So You Saw Black Swan…

…and you stopped being disturbed long enough to enjoy the Rodarte costumes and get interested in ballet-inspired fashion?

It’s not a new or radical inspiration for designers/people-staring-into-closets, but ballerina-approved pieces are one of my favorite ways to look feminine and polished.

Here are a few ideas, from head to toe:

(photo of cute Portland girl from her blog,

A low bun, smooth or messy, is always straight up chic, but there’s been a more recent resurgence of the high, crown-level version. It’s called a topknot, and according to a poll conducted by Glamour, a slight majority of men don’t like it. But come on. If I dressed for men I wouldn’t be wearing a top that’s a couple sizes too big and a ring shaped like a bird’s skull right now.

Forever 21 “lightly studded” leotard, $8.80

Leos are good for layering and they’re perfection with high-waisted skirts or pants. I love the look of a tucked-in shirt, but there’s the problem of shorter shirts slipping out or longer shirts causing bulges and bunching. Ta-da: the one piece wonder. Look for styles that have a snap closure at the crotch (not necessarily racy, but practical!) if you don’t feel like basically getting naked and then redressing each time you go to the ladies room.

Perhaps you don’t have the perfect innocence of the white swan or the lesbianic fantasies and hysteric rampages of the black swan. The skirt above by Cynthia Rowley will suit a gray swan just fine.

Tutu-esque skirts with a sheer layer or two of tulle, chiffon, netting, etc. can be styled to look casual, professional, or party-ready. Just don’t ask the DJ if he has any Tchaikovsky.

Capezio Ultra Soft footed tight, $14

One thing I’ve always been happy to wear outside the studio is Capezio tights. It’s hard to imagine bothering with regular pantyhose (especially in winter!) after wearing these thicker, more opaque tights designed for dancers to wear and wash frequently. They’re also virtually snag proof!

Most necessary in plain black, but a dance retailer is also a good place to look for fishnets (subtly sexy in nude, with soles done geniously in a solid fabric for comfort) or a pair with rhinestones down the back seams if you’re Cher enough to handle it.

And I’ll just state the obvious here:


They prevent foot pain. So does this:

Capezio lamb’s wool, $6.50 per box (free if you can find a sheep to shave)

Lamb’s wool is used for stuffing pointe shoes to make the wood-block-pushing-toenail-back-into-foot experience a little more pleasant. But I tried putting this stuff in my regular high heels, and I’m pretty sure it was the only thing that allowed me to bop comfortably through a Sunset Rubdown show that I saw 4 inches more of than I would have otherwise. Resin not recommended for slip-proofing everything, though I haven’t tried it…

So I’m a fan.

On my way to a recent party I realized I was wearing opaque tights, a leotard, and a chiffon skirt. Oops. But it looked quite balanced with cage heels and a bomber jacket…plus you never know when you’ll need to drop everything and do a petit allegro, right?


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