In fiction, the frillier the tutu, the prettier. Ribbons, flowers, flounces, and all kinds of flowing and fluttering stuff, help to make a costume look very pretty on the ballerina.
This is not all Truth in Television; ballet costumes follow certain standards to ensure nothing gets caught to other dancers or worse, in anyone's legs. The skirt is made of tulle and full and light enough to allow any arabesque. The ribbons on pointe shoes end around the ankles and the ends are tucked in, never left fluttering. Flowers, ribbons, feathers, and other trimmings are likely to be sewn in to ensure nothing gets loose to end up under anyone's foot.
Artists, of course, like to forget about occupational hazards when it comes to these, due to the Rule of Glamorous, and so fictional ballerinas end up dancing in costumes that would in real life be hazardous for any number of the reasons mentioned at the top, as well as reasons relating to their hairdos (there's a reason why a Prim and Proper Bun is part of standard ballet attire in Real Life).
Figure skaters in fiction have also been known to wear such costumes, though not quite as often as ballerinas. In anime and manga, Magical Girls can wear such outfits as well, even if they're not ballerinas.
- HappinessCharge Pretty Cure!:
- Sherbet Ballet's costume has Frills of Justice and a little bag at the hip. Then there's the ankle pompons and her hairdo, which features two ankle-length sidetails. Considering that she debuted in episode 4, she's lucky to not get into a nasty accident doing her icy "Arabesque Shower" attack in that getup.
- Super Happiness Lovely's costume in The Movie is similarly frilly in excess, to the point where it bears a strong resemblance to Seraphic Charm's costume (see the relevant entry for more).
- Also from the movie, the title character is shown in an actual princess gown when dancing. Consider how heavy that dress can be in real life, and though it's possible to do ballet in a dress like that, it'd look nothing like it did in the Romantic era.
- Go! Princess Pretty Cure has Cure Flora's costume as a mini-dressed ballgown variant, which incorporates a waist ribbon reaching almost to her feet and boots with giant flaps coming from both sides.
- Princess Tutu seems overall very sensible and realistic with its dance costumes but let's face it, you have an anime about magical ballet princesses, you want to give your two most important characters a little something to their designs.
- Main character Duck's ballet persona Princess Tutu wears a very sensible costume... with three tendrils well long enough to get caught in her legs.
- Deuteragonist Rue's costume as evil seductive Princess Kraehe is black with a bodice that has barely enough cloth for a Navel-Deep Neckline and nothing, nothing else yet it somehow stays in place as if glued to the skin. Now you can achieve the same look on an RL ballet stage but it'll need one, an experienced costumer to work a small miracle with skin-coloured ("invisible") fabric and two, a very, eh, "modern" production to be allowed in the first place.
- Shugo Chara! has Seraphic Charm's costume, which is supposed to resemble an over-the-top ballet tutu, with pink ribbons and white fabrics in excess all over the place as well as oversized angel wings.
- Averted for both Subaru mangas. Ballet is the main focus of the series and all costumes for performances are based on those from actual performances of the ballet pieces, so they are all simple, sensible and tripping-hazard-free.
- It's probably for the best that Sakura only wore that swan costume in the opening sequence of Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, considering all the frills that could trip her up on the field (so to speak).
- Birthday cards for girls and similar illustrations tend to have this. Bonus points for long hair worn at length when it really should be pinned up to keep out of the face.
- Barbie films that feature the titular heroine as a ballerina (Barbie in the Nutcracker, Barbie of Swan Lake, Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses, Barbie in the Pink Shoes) are usually pretty good at sensible costume design...except for the hair, which is almost always left long and loose. Some of Kristyn's costumes, such as Giselle and Odette, in Pink Shoes avoid this and do have her hair in a bun, but her main outfit (the one in all the merchandising) doesn't.
- Deconstructed in Sweet Valley Twins book #1, Best Friends. Jessica Wakefield shows up to the twins' first ballet lesson in a purple leotard, fancy purple and yellow striped legwarmers, a purple scarf around her waist, her hair down loose and filled with glittery barrettes, and blue eye shadow up to her brows. (in the graphic novel she also has ponytail holders around her wrists.) The teacher, Madame André, immediately tells her she's dressed in a "costume" and ballet class means hair up and back and only black, white, or pink leotards. Jessica is embarrassed—and her twin Elizabeth is embarrassed for her.
- Zig-zagged in the London West End production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory — a practical ballet outfit in an impractical context. Veruca Salt loves ballet so much that a tutu, tights, and slippers are everyday wear for her, but the overall outfit is surprisingly practical for dancing. Even her fur jacket is waist length so it won't get in the way when she dances.
- Downplayed in Pokémon Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl. Dawn wears a white tutu for Contest Spectaculars, which features a red sash with a trailing ribbon, but it doesn't really get in the way.
- Him of The Powerpuff Girls, in addition to doing eighties video style workouts, walking in heels and having a high voice, wears a tutu in an effort to bring his orientation into question.
- Steven Universe:
- Pearl is largely a subversion, as her primary outfit keeps both her hair and skirt too short to tangle. However, her second outfit adds in a knee-length waist ribbon.
- Blue Pearl wears a tulle skirt over a leotard, meant to resemble a ballerina outfit.
- Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum: In the opening sequence to "I Am Anna Pavlova", Yadina wears a tutu.