Just Dance: Ballet-Inspired Accessories Take Center Stage

The Washington Ballet's Nardia Boodoo shows us that practice makes perfect (style).

ballet
(Image credit: COURTNEY SOFIAH YATES)

Who says dressing for comfort begins and ends with a sweatsuit and slippers? This season, designers answered the ongoing call to create fashion for a low-key lifestyle by tapping into the beauty and function of dance apparel, putting complementary accessories center stage. This idea isn't new—the first pair of ballet flats for everyday wear was created by designer Claire McCardell and Metropolitan Opera House shoemaker, Salvatore Capezio, in 1941. Then Brigitte Bardot stepped out in a pair made by Rose Repetto for the 1956 film And God Created Woman. From Dior, to Valentino, to Vivienne Westwood, and Yves Saint Laurent, ballet has inspired countless collections; and dance companies have enlisted the talent of these and other iconic fashion houses to create exquisite costumes for the stage.

Today's interpretation of ballet fashion feels much more grounded in the utility of practice wear, rather than fantastical dresses made of layers of tulle or satin ankle-wrap stilettos for an en pointe illusion. The spring runways offered subtle nods: traditional pinks were found on tweed chain strap bags and leather duffles; ballet flats sashayed amongst the footwear. By pairing these accessories with warm-up knits, catsuits, coordinating brief sets, or a vintage-feeling black-and-white graphic tee, we created a refined take on athleisure: dressed-down ballerina. We called on the Washington Ballet’s Nardia Boodoo to try out our favorite styles. The result? A standing ovation.

Take Five

ballet fashion

GLAZED NYC TOP (opens in new tab), $57; CAPEZIO TUTU (opens in new tab), $61, AND TIGHTS (opens in new tab), $15; CARTIER NECKLACE (opens in new tab), $2370.

(Image credit: COURTNEY SOFIAH YATES)

Perfect Form

ballet fashion

DIOR BRA (opens in new tab), $1,600, BRIEFS (opens in new tab), $1,600 AND SHOES (opens in new tab), $1,150; CAPEZIO TIGHTS (opens in new tab), $15; LEILA + MAE JEWELRY EARRINGS AND BRACELET (opens in new tab) (FOR SIMILAR STYLES).

(Image credit: COURTNEY SOFIAH YATES)

Warm Up

ballet fashion

LOUIS VUITTON TOP (opens in new tab) (FOR SIMILAR STYLES), AND SHOES (opens in new tab), $1,140; FP MOVEMENT BRIEFS (opens in new tab), $30; CAPEZIO TIGHTS (opens in new tab), $15.

(Image credit: COURTNEY SOFIAH YATES)

Fancy Footwork

ballet fashion

CHANEL JUMPSUIT, $3,650, AND BAG (opens in new tab), $6,500 (FOR SIMILAR STYLES); LEILA + MAE EARRINGS (opens in new tab) (FOR SIMILAR STYLES).

(Image credit: COURTNEY SOFIAH YATES)

Stretch It Out

ballet fashion

GUESS SWEATER AND SHORTS (opens in new tab) (FOR SIMILAR STYLES); MATEO NECKLACE (opens in new tab), $495, AND EARRINGS (opens in new tab), $750; KD NEW YORK LEG WARMERS (opens in new tab), $42; JIMMY CHOO SHOES (opens in new tab), $795.

(Image credit: COURTNEY SOFIAH YATES)

Duffle or Nothing

ballet fashion

MAX MARA COAT (FOR SIMILAR STYLES) AND BAG, $1,850; SACAI TOP (FOR SIMILAR STYLES); KES FACE MASK, $55; ISA BOULDER STOCKINGS, $300.

(Image credit: COURTNEY SOFIAH YATES)

Off Duty

ballet fashion

CELINE JACKETS  (opens in new tab)(FOR SIMILAR STYLES), BRA (opens in new tab), $490, JEANS (opens in new tab) (FOR SIMILAR STYLES), AND SHOES (opens in new tab), $590; LEILA + MAE EARRINGS (opens in new tab), $50.

(Image credit: COURTNEY SOFIAH YATES)

Quite a Flex

ballet fashion

SALVATORE FERRAGAMO DRESS, (opens in new tab) $990 AND BAG  (opens in new tab)(FOR SIMILAR STYLE); FREE PEOPLE SCRUNCHIE (opens in new tab), $12; KD NEW YORK LEG WARMERS (opens in new tab), $42.

(Image credit: COURTNEY SOFIAH YATES)

MODEL: NARDIA BOODOO AT WILHELMINA MODELSHAIR: RO MORGAN AT THE WALL GROUP FOR DESIGN ESSENTIALSMAKEUP: MICHELA WARIEBI FOR PAT MCGRATH LABSMANICURE: DAWN STERLING AT STATEMENT ARTISTS FOR OPICASTING: ARIELLE BERMAN.

This story appears in the Spring 2021 issue of Marie Claire.

subscribe here (opens in new tab)

MORE SPRING FASHION

Jumpsuit

(Image credit: Betina Du Toit )

wardrobe

(Image credit: Djeneba Aduayom)