First State Ballet Theatre's Rie Aoki in the studio at Steps on Broadway, NYC. Quinn Wharton.

First State Ballet Theatre Fashionista Rie Aoki Never Wears the Same Outfit Twice

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.

The Details—Street

Quinn Wharton

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.

The Details—Studio

Quinn Wharton

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."

Latest Posts


Paul Kolnik, Courtesy NYCB

NYCB's Maria Kowroski Reflects on the Challenges, Joys and Mysteries of Balanchine’s "Mozartiana"

The first time I was called to learn Mozartiana, I didn't think I would actually get to do it. It's a coveted ballerina role in the company, and I was still early in my career. But I got to dance it once or twice, and then not again for many years. The ballet isn't in our repertoire that often, so each time we've performed it I've been at a different level as a person and as an artist.

Keep reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Ask Amy: How Can I Overcome My Fear of Pirouettes on Pointe?

I have a terrible fear of falling when doing turns on pointe. I sometimes cry in class when we have to do new turns that I'm not used to. I can only do bad singles on a good day, while some of my classmates are doing doubles and triples. How can I get over this fear? —Gaby

Keep reading SHOW LESS
xmb photography, Courtesy The Washington Ballet

The Washington Ballet's Sarah Steele on Her At-Home Workouts

Ballet at home: Since she's not preparing for any immediate performances, Steele takes ballet barre three to four times a week. "I'm working in more of a maintenance mode," she says, prioritizing her ankles and the intrinsic muscles in her feet. "If you don't work those muscles, they disappear really quickly. I've been focusing on a baseline level of ballet muscle memory."

What she's always working on: Strengthening her glute-hamstring connection (the "under-butt" area), which provides stability for actions like repetitive relevés and power for jumps. Bridges are her go-to move for conditioning those muscles. "Those 'basic food group'–type exercises are some of the best ones," she says.

Keep reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks