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From left: via Elevé; via Ainsliewear

Classwear has come a long way in terms of pairing style with practicality. But while designs like mesh inserts and bold prints can work all year round, other elements lend themselves to particular seasons. Case in point: velvet. The fuzzy fabric has made its way from the runway to real life, and now, even dance rehearsal. Thicker than your average cotton or lycra leotards, velvet's extra cozy material and luxe look makes it perfect for the cooler months ahead. Shop our top picks, and get ready for a barrage of leotard compliments at the barre.

LeaMarie Tatiana Leotard

via LeaMarie

Combining two trends we love, LeaMarie paired a black velvet bodice with mesh sleeves that include polka dots and a pop of teal color.
leamarie.com, $80

Editors' List: The Goods
Dance Theatre of Harlem's Alison Stroming in a Capezio leotard (via capezio.com)

There's a change in the air these past few weeks—is it fall? Not quite yet. More importantly, it's PUMPKIN SPICE SEASON. And now, the quintessentially autumnal flavor isn't just for lattes anymore. Dancewear companies are picking up on the trend, offering more and more pieces in rich, sweet orange shades. Behold, eight of our favorite pumpkin spice-inspired pieces for your dancing enjoyment.

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Ballet Stars
NYCB's Miriam Miller and Unity Phelan in Côté Cour. Photo by Erin Baiano.

How do you make a leotard line stand out when there are so many options? Erica Sabatini, a former soloist with Carolina Ballet, makes it look easy with her pairing of architectural designs and bright colors. Before officially launching Côté Cour in 2015, Sabatini's interest in fashion was sparked during her Balanchine-based training at the Miami City Ballet School.

Phelan in MIA Multi Turquoise. Photo by Erin Baiano.

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Ballet Stars
via YouTube

Given her fierce personality on stage, and collaborations with brands like Cole Haan, it goes without saying that a dancewear line designed by New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns is going to be pretty major. After Mearns officially shared the first look at her collection with Só Dança, we can confirm, you're going to want to make room in your leo drawer immediately.

Though just over a minute long, the video shows us plenty of details on what we can expect. First, she wears a quilted vest (which the below video shows is in purple, Mearns' favorite color). And, more interestingly, quilted legwarmers—a unique design she told Dance Magazine all about earlier this summer. Another cool piece to make note of? Mearns' leotard, which includes mesh insert detailing in the front and back to liven up your everyday studio look.

The Sara Mearns x Só Dança collection will make its debut online and in your local dance stores in January. Until then, we're keeping our eyes on Mearns' Instagram account for more sneak peeks—and the Só Dança YouTube channel for more insider videos like this shop local clip.

Ballet Stars
P.O. Alienz in Lavender Leotard; Paulina Waski modelling a Kreature Kulture t-shirt. Photos Courtesy Paulina Waski.

Walk into any ballet class and you're bound to see a row of dancers clad in leotards patterned with dainty flowers and lace. But nearly three years ago, American Ballet Theatre corps dancer Paulina Waski wore a very different kind of leotard to class—and her colleagues loved it. Now an average day at ABT includes any number of dancers in leotards featuring angry aliens, detached eyeballs and grinning monsters.

"My dad, John, is an artist, and he draws all these crazy creatures," Waski explains. "One year he did what he called his paper plate project; he drew a new creature onto a paper plate every single day for 365 days. I thought, 'he should put one on a leotard!' He screen printed one onto one of my old leotards himself, and when I wore it to class everyone was wowed." And so, Kreature Kulture was born.


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