I vividly remember when ballet pumps were at their peak. It was around 2007, and I was incredibly jealous that my flat feet couldn't keep them on while my new fashion colleagues around me (I was an intern at the time) were all leggy, elegant creatures being important in classic flats and short skirts with trophy jackets, inspiring me to dress that little bit smarter the next day.
You could argue Kate Moss started it all in the mid-noughties; in any case, the classically French shoes eventually became ubiquitous and badly copied by myriad cheap brands and they fell out of favour. There's still something that looks wrong about many fast-fashion ballet flats: I often think it's in the overly rounded toe or the stiff-looking trim you just know is asking for blisters. Anyway, I digress. What you need to know is that ballet pumps are back on the horizon, and we've got some inside intel on how to make them look current again.
Ballet-pump aficionado Harley Viera-Newton has let us in on the secret—your outfit should be led by the colour of your flats. "I think ballet pumps always add polish to an outfit. They're such classic flats, so they offer comfort without looking too casual," she told me at the London launch of her collaboration with shoe brand Butterfly Twists. "I really love pairing fun, bright ballet flats with simple, easy dresses. If my outfit is louder, a pair of black or nude ballet flats will do the trick."
As a DJ who spends so much time on her feet, Harley relies on these shoes heavily. "I've been preaching for years that the way I survive DJ'ing in heels for hours on end is by having my go-to pair of fold-up flats in my DJ bag. That's how I discovered Butterfly Twists—because of its genius travel-friendly ballet flats. The rest happened organically!" she says. But you'll just as often see her outside of the booth channeling her signature vintage style in a pair of simple flats, making her a trusted source for a tricky shoe trend in 2018.
SHOP HARLEY'S LOOK
We've got more ideas on how to wear flat shoes for your perusal.