The Ballet Flat Style Playbook


Are ballet flats back in style? The answer is an astounding yes and now it’s important to know how to style them.

A good ballet flat makes the perfect addition to almost any outfit, regardless of how casual or formal your attire may be. The innocent silhouette of these shoes seeks to mimic the ballet slippers that inspired it, creating a timeless and classic look that has charmed generations of chic women.

The best ballet flats are simplistic, which is one of the qualities that makes them so great. However, this very simplicity can lead to a bit of confusion when it comes to styling.

If you’ve ever wondered how to style ballet flats or what to wear with ballet flats, you’re in luck. In this guide, we’ll take a closer look at ballet flats to determine all of the ways you can style this delicate footwear staple.

How to Elevate Your Look with Ballet Flats

Whether you’re embarking on a first date or leaving on a routine trip to the grocery store, it never hurts to look your best—and ballet flats can help.

Ballet flats are less casual than other common shoe styles like casual sneakers and sandals, but they’re still very comfortable and practical. Here are just a few activities that ballet flats are well-suited for:

  • Traveling – Are you walking around all day exploring a new city or a giant theme park? Wearing flat shoes can be the perfect solution when you need to achieve ease of movement but still want to capture cute and classy pictures of your day.
  • Working – Professional clothes pair perfectly with the sophisticated look of a ballet flat. Plus, these shoes provide an elegant way to enhance a plain, neutral work ensemble while still keeping it professional.
  • Running errands – When you throw on a pair of jeans or a casual skirt to head out for a quick trip to the grocery store, slipping on a comfy yet stylish pair of ballet flats just makes sense. These shoes won’t make you feel overdressed at the checkout counter, but they’ll keep you looking polished just in case you run into someone you know (or may want to know.)

Ultimately, no matter what’s on your agenda, ballet flats are a quick and comfortable way to elevate any look. You can take jeans with sneakers from casual to cute, and a skirt with sandals from carefree to poised.

It’s easy to see why ballet flats are a staple in the closets of so many chic, fashion-forward women. Now that you understand the power of the flat, let’s dive into helpful styling strategies you can use to make the most of this stunning shoe.

How to Create Versatile Outfits with Ballet Flats

The beauty of the ballet flat lies in its unbeatable adaptability. When you wear a ballet flat, you never feel like you’re taking a big risk that may result in a fashion faux pas. But even though this shoe is safe, it’s far from boring.

In fact, the versatility afforded by ballet flats serves as an impeccable foundation upon which you can build some of your most compelling looks.

For instance, consider how ballet flats are viable footwear options no matter what season of the year you’re in. This means that you can:

  • Pair a lightweight, flexible pair of flats with a feminine spring sundress
  • Rock a comfy pair of ballet flats with shorts on a hot summer day
  • Complete a whimsical autumn look with a soft flannel, worn-in jeans, and ballet flats
  • Accent a dress for the annual Christmas party with flats that will help you dance all night

The possibilities are truly limitless when it comes to ballet flats. If you’re wondering how to wear ballet flats, know that there’s no right or wrong answer: ballet flats are a blank canvas.

Aside from sweatpants and other types of athletic wear, there are few styles of clothing that don’t pair well with a ballet flat. That means that no matter what event you’re invited to, you never have to worry about not having the right shoe for the occasion when you own a tried-and-true pair of basic ballet flats.

The Art of Color Contrast in Styling Ballet Flats

Because the design of ballet flats is so simple and understated, these shoes provide a wonderful opportunity for the wearer to get creative with color.

For instance, imagine pairing an all-black ensemble with a striking red ballet flat. This small addition can take your outfit from simple to sensational in mere seconds.

And this fashion rule goes the other way, too. If you’ve pieced together an outfit full of intriguing patterns and loud colors, a muted and neutral ballet flat may be just what you need to tie the ensemble together in a sensible and effective way.

In the gray area between these two extremes, there are countless color combinations that you can play around with when it comes to ballet flats. For example, try matching the color of your shoe to an accent color from one of your accessories, such as a hat or a necklace. Don’t be afraid to have fun with it!

How to Choose Socks or Go Sockless

Many people trying ballet flats for the first time assume that you’re not supposed to wear socks with this style of shoe. Granted, at first glance, it does look like there’s nowhere to hide a sock in such a slim and minimalist shoe. But the truth is, many people love to wear socks with their ballet flats.

Opting to wear socks offers benefits such as:

  • Sweat absorption
  • Increased comfort
  • Stylistic flair

If you want to achieve the look of wearing flats and loafers without socks but prefer the feeling of a soft cloth barrier between your foot and your shoe, there’s a sock for that. Simply search for a sock style called “low-cut” or “no-show” to find a sock that won’t be visible, even in your flats.

Want if you want to wear socks with your flats and you do want this article of clothing to be seen?

Some people choose to wear ankle socks with special detailing to elevate the intrigue of a basic flat. Often, white socks with frilly decor around the ankle are used to enhance the delicate, feminine aesthetic of the ballet flat.

How to Care for Your Ballet Flats

To keep your ballet flats in prime condition for as long as possible, it’s important to exercise caution when wearing and caring for them.

Here are three cardinal rules that will help you get the most out of any high-quality footwear investment:

  1. Let your shoes breathe – No shoe will be able to provide peak performance and longevity if you wear it every single day. It’s best to alternate between different pairs of shoes so that each individual pair can enjoy a well-deserved break. So, if you really love ballet flats, it’s smart to own more than one pair.
  2. Treat your shoes well – We’ve all stepped harshly on the heel of our shoe by accident at one time or another. Sometimes, when you’re rushing out the door, it can be easy to put your shoes on haphazardly and end up creasing or otherwise damaging them. Try to avoid this by slipping your shoes on gently whenever possible.
  3. Be careful when cleaning – When it comes to cleaning your countertops, you might just grab any all-purpose cleaner that’s lying around and start spraying. Unfortunately, you can’t do the same with your shoes. Certain materials are sensitive to harsh chemicals, so be sure to research what cleansers are safe to use on your flats before cleaning them.1

By paying attention to these three key elements, you can help your ballet flats last longer and stay in top condition.

Best Ballet Flat Styles from Vionic

Here at Vionic, we offer many different styles of chic ballet flats, all of which take inspiration from the root origin of this delicate shoe style.

You see, ballet flats didn’t just get their name because they have a similar appearance to the slippers that professional dancers use to train. Fashion ballet flats were actually created as a direct descendant of their famous dancing counterparts.

Famous ballet brand Capezio was contracted by a designer to create a ballet flat that was meant for the street instead of the stage.2

Today, we retain the elegance of these artistic origins in all of our flats, while simultaneously giving these classic shoes a modern twist. Here are five of our most popular ballet flats:

  • Joseline – These Mary Jane-style flats are sweet and nostalgic. In fact, we call this shoe our modern makeover of the classic Mary Jane. With buttery soft materials and dressy detailing, this shoe is sure to stun without overstating its presence in your look.
  • Orinda – Modern yet timeless, these flats boast sleek lines and a square toe for a sophisticated touch. Crafted with premium materials and Vionic’s signature support, they blend comfort and elegance effortlessly.
  • Klara – With a classic silhouette and chic detailing, these flats are a wardrobe essential. Versatile and comfortable, they effortlessly transition from day to night, making them a go-to choice for any stylish ensemble.
  • Arielle – Adorned with a subtle buckle and puff chain detail, this elegant flat features a distinct pointed toe and a minuscule heel. Available in a rich camel or sleek black, this leather shoe is great for work, play, and everything in between.
  • Anita – For the girl on the go who wants a flat with a bit more breathability, the Anita is an ideal match—an elastic topline affords the wearer of this flat unmatched support and comfort. Need to walk long stretches for work or an outing? These shoes can go the distance, making them a great option if you are on the hunt for comfortable and reliable wear-to-work shoes.
  • Amorie – Available in metallic sheens and stunning matte finishes, these adorable ballet flats are ornamented with classic toe-cap detailing. They’re a blend of traditional and modern, and they’re perfect for all-day wear.
  • Delanie – An updated take on a classic design, this flat features a soft, rounded toe. However, the focal point of this shoe is undeniably its metal hardware decor. The ornament on the shoe is meant to pay homage to equestrian fashion.

Any of these shoes would make a wonderful starting ballet flat or an exciting addition to an already growing collection.

Walk in Style and Comfort with Ballet Flats from Vionic

Ballet flats are versatile, timeless, stylish, and comfortable. They can make you feel and look your very best no matter where the day (or night) takes you.

Any one of our beautiful ballet flats would make the perfect go-to shoe for your closet, but why stop at only one? After all, you can’t go wrong with a classy flat that can be playful and casual or chic and formal depending on your mood and matching ensemble.

Find your new BFBF (ballet flat best friend) by browsing our premium Vionic footwear collection today.



  1. Walsh, Kathryn. “How to Clean the Inside of Stinky Shoes and Flats.” Hunker. 24 September, 2022.
  2. Perelberg, Dana. “The Evolution of the Ballet Flat.” L’OFFICIEL. 19 August, 2022.


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