Fashion notes: Flats are fab, but don’t get too comfy
In November, vice president of global buying at Net-a-porter, Sarah Rutson, made a visit to Dubai. At an intimate gathering at Jean-Georges restaurant, she gave a presentation on her top 11 trends for spring/summer, and a theme that became rather recurring throughout many of the trends, was the flat shoe.
It was enlightening to hear a top international fashion figure chat about the trend appeal of flat shoes – a refreshing change from the stereotypical picture of snobby fashion editors and sky-high stilettos. While a big part of me is overjoyed to hear this, there’s a little voice in the back of my head anguishing over the depletion of heels in the market. It’s no grass-roots fad; the flat-footed trend has swept up the fashion elite.
The fact that designers have taken to dressing their models in flats on the runway goes to show the power of the heelless shoe. It marks a certain drift from the typical high-heeled definition and portrayal of femininity to a more laid-back, pressure-less style, which somehow retains and can even add to the wow factor of a look. A good pair of metallic brogues, taupe loafers or even Nike trainers can certainly work wonders for an outfit.
When I get ready in the morning, sometimes the process of deciding what shoes to wear with my outfit becomes dreadfully time-consuming. Pointed flats or strappy sandals? T-bar wedges or printed Oxfords? For fashion girls, it’s vital that your shoe game is on point. Which shoes would you pair the rose pink sweater and accessories with? Do you automatically gravitate to one or the other? Or would it depend on the kind of mood you’re in, or the type of event you’re attending?
Heels and flats are becoming more and more intrinsically interchangeable. And while flats are becoming increasingly acceptable in all aspects of fashion, you have to admit, they don’t always evoke the same overall image as heels do. If you know me at all, you’re aware of the fact that I hardly wear heels, and practically live in trainers. I’m not one to trudge around airports, shopping malls or the office in products that pinch my toes and make my heels sore. But I also appreciate that romantic and powerful attitude that high heels can project onto a wearer, and I don’t think that we should do away with them altogether. By all means, splurge on stylish flats, but at the same time, preserve your heeled beauties, too, and recognise when they should be worn.
After wearing only flat-heeled shoes for many months, when I tried out a pair of heels the other night, I just couldn’t take it. I felt like a clumsy kitten learning how to use its legs, and was so ashamed of my awkward walk that I kicked them off and put on a pair of ballerinas instead. Footwear can make or break a look – and these flats definitely broke mine. Worse, I turned into a depressed, snappy monster and was slightly insecure about my outfit throughout the night. I saw other women turn up in their Manolo Blahniks, Jimmy Choos and Zara renditions and wish I had just soldiered through my high heels – pinches and all.
Footwear really makes all the difference in an outfit – and while flats are appropriate for most occasions, there are some events, particularly evening ones, where heels hold all the magic. All I ask is that you give both a fair chance – and if you ultimately decide on flats, maybe carry a pair of heels with you in the car just in case you change your mind.