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How to Wear Ballet Flats: Tips & Styling

An image of a pair of pink floral ballet flats on a bench

Delicate, sophisticated and elegant, a pair of ballet pumps provide the perfect addition to any woman’s shoe collection. Their wearable aesthetic makes them an ideal footwear option for warmer weather, and they can even be styled to wear throughout the Autumn too. 

One of the most popular flat shoe designs, many fashion lovers find them to be wonderfully versatile and easy to wear. However, those who haven’t yet discovered the joy of these highly comfortable flats are likely to feel uncertain about how best to style them. 

In this post, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about how to wear ballet flats to get the most out of their distinctive style. Whether you’re wondering what clothes to wear with your ballet flats, what to avoid or how to change your look for different occasions, our complete guide will help you navigate the styling process and create a super-chic outfit to complement your shoes.

What are Ballet Flats?

Classically French and inspired by the delicate structure of real ballet dancing shoes, ballet pumps are one of the most recognisable footwear styles. Traditionally, they are lightweight and flexible, giving the foot an almost-barefoot, free feel as you walk, just like ballet shoes. The design is usually rounded at the toe with low sides and a thin sole.

As they have grown in popularity over the years, their traditional design has been tweaked and experimented with, creating a whole world of beautiful ballet-inspired styles to suit various occasions and outfit types. Alongside traditional ballet flats, you will now find an array of extra design features, including platform soles, ankle straps, pointed toes, embellishments, laces, open sides, open toes, slingback styles and many more. 

How to Wear Ballet Flats

In this section, we’ll take a closer look at the different ways ballet flats can be worn and how to style them to look their best. From casual to occasionwear, you’ll find plenty of tips for wearing ballet flats for all types of events.

Which Seasons Are Ballet Flats for Women Best Suited To?

Ballet flats for women are generally best worn during the warmer seasons, as their lightweight, delicate designs keep your feet cool and comfortable on a spring or summer day. They can also be worn when the temperature gets a little colder, as long as the rest of your outfit consists of warm, insulating materials to stop you from getting cold. When the weather turns wet and the temperature drops even further, we recommend choosing a more durable footwear style, such as a comfortable pair of trainers or cosy winter boots.

What Type of Occasions Can Ballet Flats for Women Be Worn For?

As they are a footwear staple, we believe there are very few occasions where a pair of ballet pumps would be unsuitable. The main one would be formal occasions such as a glamorous black tie event, where a pair of heels would be more acceptable. 

Besides this, you can wear ballet flats for all kinds of occasions, so we’ve included some easy ways to style them for different purposes below:

For the office or an interview

Simple, soft leather ballet pumps make great office shoes because of their neat, rounded designs and flat soles, striking the perfect balance between smart and casual. For an interview, you’ll need to create a sharp and formal look, which can be achieved with a sturdy pair of leather ballet pumps. Stick to plainer styles with classic, minimal embellishments for an upcoming interview, and pair them with a smart skirt, workwear dress or formal trousers.

For a party 

Ballet pumps are your best friend if you want to look dressed up but don’t fancy wearing your heels. With all kinds of embellished, jazzed-up styles for you to choose from, you don’t need to wear a heel to look your best. Instead, you can create an instant party look by pairing a glittery or metallic pair of leather ballet pumps with one of your favourite dresses or midi skirts. You can dance the night away without any discomfort, and your feet will thank you the following day.

The Gabor Carol Ladies Shoes


For a wedding 

Wedding outfits are all about elegance and grace – two of the central elements that ballet shoes are known and were originally designed for. This makes them the perfect choice to complete a wedding guest outfit, especially if you aren’t prepared to spend the day and evening wearing your heels. Whether you’d prefer to wear them all day or change into them when the dancefloor opens, you’ll be glad that you did. Opt for pale pastel colours such as cream, pink and powder blue to keep your aesthetic soft, delicate and wedding-appropriate.

For everyday 

Ballet pumps are, of course, perfect for wearing with everyday casual outfits too. We love the simple, clean-lined ensemble of jeans and ballet flats, which works for anything from a trip to the shops to a family day out. This combo gives you the freedom to choose whatever top you like to finish off your look, from a floaty camisole to a casual jumper.

The Gabor Assist Bow Trim Ballerina Pumps

Ballet Flats Styling Tips

You can’t go wrong when it comes to wearing ballet flats, as they are versatile and easy to style. However, we have a few practical tips to help you decide what to wear with your ballet flats and what to stay away from:

Avoid Tights & Socks 

Wearing tights, stockings or socks with ballet pumps is risky as it creates the possibility for unsightly creases and wrinkles around the ankles. If you’re going to brave it, be sure that they fit properly and keep a close eye on this area throughout the day. As a general rule, we think barefoot is always best when wearing ballet flats.

Be Careful With Strap Styles 

Ballet pumps which feature thick ankle straps, can visually take some length off your legs, while thinner straps can elongate them. The type of ankle strap that you choose is down to personal preference. However, for those who don’t wish to make their legs look shorter, we recommend avoiding ballet pumps with straps or lace-up detail around the ankle and lower leg to keep the legs looking as long as possible.

The Gabor Bunty Leather Ballet Pumps in White/Sand

Show Some Skin 

Ballet flats look the most flattering when the lower leg or ankles are showing, allowing you to properly showcase your shoes. Try to keep dresses and skirts above ankle length or wear your ballet pumps with slightly cropped trousers that show your ankles for a super on-trend look. We recommend going for loose, flowing skirt and dress styles for a laid-back look.

Accessorise your Ballet Flats 

The simplicity of your ballet flats can easily be dressed up with a range of accessories. Try out statement accessories such as chunky necklaces, a large clutch bag or a bold belt to add detail to your look. Accessories will complement your ballet flats and allow you to transform your outfit instantly.

Feeling inspired? Now you know our top tips on how to wear ballet flats, it’s time to start browsing! Explore our latest collection of ballet pumps here at Gabor and pick the perfect style for your new outfit creations.


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