Choreographers and costume designers in the 21st century now choose costumes which best suit the purpose of their ballet. This means that depending on the ballet, you may see a Romantic tutu, a Classical tutu or no tutu at all.
In the early 1800s, with the development of the pointe shoe and the many stories about fairies and nymphs, the Romantic tutu became popular. This skirt came below the dancers’ knees, and gave them a dreamy, ethereal look, while allowing them to move more freely.Karen Kain
A tutu is a special kind of skirt worn by dancers in many ballets. When the first ballets were performed in the 15th and 16th centuries, female dancers performed in the courts of royalty wearing floor length gowns with heavy decorations. These cumbersome outfits greatly restricted their movements.