What Real Dancers Think About the "Ballerina Trend"

Photo:

Collage Vintage

The expansion of the "ballerina trend" in the fashion industry, simply put, just makes sense. For years, women around the world have idolized the poise and grace of ballet dancers, and now, they are even trying to dress like them. Maybe it's because somewhere deep down, that little girl inside of us all still dreams of wearing tutus and dancing around on our toes, or maybe this is as close to playing dress-up as we'll ever get in this adult life. Whatever the reason, women are gravitating toward all things ballerina-inspired, from lace-up flats to tulle skirts, and there seems to be no stopping them.

While we all love the opportunity to dress like ballerinas sans having any dance experience at all (please, have more of your cake and eat it too), have you ever stopped to wonder what actual dancers think of this trend? What goes on inside the mind of a professional ballerina as she sees a pair of the infamous Miu Miu ballet flats on someone walking down the street? Or that girl who shows up in a floor-length tulle skirt to a black-tie event with her hair in a slick bun? Does said dancer smile? Does she cringe? Does she laugh? What is she thinking?

There was only one way to find out, and that was to go straight to the source. We reached out to a handful of professional dancers from the New York City Ballet and asked them a series of questions to find out what they really think of this "ballerina trend." As a warning, their answers might surprise you, will definitely warm your heart, and could make you fall even more in love with ballet than ever before.

Scroll down to find out what New York City Ballet dancers think of the "ballet trend" in addition to learning more about each of their personal style preferences.

Gretchen Smith

Photo:

Paul Kolnik

WHO WHAT WEAR: As a real ballerina, what do you think about the ballet trend that has been popping up in fashion?

GRETCHEN SMITH: As a real ballerina, I have no issues with the ballet trend. The ballerina trend has been on point (pun intended) in capturing the ethereal beauty of the ballerina and her costuming—those aspects of softness and grace.

WWW: Are you naturally attracted to the trend since it's a part of your job, or are you more turned off by it?

GS: I can really appreciate the pieces making up this trend—pleated skirts, tulle dresses, chokers, ballet-pink flats, etc. There is definitely a piece of being a ballerina intertwined in my style. The Valentino Mini Tutu dress is such a fresh and witty take. I also still fawn over the Christian Louboutin En Pointe heels (I mean, come on!). I have been on board with the bodysuit for a few years, so that is a piece of the trend I love and have fully accepted with open arms. As ballerinas, we have the luxury of wearing the costumes that have inspired this trend, and that feels special.

WWW: Do you find the fact that people suddenly want to dress like ballerinas flattering or offensive?

GS: It is totally flattering to me that women want to be dressing like ballerinas! I get it. I spend my days sweating and working my tuchus off, but even for me, to put on a beautiful costume, it completely changes how I carry myself. These pieces create a mood and make you feel beautiful, elegant, and graceful. I love that women want to feel that through this trend. It's chic and classic.

WWW: Can you describe your personal style to us? How do you dress on your days off?

GS: My personal style—I would say it is very downtown New York. I essentially wear what I am internally feeling upon waking up. So whether I have this idea of shape in my head, structural or flowy, or a color in my mind, monotone or block coloring, that directs me. I like to express my emotions and feelings through what I'm wearing. It needs to feel one with my skin. Sometimes it is relaxed, jeans and a tee, running around in Cole Haans; or it may be my favorite vintage YSL skirt or Valentino leather culottes, a bodysuit, and ballet flats. I love, love, love expression through style.

WWW: When you're not dancing, do you prefer to wear heels or flats?

GS: On days off, FLATS all the way. I love feeling connected to the ground, something about that closeness feels healing to me. I mean, a great pump is always fun. But FLATS!

Mimi Staker

Photo:

Paul Kolnik

WHO WHAT WEAR: As a real ballerina, what do you think about the ballet trend that has been popping up in fashion?

MIMI STAKER: Knowing that people are inspired by the "ballerina look" is very exciting and invigorating. It is awesome to know that ballet is starting to inspire and entice people in the fashion industry. If ballet starts to inspire people in the way they want to dress, then maybe they can learn more about our art form. Ballet has so much to offer and teach about the arts, grace, beauty, dedication, and hard work. Knowing that ballet is breaking into fashion gives all ballet dancers hope that ballet can also break into society and culture in more ways than one.

WWW: Are you naturally attracted to the trend since it's a part of your job, or are you more turned off by it?

MS: I am neither turned off nor attracted to the trend, since it is a part of my job. If I like the look or the fashion trend, I will wear it. If I don't, then I won't buy it. I don't purposefully influence my look based on the ballerina trend to fit my job, nor do I avoid the ballerina style in my day-to-day fashion because it accentuates my job outside of work.

WWW: Do you find the fact that people suddenly want to dress like ballerinas flattering or offensive?

MS: I find it very flattering that people are inspired by the ballerina look. I think, for ballerinas, it is a compliment that a new ballet trend is surfacing in fashion.

WWW: Can you describe your personal style to us? How do you dress on your days off?

MS: Ask anyone: My staple jacket in the winter is a navy-blue faux-fur jacket that I bought at Zara. I always wear that jacket with black jeans and black, chunky boot wedges. Recently, I have been loving high-waisted, bell-bottomed jeans—a very '70s-inspired look. When the weather gets warmer, I'll usually wear a sundress or Levi's jean shorts with a casual shirt. If I could buy everything from the Free People magazine, I think I would be a very happy girl.

WWW: When you're not dancing, do you prefer to wear heels or flats?

MS: Heels! Not a stiletto, but I love to wear wedges because not only do they make me feel taller (which is always a plus), but they are also more comfortable to walk in than flat shoes with no support.

Megan LeCrone

Photo:

Paul Kolnik

WHO WHAT WEAR: As a real ballerina, what do you think about the ballet trend that has been popping up in fashion?

MEGAN LECRONE: I think it's kind of funny, actually.

WWW: Are you naturally attracted to the trend since it's a part of your job, or are you more turned off by it?

ML: I think I am influenced by designers and costumers that have a great history of their own and one that intersects with ballet, opera, and theater. As far as the day-to-day practice clothes that I wear for ballet, I don't really incorporate those into my personal wardrobe.

WWW: Do you find the fact that people suddenly want to dress like ballerinas flattering or offensive?

ML: I think it's cute. It can look a little girly for an adult woman. If you can mix it into your wardrobe without it looking awkward or immature, I think it can work.

WWW: Can you describe your personal style to us? How do you dress on your days off?

ML: My friends say I have a very classic style. I think my style changes from day to day, depending on where I’m going, who I'm seeing, and what I feel like. In my closet I have a mix of vintage finds, thrift store finds, basics, and a collection of special pieces from different American, Japanese, and European designers. I also have tons of shoes, all different kinds. I love shoes! I always try to look presentable, even on my days off; I'm realizing this is more important to me as I get older. I like to be comfortable. I'm usually in jeans and a T-shirt or a men's button-down, which I think can look wonderful if you know how to wear it. Occasionally I'm in a dress in the warmer months.

WWW: When you're not dancing, do you prefer to wear heels or flats?

ML: Timberlands or sneakers. But heels if I go out.

Indiana Woodward

Photo:

Paul Kolnik

WHO WHAT WEAR: As a real ballerina, what do you think about the ballet trend that has been popping up in fashion?

INDIANA WOODWARD: I think it's very cute and trendy for everyone. It's always super comfy and stylish. I don't personally wear it, but others may love it!

WWW: Are you naturally attracted to the trend since it's a part of your job, or are you more turned off by it?

IW: I wear comfortable trendy clothing, but try to steer clear away from ballet things since I wear them every day!

WWW: Do you find the fact that people suddenly want to dress like ballerinas flattering or offensive?

IW: I think it's flattering. This beautiful art form is finally becoming a little more known through the younger generations. Keeping the arts alive is the most important. However, it is done (clothing trends included, if it brings attention to dance).

WWW: Can you describe your personal style to us? How do you dress on your days off?

IW: I would say I dress differently every day. Whatever I feel. My go-to is definitely a bit of a quirky sophisticated look. Always pretty comfy. I love high-waisted anything.

WWW: When you're not dancing, do you prefer to wear heels or flats?

IW: On my off days, it depends. I like wearing heels since I don't have to dance, but I do love a comfy clog or sneaker.

Savannah Lowery

Photo:

Paul Kolnik

WHO WHAT WEAR: As a real ballerina, what do you think about the ballet trend that has been popping up in fashion?

SAVANNAH LOWERY: I love that "ballet wear" is becoming a trend. My wardrobe has just expanded immensely!

WWW: Are you naturally attracted to the trend since it's a part of your job, or are you more turned off by it?

SL: I like to dress feminine naturally, so the ballet trend fits right in with my personal style. I am, however, very opposed to wearing leotards outside the dance studio. When you wear something as often as dancers wear leotards, you need a break. I have to draw the line somewhere between fashion and "work attire." For me, that line is the leotard.

WWW: Do you find the fact that people suddenly want to dress like ballerinas flattering or offensive?

SL: I don't know if I find it flattering (I didn't create the style myself), but I definitely don't find it offensive. Having people want to dress similarly to how I dress every day is an honor.

WWW: Can you describe your personal style to us? How do you dress on your days off?

SL: My personal style is classic and feminine. While I'm not afraid of colors, especially when dressing for a special occasion, I find myself in a pair of jeans and a white shirt quite often. I love the look. It's easy and can be dressed up or down very quickly. Living in NYC, my outfits need to be versatile.

WWW: When you're not dancing, do you prefer to wear heels or flats?

SL: In a perfect world, I would be dressed to the nines every day. That would include heels if my life would allow for it. But the subway stairs and the streets of NYC make it impossible. Not to mention, the wear and tear my feet take while in pointe shoes. At the end of the day, I want a comfy sneaker. Thank goodness sneaker fashion has exploded; I have so many pairs I've lost count. And I've even started adding my own personal touches, whether it be a rhinestone here and there or a satin ribbon instead of a typical shoelace. I think I've always added "ballet" touches to my attire; now I'm just on trend with the fashion world.

Claire Von Enck

Photo:

Paul Kolnik

WHO WHAT WEAR: As a real ballerina, what do you think about the ballet trend that has been popping up in fashion?

CLAIRE VON ENCK: I think that the "ballerina" look is great on some people, and I am not opposed to it.

WWW: Are you naturally attracted to the trend since it's a part of your job, or are you more turned off by it?

CVE: I myself am not attracted to it, because I don't think it embodies my style. In fact, I don't think I could really pull off the look. Someone who I think does really work that look is Sarah Jessica Parker, who also happens to be a great ballet supporter.

WWW: Do you find the fact that people suddenly want to dress like ballerinas flattering or offensive?

CVE: I find the fact that people want to dress in a way styled after the ballet aesthetic is great. If it makes them feel more elegant or a part of the ballet world, that is great by me.

WWW: Can you describe your personal style to us? How do you dress on your days off?

CVE: I would say my look is simple and classic. I enjoy wearing turtleneck sweaters and nice blazers to dress it up at times. I most often like to wear an outfit that can be dressy enough to go out if I am last-minute invited to go to an event or show. The best of my wardrobe comes from my aunt, who has some classy and classic clothing that we joke around is old enough that it has come back into style.

WWW: When you're not dancing, do you prefer to wear heels or flats?

CVE: For shoes, I either wear my black Dansko clogs, which are super supportive, or a black ankle boot. They are both comfortable and give me a little extra height, which I love since I am just under 5'4".

Go on to shop ballerina-inspired pieces you can wear with ease.

Knit, ruffles, and blush pink—it doesn't get much more ballet than that.

Wrap skirts are essential both to professional dancers and to you.

Ballerinas are also inspiring the world of swimsuits.

Tone down this tulle skirt with a cool graphic tee and some sneakers. 

Satin ballet flats will always be a classic. 

Another ballerina swimsuit to add to your growing collection.

This reminds us of a tutu bodice. 

Another wrap skirt because they are so easy to wear.