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Flat Shoes: The Complete Guide on Choosing & Styling

Flat Shoes: The Complete Guide on Choosing & Styling

Flat shoes are ideal for wearing with work-appropriate clothes, as well as with casual separates, with any outfit on any day. It’s no secret flat shoes have evolved and more than ever we have so many options for both comfortable and stylish flat shoes. You can try to match your shoes to one colour of your outfit, or you can also wear a contrasting colour, just make sure that the tone or saturation is the same.

How to Wear & Style Flat Shoes?

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, it becomes much easier to look shorter and therefore wider in flats. Therefore, you should avoid any length of skirt, dress or pants that finishes on your calf because this makes you look even shorter. Ankle-length capri pants, bermuda shorts or knee-length or above-the-knee skirts are ideal for these types of shoes. Also, avoid flats with skinny pants unless you have narrow hips. Otherwise, you risk making your legs look disproportionate.

White flat sneakers
Black flat oxford shoes
White flat canvas 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 shortening the lower body, therefore avoid too long tops that cover your bottom, which will elongate the upper body, and makes the lower body looks shorter.

Chunkier shoes also draw attention downwards, if you like to look taller, then try to look for a style that exposes some of the upper foot. For example, a slip-on loafer or ballet flat rather than a lace-up. By exposing the foot, the shoe will look less heavy and contribute to a bit of an elongated leg.

The pointed-toe shoes will help to add length to your legs, the elongated toe creates a longer appearance particularly when no heel is involved. They are dressier than a round toe and more flattering on the leg.

If your legs are already on the shorter side, it is recommended that you wear a flat shoe style with a bit of a lift (think 1/2 inch to 1-inch heel). Also, avoid ankle strap style shoes which is creating the illusion of a shorter leg. Ankle strapped shoes will go perfectly with a higher hemline paired with the monochromatic look, the shorter hemline creates the illusion of a longer leg, while the monochromatic look allows for some visual consistency.

Leaner body shapes can usually pair these flats with wide-leg or extremely loose trousers. Go for a monochromatic or neutral look. This creates continuity between your shoes and pants, which does not create a division from your feet up. For more curvaceous figures, these types of flats look best when paired with knee-length or long skirts and dresses and slightly more structured bottoms, which do not add additional volume.

Also choose neutral colour shoes rather than dark colours, a heavier shoe in a neutral colour will look less ‘chunky’ in a light colour. Using minimalist shades tends to blend in with your outfit. This allows the shoe to serve as an extension of what you’re wearing and makes the path up to your calf less severe.

IIf you pair fancy shoes with a fancy outfit, you will look overdressed. Instead, consider pairing simple flats with a fancy outfit, or fancy flats with a simple outfit. This will create a nice contrast and prevent your outfit from looking too busy.

BALLET FLATS are an all-time classic. There are many types of ballerina flats; classic, pointy toe, slingback, open toe, openwork, open side, strappy or lace-up. They are meant for bare feet; only specially designed ballet flat socks go with them.

Wearing them with short clothes enables you to make your leg appear longer on the top. Wear ballet flats with 7/8 pants, shorts, above-the-knee skirts and dresses, and opt for voluminous tent dresses.

If you are tall, ballet flats are perfect for you, pair them with cropped pants, below the knee light and fluid skirts and dresses, satin, suede, capped or bejewelled flats make a stylish alternative to heels.

Remember to cuff the jeans so they sit about 7/8 of the way down your legs, and avoid a super skinny style if your calves are a little thicker.

Steve Madden

LOAFERS create a casual, urban, and modern look. The easiest way to wear them is to pair loafers with pants above the ankle, skinny jeans, mini dresses, or shorts which will highlight your feminine curves and will create an interesting contrast. Complete the look with a blazer to add a professional touch or a leather jacket to complete a street style. 

You could also pair a knee-high skirt with a simple top or blouse and then add a bold coat before finishing the outfit with patent loafers. In colder weather try wearing loafers with a skirt and black tights or pantyhose. Plaid and loafers pull an outfit together well, you can add a plaid skirt or consider a plaid blazer. 

Another way of wearing loafers is to pair a mini pleated skirt with knee-high socks, reaching either just below or above the knee to create a tribute to the schoolgirl look.

Franco Sarto

BROGUES or OXFORDS? They are very similar, brogues come with an embroidered detail on the cap, whilst oxfords have plain toes. Today’s fashion offers a wide variety of styles you can create with brogues and oxfords.

The best way to wear these is to show a bit of skin around the ankles area. You can cuff the jeans or wear cropped or frayed jeans too to expose your ankles and wear them with a socket that doesn’t peep over the top of the shoe for a modern streamlined look.

Brogues look cool with wide-leg tailored trousers. Black leather oxfords look classy with dark blue slim jeans or black leather ankle pants. You can complete the look with regular or oversized blazers, trench coats or long overcoats. You can choose leather or denim jackets for more street style.

The easiest way to wear brogues or oxfords with a skirt is to choose one that ends at or above the knee. In winter, pair with opaque tights for added warmth. A high-waisted flared midi-skirt with a tucked-in top will give you the proportional ratios to assist you in creating the right balance.

ESPADRILLES have become a regular part of our summertime outfits. They are versatile and very comfortable. You can wear them with printed dresses for a beach day look or jeans, cut-outs, flowy dresses, jumpsuits, shorts, or mini skirts or you can dress down a blazer with colourful espadrilles to create a chic look.

SLINGBACKS, SANDALS, MULES & SLIPPERS are a chic and comfortable alternative to heels for any outfit. Embellished slippers will make a statement. You can them with flowy dresses, shorts, cut-outs, jeans and almost any cozy outfit you have.

Steve Madden


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