For about a year now, fashion-forward celebrities have been strapping on ballerina flats beneath chic dresses, teeny mini skirts and even jogging pants. And the brands that make high-end ballet flats (like Miu Miu and Alaia) have been selling out faster than stores can carry them.
“Everyone is looking for another way to stay stylish but comfortable,” says Atlanta-based personal stylist Rachel Nicole. “Ballet flats are like the new white sneaker — versatile and chic, but with a French girl twist to it.”
She notes that during COVID, people got used to not wearing heels. Now that everyone is back out in the world they want to embrace femininity again, but without sacrificing comfort.
“The ballet flats trend goes right along with the popularity of the ‘Barbie’ movie,” says Jordan Stolch, a personal stylist at MIKADO. “It’s a nod towards very feminine styling that we’re seeing right now. Very literally, ballet flats fit in with that.”
You don’t need to spend several hundred dollars to participate in this trend. With lots of designers joining the fray, there’s a range of styles and price options — and you can pick up a pair of strappy ballet flats for under $25. Here are some of our favorites right now, plus expert advice on how to wear them.
The model above is wholeheartedly leaning into the ballerina vibe.
“We saw the ballet core theme come onto the scene last year, and that ultra-feminine styling is continuing in pop culture,” Stolch says. Here, the shoes are truly in the spotlight.
“When you have a really exaggerated strap, choose to wear them with a miniskirt or short dress,” Stolch says. “Let’s highlight the statement.”
Buy the Repetto Sophia Ballerina Flats at Anthropologie for $310.
“A lot of celebs are wearing Miu Miu ballet flats right now, and these look similar to those because of the grommet detail,” says Nicole. In other words, grab this pair from Urban Outfitters if you want to wear that expensive look for less.
The model above is actually playing with two fall trends: ballet flats and shiny patent leather.
“Leather is always in, but this is an even more updated liquid leather look,” Nicole says. “And this shoe has the best of both worlds with that sort of liquid look and cool grommet details.” It’s the ballet flat style — but with a bit of an edge.
Buy the UO Sammy Grommet Strap Ballet Flat at Urban Outfitters for $39.
The shoes pictured above are ballet flats in their purest form. The benefit of their simplicity is that the styling possibilities are nearly endless.
“Here we’ve got a basic flat that will go with everything,” Stolch says. “It looks great with straight-leg jeans and a T-shirt, or you can use the opportunity to play into the ballet core theme by wearing it with a tulle skirt.”
Buy the Time and Tru Women’s Microfiber Ballet Flats at Walmart for $22.98.
“With shoes, I always suggest getting a light pair and a dark pair,” says Nicole. “You can mix and match — a nude pair with winter white, chocolates with beige.” Even if you have a tight budget, that strategy is possible with these $25 ballet flats.
“I love the pearl detail on these — you can pair them with a pearl necklace or earrings,” she says. “And they’re dainty with a nice cool square toe.”
She suggests wearing them “with wide, cropped pants or tapered jeans. Throw a blazer on top with a cute little tank and layered necklaces.”
Buy the Daeful Anti-Slip Ankle Strap Ballet Flat at Walmart for $24.98.
The distressed metallic look is on-trend right now, and Stolch recommends letting these flats be the focal point of an outfit.
Wear them with simple jeans and a graphic T-shirt, and allow the shoe to stand out,” she says. Another option: Contrast the shoe’s material with another fabric like velvet, tulle, suede or lace. “Play with the juxtaposition of different fabrics,” Stolch says. “This shoe will bring an entire outfit to life.”
Buy the Free People Gemini Ballet Flats at Free People for $98.
The Row has some very popular shoes that are similar to the flats pictured above.
“They’re selling out because a lot of celebrities are wearing them,” Nicole says. “These flats [by Madewell] are such a great alternative to that.” Why? Well, they’re hundreds of dollars less.
They also come in a range of colors. Deep chocolate brown is always in for fall, but she adds that grabbing a pair in metallic “is cute if you want to have more fun.”
Stolch sees these ballet flats as the perfect hybrid crossover: They’re on-trend and feminine but in an understated way. Plus, they go with everything.
“You can wear this shoe with jeans or dress it up with A-line or shift dress,” she says. She adds that you can wear it to the office and look somewhat dressy without putting on heels.
Buy the The Greta Ballet Flat at Madewell for $110.
The ballerina flats pictured above are similar to an Alaia mesh flat that Sophia Richie wore.
“It sold out immediately, of course,” Nicole says. “This is such a great look for less.” (Though these shoes from Anthropologie will set you back a few hundred dollars, that price is definitely easier to swallow than the $850 version from Alaia.)
Contrary to the way they’re styled in this photo, Nicole says that she wouldn’t wear socks with these shoes. “If you really want to, try to get skin-colored or no-show socks,” she says. “But they’re pretty breathable because of the mesh.”
The popularity of these shoes has to do with their texture.
“Mesh of any kind adds something different to the look,” Nicole says. “This is exploring a couple of different trends because fishnets are also in for fall. It adds some fun to your look.”
Buy Fabio Rusconi Marilù Mesh Ballerina Flats in pink or black at Anthropologie for $240.
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