The Classics: Ballet Flats
Slipping into a pair of ballet flats can easily transform a slovenly outfit into a sophisticated one. When I'm stepping out in my nude Chloés or black Ferragamos, I feel chic...I feel, dare I say...French.
The timeless footwear selection has been a favorite of style icons for decades, solidifying their place in women’s wardrobes everywhere when Paris-based ballet-shoe makers Repetto crafted a scarlet pair for Brigitte Bardot in the 1956 film And God Created Woman. Her iconic image enduring, ballet flats have become an integral part of the modern classic wardrobe (see: Inès de La Fressange, Miranda Kerr, Alexa Chung, Karlie Kloss, Olivia Palermo). The popularity of the shoe can also be attributed to Audrey Hepburn, my forever style icon and muse (how's this for some Summer 2018 inspiration).
While of course there are many subcategories of ballet flats (pointed toe, d'Orsay, mary jane) this post is focused on the classic rounded toe variety, a shoe I believe every woman should own in black and nude. Offering both practicality and femininity, they're versatile, timeless, and most significantly, walkable. The right pair can also go with pretty much anything, from your denim cutoffs to a formal evening dress. My go-to outfit consists of jeans, a white tee shirt, and black ballet flats. Simple, elegant, and never goes out of style.
While few produce a more exquisite pair of ballet flats than Chanel or more quintessential pair than Repetto, a wide range of options exist for women of all budgets and tastes. I consider the fact that the higher the quality, the longer the life of the flat. High-quality ballet flats, when well cared for and resoled, can last years (if not a lifetime). However, I find J. Crew ballet flats to be a great affordable option, especially when they go on sale. J. Crew frequently runs 40% off sale promotions, where I've scored genuine leather ballet flats for well under $100, sometimes even under $50 during a clearance sale.
On the higher end of the price spectrum, my Chloé scalloped ballet flats are by far the most comfortable flats I have ever worn. They require no breaking in, and the quality of the leather is sublime. Lanvin is also well known for their impeccably made footwear, and I'd love to get my hands on a pair. I'm currently saving up for a classic pair of black Chanel flats.
Below are a few of my recommendations, starting at $100 with the Sam Edleman flats. While I enjoy high-end fashion and love saving up for special pieces, especially when it comes to the classics, I don't think it's necessary to spend a lot to look and feel stylish. Over time, I've found what works for me in terms of where I like to save and where I like to invest.
Do you have a favorite brand for comfort or quality? Any recommendations? Please feel free to share in the comments.