One day about four years ago, I took a long look in my closet and broke up with my ballet flats. Every last one of them. It had been too long since they contributed anything positive to my life. The proportions were bad enough — they made my size 11 feet look more like a size 22. When I wore them, my feet entered a room five minutes before the rest of me did. But perhaps more pressingly, I realized I’d never, not once, been stumped on what shoes to wear and thought: flats! And so out, out, out they went; out of my closet, out of my mind.
For a while, I didn’t feel alone in this revelation. Sure, I’d see people wearing flats with a pointed toe, maybe a lace-up version, even a mary-jane, but it seemed like most people had tossed their ballet flats — as Beyoncé would put it — to the left, just as I had.
Consider my bewilderment, then, when I scrolled down my Instagram feed last week and noticed not one, but multiple photos of cool women wearing ballet flats. Somehow, without my noticing, ballet flats hadn’t just snuck their way back in, they had arrived. And no one was more surprised than I that I didn’t hate it. In fact, I kind of loved it.
They didn’t look boring or tired. People were wearing them in ways I hadn’t considered four years ago: with wide leg pants, wrap dresses and overalls. It’s made me wonder if maybe ballet flats weren’t at fault in our years-ago breakup. Maybe the timing was just off, or perhaps it was the skinny jeans that spoiled everything. Either way, if you’ve felt the same way about flats, below are five photos that have convinced me to get back on the wagon.
1. With Overalls and a Leather Jacket
I could have never imagined I’d one day see a pair of orange Chanel ballet flats worn with camo overalls and a leather trench, topped off with a fanny pack worn over the shoulder. All praise to Paloma Elsesser for demonstrating that ballet flats can go beyond making you look put-together; they can make you look legitimately cool.
2. With an All-White Outfit
Hellooooo. Stylist Cassandra Dittmer doing Audrey Hepburn proud with this look. Something just feels so right about the cigarette jean silhouette combined with a no-frills ballet flat. Also, the all-white monochrome and décolletage-complimenting wrap top with puffy sleeves add just the right amount of spice.
3. With a Vintage T-Shirt
Vintage T-shirts and baguette bags are go-tos for looking effortlessly on trend, but they’re most often worn with moto boots and vintage Levi’s (at least from what I’ve seen). But to my surprise, swapping those out for billowy pastel pants and patent ballet flats feels like a breath of fresh air, just in time for spring.
4. With a Frilly Dress
I’m obsessed with the nostalgia of this look. I feel like this is the adult version of how my mom would have dressed me for a fancy dinner at age six. Quite honestly, there’s no better footwear option for an abundantly frilly dress and sheer polka dot tights. I see that now.
5. In Bright Red, With Anything
This look is the perfect balance between minimalist and maximalist and, in my opinion, these vibrant Rothy’s ballet flats are the key in this equation. The red is a lovely contrast to both the neutral-colored jacket and the primary-colored blue of Natasha Nyanin’s dress. It’s also the perfect accent to her silky head scarf.
Are you swooning too? Do you feel betrayed by your own emotions? Tell me how you’re feeling in the comments.