When my daughter started ballet lessons at age four, acquiring the outfit was more than half of the motivation for her. From the chatter amongst the parents and grandmothers in the waiting area, I gathered that where to buy tiny ballet slippers is not common knowledge.
Four places to shop for leotards and other ballet accessories:
1. Target. The outfit in the above photo came from Target, plus a tutu which is laying on the floor out of the frame. These toddler-sized ballet slippers are not leather, but rather polyester, so if you are re-living your own glory days of ballet classes, you may be disappointed in them, but on the plus side, the faux bow never comes untied. Loose bow strings seemed to be a recurring problem in the 3-5 year old ballet class I observed at the Berkeley YMCA. (See our Little Kids Class Guide for ballet classes.)
Target does sell regular ballet shoes like you see above, but they start at size 6.5 and my daughter's feet were not big enough for them at the time.
2. Costume Corner in El Sobrante. With ballet shoes as small as size 5 for toddlers, this indie shop is worth the drive. They sell dancewear, jazz shoes, leotards, and tutus for every size of dancer. (Visit their website for details >)
3. Payless ShoeSource in El Cerrito, Richmond, Oakland, and Alameda. Your pick of ballet, tap, or jazz shoes can count toward any buy one, get one half-off promo.
4. Consignment stores: Call Chloe's Closet, Child's Play, and Lauren's Closet and ask if they have dancewear in the size you need before you drive there.
5. Contra Costa Dancewear in Walnut Creek is the go-to shop for folks in the 925. For kids getting serious in the performing arts, it might be worth a trip.