Ballet Fashion: The Effort to Look Ugly

Hello everyone!  Today is kind of a fun blog post, a commentary and explanation, if you will of…you guessed it…ballet fashion.  Get ready!  And before you click away because this intro is so long, let’s get right into it.

Ballet uniforms vs. ballet fashion

Before we dive into it, I want to clarify that a ballet uniform is not fashion!  That is not what I will be discussing today.  We will be talking about letoard choices, warm up choices, rehearsal choices, etc.  We will not be talking about why that plain black leotard you wear to class at school is so fashionable…because, newsflash!  IT’S NOT!

So, let’s dive into some real ballet fashion…

Inspiring pictures

We’ll begin with some inspiring pictures of dancer warm ups from around the web.  BTW if you have never seen a company class or rehearsal before, you’re in for a treat:

NYC Ballet Ballerina Style01_Company Classballetfashion7balletfashion3balletfashion6balletfashion4balletfashion5



You’ve probably seen a few different leotard styles throughout that montage…so let’s explain.  Here are a few of the dancer’s favorite leotard brands:

  • Yumiko
  • Elevé
  • Wear Moi
  • Leotards from Etsy shops
  • Hand-made leotards/small inner-company vendors

Because dancers, especially in the corps de ballet, don’t get much self-expression and individuality onstage and when they are dancing, their leotards and outfits can make them stand out.  Dancers love leotards with varied colors and textures rather than one plain slate.  Yumikos and Elevés are perfect for that – you can customize the style, fit, textures, fabric, and colors/patterns for the entire leotard.  They are also great quality.

Dancers can also get a unique leotard from Etsy that is hand-made and customized just for them.  Not a lot of other dancers have those leotards, and that choice is becoming very popular nowadays.

There are also many dancers that create their own leotards, or they purchase them from somebody in their company that makes leotards.  This also gets you unique ones, and the whole process becomes more personal.

Some favorited leotard colors are below:

  • Light pink
  • Hunter green
  • Mint green
  • Ocean blue


Professional dancers hate tights.  They are pretty comfortable, but they remind them of their days as a student and they make them look too “childish.”  At least this is what I see and hear.  They like to be more individualistic.

One option is to wear black tights.  While it isn’t great for your lines, it looks cool and is widly appreciated as a solution to the problem.  But…if you are going to do this…never put them over your feet!  Please!  The worst thing is when a dancer wears black tights over their feet and then puts pink pointe shoes on top…it makes me want to throw up.  Please don’t be that person.  Also, always wear your black tights OVER your leotard, not under.


Another solution is to wear no tights, and instead wear tight-fitted shorts or cropped leggings over top.  Many dancers like this during summer, and let’s face it…it shows off those leg muscles!

Many dancers like to cut off the bottom half of their tights, so they’re like…half tights. You will rarely see a professional wearing their tights underneath their leotards, too. ESPEICALLY WITH BLACK TIGHTS, always wear your tights over the leotard.  It’s more comfortable, and definitely more fashionable.

Warm ups

This is where things get really weird.  Because…the messier the better.  Here are a few warm up staples you should know about:

Sauna pants.  Also known as trashbag pants or shorts, they provide extreme comfort and are super warm and cozy!  My favorite outfit is a pair of thigh-high black, knit leg warmers and purple sauna shorts over them with a pink and grey Yumiko on top.  I look SO COOL!


Jumpsuits.  A necessary part of life.  Whether they are cool sauna jump suits or just knit ones, they are super cozy and will keep you warm all day.  Highly recommend it!



T-shirts/sweatershirts with tutus.  I mean, not with attached tutus (omg!!!), but just wearing them at the same time as wearing tutus.  Here’s a pic:

Girl on the far left!!

Legwarmers, obviously, are also an important part of rehearsal and class fashion.  Especially if they are ripped and very messy at the bottom.  It’s the best when you have a lucky pair of legwarmers that are totally destroyed but you wear them every day.  ❤

Hair and jewelry

Your hair and jewelry is also a very important part that completes the whole look.  Messy hair in a bun or very quick french twist is perfect.  I love a middle part that’s a bit frizzy and a low bun, and then I wear little diamond studs.

Small headbands and messy hair behind them is also very fashionable, along with bangs that hang out.  Also, never use a hairnet, and keep hairspray very minimal.  Again, the messier the better!

Dancers usually don’t wear too much makeup, because that just makes life harder.  But, a bit of eyeliner and mascara and a neutral lip color can tie tie it all together!

Thanks for reading today’s crazy post!  I’ll see you on Monday with a new one 🙂

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2 thoughts on “Ballet Fashion: The Effort to Look Ugly

  1. I have to say how very impressed I am with the depth of your posts!! I was going to say “for your age” but the truth is I’ve read dance articles for 26 years and many “professionals” that have been in the business for decades don’t come even close to your writing! Keep up the good work!

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