How to wear the “new” flats!

Chanel trainers2

Chanel Couture

You will notice more than a degree of sacarasm in my voice, as I write this post, as over the last few seasons I have steadfastly refuse to buy into the trend for high shoes and watched as friends I considered feminists, tottered around uncomfortably on ridiculous pins, all in the name of fashion – you know who you are. *stern face*.

Why would intelligent women allow fashion to dictate that they wear something that is not only bad for their feet, make it impossible to walk, get anywhere in a hurry and make them look like a (albeit fashionable) porn star.

Call me old fashioned, or a woman in sensible shoes, but I was honestly quite happy to look like a tiny uniformed hobbit at every fashion party I attended over the last two years – if it meant I could run for the bus.

But now the fashion powers that be have decreed that the flat is back, London Fashion week, which starts today, is set to be the season of the flat. Anyone unaware enough to hobble over the cobbles of the Somerset House courtyard in a pair of heels, may as well pack up their Louboutins and Jimmy Choos and head on back to Essex, as those in the know will be striding about in a pair of pool slides, white soled nurses shoes, or pumps that wouldn’t look out of place in the skate park on the South Bank.

So just what flat should we be considering this Spring if we are to look like we know what’s going on fashion wise?

Pool Slides

Isabel Marant

Isabel Marant

Now this is a trend I like. At first glance you could be mistaken you were looking at your dad’s sandals on holiday in Cornwall in 1976, or those Adidas numbers you wore on that acid house clubbing holiday in Ibetha,1988. And to be honest you wouldn’t be wrong. This is exactly what this trend is – except they have been re-inveneted by Celine, Chloe and Isabel Marant, so are therefore now super fashionable.

Celine Slides


Much as I love them, I won’t be spending £200 plus to look like my Uncle Bill, but will be buying a pair of old school Nike Slides and sticking to my beloved Birkenstocks (remember I told you about their revival ages ago – honestly I do wish you would trust me by now!!). What’s not to like?


Chanel Trainers


Trainers have also been re-claimed by the fashion world, mostly because King Karl (Lagerfeld) showed them in his recent couture runway show. Truth is, Karl (and many others) is really rather good (or not) at picking up on street trends that have been around for some time and claiming them as his own. See also, pastel coloured hair.

It’s a fine art –  taking a trend that starts off as cheap and DIY and re-appropriating it as a super expensive “designer” item – well done Karl and if it keeps you in fans, who am I to judge.

I won’t however be buying a pair of Chanel trainers for the same price as a mini break in Dorset, but will be investing in some truly fabulous brightly coloured Nike trainers, or harking back to my Hacienda days and wearing some old skool (?) Adidas Gazelles.

Bright trainers

Nike and Puma

Wear the “new” trainers with a skirt – mid length dirndle (more of these to come) or pencil skirt – or a dress, not jogging gear – good grief, that would be so last season .

Skate Shoes

Kurt Geiger and Eytys

Kurt Geiger and Eytys

A word of advice on these, by skate shoes, the fashion world mean simple Vans style sneakers, not actual skate shoes. Any mother of a budding Tony Hawkes knows full well, skate shoes are lace ups and worn two sizes too big (many an arguement in a cool skate shop, right there!!) and this is the not the look we are going for.

Actual skate shoes also have to be a very specific brand (well they did in my house – I raised a fashion monster) and the “new” skate shoes don’t. They can be Gap, Kurt Keigar, Whistles, whatever you fancy. Purists of course will be wearing Common Projects or Eytys, but lets be realistic here people.

Skate shoes should be worn with slim leg tailored trousers for maximum effect.  Celine (well COS) navy, with a crisp white shirt and a casual shoe says “in the know for S/S 14” without trying too hard.

Flat Sandals

Marni and River Island

Marni and River Island

This is another good look, easy to wear and as long as you steer clear of anything that even vaguely resembles a walking sandal (Twitcher chic is not what we are going for here) you should be fine.

The key to the new sandals are chunkyish flat soles, but not wedges. The Marni sandals sum up this look perfectly, but are £430, so I recommend Whistles Maya Gladiators at £225, but they are Limited Edition, so you better hurry. Or check out River Island at a really affordable £50. – although I haven’t seen these in real life, so can’t vouch for their quality.




  • Kate R says:

    Love, love, love flats too. The always ironic ‘new trends’ are most funny once you hit 40plus- could say ditto for leggings/jeggings whatever they are as I have encountered them in at least two previous incarnations. But I would agree with you on the comfort of flats/sensible heels not only for the ‘run for the bus’ aspect, but for the gift of being able to endure an event standing up and moving about freely without that fixed grimace of smiling through pain. And the pleasure of NOT having to take one’s shoes off immediately at the end of the night!

  • mary says:

    absolutely love flats and trainers as part of daily dressing. Makes a huge difference to physical and mental health knowing I can pop down to the shops at lunch time or take the stairs as many times as I want!

  • Abbie says:

    After years of refusing to wear anything but heels because they made me feel less of a dumpy short a*se, an ankle break last June has left me unable to wear anything but flats…and my word, I now love and live in them! I have never allowed fashion to dictate my choices in any way, shape or form but have to admit that I like the idea of being ‘fashionable’ every once in a while; even if just through plain coincidence!

  • **but I was honestly quite happy to look like a tiny uniformed hobbit** haaaa.

    Let’s just say while in London, I was out of style w/ my heels.

    EVERYBODY is wearing the flat black ballet slippers.

    So very Audrey Hepburn!

  • steffi says:

    *guilty face* in spite of stupid tallness so no real need to ever wear heals but can’t help it it’s stronger than me…. takes breath… I have to admit to loving all shoes flat at the mo (Grenson is now a worrying obsession) and the Celine or KG skate shoe are to die for BUT there is no excuse for the hideous Isabel Marant slip on!!! Old men with dry skin and nails that are yellow spring to mind. Wrong! All the rest gorge! X

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