Essential Ballet Attire & Accessories to Pack in Your Dance Bag

Like an academic school, a ballet school usually requires its students to have their own set of supplies to take ballet classes, such as proper attire and accessories. Although each school may have a few specific requirements, there are some general things that ballet students need for the teacher to see if a student is appropriately executing a movement, step, or position.

Ballet Attire

Ballet Tutus

The adult tutu is one of the most recognisable pieces of ballet wear. The impeccable design of adult tutu skirts immediately distinguishes the dancer as soon as they step onto the stage. Aside from looking dreamy, its primary purpose is to show the entire length of a dancer’s legs while maintaining the grace and glitz of a full skirt. Adult tutus are available in various fabrics, including tarlatan, muslin, silk, tulle, gauze, and nylon. The frills on professional dancing tutu skirts are typically made of multiple layers of tulle to maintain rigidity throughout the ballet dancer’s movement.

ballerina posing in green tutu

However, professionally made tutus are not recommended for rehearsals and exercises due to their high price and delicate structure. As a result, some adult tutu skirts imitate the style of the professionally made ones for stage, consisting of cotton made bodice and one layer of tulle. They are great for practising as they allow you to move and feel comfortable while still looking like a real ballerina!

Ballet Shoes

Ballet shoes for ballerinas are just as crucial as some wardrobe essentials for stylish teenage girls. Also known as ballet flats, ballet slippers, or soft ballet shoes, they allow dancers to move safely on the floor while preventing their feet from sticking or slipping. Some schools may require a specific brand, but the majority will not. Most ballet shoes also include elastics, which should be sewn on each side about an inch from the heel to prevent the shoe from slipping off. Make sure to tie the elastic drawstrings and tuck them under the top of the shoe.

Pink ballet slippers are almost always required for girls, while black or white ballet slippers are required for boys. On the other hand, you will need pointe shoes only if you take pointe classes. When purchasing ballet shoes, consult your qualified teacher and never experiment on your own.


Ballerinas will almost certainly be required to wear a leotard. A leotard is a dance costume that resembles a one-piece bathing suit. They are typically made of cotton blends, but they are also available in more stretchy materials such as lycra and spandex.

ballerinas rehearsing in black leotards

Before buying, check with the school to see if a specific brand, style, or colour is required as part of the uniform. Teachers prefer that students wear the same brand and type of leotard because it allows them to focus less on the “fashion” of clothing and more on what the dancer is doing. Students wearing uniforms also contribute to a more disciplined environment. Although there are specifically designed leotards for male dancers, most ballet schools require them to wear a fitted white shirt only.


There are many reasons why tights are another must-have supply for ballet. The most important one is that they give a dancer a more consistent look down their legs and into their shoes. This allows the teacher to see a dancer’s line more quickly. Given some of the positions in ballet, many dancers prefer to wear tights. Typically, girls must wear pink footed tights from a ballet clothing manufacturer. Tights are also required for boys and men. However, some ballet schools allow younger boys to wear shorts. They are usually required to wear black footed tights as a nice contrast to the white t-shirt.

Ballet Accessories


Warmups are good in getting you warmer faster when the studios are a little chilly. Warmup clothing includes sweat pants, knit leg warmers, foot booties or slippers, and sweatshirts or body wraps.

ballerina wearing black warmups

When it comes to warmups, you can get very creative as there are many different types available on the market. Since most schools do not allow their students to wear warmups, they are usually worn before or after the ballet classes. This makes it perfectly acceptable to purchase warmups that aren’t specifically designed for ballet. You can go to your local department store and get a pair of sweatpants, or go to your favourite sports store and get some yoga pants and a sweatshirt; it’s entirely up to you!

Still, students are allowed to wear warmups from a brand that caters to ballet dancers in some cases. For instance, if a student’s calf hurts, they may be permitted to wear leg warmers, but they must be pink to match the tights and not cause a break in the visual line and appearance. Alternatively, a student may be permitted to wear a black top wrap because it matches the school’s black leotard uniform. These rules will differ depending on your school, with some taking a stricter stance and others taking a more relaxed posture.

Dance Bag

A dance bag is ideal for organising your dance clothes, warm-ups, shoes, and accessories. Although some people prefer backpacks, while others prefer gym bags, you should always opt for a medium to large-sized bag that will allow you to easily transport extra warmups, shoes, tights, and anything else you might need for ballet class or rehearsal.

Hair Accessories

Most schools require female ballet students to wear their hair in a “ballet bun.” This provides teachers with a clear vision of the positions a dancer adopts with their neck and head. It also makes the dancer’s hair less distracting because it doesn’t flip around in turns or fall in front of her face during jumps. To create a proper ballet bun, most female students will need a rubber band, a hairnet, and bobby pins. It’s also a good idea to have extras on hand and in your ballet bag in case of any break while you’re getting ready or fall out in the middle of class.

On the other hand, male students must keep their hair neatly groomed and out of their faces.