Do you follow Andrea Cheong on Instagram or TikTok? If you don't, you should! She has become the trusted and approachable authority in an arena that many find daunting to step into: sustainable fashion. Breaking it down into bite-size pieces of information one can easily digest and use for more sensible shopping tactics in the future, Andrea's Mindful Monday Method is an absolute must-view if you want to be a more conscious consumer of fashion. With her wealth of knowledge and very good taste, it's no wonder we had to knock on her virtual door. Join Andrea each Friday on Who What Wear UK's TikTok channel (@whowhatwear.uk), where she'll be dissecting the latest trends and shopping phenomena. Last week, she showed you a more sustainable Lunar New Year shopping list. This week, it's all about #balletaesthetic.
Photo:Courtesy of Zara
Zara's collaboration with the New York Ballet Company.
The TikTok fashion people were the first to call it: The ballet aesthetic is back. Brands high and low have been quick to respond. Khaite recently launched an exclusive ballet-inspired capsule with Net-a-Porter, and high-street giant Zara has a collaboration with the New York Ballet Company. What’s notable about the “pretty” sister of the athleisure is that aside from shoes, the look is mainly made up of wardrobe basics. So from a conscious perspective, it's entirely possible to re-create the off-duty dance style without purchasing new. Adding to that, this is an evergreen trend we see recurring every couple of seasons in relatively similar guises, so if you are considering adding a little #balletaesthetic to your wardrobe and prima ballerina Francesca Hayward is your muse, then look no further than these curated picks.
Photo:Courtesy of Chanel
Chanel S/S 22 featured hints of the off-duty ballerina via leotards, ballet pumps and lightweight skirts.
Ballet pumps have slowly but surely been creeping back into fashion favour over the past year.
Photo:Courtesy of Simone Rocha
Simone Rocha's signature tulle skirts have sparked many a copycat.
Tulle fabrics and bodysuits have become popular amongst the style set.
SHOP MY 4 CONSCIOUSLY CURATED BALLET-AESTHETIC PICKS
Raey is the owned brand of luxury retailer MatchesFashion. There’s something quite timeless and elegant about tulle skirts, but if the prospect of styling these still freaks you out, think of them as A-line silhouettes to be paired with a basic top or knit. Plus, the black or praline-brown colourways are like “adult versions” of the typical pink tutu. These are a lot less Carrie Bradshaw getting splashed by a bus and a little more Audrey Hepburn on her way to barre.
Why it's a sustainable buy: Traditionally made of cotton muslin, modern-day tulle is almost always polyester. But if it’s truly your style and you can see yourself grabbing your morning oat-milk latte to go whilst wearing one, you don’t have to miss out. Opt for a recycled polyester skirt such as this. Now, silk as a lining is not necessarily a “sustainable” fabric, because it derives from silkworms. However, I love that Raey has gone with the most premium option that, typically, we only see ultra-luxury brands use. Plus, it’s a natural fibre that will be gentle against your bare skin.
Photo:& Other Stories
Hands up if you already own a bodysuit. If your hand is down, then let me introduce you to this black top from & Other Stories. The detail around the neckline is a subtle nod to the cut-out trend, yet it remains a staple piece. As bodysuits often resemble leotards, we may assume that we’ll need to settle for a nylon number, as it’s a stretchy fabric. This is in fact inaccurate. For our everyday wardrobes, we can easily find organic-cotton iterations, just like this one.
Why it's a sustainable buy: Regular cotton is known as a thirsty crop. While it’s still “better” than fossil fuel–based materials, it also has questionable labour practices, uses toxic pesticides and is often created from GMO seeds, which causes long-term issues to the land it's grown on. By choosing a product with an organic certification, such as Better Cotton Initiative or Global Organic Textile Standard, you are voting with your wallet for a regenerated Earth.
No one is more thrilled than I am that ballet flats are no longer “cheugy” and very soon will be everywhere on a busy street near you. There’s nothing that says “I am a grown-up now” more than wanting your feet to be cosy and comfortable. That’s why as much as I love the chic black pumps from Alohas with the adorable tie-up, I am equally obsessed with the shearling version. But wear the latter with caution: UK weather is not so kind to fluffy footwear.
Why it's a sustainable buy: The brand is part of the Leather Working Group, which is a highly audited accreditation focused around environmental protection. This is something to look out for, as it protects against mainstream tanning processes. This is one of the most polluting practices in the textile industry, which uses toxic chemicals such as chromium. Not only does this create long-term health issues for workers who are exposed to this daily, but also its waste disposal leads to contamination of waterways.
Why did I use my last recommendation for plain old black leggings, you ask? There’s nothing that gets me more excited than truly innovative, sustainable textiles. If you have watched any of my videos, you’ll know that I stan biodegradable materials over all else. However, there will always be a place for synthetics, and one of those necessary categories is technical fabrics, such as hosiery and sportswear—both of which definitely fall into the ballet aesthetic. These Billi London leggings are made of 90% Amni Soul Eco nylon and 10% ROICA V550 elastane.
Why it's a sustainable buy: Nylon, also known as polyamide, can take decades to degrade in a landfill. Amni Soul Eco nylon takes around five years. ROICA is the brand name for the Japanese-made stretch fibre. It does not leech harmful substances into the environment over time, unlike traditional elastane. If you did have to replace your standard black leggings, this would be one of the better alternatives.