10 Ways to Make Flats Look Just as Elegant as Heels

For many women, life is a constant struggle of wanting your feet to look stylish without having to deal with the blisters caused by most heels. Fortunately, whoever claimed “pain is beauty” just didn’t know how to style flats. There are countless ways to dress up your flats to look equally as professional, chic, and playful as your favorite stilettos. From ballet slippers to loafers and mules, the styling options for flats are truly endless and worth exploring — starting today.

1. Go fancy with flats and an ankle-length gown

Poppy Delevingne attends the British Fashion Awards
Poppy Delevingne sports flats at the British Fashion Awards. | Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

At the 2015 British Fashion Awards, Poppy Delevingne proved a red-carpet look doesn’t have to include painful stilettos. Delevingne completed her feminine pink ensemble with pointed-toe slip-on flats. We love that she let them do the talking by wearing an ankle-length gown. The next time you dress formally, take a page from Delevingne’s book and don’t shy away from flats.

2. Wear sparkly flats 

Diane Kruger
Diane Kruger looks amazing in sparkly flats. | Julien M. Hekimian/Getty Images

If you’re worried flats are too casual for everyday wear, make like a fashion blogger and find yourself a sparkly pair. This shimmering footwear option is a great alternative to heels, as they’re equally as eye-catching, feminine, and classy. For best results, wear your sparkly flats with tights to make them a bit more formal.

3. Add a professional pop of color

Billur Saatci is seen wearing coat from Nihan Peker shirt
Billur Saatci adds some color. | Timur Emek/Getty Images

Whoever said women need to wear heels in the workplace clearly never had to deal with the incessant blisters, aches, and pedicure touch-ups. Let’s move on from societal standards and fight for our right to wear flats once and for all. As this fashionista proves, they can look just as sleek and professional as standard black heels.

4. Wear mules with an overcoat

Lisa Hahnbueck attends KARL LAGERFELD at the Vogue Fashion's Night Out
Lisa Hahnbueck looking stylish at Vogue Fashion’s Night Out. | Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Flat mules are the fashion world’s latest obsession, and we have to say, we’re so relieved. This footwear hybrid combines the best aspects of all great shoes. They have a pointy-toe like your favorite heels, they’re comfortable like slippers, and as easy to slip on and off as flip-flops. Yet these casual elements somehow come together in flat mules to be extremely versatile and even elegant.

5. Dress up pointy-toe metallic flats

Model Karlie Kloss attends the 2015 CFDA Fashion Awards
Karlie Kloss keeps her flats hidden. | Larry Busacca/Getty Images

At 6 feet tall, we don’t blame Karlie Kloss for occasionally opting for flats over heels. However, you don’t need to be particularly tall to do the same. Kloss set a great example for how to swap heels for flats with these clever tricks: First, she made sure her dress swept the floor so no one could see which shoes she’d chosen. Secondly, she made sure the flats were a step above casual by choosing a silver, pointy-toe pair.

6. Try embroidered slip-ons and a colorful coat

Olivia Palermo attends the Matthew Williamson show
Olivia Palermo shows off a cool look with these slip-ons. | Ian Gavan/Getty Images

Olivia Palermo is our number one fashion authority, so if she says embroidered flats are stylish, then they absolutely are. Though we’d normally consider this style of slip-on a bit grandmotherly, Palermo showed us (per usual) how to spice them up. Simply pair your wild flats with an equally eccentric dress or coat, and you’ve got a match made in fashion heaven.

7. Throw on sneakers and a suit

Sila Gueven is wearing a Zara jacket Joie Turtleneck and vans sneakers
Sila Gueven wears white sneaks with a crisp suit. | Timur Emek/Getty Images

Sneakers are no longer exclusively confined to weekend walks and errand runs. Today, you can wear a pair of stylish sneaks to work without ever batting an eye. Follow Sila Gueven’s example by pairing a full women’s suit with white sneakers for a look that screams boss-woman.  

8. Add a blazer to balance casual flats

Elena Braghieri is seen wearing Peuterey jacket
Elena Braghieri dresses up flats with a blazer. | Jacopo Raule/Getty Images

When it comes to wearing flats, it’s all about striking an appropriate balance. For example, if you want to wear them to work, you can’t also don shorts and a T-shirt. To dress up your slip-ons, simply throw on a tweed coat or blazer. This combination of serious and laid-back makes for an excellent, polished look.

9. Pair tough boots and a feminine dress

Alba Mirallo is wearing Vintage Boots
Alba Mirallo gives her dress some edge. | Alberto Alcocer/Getty Images

This is perhaps our favorite of all ways to style flats. Simply wear your favorite pair of flat combat or ankle boots and pair them with an overly girly dress. Think of ruffles, frill, pleats, and chiffon. It’ll send the message you have a sentimental heart but a rough side, too.

10. Throw on funky loafers to stay comfortable

Ana Garcia Sineriz attends the "T De Belleza" Beauty Awards
Ana Garcia Sineriz goes bold with these loafers. | Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

Let’s not forget that loafers count as flats. Instead of wearing your standard black or tan leather loafers, find a pair that adds a bit of personality to your look. We love that these multicolored loafers matched and highlighted all of the accents in Ana Garcia Sineriz’s coat.