It’s a question I get asked regularly as a personal fashion stylist; how do I maintain my style while wearing flats?
It’s no secret flat shoes have evolved and more than ever we have so many options for both comfortable AND stylish flat shoes. Many women suffer from foot problems that limit the sorts of shoes they can wear, or many simply prefer to wear flat shoes because they’re more comfortable.
But sometimes, flat shoes can leave us feeling exactly that- flat! We can feel a little ‘underdressed’ or simply that our outfit is not quite complete. So how do you ensure your flat shoes look stylish and not daggy?
Proportions and Balance:
One of the most important style tips to consider when wearing flat shoes is how your outfit works proportionately. When we wear flat shoes, everything is closer to the ground, i.e. our hips, bum, knees. It becomes much easier to look shorter and therefore wider in flats. So proportion is key.
When wearing a skirt or dress with flat shoes, the most important styling element is to draw the eye up. This can easily done with any skirt that sits up on your waist OR a dress with a waist belt. The length of your dress or skirt is important too – avoid any length that finishes on your calf (unless you’re super tall) To ensure flat shoes don’t make you look shorter, this is a really easy rule to follow. By showing more of the lower leg (i.e. knee length) or showing the narrowest part of the leg (the ankle) we avoid looking shorter with flat shoes.
The same rule applies to a cropped pant or jean. Avoid wearing pants that finish on your calf, and instead choose a style that finishes just above your anklebone. Again, this will create an elongated leg in spite of flat shoes.
Another factor to consider is the length of tops and jackets. Again, we want to avoid the eye falling too low down the body (i.e. the line of sight) shortening the lower body.
A good example here is the length of a blouse with jeans. An easy measure is to ensure your top doesn’t cover your bum. A long top will elongate the upper body, making the lower body look shorter, meaning the proportions are not in balance. If your top is too long, simply tuck the front into your pants (the front tuck) which will instantly elongate your lower body and restore balance.
The style of flat shoe you choose can make a huge impact on how your outfit looks from head to toe. Chunky shoes will always be harder to wear as they simply look heavy on the foot and again draw the eye downwards.
If you have to wear chunkier shoes for comfort, try to look for a style that exposes some of the upper foot. For example, you might choose a slip on loafer or ballet flat rather than a lace up. Even a slip on ballet style with a strap across the foot will be more flattering that a heavy lace up. By exposing the foot, the shoe will look less heavy.
Another tip is to avoid black shoes and instead choose neutral colours like taupe and tan. A heavier shoe in a neutral colour will look less ‘chunky’ in a light colour.
Here are our Fashion Stylist Melbourne tips for the most stylish flats-
The Pointed Ballet Flat
The comfort of a classic ballet flat but with a more refined look. The pointed toe is dressier than a round toe and more flattering on the leg. The elongated toe will help to add length to your legs, particularly when no heel is involved. The pointed ballet is perfect with dresses and skirts for work as an alternative to pumps, as it will still look professional. It’s the perfect compliment to a cropped slim pant also.
Brogues have been around for a few seasons now and they don’t seem to be going anywhere soon. The brogue has also come a long way in terms of it’s cut and shape. Look for a refined toe cap that is more almond in shape rather than round. Avoid an outsole that is wider than the upper part of the shoe as this will make the shoe look bulkier and wider on the foot. Again, the brogue is great worn with slim leg pants, skirts and dresses, and casually with cropped jeans.
Loafers have traditionally been a bit masculine in style, but again more modern styles are refined and more feminine. Look for lovely colours like blush, cream and taupe for a softer look. Wear with slim leg cropped trousers or jeans for a leg lengthening look by exposing the ankles- and don’t wear socks!
Sneakers have been a huge trend for many years now and I’ve bought many a pair with clients wanting to try this casual, comfy look. Just like all the previous tips, the key is finding a pair that works for your style and shape.
Being that many sneakers are white, a chunky white pair will draw the eye downwards so if you’re wanting to create length down below, opt for a minimalist style. Generally speaking, a lace up sneaker will look more refined than one that has velcro straps across the foot.
Should you require any more help with dressing for your shape, get in touch with us at Styled by Sally to discuss our Personal Stylist Melbourne styling services, including virtual styling.