ballerina trend

Off-Duty Ballerina Is the New Off-Duty Model

We’re not plié-ing around.

The off-duty model will always have a place in fashion’s imagination. (My 2011 mood boards are dominated by images of Freja Beha Erichsen, Frida Gustavsson, and Abbey Lee Kershaw looking effortlessly stunning in skinny jeans, a motorcycle jacket, and perhaps the remaining bits of the last show’s makeup as they depart from Lincoln Center or the Grand Palais.) However, recently, the off-duty ballerina has emerged as a runway reference point: Think leg warmers, wraparound skirts, bodysuits, and cozy shrugs—it’s athleisure's alternative, Black Swan-obsessed little cousin who maybe spends too much time online.

While we might associate fluttery skirts, leotards, and ballet flats with the spring, the off-duty ballerina look translates well to cold weather, too. After all, when not on stage, a ballerina stays swaddled in knits to keep their muscles warm and tendons flexible—at least that’s what I assume from movies (I didn’t make it past the second intro class in first grade). Everyone is always talking about fashion being about fantasy, and this trend allows me to live out one I’ve had since I first saw The Nutcracker but never had the coordination or discipline to pursue. Here are six staples that will make you look like a ballerina faster than you can say rond de jambe.


Cropped Knits

Shrugs, boleros, and other cropped knits were huge last year. Pair one with a bodysuit and pretend to practice your turnout on the train.

Ribbed-knit Bolero-style Jumper

Alexander McQueen
$1329 $1196

Update on Uggs

Uggs have enjoyed a recent resurgence, but if they aren’t your style, any bulbous boot to keep your ballerina toes nice and toasty will do.

Wrap-Around Details

Any fabric that winds around the body or a limb is very ballerina, whether it’s a ribbon from your shoe wrapping around your ankle or the closure of your sweater.

The Bodysuit

The bodysuit is the easiest way to dabble in the off-duty ballerina look because you probably have one already. Simply throw your hair into a sleek low bun, and you’re well on your way.

Rib Bodysuit


Rayon Bodysuit

$185 $133

Leg Warmers

Leg warmers are key to the ballet aesthetic. To avoid veering into jazzercise territory, we recommend pairing them with boots or loafers.

Ballet Flat Redux

Ballet flats are back, but they’ve added a little spice. Whether they’re platformed or sport the signature Margiela Tabi silhouette, this next generation of slipper-inspired footwear is anything but basic.

6 Print Ballerina Shoes

MM6 Maison Margiela
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