Fashionistas, this one's for you. A new exhibition titled "Ballerina: Fashion's Modern Muse," running at the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City from February 11–April 18, ties together a few of our favorite things: fashion, dance history and, of course, ballet.
Ballet West principal dancer Beckanne Sisk may not subscribe to a specific style, but there are a few key elements to her off-duty look no matter what the season. "Comfort is number one for me," she says. "I also like to buy things that are a little higher quality, because they last longer." Other than that, she says, it's really anything goes. "I like to change up my style all the time."
There isn't a color or pattern too bold for The Joffrey Ballet's Brooke Linford. "I think it brings life and energy into my day-to-day activities," the company artist says of her style. And playing with color isn't only limited to her studio and off-duty looks—Linford has even experimented with dyeing her long blonde waves bubblegum pink. While she takes her styling cues from Pinterest and Instagram, Linford also looks to her husband, fellow Joffrey dancer Graham Maverick, for ideas. "He wears so much color that it started to inspire my wardrobe," she says.
Whether she's working in the studio with Richmond Ballet or on her fashion blog, Felix & Flora, Lauren Archer's sartorial motto is "Fearless, feminine fashion." Archer's interest in fashion began when she was a little girl, and it took off two years ago when she began sharing her day-to-day looks on Instagram (@felixandflora). "I started my blog for fun, but I've been really passionate about creating new looks, finding new inspiration and reaching a new demographic," Archer says. "I want to encourage people to wear what they like and be less conscious of what others might think—at the end of the day, it's just an outfit."
These classic tutus, paired with a dose of shimmer, add a starlike quality from every stage angle. Ballet des Amériques' Isodale Alexis, Irene Przywara and Alexandria Ina Rose model these glamorous looks.
Have you ever looked at the ever-growing pile of dead pointe shoes in the corner of your closet, unsure of what to do with them? It seems wasteful to throw them out, but they can't be recycled. And many dancers feel a sentimental attachment to their old shoes and want to hang onto them. This is where Petit Pas comes in. This new New York City-based company is dedicated to finding a second life for pointe shoes, creating bracelets and other items out of discarded shoes.
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."
Nardia Boodoo has the perfect remedy for the winter blues—a colorful wardrobe. The Washington Ballet company member favors a dressy athleisure style that's as comfortable as it is vibrant. "I love to play with bright sweaters because it's just fun when it gets cold and gloomy out," Boodoo says. In addition to her multicolored style staples, Boodoo counts high-waisted skinny jeans as another part of her off-duty uniform. "I love to pair my Madewell jeans with a long-sleeve crop, a jacket and my Reebok Classics," she says.
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Winter weather is here, and since it's not going away anytime soon, we're embracing the cold and bundling up in style. If you're looking for a new coat to throw on over your leotard and warm ups or some every day clothing inspiration for your (limited) life outside of the studio, these pros have got you covered. Check out some of favorite street wear ensembles—winter edition.
American Ballet Theatre Principal James Whiteside
Proof that neutral colors don't have to be boring, James Whiteside pairs a crisp, white turtleneck with a dark peacoat and pleated pants. We're also totally behind wearing sunglasses in the winter.
In and out of the studio, BalletX's Skyler Lubin pays as much attention to the quality of her clothing as she does the style. "I like brands like Yumiko and Adidas when I'm dancing because they have cute designs, but they hold up well, too," she says. Lubin saves her brighter colors for summer and likes to keep things seasonal with earth tones for fall—muted blues and greens are her go-tos.
"I love Zimmermann, Reformation and Zara," Lubin says of the staple brands in her off-duty wardrobe. "Lately, I've been into secondhand stores because you can get designer clothes for much cheaper. And, I've been using the Poshmark app because I can buy and sell clothes." She adds with a laugh, "I usually spend the money I make, but it's a good trade." Being able to sell items on the app comes in handy, as Lubin enjoys staying on top of fashion trends. "I really like Arielle Charnas from the blog Something Navy, but just scrolling through Instagram is a fun way to get new ideas and see different styles," she says.
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
Combining two trends we love, LeaMarie paired a black velvet bodice with mesh sleeves that include polka dots and a pop of teal color.
While we love fall's crisp air, pumpkin spice treats, and, of course, the official start of the ballet season, there are some downsides. Cooler weather means that unfortunately it's no longer practical to throw on shorts over your leotard and pretend it's a shirt. Does the thought of putting together outfits for autumn stress you out? Don't worry—we've got you covered. We've pulled some of our favorite dancers' street styles from past issues of Pointe to give you the fall fashion inspiration that you're looking for.
Miami City Ballet Principal Simone Messmer
Simone Messmer's ensemble points out the biggest difference between summer and fall: Jackets! And not heavy, practical winter parkas, but fun, light jackets with the power to instantly transform any outfit. Messmer's selection comes with quite a bit of history; it's her best friend's father's army trench. We also love Messmer's slip-on shoes; they're a reminder to wear all of your favorite no-socks-necessary shoes this season before the snow starts to fall.