I can still remember my first pair of ballet flats, which my mother bought me when I started dance classes as a 7-year-old. I loved them and insisted on wearing them everywhere, with everything, dance class or no dance class. Unfortunately, due to my lack of coordination and daintiness, ballet didn’t stick, but I’ve had a soft spot for this slip-on shoe style ever since.
During my teenage years in the noughties, as a budding fashion fan, I looked up to the likes of Kate Moss (arguably the queen of making the ballet flat cool) and Sienna Miller, who inspired me to pair them with everything from miniskirts to leggings. But thanks to their over-saturation, by the mid-2010s, I hung up my beloved bowed pumps, probably in favour of some Stan Smiths or Topshop ankle boots.
I thought it was for good and came to terms with my ballet-flat era being over. That was until the last year or so when I’ve started to notice the “dated” shoe trend creeping back into the wardrobes of some of the most stylish celebrities and fashion people I know. More and more these days, I’m seeing ballet flats in outfits I really want to copy.
Of course, a lot of this is down to the resurgence of the classic Chanel pump, which, timeless though it is, is certainly having more of a moment now than it has done for years. And while Londoners used to be my ballet-flat muses, now I’m mostly looking across the pond to French girls and their classic, elevated take on how to wear the shoe style—Chanel or not.
Are you with me? If so, then you’ll want to keep scrolling because below I’ve curated nine of the best ballet-flat outfits I’ve seen recently that look anything but dated. They might even convince us to try the trend again. Happy scrolling!
1. Trench Coat + T-Shirt + Miniskirt
Style Notes: This is a great trans-seasonal outfit if ever I saw one, perfect for wearing from now into autumn.
2. Jeans + White Shirt + Striped Knit
Style Notes: It doesn't get more classic, or more French, than this easy outfit.
Style Notes: Trust Alexa Chung to come up with a truly original way to wear ballet flats. I particularly love the Mary Jane styles at the moment.
4. Short-Sleeve Shirt + Patch-Pocket Jeans + Leather Crossbody
Style Notes: It's not just us mere mortals loving ballet flats right now. Katie Holmes (who clearly has great style), wore her square-toe ones just the other day. And rather effortlessly, might I add.
5. Breton Jumper + Leather Belt + Wide-Leg Trousers
Style Notes: I wouldn't have thought to wear ballet flats under wide-leg trousers. But Julie proves that it can work and look incredibly good if they fall at just the right length.
6. Body-Con Dress + Shoulder Bag
Ballet flats aren't just for casual dressing. Mélodie shows you can just as easily wear them with a figure-hugging dress for more formal occasions.
7. Tweed Jacket + White T-Shirt + Loose Jeans
In previous decades, skinny jeans were the only jeans you would wear with ballet flats. But Emma Rose Thatcher throws that rule out the window with this chic outfit and makes them feel really up-to-date in the process.
8. Suede Jacket + Black Trousers
Style Notes: Queen of minimalism, Sylvie opts for a ruched pair of flats to accompany her simple but elegant outfit.
9. Short Trench + Cropped Jeans + Shoulder Bag
Style Notes: Chic two-tone ballet flats pull this otherwise "boring" outfit together and turn it into an elevated look that would work for brunch, meetings, sightseeing or dinner.