As a former ballet dancer, I sure do know my way around the studio essentials that have spurred the ever-popular balletcore aesthetic. Seeing how the girlies have pirouetted into our once-exclusive wardrobe is amusing. Gone are the days of leotards and leg warmers confined to the mirrored walls of dance studios. Now, they’re sashaying down city streets, paired with everything from blazers to biker boots.
And I’ll admit, seeing tulle skirts twirling outside of Swan Lake performances brings a smirk to my face. However, most people’s everyday gesticulations don’t quite align with the graceful port de bra and honed technique that I, and many other dancers, have spent years perfecting. Plus, there’s a certain irony in people romanticizing the attire that once represented endless rehearsals and achy feet. But hey, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and ballet is a magical art worth such emulation, starting with the pieces ahead.
Some may shudder at the aughts recollections of a shrug, but the iconic layer holds a special place in my heart. It’s one that doesn’t distract from your lines or add bulk in ballet class or rehearsal (which is a big ballet no-no in terms of warm-up layers.)
Like renowned repertoire, classic ballet flats are always in style. Sure, sheer Mary Jane form is the trend du jour, but I’m all about this satin pair — a spectacular take on pointe shoes if you want to get more literal with your balletcore look.
Black leotards are a core item in every dancer’s wardrobe (and often, the only acceptable style in rigorous schools and programs). I love this onesie bodysuit for workouts as a modern take on a piece I spent so many years plié-ing in.
Ballerinas and wrap tops are synonymous, and this versatile design is one I wear to Pilates, with jeans, or to an actual ballet class.
While most ballet warm-up layers are thin and airy, you can get your balletcore thrills the winter way in this ballet-pink hoodie with a cozy fleece design.
Longer, romantic tutus are famous for gracing the stages of Gisele and Swan Lake. Take the look to the streets in this floaty midi inspired by a delicate bell-shaped design, made in collaboration with New York City Ballet.
Dancers’ feet require special warm-up pieces all their own, with preferences ranging among budding talents and pros. These thick and scrunchable socks remind me of the knitted booties I used to wear over my pointe shoes.
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Interpreting the bodice silhouette of a tutu in an event-ready way, this satin corset top is a stunner — the structure is everything.
A cute bow just captures ballet vibes. I wore a costume or two involving hair ribbons in my day — this one fully brings me back to The Nutcracker.
Like black leotards, pink tights are another essential part of the ballet uniform. This stirrup pair really captures the vibe, whether styled with athleisure or worn for a fierce round of fouettés.
Alignment belts are often worn earlier on in ballet training to ensure your hips are square (how’s that for a fun fact?). The maker of this top clearly has the inside scoop — it’s particularly idyllic with the coordinating maxi skirt for a ballerina-inspired occasion look.
Bring the balletcore vibes to any active or leisure moment in this twisted top made from ultra-airy fabric. It’s a cozy-girl dream.
They’re back! For most, these are the pinnacle of ’80s and ’90s jazzercise fashion. But from a ballet dancer’s perspective, they’re one of the most crucial extras to have in your bag for warming up or keeping muscles warm during rehearsal. I’d fully rock this pair in any chilly situation, from a workout to a winter neighborhood stroll.