Why Ballerina Isabella Boylston Never Wears Ballet Flats Offstage

American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Isabella Boylston is on her toes all day rehearsing, then performing on stage in the evenings. So when it comes to her downtime, she looks forward to a comfortable pair of shoes. According to Boylston, while she typically opts for sneakers, heels make their way into her shoe wardrobe from time to time.

Here, the ballerina talks about her personal style, fashion icon and why comfort is a wardrobe essential.

Isabella Boylston
Isabella Boylston wears Converse.
CREDIT: Rex Shutterstock

My personal style: “Since I spend most of my life in leotards, tights and leg warmers, [offstage] I wear sneakers and comfortable footwear [with] jeans and a T-shirt — very simple. I also really love dressing up. When I do, I’ll wear more dramatic pieces. I have a purple Anna Sui cape that I love. It’s really fun. I don’t wear anything that resembles my [dance] attire. I never wear ballet flats [or] tulle, and until recently I never wore pink. I have high-waisted Levis I wear all the time. They’re my favorite jeans.”

Footwear favorites: “I love heels, but don’t wear them every day. I never wear anything too high. I used to wear platforms and 6-inch heels, but now it’s 4 or 5 inches. I like Miu Miu and have a pair of [its] silver heels  that I wear all the time. I also have some Manolo Blahniks I really like as well that are pretty comfortable.”

Go-to designer: “I’m good friends with the women who design Cushnie et Ochs. They designed my wedding dress. I usually get one of their pieces every season.”

Style icon: “[Former] actress, singer and model Jane Birkin. I love [her] aesthetic — simple but stylish at the same time.”

Most coveted shoes: “My friend [and fellow dancer] Misty Copeland gave me awesome Chloé wood wedges as a pre-wedding gift. They were perfect since I had an outdoor wedding and I didn’t want to wear heels. [However],  you didn’t really see them since the dress was long.”

Comfort factor: “As a dancer, it’s important. Your body is your instrument, so you have to treat it with care, so buying a nice pair of shoes feels worth it.”

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