Put us down for a pair, or twelve.
Despite the mob wife aesthetic and #eclecticgrandpa trends dominating the first few weeks of 2024, we’re pleased to advise that #balletcore is still in — and Chanel just proved it. On January 23, the iconic fashion house sent models down the runway of their Spring 2024 show at Paris Spring 2024 couture fashion week in a sea of scrumptious silk bows, ruffled collars, and yards of delicate tulle. Accessorizing these dainty looks? White tights.
ICYMI, white tights aren’t just a stylish homage to Gossip Girl’s hosiery-wearing queen Blair Waldorf, but a direct nod to balletcore — clothing inspired by dance — and the prima ballerinas who don them. It may seem like a subtle wink at the aesthetic, but that’s exactly what makes it so fabulous.
Amongst the all-in trends that have been populating our TikTok feeds of late, like Barbiecore, white tights are an easy and accessible way to embrace balletcore by adding them to items you already have in your closet.
Chanel may be doing it well in 2024, but the luxury house isn’t the first brand to share their elevated interpretation of balletcore. While many millennials’ first intro to the chicness that is ballet clothing may have been 2000’s Center Stage, there’s a long history of the ballet aesthetic influencing fashion offstage. This goes all the way back to the 1830s and ’40s when European ballerina Maria Taglioni became such a big star that fabrics, corsets, and candy were named after her. A hundred years later, in the 1930s, ballet officially made its entrance into the world of fashion.
As Patricia Mears, the deputy director of FIT and curator of the 2020 exhibition “Ballerina: Fashion’s Modern Muse”, told W Magazine in 2022: “From the 1930s to the present, the tutu-inspired evening dresses fabricated with materials such as silk tulle and chiffon had silhouettes inspired by her bell-shaped skirts and fitted bodices, and used colors long associated with ballet — mainly white and pink.”
Just a decade later, in 1942, the ballet flat was introduced to the runway when designer Claire McCardell paired her designs with real ballet slippers. It was a happy accident, with McCardell turning to these slippers after she was unable to source shoes for a fashion presentation due to wartime restrictions. The dance wear company that supplied McCardell with slippers, Capezio, then began to make street-ready versions.
It was a fitting start, considering that, as WhoWhatWear writer Jasmin Fox-Suliaman noted in a recent article on the aesthetic, ballet has always existed on the cusp of change, often acting as a mirror to reflect wider societal ideas about gender, sexuality, and beauty.
Since then, brands like Dior, Valentino, and Givenchy have tapped into the aesthetic on the runway, with celebrities like Natalie Portman (a long-time Dior darling) turning to the look on the red carpet. And ballet-inspired styles have trickled down into pop culture, popping up in shows like Sex and the City, in movies like Portman’s Black Swan, and even HBO’s Euphoria.
In 2019, Max Mara’s pre-fall collection featured models in soft, streamlined knits lined up at ballet bars, and 2020 saw Thom Browne dip into balletcore for men, with his Spring 2020 show featuring male models and ballet dancers in tutus and ballet shoes (paired with structured Thom Browne blazers, of course).
More recent versions of this aesthetic have been less literal, with an emphasis on almost everything ballet — except the tutu. In line with the rise of athleisure, brands and designers have been drawing inspo from ballet warm-up and practice gear (think leotards, soft wrap-like sweaters, and sweats). And recent interpretations have pulled from not only from the silhouettes associated with the dance form, but the colours and drapes of fabric.
This was on full display in the Fall 2022 collections, when Miu Miu inarguably ushered in a modern iteration of the balletcore aesthetic with their critically lauded Fall 2022 collection, which featured ready-to-wear satin ballet flats paired with ballet socks. The same year, brands like Rodarte get in on the trend by decking out starlets like Lana Condor in knits reminiscent of cozy ballet warm-up clothes and a floral headpiece like something straight out of Swan Lake. And in 2023, designers like Sandy Liang embraced girlhood via balletcore with leg warmers, ballet flats, and viral bow bags.
You may be pulling your faux fur coat out of storage to get you through the rest of winter, but Chanel’s white tights are proof positive that balletcore is officially here to stay. Below, find the best white tights to help you embrace your inner ballerina. Put us down for a pair… or twelve.
Wolford off-white merino tights
Sometimes, classic is best. And these off-white merino tights from Ssense are as classic as it gets.
Merino wool means you don’t have to prioritize style over comfort (although, we often do!), because you can have both. These babies look chic *and* will keep your legs toasty warm.
Hue women’s opaque tight
A more affordable option for the same look as Chanel’s Margaret Qualley (above), these opaque tights from Amazon are perfect for year-round wear.
Pair them with a pleated kilt, some ballet flats, and you’re ready to hit the town — or at least a cozy bookstore with friends.
Anthropologie high heel jungle heart knit tights
If you’re looking to lean into the balletcore trend but are a bit of a maximalist, a printed tight might be right up your alley.
Just in time for Valentine’s Day (or any day this year), these knit tights with a heart design will add the perfect je ne sais quoi to a monochromatic outfit.
NODRESS white bow knit fishnet tights
Want to combine some of #balletcore’s biggest staples into one? Then this pair of tights is for you. We’re adding bows to our hair, our bags, and our jewellery, so why not our tights, too?
Revolve LEJE Eddie Tights
The most avant-garde option in our round-up, these unique tights from Korean brand LEJE are sure to be the standout of any outfit.
Less function, more fashion, we’re envisioning this floral masterpiece as part of an early spring look with an OTT pastel dress — or maybe a chic bridal moment! Love.
MeMoi Toronto cable sweater tights
For those days when you want to be as comfortable as you are cute, cable sweater tights are probably your best bet. Pair these cozy tights with a wide-collared dress to channel some Poor Things realness.
Simons built-in support tights
For anyone looking for a bit of extra support with their accessories, this pair — from Simons — promises to deliver it. These tights are made from a recycled nylon-blend and recycled clothing, meaning their cute *and* sustainable, and feature a control panty.
Danskin women’s ultrasoft microfiber footed tight
For those days when you do have to bundle up, a super-soft pair of tights is your go-to. These Danskin tights will have you — and your feet — covered on winter’s coldest days.
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