Ballet fashion or fashion ballet?

Well , all of a sudden, it happened!

Ballet Fashion became my life unwittingly….I was a ballet teacher in Boise, Idaho for 25 years. While  Director of a prominent ballet school; we held our first fund-raiser for our Youth Company.

It was called Tea for Tutus and that was the beginning of what I did not know would become…

Ballet Fashion

I made twenty little girls’ tutus out of multiple tulle colors, each one unique, and a big satin sash to tie in a bow. My vision was the Degas ballerina tutus. I was flabbergasted as every single tutu was sold!

Ballet Fashion
Play time tutu


After that, I continued to make these tutus as fantasy or dress-up skirts for inspired little ballerinas at my own studio. I returned to my childhood home in 2008 and began teaching in the Bay Area. I had heard of Etsy and thought it would be fun to sell online. Long story short, women begged me to make tulle skirts for street wear. They wanted a lined tutu!

Ballet Fashion Lining on a tutu becomes "a tulle skirt"
Lining on a tutu becomes “a tulle skirt”.

Okay, so I was again super surprised and so were all my ballet dancer friends. We chuckled to ourselves. This was quite amusing! Who wants to dress like a ballerina on the street.??? How weird.

But hey, like many of us I needed a little more income and love a challenge.

Let’s get updated!

I know very well, that ballet fashion has been trending since 2008. Tulle skirts of all shapes, sizes and creative variations have been seen on the runway by almost every high fashion designer out there.

Tulle skirts aka tutus

Ballet Fashion on a bride. Wedding tulle skirts photos
Ballet Fashion on a pirouetting bride!

There are zillions of tulle skirts on Pinterest the popular wedding and fashion . Weddings are using tulle skirts for the bride, for her engagement shoots, her Flower Girls and bridesmaids. Even the mother of the bride or groom can be seen wearing one. Frankly, part of the appeal is the “retro” look of a poofy tulle skirt. However, didn’t that even come from the ballerina?

Girls tutus
LIttle Flower Girls in tutus
Photo of TutusChic by Martha Stewart Weddings

Haute Couture has  taken ballet tutus and created art: Alexander McQueen, Valentino, Chanel, Yanina, Zac Posen to name just a few.

I cannot claim to know when designers began making costumes for the ballet. Probably the Royals of Italy and France had their own couturiers for their productions. However, what first comes to my mind is the Ballet Russe. They set the standard for artistic collaboration from Picasso to Chanel.

Laboutin ballet shoe trend

Carolina Herrera, Oscar de la Renta and Valentino have created costumes for ballet, in particular the New York City Ballet. Here are two wonderful videos showing their process in the costume shop with dancers and staff:

Caroline Herrera creates on NYCB

Valentino creates costumes for NYCB Gala

Then there was a very well known Paris Opera Ballet Etoile who modeled for Anthropologie  last year.

Anthropologie and Paris Opera Ballet Ballet Fashion
Marie-Agnes Gillot modeling for Anthropologie

Did you see that? Click on Anne-Marie Gillot’s photo on the right to get the scoop!

If you love fashion and ballet, please visit my board on Pinterest~ Click below~ you’re invited!

It is a group board and you are welcome to pin your own interpretation of “ballet fashion” on it!


The latest beautiful collection is by Christian Laboutin who has created “nude” ballet flats in shades of many colors.Check out the  Laboutin ballet shoe trend

It is refreshing to see shoes that match all skin tones. Now if only real ballet shoes and tights would diversify! Right, ladies & gentlemen?

Christian Laboutin collection Ballet Fashion
Christian Laboutin collection

Of course, there are the absurd imitations of pointe shoes now. Any self-respecting dancer would definitely not be found in a pair of stiletto pointe shoes!

Ballet tops

Every day street wear fashionistas have adopted  our ballet shrugs, ballet wrap sweaters, leotards and crop tops (remember those cut off tights that serve as a mini shirt?) as their own now.

Of course, dancers have benefitted from the new fabrics and styles in leotards. What dancers do you know that does not have at least  one leotard with  stretch lace, multiple colors, halter leos, low backs, mesh inserts and even custom made?

Can you add anything else to the list? Share with friends to find out!Click To Tweet

How about leg warmers? It used to be that only dancers wore sweater arms on their legs. Now we have boot toppers and leg warmers that everyone wears in the cold weather! The fashion version often has cute buttons or lace sewn on them.

Well don’t forget ballerina hairstyles! Messy buns, chignons, french twists, smooth shiny classic buns….

One thing you won't see

My ballet fashion prediction is that you will not see big shawls wrapped around women’s waists. I know a lot of dancers who warm up or teach with a giant shawl wrapped over their hips and waists. Typically, dancers are smaller than the average person’s build. So…. don’t think that is going to catch on!

The Accidental Artist Ballet Blog & Shops
The Accidental Artist Ballet Blog & Shops

Thanks for tuning in and dancers, you can now think of yourself as a trend setter. So nice to finally see dancers on the fashion map and recognized for our beauty and originality!

Do you have any fashion predictions? Please share with friends if you like this post 🙂 Always appreciated.

Ballet Fashion on The Accidental Artist~ which came first the ballerina or the designers? Click on pic and share what you think!

About Sarah Arnold

Ballet blogger, ballet teacher and adult ballerina. Creator of TutusChic and Sans Souci Printables.

2 thoughts on “Ballet fashion or fashion ballet?

  1. What a fun post! I love seeing ballet inspiration reflected in fashion, and I love any good excuse to wear it too 🙂

    I tried to check out your related Pinterest board, but I couldn’t get the link to work. Am I missing something?

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