Balletcore is the inclusive leg warmer, finger-gloved fantasy we all deserve this winter

By Emma O'Regan-Reidy

Published Dec 2, 2022 at 09:00 AM

Reading time: 3 minutes

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If you follow fashion on any platform (or in better words, if you try to keep up with it), you’re probably feeling a bit overwhelmed at the constant overturn of trends coming at you this year—and then disappearing just as fast. One of the more popular fashion crazes at the moment? Balletcore.

Not only does the hashtag have more than 148.3 million views on TikTok at the time of writing this, it has even stepped out of our screens and appeared on multiple runways during fashion month. Simone Rocha and Halpern’s Spring 2022 ready-to-wear collections are just the tip of the tulle, lace, and bow-embellished iceberg.

Are you a fan of the style yourself but don’t know how to incorporate it into your everyday looks? Or perhaps you’re just wondering why everyone always seems to be so obsessed with ballerinas all the time, or at least every few years? Either way, don’t worry, we’re here to dissect the trend and bring you all the styling tips you need.

Balletcore is the 2022 edition of the fashion world’s century-long love affair with all things ballet—and, to be honest, what’s not to love? The silky satin fabrics, the romantic bows, the ethereal fabrics, and silhouettes—you get it. From Chanel’s iconic 1930s tulle gowns to Orseund Iris’ coveted contemporary collections, we collectively can’t seem to get enough of this timeless aesthetic, which is why ballet-inspired pieces routinely resurface on runways and in wardrobes.

So, what else about the aesthetic makes it so alluring? As The Face succinctly put it, the trend channels “the effortlessness of ballerinas—minus the brutally long hours spent in the studio.” Even if you aren’t Bella Hadid, you’ll probably still look oh-so-chic and comfy in an outfit like this.

But don’t worry, you don’t actually need those Miu Miu ballerina flats—or the equally iconic Sandy Liang version—to master the aesthetic. Bodysuits and wrap cardigans are a couple of staple pieces you probably already have in your closet that can help you embrace this style. Or you could also dive into TikTok’s numerous DIY tutorials to source your own ballet-inspired accessories. Dressing this way is “equal parts feminine and comfortable,” former dancer Bec Oakes told Refinery29.

Another way to approach balletcore is as the ultimate fusion of French girl style and athleisure. Madeleine Jones, a New York-based stylist, explained to Vogue that she sees “the ballet-all-day movement as the natural evolution from athleisure.”

Jones went on to say that “it still feels like you’re dressing up—but not overdressed.” Gone are the days of only having sweatpants or even leggings as your comfy options. Instead, consider pairing your go-to loungewear pieces with a wrap cardigan, leg warmers, or even a satin skirt for an elevated—yet relaxed—look.

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A post shared by Repetto official account (@repettoparis)

The main difference between this recent spike in the beloved trend’s popularity? Inclusivity. For the first time, a diverse range of fashion-lovers are being welcomed into and embracing this movement. Take Detroit-based creator Monique Black, for instance, who styles the aesthetic as a size 20.

Speaking to Refinery29, the TikToker explained that she “really love[s] the idea of embracing femininity and softness because so often these traits aren’t associated with plus-size girls.” As for the aesthetic’s long association with thin, white women, Black mentioned that her “generation is perfectly content with ignoring the ‘industry’ and creating our own lane. We refuse to be excluded anymore.”

@moeblackx

ad i’m obsessed with this trend so here’s a fit that doesn’t involve wearing a child’s uniform 🤪 balletcore ballettiktok coquette

♬ Griddy x Nutcracker -

Chazlyn Yvonne, a 20-year-old blogger and former ballet dancer, has had a similar experience with the trend’s 2022 update. In April, she told Nylon that balletcore has led her to connect with “girls of the same aesthetic who all have completely different backgrounds, ethnicities, shapes, and sizes.” When SCREENSHOT caught up with Yvonne in October, speaking about the similarly feminine coquette aesthetic, the creator also emphasised the greater inclusivity within the current aesthetics taking over TikTok and Instagram.

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A post shared by Chazlyn🎀| College Blogger (@chazlyn.yvonne)

With a diverse group of content creators embracing balletcore, the trend is pushed beyond its former limitations. The result? It welcomes a wide range of people while continuing to emulate the strength and femininity at the aesthetic’s very core.

If light pink tulle skirts aren’t your thing, don’t stress—balletcore is nothing if not flexible. The trend is constantly being explored and interpreted in new ways. Take, for example, some of the most stylish celebrities’ recent obsession with fingerless gloves and leg warmers. While the 80s-inspired silhouette you probably have in mind has made a comeback, the latter accessory has also gotten a contemporary update. Some eye-catching examples? Kylie Jenner’s skin-tight pair, Vaquera’s puffy, cloudwear-inspired designs, and Ottolinger’s tiered, faux fur rendition to name a few.

But avant-garde leg warmers aren’t the only new interpretation of balletcore this time around. There’s also a new sub-trend: ballerina sleaze. If hyperfemininity isn’t for you, you may find this rendition of the aesthetic more appealing. The niche trend combines the best of graceful ballerina apparel and indie sleaze—think blending your chic, contemporary cardigans and wrap skirts with soft-grunge accessories from your days scrolling Tumblr.

Choose to interpret the style however you want, whether that means full-on ballerina or a micro-mini pleated skirt with those leather, buckled Miu Miu flats—either way, we’re here for it.

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