First State Ballet Theatre company dancer Rie Aoki was documenting her fashion choices long before Instagram was around. "When I was 8, I used to dress up my little sister and take pictures of her outfits because I loved styling," she says. Aoki grew up in Japan, and started her own fashion blog in high school before coming to the U.S. to pursue a ballet career. After joining FSBT in 2013, Aoki's pictures of her outfits on Instagram (@rievictoriaaoki) took off. Now with a following of over 10 thousand, Aoki has also started a new style blog.
"I love warmer colors like reds, yellows, oranges and browns," Aoki says. "And I'm all about mixing patterns and textures—if you stick to the same tones, you can wear totally different patterns and it looks fashionable," she explains. "But I don't think there are really rules for fashion. It's 2019. You can wear what you like and try something funky or a little crazy."
In the studio, Aoki follows a more structured style, sticking to leotards and pink tights, with practice tutus or long skirts reserved for rehearsals only. Even so, she finds a way to work in her own sense of style by choosing dancewear brands that let her play designer with their customizable options.
Nidodileda suit and turtleneck: "It's a three-piece suit from a bohemian-style boutique in Greece that I work with," Aoki says. "I love playing with different looks, like pairing the pants with a different shirt or wearing the blazer as a dress."
Public Desire boots: "I love the simple, chic look and the pointed toe, which is one of my styling tips to look taller."
Vintage Salvatore Ferragamo handbag: Aoki's designer bags were passed down from her grandmother. "She was a fashionista and is one of my style icons," she says. For more affordable options, Aoki shops ASOS' belt-bags.
At Steps on Broadway, NYC
Elevé Dancewear leotard: "I find the cuts on their leotards to be very flattering, and I like being able to choose the color and the style myself."
Toi Toi Toi Designs ballet skirt: Fellow FSBT dancer Abigail Kasten created this line of made-to-order skirts, and she even named a design after Aoki.
Gaynor Minden pointe shoes: "My index toe is the longest on my foot, so I actually wear my pointe shoes one size up," she says. "They make my legs look a tiny bit longer, too."