What to Wear to the Ballet: A Beginner's Guide

Sarah Jessica parker at the ballet

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Few outings feel as elegant as a night at the ballet. For decades, fashion has drawn inspiration from dance, and before the rise of the viral “coquette girl” and balletcore, the allure of the ballerina had always existed. There is no better opportunity to get dressed up and soak in the magic of the arts than attending a ballet performance. Having a chance to get dressed to the nines offers a dreamy escape from the mundanity of our weekly wardrobe, especially when it involves ballerinas. 

To start on your styling journey, try checking with the theater to ensure there isn’t a strict dress code policy before you book tickets for your big night out. While a good chunk of the audience does typically tend to dress more semi-formally (think high heels and faux fur!), it’s not a requirement. However, you’ll still want to avoid wearing sweatpants to prevent sticking out like a sore thumb. Having a few go-to outfits is key.

In case it’s been a while since you’ve made your way to a grand theater for an extra fancy outing, we’ve compiled a list of outfits you can pull inspiration from. Channel your inner prima ballerina for your next trip to the ballet with long tulle skirts, bows, tights, and the iconic shade of pink. 

01 of 09

A Tulle Skirt

Sarah Jessica Parker in black outfit

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What could be more fitting to wear to the ballet than a quintessential ballet-inspired tulle skirt? SJP might as well be the crowned queen of tulle fabric herself. Pair a flouncy ballerina-inspired skirt with a low kitten heel. Opting for a low heel like SJP is best because you’ll be able to wait comfortably in line for champagne during the intermission. Reformation offers the perfect tulle skirt in collaboration with the New York Ballet, specially made for this occasion!

02 of 09

A Pink Matching Set

Margot Robbie in pink outfit

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If Barbie herself rocks ballet pink on her date night, we should all follow suit. Take the guesswork out of getting dressed up by wearing a head-to-toe pink ‘fit that’s made foolproof by its visual impact Add in a coordinating crystal-embellished pink bag and pointed-toe pumps in slightly different pink shades for a matchy-matchy look that feels instantly fresh.

03 of 09

Head-to-Toe Leather

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley wears black outfit

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If wearing ballet pink and tulle isn't your vibe, try mixing things up with a faux leather blazer and fitted flare leather pants for a look that feels just as sophisticated and classic as a monochromatic black suit. Feel extra cozy with a super soft turtleneck sweater in cream underneath, or go for a pop of color if the mood is right.

04 of 09

A Cozy Statement Coat

Woman wears green coat

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In the winter months, your coat does all the talking for you, and a night at the ballet is no different. This is the time to take out your fanciest (and warmest) statement coat, so you’ll be chic and toasty even while waiting for your tickets at the box office. You’ll be extra glad you wore it if the theater turns out to feel like the tundra. Keep accessories simple with your colorful statement coat by pairing it with neutral options like a pair of black thigh-high boots and cashmere-lined gloves.

05 of 09

Hair Bows

Girl wears hair bow

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Why not give a nod to the always fabulous ballet bun by weaving a pretty silk scarf into your hair to add an extra accessory? If you’re not sure if you can pull off tying the perfect hair bow, some hair clip styles look like you spent half an hour in the mirror crafting it. From more delicate ribbon styles to a dramatic, bolder satin style, a bow is sure to compliment any look. 

06 of 09

Creative and Comfy Layers

Woman wears dress with layered shirt

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Layering not only keeps you warm but also adds visual dimension to your look. Start with a base layer like a long-sleeved wool dress. While you can never go wrong styling a white poplin shirtdress as your primary layer, opt for full-length sleeve options in natural fibers like wool or cashmere; they'll keep you insulated for longer. Try layering an off-season favorite like a funky spaghetti strap dress or a silky number for instant intrigue. 

07 of 09

Dressed-Up Denim

Ellie Delphine wears sunglasses, a white t-shirt, a tweed jacket

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Balancing casual and chic is made easy once you elevate your go-to dark denim jeans with a cropped tweed jacket with metallic accents, a menswear-inspired black leather loafer, and a brown pebbled leather midsize crossbody bag perfect for the essentials. Nobody will even register that you’re actually in jeans and a T-shirt and will instead be envious of your effortless style.

08 of 09

The Little Black Dress

Taylor Swift in black dress

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One item that continues to stand the test of time is an LBD. Appropriate for countless events, having a reliable go-to black dress is the best way to ensure you always have something to wear when invited to a show (or ballet!) at the last minute. Pop icon Taylor Swift was spotted celebrating her birthday in a beaded sparkly LBD. Whether sporting a less pricey LBD or a current season gem, an LBD makes any outfit look expensive and tasteful- the exact vibe you’re going for a night out at the ballet. Emulate Taylor’s evening style by pairing an embellished LBD with a black cropped faux fur jacket, a sparkly silver bag, and chunky heel platforms.

09 of 09

A White Button Down

Woman wears white shirt and silver skirt

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For a look that feels effortless and crisp, reach for a trusty white long-sleeved button-down. The possibilities are endless for a white button-down; pair it with any skirt or pants for a simple yet sophisticated look. A white button-down looks great tucked into a metallic pleated midi skirt, accenting silver ballet flats, and some sparkly rhinestone statement necklaces for a cohesive and ladylike look for attending your first ballet.

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