After seeing the movie Black Swan we can be forgiven for not wanting to pursue a career as a professional ballerina, but that doesn't mean that we can't steal their style. From feathers to leg-warmers, Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis bring delicate and feminine ballet and workout style to the big screen, leaving behind the look's shameful Fame past for something more modern and interesting.
Portman's transformation from the pretty white swan to the edgy black swan has inspired a feminine gothic look this season. To recreate this look black is the order of the day, taking the ballerina silhouette and making it seductive with short tulle skirts, body suits and ruffles. To add a little dark drama to any outfit without actually becoming the black swan a touch of black lace is the perfect way to dabble in the dark side.
The X-Factor's Rebecca Ferguson started this trend at the end of 2010 with a pair of black lace gloves from ALDO, which is a great way to gently bring some elegance and edge your wardrobe. Topshop and other high street stores have taken the trend on board and have a selection of black lace gloves in long, short, fingerless and frilly styles.
Another easy way to invoke the darkness is with tights and leggings. This is an inexpensive way to make your black swan mark with a variety of styles and price ranges, from Forever 21 to Hervé Léger.
However, it's good to keep in mind that this look requires class and an overindulgence of black lace could make you look like a stripper. Pair the look with basic blacks to maintain the classic ballet ideal.
Ballet PumpsBallet pumps seem like they're never going to leave our wardrobes. Victoria Beckham ditched her famous stilettos in favor of the comfortable flats last summer demonstrating that you can have comfortable feet and still look ladylike and sophisticated. Every designer has offered their take on the pump, from Chanel to Marc Jacobs and they better get their thinking caps on again because Black Swan has once again made them a coveted accessory.
This season, however, the actual ballet part of the pump is emphasized. Pale pinks and nudes are the shades to have and the plus side is that these colors make your legs look longer. Jimmy Choo and Chloe have brought out pumps in these delicate shades and pearl covered pumps by Alexander McQueen are the perfect inspiration if you're looking for something special.
ALDO offer a range of pale shades and styles, including simple, lacey, and a pale pink pair with a big flower on the toes. If you're not convinced about the flats then pale stilettos are also on trend. It's not like you actually have to be able to do a plié in them. Patent, suede and fabric versions are available from Nine West. The added bonus of this investment is that nude shoes go well with any ensemble and again, they elongate your legs so you might even be mistaken for a well toned dancer.
Leg warmers this time around are a bit more subtle than the multi-colored pairs that have been doing the rounds over the last few years. It's all about blacks, whites and greys to complement the ballet silhouette. They will also make your new ballet pumps a bit more wearable in the wintery weather, adding comfort and texture to the look.
Leg warmers look well with flats or heel, and the key is to make them a little bit scrunchy and push them down below the ankle. The idea behind leg warmers is to keep the dancer's legs warm to prevent the muscles from cramping, and thus, preventing injury. For the average woman it's a way of accessorizing a mundane outfit, getting out of their over-worn boots in winter and allowing them to wears short skirts while limiting the amount of leg on show. American Apparel is your best bet for this ballet essential.
The wrap cardigans and shrugs in the movie are probably the most wearable element of the ballerina style. Portman wears an array of cardigans to cover up the mysterious scratches on her shoulder throughout the film. Such cosy winter attire creates a relaxed and graceful look, while the crisscross over the body can hide lumps and bumps, while also flattering slimmer figures.
DKNY had a little bit of a wrap cardigan obsession of late and most high street stores have a variety of dance-inspired knitwear. Again, American Apparel with its continuous reinvigoration of the dance look stocks an array of cardigans and shrugs. Knitwear in general, in pale ballet-inspired shades will also create the casual yet elegant appeal of the dance look. However, the more fitted versions are best paired with the full skirts and feathers to ensure that you don't get swallowed up by a mass of nude fabrics.
To embrace the flamboyant side of Black Swan, feathers take the somewhat muted look to a new level. The contrast between the long, slim lines and the volume and richness of the feathers are what really make the ballerina look appealing. It also allows the gym-ish trend to be taken to a stylish night look.
Designers have been using feathers to add texture to skirts, shoulders and accessories so it's easy to take a slice of the trend with as much gusto or subtlety as you like. Forever 21 have a range of feather earrings, necklaces, hair accessories and skirts at reasonable prices.
If you're taking the style to the max and embracing a full feather skirt, be aware that the upper half of the body should have a smooth, simple line. ASOS does a great dress version of this look in white with a strapless, corset bodice. Take note, or else you might actually end up looking like the ugly duckling, rather than the elegant, feminine swan.