Ballerina Sleaze Is The Latest Look Trending On TikTok For This Fall

The cult-favorite movie Black Swan comes to life this fall in the form of "ballerina sleaze." It seems that every week a new fashion trend pops up as an aesthetic on TikTok, but this one may take the cake this fall. The term "ballerina sleaze" was coined on TikTok by creative director Bridgitte Crisp. Ballerina sleaze combines the femininity of ballet with the polar opposite aesthetic that is indie sleaze (AKA Y2K punk fashion). Think of a ballerina on the back of a motorcycle to envision the aesthetic. Whereas the ballerina is traditionally thought of as delicate and precious, the ballerina who embraces "sleaze" doesn't let her reputation precede her and instead embraces her wild side.

Crisp tells Byrdie that "ballerina sleaze is a contemporary evolution of soft grunge based around a character — and that character is a fictional, somewhat ironic ballerina." She also explains that the two contrasting visuals of the aesthetic can also represent a strong woman. There is a sense of irony in the ballerina sleaze look, but one that makes for a visual embodiment of the layers of a woman.

Luckily, since the look combines two already existing trends, most pieces you will need to recreate the look are already in your wardrobe. So what are you waiting for? If you are ready to try the coolest look of the season, we have curated five tips that will help you embody ballerina sleaze.

Capture the aesthetic with accessories

Ballerina sleaze revolves around accessorizing. Whether it be with jewelry, sunglasses, or leg warmers, accessories are essential (via Instagram). Whereas ballerinas tend to be minimalist with accessorizing, Y2K grunge is all about piling the accessories on. Choose wisely in your accessorizing, avoiding dainty pieces and instead going for bolder statements. If you are wearing pink clothing, grunge the look up with dark accessories. If you go for darker clothing, accessorize with pops of pink.

Include pops of leather

Leather is a classic "sleaze" staple, no matter the form. It embraces a harshness in contrast to the delicacy of a ballerina, which is what makes a leather piece a great addition to your ballerina sleaze outfit. Whether this means black leather shoes, a leather jacket, or even a leather bow, it will add all the grunge necessary to make your outfit pop. Pop-punk princess Avril Lavigne seemingly agrees, as she rocked a pink satin bustier with leather pants during summer 2022 (via The News International).

Utilize leg warmers

Leg warmers are both a ballet essential and a Y2K grunge staple, making them perfect for the ballerina sleaze aesthetic. Ballerinas wear leg warmers to prevent injuries, keep their muscles warm, and tone their legs (via Dance Gaily). There is not really a clear reason as to why punks in the late '90s and early 2000s began rocking leg warmers, but we are glad they did! Adding black leg warmers to your pink look or vice-versa is a great way to grunge up your ballerina sleaze look.

Pink is a big deal

When asked what color represents ballerinas, pink is the color that comes to mind for most people. Pink has always been used in ballet, specifically for tights and shoes, as most original ballet companies were located in Europe and their dancers had rosy pink skin. The color pink made the ballerinas' legs look longer (via Beyond the Barre). Pink is still used as the traditional color for most leotards, tights, and slippers in ballet, which is why it is essential to the ballerina sleaze aesthetic. Pink draws attention to the feminine side of the ballerina sleaze look.

Oversized shirts and shrugs are a great addition

Oversized shirts and the Y2K mini shrug do miracles for the ballerina sleaze look (via Instagram). This adds more dimension (or in this case, "sleaze") to the traditionally skin-tight ballerina look. Oversized shirts and shrugs worn over the tightness of ballet leotards and skirts make the outfit look less put-together, showing that the person truly embraces being carefree. Not to mention, the fall is when the weather begins to cool off and traditional ballet outfits aren't necessarily suitable for the cold — so now is the perfect time to add layers.