So what’s the deal with balletcore?

So what’s the deal with balletcore?

by Juliette Eleuterio
5 min

The MM6 Ballet Shoes or the Jacquemus Les Chaussures Ballet? Pick your squared-toed fighter, wrap your mini skirt around your waist and scrunch up some leg warmers and you’re ready to join TikTok’s latest style obsession: balletcore.

Yup, there’s another core on the block and this time it’s all about ballet. Unlike blokecore – or blokettecore for the girlies – which takes inspiration from football among other things, balletcore’s sole grounding is the sport of dancing, specifically ballet. Where blokecore can be informed by the sport’s watchers – think of the sports jerseys and scarves fans wear to watch matches – the world of ballet doesn’t have a fan attire equivalent, so the inspiration comes directly from the ballerinas themselves.

@juli4o_ 🩰 my dream shoes of the season~ i love the square toe #mm6 #mm6maisonmargiela #tabitok #margielatabis #balletcore #balletcoreaesthetic #balletcorefashion #ballerina #screammovie ♬ Black Swan – Swan Lake – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky

Think pastel pink leotards, slick-back buns that are sure to give you a headache just because of how tight it is and a bolero shrug cardigan all while incessantly listening to A Swan Song (For Nina). Now, this isn’t the everyday lifestyle ballerinas experience but it is what’s portrayed by the balletcore enjoyers, some of which actually are ballerinas and some of which aren’t. 

@blissfulvoids_ ©

It’s important to note the difference here: just like in the world of subcultures, those who display a connection to a certain subculture through their clothing aren’t necessarily always the ones who actually participate and interact within that subculture. That being said, there is some overlap considering fashion as a means of identity is key to the understanding of subcultures. In short, if balletcore could be considered a subculture, ballerinas will wear ballet flats but not all ballet flat-wearers are ballerinas, especially if we’re talking about the Margiela ones.

@begimuwa_ ©

The rise of digital (meaning fast-paced and easily accessible) media has become the main culprit in the death of subcultures – a phenomenon that continues to be debated to this day. Whether subcultures are truly dead or not, it’s undeniable that the rise of TikTok aesthetics has become the modern day digestible successor of the subculture.

Balletcore, cottagecore, cluttercore, and even corecore… The “core” suffix has not only taken over our FYPs but also our day-to-day vocabulary. It’s no longer a pink jacket, it’s a Greta Gerwig cinematic feminist take on the Mattel dolls-coded Barbiecore piece.

@thsaurus okay im obsessed w/ this fit😭🎀 #tiktokfashion ♬ Maria Maria (feat. The Product G&B) (sped up) – Santana & sped up + slowed

Aesthetics are no longer just a series of images but rather moods, feelings, sounds, visual cues, a lifestyle, interests and hobbies. Though the way they are presented on TikTok renders those interests back to a series of Pinterest-pulled moodboard style images, allowing both the user and the viewers to feel as though they are part of this world, like that of ballet, just by looking the part. 

@freeasangels_ ©

The world of TikTok aesthetics can easily be recognized by the core suffix but also goes beyond – rat girl summer anyone? What about tomato girl summer? It’s a way for us to romanticise the otherwise bland and frankly rather unfortunate occurrence of getting sunburnt in summer. It’s something that we as Gen Z have become experts at, because aestheticizing your day to day fuels that silly bit of fun in the face of existential dread that comes from the everyday mundane and monotonous repetitions of life. 

@lichi

Balletcore aesthetic🤍🩰🎧⭐️🦢

♬ оригинальный звук – Lichi

More so than just a TikTok trend, aesthetics like balletcore have become key words and labels useful to categorise what makes up a specific look, and also, a useful tool when looking into buying that look. You see because consumerism has found its way in every single aspect of its life, it’s more than expected for brands to hop onto the trending aesthetic of the week – whoever made up that “Girl Dinner” book display filled with cannibal stories deserves a raise though.

Thanks to TikTok and its ability to blow up just about anything overnight, the runways have taken a break from being the only component to create and influence trends. So whether you enjoy TikTok aesthetics like balletcore for the romanticisation aspect of it or the visual aspect that has you deep into the pages of Vestiaire trying to find a reasonably priced pair of Miu Miu flats, just know that by the time next week rolls around, TikTok will have birthed a new core to wrap your head around.

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