American Ballet Theatre Dancer Erica Lall’s Winter Style Brings Plenty of Sunshine

December 15, 2021

Whether she’s headed to the studio for a long day of rehearsals or hanging out in New York City, American Ballet Theatre’s Erica Lall loves to embrace the “weird” in her wardrobe. “I like a mix of sporty and classic pieces, but sometimes I put strange things together,” says the corps de ballet dancer. “I love that there’s so much fashion inspiration just walking down the streets in New York, and anything goes—everything is accepted here.”

Quinn Wharton

Lall, who is signed with Innovative Artists talent agency, also takes styling cues from her work on set. “When you do a commercial or a photo shoot, you have stylists that really know what looks good on your body, and that’s helped me learn that I don’t have to limit myself,” she says. Her modeling work has also led to some staple wardrobe pieces, like her camel-colored coat. “I got to keep this after a photo shoot, and it’s become my favorite piece,” says Lall. “Since it’s not supertight, I can layer with it, putting a fuzzy coat or jacket on underneath.”

When she’s in the studio, Lall brightens things up with bold warm-ups or a colorful leotard (or sometimes both). “I like to have that happy energy,” she explains. “It helps me, especially if I’m feeling off one day.” Though her dancewear changes depending on her mood, there are two constants in Lall’s day-to-day look: her striped RubiaWear legwarmers and her brown-satin Freed pointe shoes. “I got these at the beginning of our season,” she says. “I was so excited to see pointe shoes perfectly matched to my skin tone. It’s really beautiful to see that happening, and that it’s not just a custom design but something more readily available.”

The Details—Street

Quinn Wharton

Camel-colored coat: “New York winters are always really dark, with lots of black coats, so I like that this is a warmer neutral.”

Powder-blue turtleneck: “I didn’t wear turtlenecks for years because I just felt like Franklin the Turtle, but now they’re all I’ve been looking at for the winter.”

Striped pants: “I found these at a thrift store in Houston, and they’re my favorite pants. They’re like the trash-bag pants you wear in ballet class, but they have a little stripe on the side and pockets.”

Steve Madden boots: “They’re comfortable, but they make me feel taller.”

Brandon Blackwood ESR bag: “My sister got me this bag for Christmas. It’s by a famous Jamaican designer, Brandon Blackwood, and says ‘End systemic racism’ on it. I love that it makes a statement and is something that gets people thinking.”

The Details—Studio

Quinn Wharton

Purple leotard: “I’ve had this since I was in ABT’s Studio Company—it was the first time in my ballet training where I was allowed to wear different-colored leotards. I like that it has an open back because I think there’s such beauty to a dancer’s upper body.”

Ombré warm-ups: “When I was a kid my parents would call me ‘Sunshine,’ so I think I’ve always leaned towards warm colors.”

RubiaWear legwarmers (not pictured): “I wear these pretty much every day in the studio and backstage.”

Custom tutu: “This was designed for me by Travis Halsey, who unfortunately passed away recently. He used to work at the Houston Ballet costume shop, and he was really close with my family. It’s really intricately made, and I love to have a piece of him with me always.”

Quinn Wharton

Freed pointe shoes, Triangle maker: Lall’s hour-long pointe-shoe prep is quite involved. “I darn the tip, then I cut up into the box about half an inch where the drawstring is because I have short toes,” she says. “I pull that apart and sew it so there’s more space for my bunions. Then I pull up [the liner] on the inside and cut my shank to exactly where my foot bends. Afterwards, I  sew the leather liner back down because otherwise it will roll up.” She finishes by applying Jet Glue to the inside of her box.