I have this recurring dream where I'm twirling around the streets of Paris at twilight, wearing a tulle Dior dress and sporting a beret in the deepest shade of noir, all the while carrying a baguette in the crook of my arm. Of course, you can't twirl effectively in spindly stilettos, so my footwear of choice is another French-girl staple: ballet flats. Naturally, I wake to discover I'm not in Paris, that the Dior dress was merely on subconscious loan and, to my dismay, there's not a baguette ready to be devoured. However, much like Cinderella, I do have a pair of ballet flats that help me live out my Parisian fantasy in real life.
A few years ago when I moved to London, I wore ballet flats on repeat. My job as a fashion intern required me to hotfoot it to designer shops at a moment's notice to pick up clothing for shoots, which would inevitably need to be swiftly returned. Ballet flats allowed me to scoot around the city at high speed while ensuring I looked as presentable as a sweaty 21-year-old could. However, just last week, I was shopping in Mango when I came across a pair of ballet shoes complete with a small block heel. It felt as if it was 2011 all over again. I slipped them on and instantly felt the comfort and Gallic charm. At a mere £30, I had to have them.
As the week went on, I realised they went with everything I paired them with. Statement skirts, tapered trousers, distressed denim, bright dresses, checks, velvet… Since I've bought a pair, I've started to see them crop up in a host of other new-in sections, which means its only a matter of time before they blow up on the fashion scene.
To help you stay a step ahead of the trends, I've done the hard work and found the very best ballet flats for every budget. Not into pumps? I've even tracked down a couple of heeled options for the non-flats fans out there. Turns out that dreams really do come true.
If you're like me, you'll find any opportunity to wear these. I'm already considering investing in a backup pair for when I enviably wear them down.
If authenticity is what you seek, look no further than It girl–approved brand Ballertte. Made in Italy using traditional techniques, they'll certainly stand the test of time.
Because what would a French shoe roundup be without Chanel? Just look at those branded block heels.
Inject a dose of colour into your outfit with one of Anna Baiguera's designs. There's hot pink and cobalt to choose from, too, but these emerald beauties are by far our favourite.
The faux-ponyskin texture makes these high-street shoes look super premium.
If we can't tempt you away from you high heels, turn your attention to these crimson shoes from Arket.
The slightly pointed toe on these ballerinas will subtly elongate your legs.
Metallic shoes make any outfit look 10/10. Wear with ripped jeans to strike the perfect high/low balance.
Another day, another leopard-print piece to obsess over…
Probably the best £12 you'll ever spend. Did we mention they also come in beige?
Can't get enough of all things French? Acquaint yourself with the French-born brands every girl should have on her radar.