here, and it seems way more timeless and classic than the others. I like the cutout in the back. The yellow cuffs and super intricate necklace thing just seem like unnecessary details.


Georgia: 7.500

Design Fabric/

Sparkle

School

Spirit

Overall

Appearance

Total
Elizabeth 2.1/3 1.5/2 1.7/2 2.2/3 7.5/10
Emily HF 2.0/3 1.5/2 1.7/2 2.0/3 7.2/10
Emily M 2.0/3 1.5/2 1.6/2 2.3/3 7.4/10
Luci 2.2/3 1.8/2 1.7/2 2.2/3 7.9/10

Elizabeth: Why did those side holes have to go and ruin an otherwise perfectly nice leo? The black and silver works for Georgia and really plays into that darkness to Alabama’s lightness in the storied rivalry. But the holes!

Emily HF: Um… did someone tear their leo there and then decided to make all the other leos match? I don’t understand the placement/existence of this hole… Otherwise it’s a perfectly nice leo.

Emily M: Georgia has always been so consistent with its leos. I wouldn’t be shocked if this were a 2019 style. I’m here for all black, and that chevron style was in. The “G” on the front is pretty big, but it’s echoed by the size of the keyhole back; I appreciate that symmetry though I’m not a huge fan of either feature. But WHAT is happening with those side diamond cutouts? Ugh.

Luci: At first I thought this was finally a “normal” leo…and then I saw the holes on the side. I like the silver and black and the incorporation of the “G,” though, and I can see Georgia wearing an updated version of this in the future.


Utah: 5.875

Design Fabric/

Sparkle

School

Spirit

Overall

Appearance

Total
Elizabeth 1.4/3 1.2/2 1.6/2 1.5/3 5.7/10
Emily HF 1.0/3 1.2/2 1.8/2 1.5/3 5.9/10
Emily M 1.9/3 0.9/2 1.8/2 2.3/3 6.9/10
Luci 1.0/3 1.3/2 1.2/2 1.5/3 5.0/10

Elizabeth: This is alright… Better than Penn State’s at least, but the large v design isn’t super flattering. Plus, there’s more holes, so it’s just a huge no.

Emily HF: This V is distracting me from all the holes—totally in the wrong place… But the holes are bad too…  

Emily M: More holes help me. At least the leo isn’t all about the holes, and pink was Utah’s thing for a long time so some school spirit points there (related to the Ute tribal colors I think? Like the new leo this year?). The chevron style was also very on trend back in the day. Overall, I’m not mad at this one.

Luci: What’s up with multiple holes on sleeves? I wonder if we’re going to look back at the intricate back designs that we see/love now and wonder what they were thinking because this was clearly a style. It just looks weird and moth-eaten to me. I do like the pink, though just not the placement of the V on the stomach.


Penn State: 3.500

Design Fabric/

Sparkle

School

Spirit

Overall

Appearance

Total
Elizabeth 0.5/3 1.0/2 0.8/2 0.8/3 3.1/10
Emily HF 0.5/3 1.0/2 1.0/2 0.9/3 3.4/10
Emily M 0.8/3 1.2/2 1.0/2 1.1/3 4.1/10
Luci 0.5/3 1.0/2 0.9/2 1.0/3 3.4/10

Elizabeth: This leo has approximately 43 holes too many. Apparently holes were the THING in 1991 because every leo has at least one. And it’s something I can’t get past—at least on this one…

Emily HF: Holes holes holes…. Oh wait there’s actually a leo? I thought it was just all holes…and the blue seems…completely random.

Emily M: Oh good grief the HOLES. A keyhole front. A keyhole back. Holes down the arms. I like a good all-white leo but oh my. What are the random blue splotches doing? Just accentuating the HOLES. Also, that high neck is beyond the pale.

Luci: Hole-y cow that’s the lot of holes. I think there are also weird rhinestone things in between the holes? Surprisingly, this is one of the more subtle leotards at this competition, but I still don’t think it works.


Alabama: 2.675

Design Fabric/

Sparkle

School

Spirit

Overall

Appearance

Total
Elizabeth 0.6/3 0.9/2 1.0/2 0.8/3 3.3/10
Emily HF 0.5/3 0.5/2 0.5/2 0.5/3 2.0/10
Emily M 0.5/3 0.8/2 1.0/2 0.6/3 2.9/10
Luci 0.4/3 0.7/2 0.9/2 0.5/3 2.5/10

Elizabeth: Oh my god. This leo tho. The stripes that stop halfway across the body. The star. The holes. (The matching polka dot outfit Sarah Patterson wore to go with it.) I just can’t with this leo; it looks like a clown costume.

Emily HF: Are we…going for a candy striper tribute here? Or like…patriotic with the red and white stripes and the star? But… NOPE.

Emily M: The first time I saw this leo I laughed out loud. Are we tumbling candy canes? Why the line down the middle with opposite sleeves? Why a star and not, oh I don’t know, the Alabama “A”? Why add a keyhole to the already super busy leo? WHY.

Luci: Well…at least they went for it? That’s the only positive thing I can say about this one.


Article by Elizabeth Grimsley, Emily Howell-Forbes, Emily Minehart and Luci Lantos

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