I’m so excited to write this little blog post, it’s been on my mind a little while and I finally have the time to sit down and type away.

So, pole class. If you’ve never been to one, chances are nervous sweat starts to gather at your forehead. So many things to be uncomfortable about, scared of even, perhaps offended by. Here’s a selection rather than exhaustive list:

  • scantily clad bodies.
  • displays of strength and grace primarily of the supposedly weaker sex.
  • a community that embraces every BODY and identity, with a total disregard for all these pigeon holes we get chucked into in our daily lives.
  • freedom of expression and allowing your body to move the way it wants to which can be sexy, strong, gymnastic, dynamic, slow and anything in between or all together.

I’m going to voice a few musings regarding the first point in this blog post, which I summarised as scantily clad bodies. Chances are, if you’re a poler, you literally don’t notice that yourself and everyone in class is wearing what some in society deem as inappropriate/scary/offensive/vulgar. In its essence, shorts and a crop top, styles may vary, pick your fancy. This article is not a defence of traditional pole dancer attire but it may be beneficial for the non-poler to understand why we wear what we wear from a functional point of view to start with before we dig a little deeper.

Shorts and a crop top, just why?

Unless you are using a Chinese pole or other silicone-wrapped pole, you need your bare skin to stick on the pole. Clothed parts of your body will slide right down the pole, they do not grip the standard makes of pole, which are stainless steel, chrome, brass, gold-plated or powder-coated. Hence legs are exposed to ensure grip, arms are exposed to ensure grip, and yes you guessed it, backs and stomachs are exposed to ensure grip. As you delve deeper into more advanced pole moves, armpits will hold you up, even your gluteal folds. So yes, we do need bare skin to stop us from plummeting and enable us to climb and invert to dizzying heights.

That being said, as a beginner, your skin grip is minimal to start with and you can hang out in your fave gym gear or leggings and a loose comfy top, as long as you can move freely. As you progress, your grip will become more important and you’ll need to bring shorts, culminating in your first inverted positions as an intermediate poler, requiring that exposed midriff.

Ok cool, that makes sense, but there are so many buts!

“But I don’t feel comfortable wearing that sort of stuff because [insert elements of your physical body you don’t approve of here].”

Well, tough. In pole class, we actually learn that you can wear whatever the hell you want without being 1000% totally-over-the-moon-happy with how your meatsuit looks because you’re smashing the shit out of those pole moves and you’re effing strong. We wear what we wear because we are celebrating what our bodies can do, not what they look like. End of.

“But why do you need those bitsy bottoms and the cut out top, bigger shorts and tops would do the job just fine.”

Yes some definitely would, but I’m afraid again, well, tough, we just wanna look bloody nice in stuff that makes us feel good. The wearer might feel better about themselves wearing those fancy shorts with the sides cut out, so be happy for them. The fact that pole class is a safe space where we can wear whatever we want should be celebrated, not criticised. With women, but let’s face it, all of us regardless of gender, being chastised all the time for being too thin, too big, not sexy enough, too sexy, too tall, too short, too shy, too determined, pole class provides us all with an escape where every single one of us can be whoever we want to be, if that means wearing short shorts, great, if that means bigger shorts that go down to your knees, also great! We express ourselves through clothing, and pole class gives us a chance to do so in an immersive, embracing, supportive and non-judgemental environment where no one cares if you have cellulite, stretch marks, scars, wobbly bits or not shaved your legs or armpits.
We also want non-polers to understand that pole as we know it being taught in studios around the world today originated in the clubs. Pole wear, totally aside from its functional aspect, is therefore also a direct product of the origins of pole <3

Anyhow, I got quite passionate while writing this, so please excuse the swearing, but I believe in being real.

Anna x