Miss Meghan, Fashion Advice

August 12, 2007


Check out my thoughts on flats on Yahoo shopping.

Look sharp in flats
Our favorite picks for ballet-inspired footwear
from Deborah Hopewell, Yahoo! Shopping Editor

When Sarah Jessica Parker's Carrie Bradshaw and gal pals reunite this fall for the big-screen follow-up to "Sex and the City," could it be possible that her Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo heels will be replaced by the new fashion must-have - ballet flats?

"Women have begun demanding more comfort with their style," says "America's Shoe Expert" Meghan Cleary, who writes about shoes for the New York Daily News and the Huffington Post, and is the author of "The Perfect Fit: What Your Shoes Say About You." And ballet flats, says Cleary, fit the bill perfectly.

The ballet flat evokes the glamorous Hollywood days of such willowy beauties such as Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly - yet it's a flattering look on just about anyone. They pair especially well with capris, knee-length or shorter skirts, leggings and shorts (save the heels for wearing with longer pants, dress and skirts, as flats will make you look shorter).

"The average heel height has skyrocketed," says Cleary. "Heels in the '60s were 1½-2 inches. Now they can even go 5 or 6 inches," says Cleary. "Women do react to that. They are going into the marketplace and looking for something to look acceptable to wear to work, out on the town, with a cute mini or tight jeans - any which way. It's a cute shoe, but it's comfortable. Women get very attached to that."

However, Cleary warns that because flats are, well, flat, there isn't a lot of support, and that can be uncomfortable for some. "Make sure they have a solid sole on them, and maybe more than just a little strip of leather on them." She suggests the "twist test": Hold the toe in one hand, the heel in the other and gently twist the shoe. "If it's really flexible, you shouldn't buy it. It shouldn't be hard, but it shouldn't be really flexible."

And says, Cleary, look for the ballet-flat trend to continue into the fall and winter. "We're going to keep seeing them," she says.

Delman, founded in 1919, has been making ballet flats since the 1940s, says Cleary. It's "Work" flat has a classic look, but looks particularly contemporary in a variety of cotton stripes: cream/beige, melon/beige or turquoise/green. These pair perfectly with a lightweight tea-length skirt or skinny jeans.