The Mecca of Shabby Chic

This is something I've been thinking about for quite some time now. It was Marias (from blog Why do I dance) post about her realization that she keeps on using tights that are full of holes, that hit the final nail to my coffin so to speak.

Ballet classes are a place that usually has rules of dressing. Sometimes quite strict ones too.  As adult dancer, one does get a bit more leeway in the matter of dress-code. Even more so if you dance in a community collage and not a "real" dance studio.

But I willing to bet that there is something in common in almost all of the ballet classes around the world. Ballet dancers use their gear to the maximum. Slippers are not thrown out when the first hole appears. Tights are used even though the original color has been mudded into somewhat greyish tone. If they break from the toe, you just cut the toe seams of and voila! You have leggings.

Pic from here
The favorite leotard is used again and again until its worn and torn. You use the legwarmers even if they have holes in them. And they could be originally be the sleeves from and old sweater you used up. The ballet studio could very well be the mecca of shabby couture.

The next pic is blurry, sorry, it's a still frame from a video me trying my pointes,
but do note the absolutely horrific brown stockings  I'm wearing. A perfect example. I got them as gift when I ordered something else from ebay. Don't even remember what it was. They were horrible. So I automatically thought to use them in pointe practice at home, so I don't have put tights on. I can I just say WHAAAAT? Who does that?

Shabby shabby shabby...
A ballet dancer, that's who. Or in this case a wannabe ballet dancer. The  denier was right, so... Why not! You use what you have and once found to work, you use it until it practically disintegrates.

There must be something more to this than the cost of buying new gear. It can be costly, but seriously I doubt that that's the whole story. There must be a some sort of collective ideology behind this, right?

Somehow you look the part more, if your clothes aren't all brand new. I cut one of my tights to leggings (or footless tights if you will), 'cos holes in the toes (super annoying). Wore them to class, and somehow they look just so right. They made my feet look more like a ballet dancers, more than black tights or shop bought leggings ever have. They were worn, a bit torn, hand cut uneven. In a word shabby. And they looked the just the part.

The holes and worn and torn bits tell a tale of the hard work that has been done. All the repetition, the sweat, the frustration, but also the glorious moments when you nail a particularly hard combo or your first clean pirouette. So in a way, the more shabby your gear look, the harder you have worked to get there?

Besides, all the cool kids do it.
Pic from Australian ballet
Do notice the run in her tights <3

Don't get me wrong, I love to get new gear too. As much as the next girl. Just saying.


  1. I love the look of dirty canvas flats. I love love it. Or tights that have runs all the way up the leg.

  2. Jey! Someone else gets it! :)

    Both are excellent examples of this. When I started ballet about 6 years ago, I washed my canvas flats often, 'cos they got dirty. Now the look more the part, if they are a bit dirty. So does the change begin.

  3. Haha just read this now.. I so agree! I really believe that there's this bigger ideology in this. Well I can't miss the point that ballet things are expensive and I don't feel like buying a new pair of ballet slippers every month.. But that still doesn't explain the weird baggy and worn out ballet-type-of warm up clothes that I wear before every class. Gotta be cool! ;)

    1. :D Good! Keeping it real and staying true to the genre ;)

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  5. I've just recently gone back to ballet and get the part about not wanting new shoes because of all the breaking in required, so maybe the shabby clothes need to match the worn out shoes :D

    1. That is a good theory too! Definately! :D


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