What is a Ballerina Skirt?

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  • Written By: Erica Stratton
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 19 January 2020
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There are several types of ballerina skirt, but not all of them are worn by ballerinas. The dancers' version is a long skirt, typically made out of several loose layers of fabric or tulle. The term "ballerina skirt" is also used by the fashion industry to designate a type of miniskirt that is made out of layers of tulle. Since this type of skirt is often cut to fit close to the body and has a short hemline, it's worn more often to cocktail parties than to dance in.

Many styles of skirt have been used by ballet dancers throughout history. Inside the dance studio, a "ballerina skirt" is more often referred to as a juliet skirt or romantic skirt. This distinguishes it from several other styles, which are all made with tulle, but differ from one another in length and layering.

The stereotypical ballerina's outfit more usually includes a tutu, which is supported with fabric or wire so that the tulle stands out stiffly around the dancer's waist. The juliet style is more flowing and covers the legs, emphasizing the dancer's movements. Ballerina skirts in this flowing style can usually be much longer than is worn for fashion's sake, coming down past the knees or to the ankles.


Ballerina skirts became popular outside of the dance studio in the 1950s. Women's styles in this era were very feminine and decorative, with an emphasis on a narrow waist. The contrast of a full, flowing skirt and a tight bodice, such as the ballerina skirt dress, emphasized this look.

Bridget Bardot, a 1950s actress who created the "sex kitten" look, is credited with making the ballerina skirt popular. Perhaps the best known modern day incarnation of the ballerina skirt was that worn by the character Carrie Bradshaw during the opening credits of the TV show "Sex and the City." Carrie (played by actress Sarah Jessica Parker) was shown running down a sidewalk in New York City, only to have her short tulle skirt splashed with water by a passing bus.

Making a ballerina skirt is a sewing project that does not require a lot of skill. In many cases, it merely involves basting several yards of folded tulle to a ribbon, which is then tied around the waist. The simplicity of the ballerina skirt pattern allows it to be altered for many different purposes, from a child's dress-up costume to a Halloween outfit for your pet.


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Post 2

I love a ballerina skirt, particularly when it is worn by an actual ballerina. It looks much more romantic than the ballerina tutu skirt which is a bit ridiculous in my opinion, but does give a better view of the legs.

That being said there seems to be a bit of a fashion for little girls at the moment to wear tutus and I think they look really adorable. I don't think it would be the most practical clothing for a little girl, but maybe if you just keep it for special occasions.

You can get some really cute handmade ones on Etsy. It makes me wish my nephew was a girl so I could dress him up in one!

Post 1

That famous Sex and the City skirt was apparently just a lucky find from a vintage store and cost something like $5.

Which is kind of ironic considering how much designer wear the girls in that show were all wearing by the end of it.

They do show it again though, at the very end when Carrie is packing to move to Paris and she goes through a lot of her old clothes, allowing the girls to veto them if they think she should give them away.

Funnily enough they all think she should keep that one, even though I'm sure they aren't supposed to have watched the opening titled themselves!

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