Though the balletcore movement has been making the TikTok rounds for about a year, it’s had a greater staying power in comparison to other fashion trends on social media that are out almost as soon as they’re in. This spring, balletcore is out in full force — the dancewear-inspired aesthetic is still dominating TikTok, featured in everything from trend predictions to get-ready-with-me videos.
“Dance, movement and ballet in particular is such a huge part of self expression,” says Luna Montana, an influencer known for documenting her life as a ballerina online. “It’s using your body to tell a story. In many ways people use fashion to portray the same things so it’s natural that the two things would collide to create a trend such as balletcore.”
With celebrities like Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid at the helm of the trend since last year — Jenner’s tights-only outfit and Hadid’s off-duty sweatsuit-ballet flat ensemble made headlines in the fall — and designers like Miu Miu, Molly Goddard, Simone Rocha and more bringing the ballet influence to their collections, it’s no wonder that balletcore still has momentum among consumers this season.
Historically, ballet and fashion have been intertwined for far longer than its recent renaissance on the runway (and social media). “The relationship between the two is an inherent thing,” says celebrity stylist Aimée Croysdill. One of her clients is “Bridgerton” star Nicola Coughlan, whose standout red carpet fashion has often employed some of balletcore’s central style elements like tulle and pastels. “Aside from the history, right now both industries have always celebrated one another.”
Though the resurgence of balletcore hasn’t been without its concerns of inaccessibility, personal stylist and image coach Amanda Limardi says that the trend isn’t just meant for the so-called “ideal” ballerina body. Balletcore takes a traditionally exclusive industry and makes it accessible to everyone in the form of everyday clothing — and the aesthetic isn’t dependent on a certain size.
“I think we put a lot of limits on ourselves of like, you’re too tall, you’re too short, you’re too fat, you’re too skinny to wear something, but if you really love something and it makes you feel like you when you’re wearing it, there’s always a way to make it work for your body type and for your lifestyle,” Limardi says.
If you’re looking to find out how you can incorporate balletcore into your day-to-day style, we asked stylists and influencers to break down the trend and share their favorite pieces — read on to learn how to add the aesthetic to your wardrobe.
What is balletcore?
Limardi sees balletcore as divided into two categories: ballet rehearsal-style athleisure and ultra-feminine performance wear. The prior involves leg warmers, leggings, wraps and the like — where comfort and movement is key — while the latter is more elevated, working with materials like tulle and satin. You don’t have to commit to one or the other, however, as they can easily be mixed together.
Croysdill, who danced from a young age and describes how the “aesthetic, discipline and understanding of form” have impacted her styling decisions, explains that “the softness and sheen of the satin mixed with the delicate pastel hues make for the most feminine aesthetic.”
Montana says that overall, balletcore communicates comfort and youth as well. “For many people being a ballerina was their childhood fantasy,” Montana explains. “Dressing in balletcore allows people to live out that dream in an everyday way that works for them.
At its heart, the aesthetic taps into the longstanding relationship between ballet and fashion, and so evergreen shapes and fabrics like knits are its staples. “The pieces are timeless, easy to mix and match and they’re also non-specific,” stylist and influencer Hannah Miller says.
In addition to pastels and light neutral colors, sheer fabric and mesh — both of which are also very big in fashion at the moment — are also balletcore go-tos, according to Miller. “Mesh and lycra seem to be the most stand-out materials, but for colder months, the leg warmers and even knitted boleros can offer some much needed warmth,” she says.
Hence, what makes balletcore ideal for spring, during the transition from colder to warmer weather. Both Montana and Limardi stress that layering is of utmost importance to achieving the balletcore look, whether it be leg warmers on top of tights, for example, or a shrug over a bodysuit.
Gone are the days of uncomfortable heels — Limardi recommends this simple and sleek Jeffrey Campbell flat to complete the ballerina look, which is an easy way to step up any outfit.
If you want to dip your toe into the trend and don’t want to commit to a pricer option, Limardi suggests A New Day’s ballet flats, which come in beige, black, blush and silver — so if you want to tap into the metallic trend, you can get the best of both worlds with this shoe.
Still a bit wary about a totally flat shoe? Try adding a little height with Steve Madden’s Cherish ballerina heels, which come in a sleek black patent, red, a knit-looking material and even denim. These are an almost perfect dupe for the popular, several-hundred-dollar Repetto Camille Ballerinas that have been seen on the likes of Lily-Rose Depp.
If you’re still not sold on the basic flat, Miller says “you can go with a platform chunky ballet pump that can easily be swapped into your outfit in place of trainers.” Case in point, these fun, retro platforms that give off an edgier ballerina vibe, especially in the light pink colorway.
Limardi picks a satin midi skirt to lean into the more elevated side of balletcore, which can be styled in a plethora of ways. “It's such a cool piece and you can really edge it up with a T-shirt, but then you could do it with the elegant wrap sweater and the ballet flats and just be a little chic woman on the go,” she says.
On the other hand, if you want to lean into the athleisure side, try out these Athleta sweatpants, which come in balletcore-approved baby blue. To add a layer of interest to the outfit, maybe even pair them with a ballet flat to blend fancy with casual.
These types of comfortable workout items are what Montana thinks draws people to the trend. “I think balletcore has stuck because ballet is a form of movement and working out is a part of everyday life for most people,” she says.
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Miller suggests adding a wrap skirt to your wardrobe to give off ballerina vibes, and this chiffon Aerie one is sheer and flowy, both central elements of balletcore. “[They] can be worn in the autumn with tights, layered over trousers in winter, or worn alone in the summer,” she says. “They add a casual effortless element to any outfit.”
A sportier counterpart to the straight-up wrap skirt, Free People’s aptly named skort is perfect if you’re aiming to bring the ballet look to the gym — or anywhere, really.
Tiny shorts over tights is a simple yet interesting way to communicate “ballerina,” and these Lovers and Friends knit shorts come in a fitting pastel pink. If you’re wanting to recreate the Kendall and Kylie Jenner-approved “tights with no pants” trend, yet you don’t want to ditch pants entirely, Limardi suggests bike shorts with tights as a nice practical alternative.
Balletcore tops and bodysuits
“I love wrap sweaters, because I find that they're so flattering for a range of body types,” Limardi says. “Especially just like the wrap detail, depending on where it hits on your waist, you can really accentuate the smallest part of your waist. I think it's just beautiful for showing off the feminine figure.”
Montana says that if you want the “real authentic look,” you should turn to dancewear shops’ warm-up sections, like Bloch’s. “I like to try to style balletcore items with things you wouldn’t think of, like baggy jeans with a pink wrap top or a skirt with leg warmers but an oversized off-the-shoulder sweatshirt overtop,” she explains.
Leotards are a ballerina staple, so it makes sense that bodysuits are frequent pieces in the aesthetic. To top it off, this Parade option also features the sheer fabric and scoop neck that balletcore loves — and you can get two for $40 right now.
“You could start with a plain bodysuit with jeans and a slick[ed] back bun just to get a feel for it at first,” says Miller. “Like any trend, you should always try mixing singular pieces with your own personal style so the aesthetic is catered to you and will be timeless within your own wardrobe.”
Sustainable and size inclusive, Girlfriend Collective’s scoopback one-piece is a superb basic. It comes in a subtly ribbed, knit-looking fabric that adheres to balletcore’s athleisure elements.
As established, layering is a must, and Miller recommends a bolero to add “fun texture and layering to any outfit.” She says, “[They] can be perfect for the summer in a thinner more fitted material or can be worn in the winter as a chunky knit.”
Miller says bodysuits are “super flattering, can be worn with literally any outfit and are a real staple for your wardrobe that you’ll find yourself reaching for all the time,” and this Skims option is beloved by most wearers — including us at Underscored — and sits at nearly 5 stars with over a thousand reviews.
Tulle is one of the more on-the-nose elements of balletcore, but you don’t need to wear a tutu to work the ultra-feminine material into the aesthetic. Lingerie-as-clothing has been popular for the past couple years, so this sheer slip can either be worn as-is or layered with other pieces.
With the pastels, puff sleeves and flouncy skirt, Selkie’s romantic puff dress delivers ballet performance wear in the best way. “It's extremely flattering with the open neckline and somehow makes your legs look long and lean, even without an accentuated waistline,” one reviewer praises.
Montana also loves Frankies Bikinis’ Pilates Princess activewear line, which she thinks “incorporate[s] ballet elements into everyday workout clothes.” The pink Pirouette dress in particular has been a hit among many social media users, with its bodysuit-style top half and layered skirt bottom.
Of course, leg warmers are a must, and Montana suggests dancewear brand Capezio’s option if you’re trying to go for authenticity. They are perfect for the spring weather, as well, since they’re ideal layering pieces.
“I would say a pair of legwarmers, any type of warm-up wrap top, some bows in your hair, or even taking an everyday shirt and cutting out the neckline for an off-the-shoulder look would give you the balletcore look,” Montana says.
To get the Miu Miu-style footwear look, donning chunky socks and scrunching them down is a great way to dress down fancier flats — and add even more comfort.