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Ten Years of Bad Kitty®: Pole Clothing In 2008

By on March 21, 2018

Looking back at pole over the last ten years, the sport has grown in a million different directions and thankfully, so has pole clothing. As Bad Kitty® celebrates ten years in the business of making pole and aerial clothing, a quick glimpse at the pole clothing options in 2008 shows just how far pole attire has come. Poling in 2008 involved a lot of unexplored frontiers. First, we had no clue where pole was going except  that Felix Cane’s 2008 Miss Pole Dance Australia YouTube video was mind blowing and required serious analysis on a computer during every pole class, because no one used WIFI on a cell phone. Second, shoulder mounts and butterflies were top competition moves if you could find a competition. Third, finding pole clothing was a test in futility that one had to participate in, in order to do the sport.

Michelle Stanek in shorts and a tank top circa 2007

In 2008, discovering the need for better pole clothing went something like this: flip upside down, realized that lady bits are in other student’s faces, decide to find official pole shorts, oh wait, no one makes shorts with crotch coverage and cute tops that hold the boobs. Coverage was necessary, but official pole clothing had not been created. The process of finding decent pole clothing was something akin to a weekly expedition into the unknown and then coming home and having a trial-by-fire period on each item only to discover that the majority of purchases would not work. This was a time of creative pole wear for anyone participating in the sport.

Stripper Clothing

Traci Hauptman in Leg Avenue

As a nod toward the exotic roots of pole many a poler in 2008 tried clothing made for strippers, and many still use stripper clothing today in performances. The pluses included things like the tininess of the clothing, which gives lots of room for skin contact on the pole, and of course the fabrics are fun and the cuts are super sexy. However, in moves such as the chopper, one can be reminded of the lack of coverage. It became clear that the purpose of the clothes was often for them to come off rather than stay put. In a pole class this was not always the goal. The polers who saw pole as a gymnastic workout and underground sport needed more functional clothing. It was hard to concentrate if you bits were always out.

Swimsuits

Shayne Evans in her bikini circa 2010

At first swimsuits seemed like a great idea for polers.  The fabric was breathable, it had range of motion and you could find cute matching sets. However, the second a straddle happened all hell broke loose, in the form of nips and vagina. Most of class was spent readjusting tops and bottoms for coverage. It was quickly discovered that most swimsuits were designed for lounging at the beach and not for adult pole gymnastics.

Athletic Shorts

Lori Keaton in gym shorts in 2009

Even in 2008, we wanted to legitimize pole as a sport and buying athletic shorts seems liked one route to follow. Many hours were spent combing the sporting good stores for volleyball shorts, cheerleading shorts and even spandex bike shorts. The fabrics were respectable; however the cuts were often unattractive creating muffin top, high-waisted camel toe and and frequently one had to roll up shorts to get skin contact. All sexiness was drained from pole in a pair of spandex bike shorts.

Yoga Shorts

Lezah Victoria Piscopo in her yoga shorts circa 2008

The hot yoga explosion was beginning to heat up, but very few clothing companies were making hot yoga shorts at this point in time. The fabrics were breathable, stretchy and hygienic, but what hurt was the slim selection and the price tag. The limited number of  companies who were making yoga shorts were charging an arm and a leg for spandex underwear because the market had not yet been flooded.

Built-in Skirts and Shorts

Built-in tennis and golf skirts were not only cute, but meant for sporting. This seemed like a genius idea at the time. One could wear sport shorts and have a cute skirt. This worked well in a level one class until pole sits and inversions started happening. The ineffectiveness of the skirt was often discovered mid-performance when many a poler almost lost her life to her skirt getting caught between her thigh skin and the pole.

Dance Clothing

Selena Fallien in Hot Topic

Leotards were not a thing in 2008. First of all, the full coverage fabric didn’t allow for belly and side skin and leg hangs were chief moves that one had to accomplish in order to conquer the 30 moves in the pole universe. Many of us were fixated on making stripper clothing work at this point, however we did dabble in ordering dance shorts and glittery sports bras online from dance supply companies. We looked like 14-year olds about to do a jazz performance at a local competition, but we could do the splits without showing everything.

Shoes

At this point in time no one knew that pole could be done barefoot. Seriously, no one had ever seen anyone on earth perform pole barefoot. Pole meant you wore seven inch stripper heels and skirts and tried to do gymnastic moves you hadn’t done since you were eight-years old. The few studios around at that time didn’t sell pole shorts or tops — because there weren’t any pole clothes in existence –but there were always mountains of shoes for sale. The brands were Pleaser or Ellie and everyone had at least ten pairs of shoes ranging from white thigh highs to clear platform heels.

BK Brand Ambassador Nadia Sharif in her 10 inch Pleasers. Photo by Kerry Jones

The day that Bad Kitty® released the first pair of true pole shorts was possibly one of the most important days in the history of poling. Trying to find appropriate pole clothing in 2008 took dedication and the willingness to try and fail miserably. Not having to test out pole shorts before class or a performance was life changing. The right clothing for a sport allows for participants to concentrate on the sport, and not on the quality of clothing and what is and isn’t covered.

Featured Image: Nea Dune in full coverage back in the day

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Rebecca Stokes
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Rebecca Stokes

Rebecca is a certified personal trainer, aerial studio owner and has developed training certifications in the aerial arts industry.She is a journalist and is working on her Masters in clinical mental health therapy.
Rebecca Stokes
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