how to wear ballet flats?

Posted by Aloïs Guinut on Friday, March 11, 2016 · 23 Comments 

I was pleased to see some winter season in Paris after a month of summer in the southern hemisphere (I know I know, difficult time ^^), but enough is enough, I am already bored of snow (yes snow °o°) and am looking forward to spring.

Especially for spring outfits to be honest.

I miss my trench coat and the light dresses in shops seem sooo appealing best now.

And this year, I feel like I want… ballet flats. Something I was never really into in the past, thinking it was kind of a goody-two-shoes look (do you actually say this? I do not even remember where I read this but I liked how it sounded hihi).

I was especially not so keen about the mini bow (and still think that is not the best feature of numerous ballet flats).

But this year (well last year) came… the laced up ballet flats! Which is the kind of style which looks appealing to me!

When I think of it, last year I purchased a great back of pointy toe sling back metallic green ballet flats (yes all that in one shoe) which look very sophisticated.

Thinking even further, I used to own a pair of openwork ballet flats that were amongst my top fav shoes. completely killed them after wearing them 5 years…

Everything but the classic ballet flats that is.

But after some research for the purpose of this post, it turns our even the classic ones can look cool.

Let’s see how to wear the ballet flats so you can wander the streets as light as Brigitte Bardot in her glorious days.

I. choose stylish ballerinas

Yes OF COURSE, that sounds really obvious.

But no stylist can create an outfit good enough to save a pair of sturdy ballet flats.

Most essential is: ballet flats should reflect a spirit of lightness. think “delicate” even if you are aiming for studs.

Forget about poorly executed accessories “that say heavy” or thick soles. The fabric itself shall feel soft and mobile (not like here).

Remember they come from the world of ballet.

Brigitte Bardot purchased hers from a dance items shop (the now iconic Repetto).

She picked those because she wanted to be as totally free as possible while walking.

Naked feet would have been her daily choice if possible.

Think of yourself as a dancer when you choose them. They have to give you the feeling that your feet are very light.

Then only they’ll be able to give you the bouncy light walk Brigitte had.

Brigitte’s swinging ballet flats

Want personalized style advices? Reach me for distance styling or personal shopping!

1. The classic

Brigitte Bardot ballet flats came from Repetto, an historic dance item maker.

Nowadays this brand built a fashion empire on the “street ballet flats”, la “ballerine” en français.

They still have an outstanding range of easy ballet flats in a broad range of colors and fabrics.

They are incredibly light and have a small discreet bow which is why I like them. Some say they do not last. I should say I never owned any, so I can not speak for myself. Insights in the comments are welcome.

I also cherish the ones from Anniel, an italian brand that also come from the dance world.

As well as the iconic italian Porselli ballet flats to which blogger Garance Doré declared her love to.

Like the old romance wearing Porselli flats in her boho urban manner.

When you purchase classic flats, the most essential is that they are delicate.

The bow shall not be too big (unless this is the style statement), they shall not go too high on the feet or have gathered fabric.

2. The pointy toe classic

Same as above with a pointy toe.

Even if they have lots of embellishments this Louboutins feel very light and look delicate

2. The slingback

Some may call them sandals.

But I feel they look much more like slingback ballerinas (my blog my rules ^^).

As a person who owns feets that need to “breathe” in summer, I am very pleased they exist.

The fact that your toes are covered make them suitable for work.

The ones I own by Polder (if you too are into shiny green). 

Love those slingback ballet flats with a lightning.

3. The opentoe

Same as above. even with open toes, I call them ballet flat because they have this round “dressed up” shape that make them ideal for the city.

Le Mont-Saint-Michel

4. The openwork

Or how to have naked feet that look covered.

Jonak (find them here)

Some other cool gold openwork ballet flats.

5. The open side

Same story as 2, 3 and 4.

American outfitters

6. The strappy 

They could have just an ankle strap or several ones.

Again, I personally only like the delicate ones.

Chunky straps on a flat shoe (esp on the ankle) really make your leg loose centimeters!

Isabel Marant

If you have short legs or thick ankles, I recommend you to stay away from this kind.

7. The lace up

My crush of the moment


Same recommendation as 7.

I also love these from Isabel.

2. how to wear them? 

A. Random tips

Once you picked cool ballet flats, you can wear them pretty much in every manner.

The only thing you ought to really forget about is to wear thick tights or socks which will create grandma pleats on your ankles. Anyway, ballerinas are meant for bare feet (you can use this special designed ballet flat sock).

Here are some thoughts that crossed my mind while looking at pics featuring ballet flats:

– If your style/ attitude is very classic, wearing them with skirts under the knee may create this “goody two shoes” look I was talking about at the beginning.

– If you have thick legs, they will not make your legs look their best with skirts or very skinny jeans.

– I recommend to the ones who do not like looking girly/ too feminine to try pairing them with clothes that are rock or sexy to get this Brigitte Bardot carefree attitude. especially if you go for the classic versions.

– The ballerinas have a vintage innocent feel. for that reason I think the classic version (with the bow and stuff) does not really work with very minimalist outfits (like you know the ones you find at COS).

B. How the stylish girls wear them

Like them you could pair your ballerinas…

1. With 7/8 length pants 

They lighten the outfit compared to full length pants.

Classic with cool twists. The used jeans, the loose striped t-shirt and the sparkly clutch are everything.

Featuring Une souris dans mon dressing. 

Le dressing the Leeloo makes the best out of the fifty sexy rockabilly spirit of the ballet flats

Lolita makes this classic unisex look light and feminine with her ballet flats. picture by Garance Doré.

7/8 pants are the most flattering way to wear the laced up flat for most women. Featuring TokyoBahnbao

2. With short shorts/ skirts/ dresses

Since ballet flats are… flat,  they do not add any extra leg length.

Wearing them with short clothes enables you to make your leg appear longer on the top.

Sincerely Jules with a laid back outfit. would work with classic ones too. Do you notice how she tied her laced up flats low on the ankle? This trick prevents from shortening the leg too much and making it look like a sausage.

Prosecco and plaid in a classic and vintage look that brings the ballerinas to their elegant Audrey Hepburn DNA.

This sweet and elegant outfit embraces even much more this Audrey Hepburn style. If this looks too “schoolgirl” for you, think of the same outfit with minimal ballet flats, no peter pan collar and no headband.

3. With midi to long length skirt/dresses

To be successful with such an outfit, think dancer again.

The dress/ skirt shall be light and fluid.

Honestly, managing a successful ballet flats/ pencil skirt mix is practically impossible for most mortals (Alexa Chung’s stick thin calves not being something you often run into in the streets).

And you? Are you a street ballerina? 

Cover collage: Pauline fashion blog, Sincerely Jules, Pandora

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