Olivia Cowley’s Ballet Style

Absolutely loving Royal Ballet Soloist Olivia Cowley’s BalletStyle blog. She’s so right, the costumes on stage are absolute works of art and it is a shame that we don’t often get the chance to appreciate the craft and beauty of them up close. But it’s not just stage costumes! We get to see snaps of dancers during their work day and what they wear in class- as well as Olivia’s fab street style.

Here she is as Raven Wife –  a role I really enjoyed seeing her in recently. The costume fascinated me when I saw in on stage. The mask appeared opaque which was so striking and almost quite disturbing. It’s a real pleasure to see the headpiece up close and all the intricate folded ribbons on the tunic.

Source: ballet costumes — Ballet Style


Decathlon’s sportswear pointe shoe nightmare

I was quite excited when I found out that Decathlon are now stocking dancewear on their British website. They’re known for cheap sportswear and I do like a bargain.

However I feel some kinda way about their pointe shoe…

I know that there’s nothing stopping anyone who wants to from buying pointe shoes off the internet from reputable suppliers like Bloch or even slightly dodgy-looking listings off Ebay, however the way the shoes are presented by Decathlon seems a bit…irresponsible?

First of all the blurb is all about how these shoes apparently make dancing “easier”, with “NO MORE pain (sic)” which targets a beginner audience who are likely not to have been on pointe before or know what to look for in a shoe. The review below confirms this, from someone who has bought them as their first pair of shoes. Decathlon even proclaim that “They are nnovative (sic) shoes because they’re different to those sold by the specialists”, which to me is a massive alarm bell as it seems to discourage a potential buyer from actually seeking out a pointe shoe specialist for a proper fitting. They also come in standard street shoe sizes, without width fittings, which seems completely bizarre to me. For the same or similar price (£29.99!) you would be much better off talking to a specialist to fit your shoe.

Then there’s the customer pictures…Anyone who knows and loves Pointe til you Drop like I do kind of loves to hate how fashion photographers will use pointe shoes on models in ridiculous ways, however it’s a bit different when you’re using pictures to show a product in use and encouraging people to buy it and use it in a similar fashion. I’m absolutely not knocking the people who have sent their photos in personally, however its obvious that a fair few of them are not using correct turn-out and placement, and are practicing in their pointes at home.

I’ve no idea where or how they’ve conducted their research, but apparently “73% of dancers found the Relevé pointe shoe to be more comfortable than a traditional pointe shoe.” Hmm.

All of this really pains me just because it’s so dangerous! It’s so easy to injure your feet and ankles with ill-fitting pointe shoes and the way Decathlon claims its super-easy to get up to full pointe on these shoes seems to be an invitation to try it out at home.

Love the bargain leotards, but I just don’t agree with a sportswear supplier stocking pointes made by a fitness and gym brand! Really hoping there’s no broken ankles out there.

Dancing and Sewing

So it’s not a great photo but here’s my SAB skirt, made from the super fab tutorial from Adult Beginner!

Ballet selfie/belfie!

Ballet selfie/belfie!

It’s such a good tutorial, really easy to follow. The skirt makes you feel like your legs are a zillion miles long!

I’ve made a couple of longer ones in different fabrics for a friend, and have plans to make a mid thigh/knee-length one for twirly twirly purposes. I totally love this super short one for ballet though, the way it hangs feels so flattering.

I Heart Dance Tights

Uh muh gorssh you guys I have so much to catch up with you on.

But a dancewear delivery just came so I’ll start off with that.

So we all love DanceDirect, yes? Yes! And we all love obsessing over exact shades of balletic pink and matching our legs to our feet don’t we?


DanceDirect now stock Revolution’s “color-flow” tights – for only £3.80 footed and £6.90 convertible.

Three pounds eighty!!!

They come in an impressive colour range of: Pink, Classic Pink, Prima Pink, Dark Tan, Tan, White and Black.

From the colour wheel thingy the Pink looks to be a fairly red-toned pink (as opposed to a salmon) so I plumped for a Classic in footed and Prima in convertible to give em a whirl.

So straight out of the packet, the Classic Pink looks like a Nude shade to me – although I realise this is Nude as in my nude skin colour, and my nude skin colour is pink compared to most people on the planet. The Prima looks like a very exciting shade of classic old-fashioned ballerina pink arrghh.

Classic Pink (L); Prima Pink (R)

Classic Pink (L); Prima Pink (R)


The packet promises “Color that flows from tights to shoes” so let’s have a looky here…

Look how battered my satin flat ties are ha

Look how battered my satin flatties are ha

My flatties (stretch canvas and satin) are Bloch, and pointes are Capezio.

Compared to my usual Bloch footed tights - more like £12 a pop!

Compared to my usual Bloch footed tights – more like £12 a pop!

The Prima’s looking good, no?

Unlike usual “bargain” tights, these actually  have a proper waistband, and the gusset looks well constructed. The “grain” of the fabric (is that the right word??) looks fine as well – not coarse or loosely woven. And they feel mega soft!

The fabric mix is nylon/spandex as you’d expect. The packet promises “superior fit” which won’t bag, and “softness and durability”. Little bit skeptical as I’m used to having to fork out for branded tights that win over baggy/coarse “value” tights…

But you know what, they’re really comfy on. Admittedly there’s not as much support – you know that nice feeling that you’re being “held in” – as I expect from more expensive tights. And a few classes will see as to durability. But I’m pleasantly surprised!

Yes, I do want some white ones to wear with white satin shoes like a Russian diva…







Crochet Shorties; and the time I danced at the Royal Opera House.

I made these crochet warm-up shorties!


They’re slightly adapted from a pattern in Geek Chic Crochet by Nicki Trench. (A lovely Christmas present from my step-mum.)

I made the legs much shorter, and the waist much higher in order to cover the whole of my pelvis, and kept the scallop detail to just the legs. The ribbon is grosgrain and keeps fast in place throughout class (tested!).  They’re bulkier than the fine-knit shorties you get from, say, Harmonie, but the custom fit means my bum is satisfactorily covered – a problem for me with dancewear made for the traditional ballet dancer shape! – and much more importantly, the hip flexors are kept super toasty warm.

I celebrated with a cheeky photoshoot at the Royal Opera House.

Yes, that's ten bellinis please.

Yes, that’s ten bellinis please.

Leotard love

I’ve been on Etsy for a little while now, I have my own shop but as a buyer I mainly use it for buying fabric. There’s some excellent Liberty fabric stockists on there *siigh*.

Anyways, I’ve never made a Treasury before…a Treasury is a list of stuff you like that you make public. Kind of like Look What Good Taste I Have. I decided to find out what kinds of handmade dancewear I could could find and list, and WOAH MAMA!

Have you ever seen anyone wear a leotard like this….


Or this


Mega love for two-toned leos over here at the moment. Swoon.

The shop is called Lone Reed Designs – run by former Houston Ballet dancer Jordan Reed, who makes all different kinds of unusual and elegant leotard designs. There are  some particularly rad designs with mesh panels, if the floral print ain’t your thing. AND – get this – you can custom order your own bespoke leotard! I haven’t ordered anything myself – yet – but will definitely review if I’m lucky enough to get my mitts on any of this beautiful stuff.

Wanna see my dancewear treasury? Here it is…





I’m making a skirt.

Super-fabulous Adult Beginner has a lovely, simple and very informative (GRAIN. I get it now!) tutorial for making your own ballet skirt. (HERE)

My ballet friend very kindly gave me a navy leotard the other day. And it just so happens that I rent a huge hole in a navy chiffon dress a couple of weeks ago! Boooom.

I love wearing skirts to class. I love the little knitty shorties too… but the translucent veil-like drapes of a skirt can’t be beaten. Photos when I’ve completed my ensemble!