The criteria is a little different this season as we tweak some of our point totals to better analyze the designs. There will be up to three points for design, up to one point each for fabric and sparkle, school spirit and uniqueness and up to three points for overall appearance. This week Kalley, Katie W and Rebecca are joining Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth to help judge.
Design 2.5/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.8/1, School Spirit 0.9/1, Uniqueness 0.6/1, Overall Appearance 2.6/3
I really love this. It’s understated as a whole with the mostly black and white design, but that makes it so the sparkly block M on the front and strappy back really really pop. I’m not sure I can pinpoint anything I don’t like about it.
Design 2/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.9/1, Uniqueness 0.5/1, Overall Appearance 2.5/3
I appreciate this design for its simplicity. I will always love a black leo, and the bright pop of the M on the chest is a lovely contrast. The design on the back is also unique, along with the square neckline. Overall I really liked this one.
Design 2.5/3, Fabric 0.9/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 1/1, Uniqueness 0.5/1, Overall Appearance 2.5/3
I love this leotard from Maryland. I’m always here for a simple, well-designed leo with plenty of school spirit. The back is gorgeous with the sparkle strappy design. Like Kalley, I really love the color contrast of the Maryland logo with the black base. The only thing I would potentially change would be the square neckline.
Design 2.7/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.8/1, School Spirit 0.9/1, Uniqueness 0.3/1, Overall Appearance 2.8/3
I didn’t honestly know this one was new, but I like it a great deal. The M is so rich and vibrant against the fairly muted background, and the strappy back is excellent too.
Design 2.5/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.8/1, School Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 0.7/1, Overall Appearance 2.6/3
I think this leo may be the best Washington design of all time, not that that’s a particularly difficult mark to reach. The purple is great, the use of gold over yellow is smart and the design is regal and flattering. I also of course love the ombre sleeves. Now that we all love it, Washington will go on to wear it approximately twice in the next 10 years.
Design 2.0/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.8/1, School Spirit 0.8/1, Uniqueness 0.7/1, Overall Appearance 2.0/3
I like the way purple and gold are used here; it’s not the easiest color combination to make work (as a Minnesotan and Vikings fan, I have opinions about this). I love the ombre sleeves and the way the crystals were used. I just don’t care for the gold pattern on the chest.
Design 2.4/3, Fabric 0.6/1, Sparkle 0.8/1, School Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 0.7/1, Overall Appearance 2.6/3
Washington has one of my favorite colors combinations as its school colors, and it finally utilized it to its full potential. The purple primary color is stunning, and I love the way there is just enough gold with the crossover front design. The purple to yellow ombre sleeves are ultimately my favorite part.
Design 2.8/3, Fabric 1.0/1, Sparkle 0.9/1, School Spirit 0.5/1, Uniqueness 0.8/1, Overall Appearance 2.9/3
This is pretty much a perfect leotard to me, and it’s so appreciated since most recent Washington leotards are mediocre or even outright unpleasant. (Looking at you, nude sleeve atrocity.) When I first saw this leotard teased in ambiguous lighting, I worried that the sleeves faded to nude instead of yellow, but in reality they’re vibrant and lovely.
Design 1.8/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.8/1, Theme Meet Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 0.9/1, Overall Appearance 2.0/3
I’m really torn on this. When I first saw it, I really disliked it. I just don’t like paisley. The design grew on me as the meet went on—the black and gold do look great, and I appreciate the use of gold rhinestones—but overall I wish the geometric design was slightly different and the paisley was…something else. Kudos to UCLA for going all out with a whole leo, though. And if the gymnasts on the team love it and feel empowered by it, that’s really all that matters.
Design 2.8/3, Fabric 1/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, Theme Meet Spirit 0.8/1, Uniqueness 1/1, Overall Appearance 2.8/3
I was a little nervous when I saw the preview, but the overall design actually really worked for me when I saw the whole thing. I really like the contrast of the black and gold and I love the fist on the shoulder. This leo was universally flattering on everyone, and I appreciate that it didn’t go overboard on the sparkles to highlight the paisley pattern.
Design 2.1/3, Fabric 1/1, Sparkle 0.6/1, Theme Meet Spirit 0.8/1, Uniqueness 1/1, Overall Appearance 2.4/3
This leotard has grown on me a lot over the course of the last week. It’s definitely busier than I prefer in a leotard, but the color contrast of the black and gold is just too good. I love the empowerment that it stands for and would just love if they made the top a bit simpler.
Design 2/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0/1, Uniqueness 1/1, Overall Appearance 2.3/3
Like the others, I was initially skeptical of this leotard, but it grew on me. I don’t mind the busyness of the pattern, but I do find the geometry of the gold straps confusing and distracting, particularly in the underarm area. It’s also almost devoid of any sort of identifiable UCLA-ness, which I don’t necessarily mind but still find odd. No one would accuse me of wanting a ton of school spirit, but Pitt’s BLM leotard at least had both school colors present somewhere to identify which team it belongs to.
Central Michigan: 7.450
Design 1.6/3, Fabric 0.6/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.6/1, Uniqueness 0.7/1, Overall Appearance 1.8/3
This is close to being great but not quite there for me. I like the ombre sleeves and the design near the cuffs, but the rounded/wavy/curved neckline is a no from me—choose a lane! Overall it’s a solid design, it’s just slightly missing the mark. I’ll also note that when I first saw this, I couldn’t figure out which team it was, so while the logo is on the back, it doesn’t scream Central Michigan.
Design 2.8/3, Fabric 0.9/1, Sparkle 0.9/1, School Spirit 0.8/1, Uniqueness 0.7/1, Overall Appearance 2.8/3
This is my new favorite CMU leo, hands down. I love the ombre sleeves and the flame pattern on the body of the leo (I like it more than their other fire leo, which I realize may be an unpopular opinion). I also love the flame pattern on the base of the sleeves as well. This one is really a *chef’s kiss* for me.
Design 2.2/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.5/1, Uniqueness 0.7/1, Overall Appearance 2.2/3
I’m surprised at how much I like this leotard; the ombre sleeves are absolutely stunning. I think they pulled off the flame design better than anyone I’ve seen in the past, and the leotard as a whole works together nicely.
Design 1.8/3, Fabric 1/1, Sparkle 0.9/1, School Spirit 1/1, Uniqueness 0.9/1, Overall Appearance 2.2/3
I like this one a lot, mostly because I find the matte maroon very satisfying to look at. The flame imagery could perhaps be a bit clearer, but I like the sparkle neckline and the fact that the pattern is also present on the ombre sleeves.
Design 2.0/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.9/1, School Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 0.8/1, Overall Appearance 2.3/3
OK. This is a leo that has to grow on you. Overall, I finally decided I really like it. The shade of red goes so well with the white, and I love the sparkle pattern. I wish the red body design didn’t look like a Chinese soup spoon, but overall this is very good.
Design2.0/3, Fabric 0.9/1, Sparkle 1/1, School Spirit 1/1, Uniqueness 0.8/1, Overall Appearance 2/3
I had to sit with this one for a while, because generally speaking asymmetrical designs aren’t my favorite. That being said, I actually loved everything else about this: the contrast of the red and white, the sparkle design and Arkansas across the back. I just wish it was symmetrical; that would boost this one quite a bit for me.
Design 1.3/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 1/1, School Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 0.8/1, Overall Appearance 1.9/3
Let me start off by saying that I was ecstatic when I saw the warm-up leotard for this one. It was absolutely stunning and I honestly wish they just added sleeves to it, but I’m not the biggest fan of the asymmetrical design and cut on the top half. I also feel like there was no need to make that one sleeve mesh, but the sparkle and color does make-up for some of its flaws.
Design 1.8/3, Fabric 0.5/1, Sparkle 1/1, School Spirit 0.5/1, Uniqueness 1/1, Overall Appearance 2.1/3
I like it more than I thought I would. I saw mismatched sleeves and recoiled, but over the course of the meet I warned to its goofy charm. The top shoulder region is definitely clunky, as others have identified.
North Carolina: 6.350
Design 2.3/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 1.0/1, Uniqueness 0.7/1, Overall Appearance 2.4/3
You know I’m all about a matte, color-block-esque design. Normally, I would balk at such a big logo, but it works here. I also love the argyle on the sleeves—so UNC.
Design 2.4/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.6/1, School Spirit 1/1, Uniqueness 0.8/1, Overall Appearance 2.2/3
There are things about this design that I love: matte white paired with a darker contrast color is almost always a win in my book. However, I wish they used the Carolina blue on the bottom as opposed to the navy. I also love the argyle on the sleeves and the sparkle design of the logo on the chest.
Design 0.9/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.6/1, School Spirit 1/1, Uniqueness 0.8/1, Overall Appearance 1/3
OK, I know i talked about loving a simple school spirit leotard, but this one doesn’t really work for me. The bottom half is the best part of the leotard in my opinion. I am not a fan of the geometric design on the shoulders at all or the combination of the white matte with the large light blue North Carolina logo.
Design 0.7/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.5/1, School Spirit 1/1, Uniqueness 0.8/1, Overall Appearance 1.1/3
The logo is just too big and clunky, and it drowns a lot of the positive assets of this leotard. I like the argyle, it’s a very classic UNC aesthetic, and I don’t mind the navy. But the logo makes the whole thing look quite clunky.
Design 1.7/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 1.0/1, Uniqueness 1.0/1, Overall Appearance 1.8/3
I have to give props to Michigan for always coming up with a creative way of incorporating an “M” into each leo’s design. This leo isn’t my favorite—I’ve never been a fan of the off-the-shoulder look—but I do really appreciate the uniqueness.
Design 1.5/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.6/1, School Spirit 1/1, Uniqueness 0.8/1, Overall Appearance 1.6/3
I really want to like this—typically I love Michigan leos—but I just don’t like the scalloped pattern on the front. I appreciate the effort to be unique (and to be fair, I love the M on the back!), but the front just left a lot to be desired.
Design 1.8/3, Fabric 0.6/1, Sparkle 0.8/1, School Spirit 0.7/1, Uniqueness 1/1, Overall Appearance 2/3
Mesh is hit or miss for me, and this one kind of misses the mark. I think the mesh on top was unnecessary for a leotard look. I love the creative thinking with the inclusion of the M on the back, but I just can’t get behind the way the mesh looks with it. I wish the neckline was different because it would definitely amp up my opinion of it.
Design 0.6/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.9/1, School Spirit 0.9/1, Uniqueness 0.8/1, Overall Appearance 1.1/3
This one is a miss for me. I’m not a huge fan of the doily aesthetic, and while the concept behind the back M is clever, it doesn’t end up looking very good in combination with the nude mesh.
Ball State: 4.575
Design 1.4/3, Fabric 0.6/1, Sparkle 0.7/1, School Spirit 0.6/1, Uniqueness 0.6/1, Overall Appearance 1.5/3
It’s a rather boring design, but I also kind of like it. I’m always a fan when it’s the rhinestones that make the design rather than different fabrics or colors. Plus, you can’t really go wrong with an all-black leo.
Design 1.3/3, Fabric 0.7/1, Sparkle 0.8/1, School Spirit 0.6/1, Uniqueness 0.6/1, Overall Appearance 1.5/3
As I’ve mentioned many times, I love a good black leo. That being said, I just wanted more out of this one. I liked the BSU on the sleeves, and I actually appreciate the more unique crystal design here, but overall this one was just underwhelming.
Design 0.6/3, Fabric 0.6/1, Sparkle 0.6/1, School Spirit 0.5/1, Uniqueness 0.7/1, Overall Appearance 0.6/3
I love a basic leotard, but this one is too basic. I’m not really a fan of the crystal design on the front like my fellow editors, leaving me with not much to like about this one.
Design 0.9/3, Fabric 0.8/1, Sparkle 0.8/1, School Spirit 0.3/1, Uniqueness 0/1, Overall Appearance 1.0/3
Yeah, I have nothing new to contribute here. It’s not violently awful, but that’s about all you can say for it.
READ THIS NEXT: Leotard Rankings: Week 7
Article by Elizabeth Grimsley, Kalley leer, Katie Walsh and Rebecca Scally
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