There are several different types of aerial dance, so for optimum comfort and ease during practice, you will need to find the right dancewear for the specific type of aerial dance you practice.
Aerial silks (also known as tissu and aerial fabric), and aerial rope (corde lisse) require very similar types of clothing. Always wear tight fitted clothes, covering most of your body. You especially need to remember to cover your torso, armpits, and the back of your knees. As your moves become more advanced, you'll be glad you kept this in mind. Covering the right body parts helps prevent any burning on your bare skin during all those graceful flips and twirls.
Tights, leggings, or capri length yoga pants are ideal for bottoms. Just make sure they are soft, stretchy, and snug fitting. Baggy pants and jeans are never recommended because they are far too bulky and inflexible. To keep your torso best covered, unitards and leotards are perfect. Tight fitting shirts that can be tucked in also work well. (Remember you'll be upside down quite a bit!) If your tops are sleeveless, just remember to have a long sleeve coverup nearby for those more advanced moves. There's nothing elegant about a grimace on your face as your armpits get burned! Keep these tips in mind and you'll be safe and happy while flipping around beautifully on the aerial silks or rope.
Aerial hoop (also known as the lyra or aerial ring) and dance trapeze (as well as static trapeze and flying trapeze) have similar recommendations on what to wear. All aerial dancewear is best when it's tight fitting and stretchable, to allow for maximum freedom of movement. The aerial hoop and trapeze moves are slightly different from aerial silks or ropes, so shorts are allowed and sometimes even preferred. Snug fitting leggings also work well for many people, but shorts allow for a better grip on the trapeze bar or metal hoop. Just keep in mind that this can mean more discomfort initially as your skin adjusts to gripping metal in certain moves, such as the knee hang. The good news is that your skin quickly toughens up, so if you opt for shorts to get a better grip, the discomfort shouldn't be a problem for long. Also, your ankles will get quite a bit of use during hoop or trapeze moves, so wear leg warmers, ankle braces or ace bandages to help protect them!
For safety, certain items are never recommended for any type of aerial dance. This includes jeans, belts, buckles, and any clothing with zippers or other protrusions. Baggy pants, such as sweatpants, do not allow fluid movement and can interfere with many moves. Anything that exposes the midriff is also advised against, as it can cause bruises and burns on your torso. Hair should be pulled back and all jewelry, such as earrings and rings, should always be removed prior to practicing or performing.
No matter what type of aerial performance you plan to venture into, the most important aspects to keep in mind for perfect aerial dancewear are comfort and safety!