happiness is a warm back

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Way back in January, I made one big new year’s resolution and a smaller one: to learn how to knit.  One of my best friends shared the desire to learn, so together we made an adventure of it, rounded up supplies, filled a big bowl with popcorn, and started YouTubing tutorials.  I like to fancy myself a crafty lady, but my goodness!  Knitting is hard.  Several frustrating hours and unraveled skeins later, though, we were very slowly sort-of-kind-of-knitting.

Quite a few of the dancers at FBP are avid knitters, but none rival the ultimate knitting queen, Vilia Putrius.  With several decades of knitting experience, she has certainly earned that title…

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Vilia learned to knit when she was just 5 years old.  You could say a talent for crafting runs in the family.  Ms. Putrius grew up in a family of circus artists (how cool is that?) and some of her earliest memories are of her parents sewing costumes and knitting clothing for she and her brother.  By age 18, Vilia had become a professional ballet dancer, but that homespun tendency ran deep.  When she struggled to find warm ups to suit her distinctive style, Vilia took matters into her own needle-clad hands.  Her obvious talent turned the craft into a business, and a few years later Arleo Wear was born.

Being a professional ballerina herself, Vilia is able to design pieces that a dancer truly needs. The Arleo Wear-covered dancers of FBP are a clear indication of that specificity; In the studio we stay bundled  in her cozy overalls, signature sleek ankle warmers, and on-trend convertible shorts, but it seems everyone’s favorite design might be the brilliant back warmer.

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Perfect for class and rehearsals alike, the Arleo back warmer allows freedom of movement in the hips and shoulders while keeping the core toasty.  Finally a way to keep an eye on lines without sacrificing comfort and style, ah!  Her knitting expertise is also woven into every garment she designs, using only the finest yarns to create these essential pieces.

Now that I have my back warmer, I truly wonder how I ever got along without it.  It’s like a ballet-appropriate version of your favorite cozy sweater.  And really, isn’t that what we all want?

to shop.

also check out her accessories while you’re at it. (you might see a familiar face;)

dizzy stripes

IMG_2115 IMG_2117 IMG_2116 IMG_2119IMG_2120IMG_2118I fell in love with these playful little petal shorts the moment they hit Instagram.

Then they landed on the Danseuse blog, and my heart skipped yet another beat.

For weeks, my legs longed for their sheer stripe-y goodness from all the way across the pond.  Then one very lucky Tuesday they arrived in a pretty little package at my doorstep.  Naturally, I immediately put them on and twirled around the house.

The modern, yet feminine shape features a deep front slit on either thigh, allowing for a complete range of motion.  And boy, do they move beautifully.  I’ve been wearing mine rolled to the hips, but they look just lovely up on your waist as well.  The contrast between that polished base fabric with a casual jersey drawstring elevates this already wonderfully unusual design to a whole new level of unique charm.  They are the special kind of shorts that will attract copycats but never truly be replicated or replaced.  No dancewear will ever out-cool them, that is, of course, until the Danseuse team inevitably strikes again and I’m left longing once more.  Sheer genius, ladies and gents.

Danseuse Balletwear Petal Sheer Shorts in Blue Stripe, c/o (and psssst, they come in blanc and a longer length indigo, too!)

photos by Jenay Evans.

studio to street

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Sartorially, there are two things I will never pass up: a multifunctional piece and a challenge.

Inspired by creative director at Danseuse/one half of the ever-inspiring Kingdom of Style, Ms. Michelle Haswell, I decided to test the boundaries of my balletwear by taking it outside the studio.  This experiment resulted in the above outfit, best described as unapologetically playful grey on grey with a hint of punk-in-the-Michelle-Tanner-way.

Perhaps not the most sensible outfit choice for yesterday’s little monsoon, surprisingly this look carried me- with extreme comfort- from tea to shopping to more tea, writing, laundering, jazzercising, fig-eating and all of the other fun Tuesday activities I got up to (wake me up when August ends).  I also felt pretty badass knowing that I was secretly increasing the wearability of my wardrobe all day.  So there you have it- balletwear in the real world- it can be done!

For more studio to street looks, and specifically the ones that inspired this post, run along over here.

PS- stay tuned for a peek at a bit of new Danseuse I’m exxxxxtremely excited about…

{shortstee, vest, sneakers}

surprise!

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I am so excited to announce Setting The Barre‘s first ever giveaway!

I’ve teamed up with the lovely creators of some of my favorite dance/activewear apparel brands to create a fun, fresh outfit (valued over $200!) that can take you to the barre and beyond…

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danseuse balletwear

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I firmly believe that ballet is for everyone.  Physically invigorating, emotionally empowering, and creatively freeing, ballet feeds every portion of a person.  From the proper management of bodily stress to the discipline of repetition, there is always something to be learned.  Regardless of age, body type, and experience, the benefits of a ballet class are universally attainable- the “ballerina body”, however, is not quite so easily acquired.  Enter Danseuse Balletwear.  Created by style blogger/recreational ballet dancer, Michelle Haswell, and her fashion designer friend, Aleksandra “Dust” Stojadinov of the label Disturbance, Danseuse is a collection of luxe warm-ups designed to flatter all body types, from the lithe young ballerina to the one-class-a-week mother of 3, and every dancer in between.  The line was born from Ms. Haswell’s struggles with the common insecurities that seem to spawn from most balletwear, and her unique vision of a truly beautiful,

“universal and luxurious collection, which is kind to all bodies and ages.”

Each piece reflects the graceful world from which it was inspired, incorporating sweet tulle hems, delicate wrapped fabrics, and soft feminine cuts to create elegant garments fit for a prima- and a pupil.

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I had the pleasure of testing out two pieces from the Danseuse collection, made to order in The Netherlands by the talented Miss Dust herself.  The darling Lana romper (pictured above) is the barre equivalent of your favorite onesie: soft, snuggly, effortless and a magnet for compliments.  Even FBP’s artistic director stopped me in the hallway to check out the romper and let me know just how much he liked it!  The coziest warmup in my arsenal, by far, and I’m loving this neutral pastel pallet- perfect for spring.

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Also fluttering their way into the FBP studios, the breezy Wendy shorts feature a loose fit and curved hem, with high cut sides that resemble a longer style of the infamously flattering “SAB skirt“.  These are perfect for keeping your hips warm without the restriction of any tight, clingy fabrics restricting your movement.  All of the perks of a skirt, in shorts form…kind of like the ballerina version of that beloved skort from your childhood…see, dreams do come true!  And with a name like Wendy, you know these are sure to be my new favorite shorts…

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Both pieces are made to have a looser fit and feature adjustable drawstring waists, so you can easily tailor the garment precisely to your preference- grand battements to the gods, who’s with me?!

PS- Check out this post from Danseuse Balletwear co-founder, Michelle Haswell’s “pointers” (heh heh) for preparing for your first pointe class.  I must admit, in my first pointe class I was guilty of that dreaded ribbon faux pas!

PPS- Leg warmers in the first photo by Rubiawear.

PPPS- Stay tuned for an exclusive chance to get your hands on some of my favorite brands, coming later this week!