Let’s Dance: Ballet Wear for the Great Inflexible

Post by TM

Ballet and fashion don’t entirely go hand in hand, but they do pirouette around each other from time to time

The most famous contemporary example of ‘ballet style’ is Sarah Jessica Parker as Carrie in the iconic opening credits of Sex and the City. Even though the show premiered when I was still in short pants à la Prince George (lol), that tutu has never aged. If someone wore something like that outfit today, we’d all know where the inspiration came from.


The thing about the tutu, is that very few people can wear it. No, very few people want to wear it: the under-nines, the Carrie Bradshaws and actual ballerinas. Most women think a tutu will make them look like an idiot, and it probably will. SJP was 33 when she pranced around in hers, proving that it’s not age that does the mocking. You need a certain type of sartorial confidence to avoid looking like you’re going to a fancy dress party, or worse, trying too hard.

Tutus aren’t the only element of ballet style, anyway. You probably already own one of the millions of leotards that have infested the high street like a swarm of crotchless wasps. You have definitely owned a pair of ballet flats at least at some point over the years. This year, however, it’s not about the prima ballerina doing her thing on stage, or Audrey Hepburn doing hers off. The look is Mila Kunis in Black Swan – the ballet rebel.

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Ballet style isn’t cute and – eurgh – girly, and pink anymore. It’s still elegant but with an edge. Elle UK say that ballerinas are the new rock stars – believe them. Since Misty Copeland literally changed the face of ballet, it’s got a new lease of life. Ballet stars demonstrate their incredible strength and skill on social media outlets like Instagram, and they’ve also been showing up all over the fashion world on the catwalk and in print spreads.

Full disclosure: Kendall Jenner’s shoot for Vogue Espana doesn’t count because she clearly hasn’t a clue what she’s doing with those pointes, but look how pretty she is in those dancing sweats?


This isn’t the time to talk about ‘appropriation’ by the way, but people getting in a rage about the shoot is total bull. Bet fishermen wouldn’t give an F if you put her in a pair of waders.



Anyway, strong is the new skinny and all that, and ballet dancers are definitely strong. And skinny. Being lean and mean is the look of the mo. Starving yourself to fit into size six leggings isn’t enough anymore. You’ve failed, Goddamn it, if you don’t have an ab crack. Better get working on those sit-ups!

I digress. Fashion, of course, is for everyone. Ballet style isn’t exclusive: it’s all over Zara. I snuck in today on my lunch break, like an alcoholic sneaks some vodka from their water bottle. I went in under the guise of window shopping, but I would have bought something if my willpower didn’t prevent me. I can do it! I can put the garment down and walk away.

Except, I took a picture of the item I was ogling and sent it to CM who said it was pretty and that €19.95 was a good price (it really is) and that I should buy it. So blame her for my relapse.


The skirt makes me think of Theo from Noel Streatfield’s Ballet Shoes, the dance teacher who introduced the Fossils to the world of the stage. She would have worn something like this teaching; I shall wear it shopping. I’ll wear those slippers to take me from shop to shop – they also only cost €19.95.

The entire ballet inspired ‘gym wear’ (ha!) collection in Zara is incredible. I will probably end up owning it all. It’s all slouchy and louche and grumpy in a delicate dancer kind of way. Everyone will love the ‘flowing ballet trousers’ and the legging game gets a jock with the ‘cropped bow trousers’.

You may remember that I took up ballet as a workout a while back. The cool kids in the advanced class will be as annoyed as the dancers were by Kendall at the barre when they see the inflexible slugging around in these. Do it! Bring out your inner Sergei Polunin and let’s be ballet brats together.

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