Fashionable Flats

As the demand for more comfortable shoes has increased, designers have risen to the challenge to create fashion-forward flats for every occasion so that you never have to second guess whether or not flats are appropriate.

Flats at the Workplace

Finding the perfect pair of flats to wear to work will enable you to grab that quick cup of coffee when you would have otherwise been switching from your comfortable commuting shoes into your office-appropriate ones.

To ensure your flats are fit for the workplace, follow a few guidelines. Look for quality materials, such as polished leather or suede in classic brown, basic black or nautical navy. Simple embellishments on ballet flats, such as pendants or bows, have a sophisticated look. To maintain a more serious, authoritative appearance, stay away from fun patterns and flower toppers from nine to five.

You will find that pairing ballet flats to your workplace wardrobe is easier than doing a plié. They look great with trousers, a tucked-in collared shirt and a matching belt. Flats also balance out a knee length skirt, particularly if it has some flow to it.

A feminine leather loafer is another option. From a shiny leather penny to a smooth suede slip-on, loafers are comfortable and go anywhere. A thin, straight leg trouser with a form-fitting blouse to top it off works perfectly.

A close cousin to the loafer and an often overlooked option is the driving moccasin (or "moc" for short). They are made of comfortable, soft leather, which makes them the perfect casual shoe for long trips. The sole of a driving moc continues up the back of the shoe, so when you're driving, your heel is protected by the rubber.

Besides loafers and driving mocs, pointed toe flats are a great alternative. The pointed design looks like a classic pump from the front but without the stress on your feet and toes. Suits are the perfect match for this style. Because suits generally come in neutral colors such as black, gray, navy and khaki, feel free to mix and match them with your neutral-colored shoes. A black jacket and trousers with a chocolate brown or lighter belt, bag and shoes look super-stylish.

On the Dance Floor or Out on the Town

You'll dance the night away in flats with style and confidence because your feet will be so comfortable. Although workplace flats, both rounded and pointed, can easily make the transition into the night, if you can, add sparkle to your outfit with metallics. They are unexpected neutrals that will glam up everything from your little black dress to your favorite jeans and camisole. Another plus is that it will be a breeze to find a handbag and other accessories to match.

Let yourself explore the plethora of extra details that designers have added to ballet flats, in particular. Jewels, beads and pendants are dressy toppers that fit the bill for nighttime attire. Try finding a simple necklace in the same tones that complement the ornamentation on the shoes.

Weekenders

The weekends are the prefect time to allow your personal flair to come out. Ballet flats are offered in a variety of materials besides leather, including cotton and canvas. Because those mediums are easy to dye, you can find them in all the colors of the spectrum, and you can find madras and other patterns to go with that hard-to-match outfit.

A great alternative to ballet flats and driving moccasins are stylish flat sneakers. Some are designed to resemble ballet flats but with rubber, sneaker-like soles. They are offered in a multitude of colors and patterns, while other flat-bottomed sneakers can have more of an athletic appearance.

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Always check if new shoes need waterproofing or regular polishing before you wear them. Preparing the material can help prevent damage, as can regular cleanings and proper storage. When storing shoes, stuff them to keep their shape, and store them standing up, never laying on one side.

Balance your selection of men's shoes with a little bit of classical and a little bit of modern style. Wear dress shoes for work or formal affairs and casual shoes for kicking back, and try not to mix the two styles.

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