Would you be able to spot a ballerina on the street if she wasn't wearing a leotard and didn't have her hair in a bun or pointe shoes on her feet? Not likely. At most, you might admire her impeccable posture. But just like anyone, New York City Ballet principal dancer Sara Mearns has a go-to leggings look, even when she's not at work—and it’s probably not far from your own.
Mearns, along with her fellow NYCB principals Megan Fairchild and Amar Ramsar, resident choreographer Justin Peck, and corps de ballet dancer Gretchen Smith, star in the latest campaign for Cole Haan—a brand that she’s been working with since 2014. “My new go-to footwear outside of the studio is the ColeHaan StudiøGrand Knit Cross-Strap Sneakers in Plum ($160),” she tells us when we speak with her about her new campaign, “Extraordinary Comes to Life,” which debuted today. But because she's someone who spends countless hours in a dance studio and even more in movement-friendly clothes, we wanted to hear what she can’t wait to slip into once she’s finally off the clock.
“I stick to a handful of staple pieces because they are reliable and easy, such as rompers for spring/summer and skinny black jeans, a tank top and a wrap sweater for fall/winter,” Mearns says. She also adds, "Ballet absolutely influences what I wear. I tend to wear more classic, not-too-complicated, free-flowing looks such as leggings and a breathable feminine top." Fittingly, that’s not too far from her looks in the photos for her recent shoot in which the ensemble of dancers show off the latest in the StudiøGrand GrandEvølution, and GrandMøtion collections.
>"Because ballet costumes and pointe shoes are super tight, it's refreshing to wear clothing that is loose-fitting when I’m not dancing," she says. And for the record, Mearns does have a limit: "I really don't like the oversize pieces because it looks like you are trying to hide something. I feel like women should own their bodies and not be ashamed of any size you are!" the athlete adds of her least favorite athleisure trend. "Also I don't like wearing huge logos on my clothing, it takes away from the understated elegance."
>Scroll down to see some of the images from the newest Cole Haan campaign and collection that you don't have to be a dancer to enjoy or shop.
Gretchen Smith, Sara Mearns, and Megan Fairchild
Justin Peck and Sara Mearns