What was once the fixation of bored teenage girls on Tumblr is now entering the mainstream.

We’re talking about the ballet aesthetic — ribbons, tutus, ballerina flats and all — which has graced the latest runway shows. Designers like Molly Goddard, Simone Rocha and Chanel’s Virginie Viard offered sheer, voluminous tulle dresses and skirts as recent as the Fall/Winter 2021 season, and we saw quite a few of them at the Golden Globes red carpet too.

But at the centre of balletcore, which is what fashion search engine Lyst is now calling the growing trend, are ballet flats. Searches for those dainty slip-on shoes shot up by 36 per cent in March, with shoppers drawn to styles that are feminine, versatile and easy to wear. Even Spanish singer Rosalia referenced the classic flats when designing her new Nike Air Force 1 sneakers, which came with cream ribbon laces.

After the dominion of sneakers and loungewear staples like slides in our pandemic wardrobes, perhaps we’re all looking for shoes that delight us with their prettiness — without sacrificing comfort. Ballet flats naturally fit the bill, and you can wear them with anything: jeans, summer dresses, breezy shorts, and of course, tulle skirts. For style inspiration, you can turn to the likes of Alexa Chung, Meghan Markle and Chloë Sevigny, who have all been spotted in those easy shoes.

And if you don’t already have a pair for yourself, here is a diverse range of options to consider.

Header photo credit: Melodie Jeng / Getty Images

Simone Rocha satin crisscross ballerina flats

Trust London designer Simone Rocha to create the most coveted pair of ballet flats of the moment. These satin beauties, which come in the perfect shade of powder pink, feature adjustable elastic straps and a leather sole that is rubberised at the toe and the heel for the ultimate comfort. The most obvious way to wear them is with a dress, but you can take a page out of Alexa Chung’s style book and pair them with jeans and a T-shirt.

(Photo credit: SSENSE)

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Loewe laced ballet flats

For an everyday pair, look no further than these flats by Loewe. The shoes are smartened up with a square toe and the use of soft, buttery leather in black, which makes it easy to style with your ensembles to the office. But our favourite bit is the long logo tag, which you can easily reach for to secure the flats on your feet.

(Photo credit: MatchesFashion)

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Miu Miu nappa leather ballerinas

Glamour is at the heart of Miu Miu, so naturally the luxury brand’s take on the humble flats come embellished with sparkling crystals. The pair, made with durable nappa leather, are also distinguished by their pointed toes, making them elegant options to wear out to dinner.

(Photo credit: Miu Miu)

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Khaite 'Ashland' foldable leather flats

These foldable flats by Khaite are an Instagram favourite, and it’s easy to see why. They are super soft and supportive (it’s thanks to those heels), but they also feature just a hint of the pointe styles that dancers actually wear. Above all, they’re very flexible: you can fold your pair and stuff them in your bag as you slip into more glitzy pair for the evening.

(Photo credit: Net-a-Porter)

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Maison Margiela Tabi flats

Tabis may have started out as boots, but Maison Margiela’s iconic split-toe shoes now come in all forms, flats included. These shoes probably won’t be what you slip on for your next grocery run — unless you welcome the bewildered looks from fellow shoppers — so make sure not to skimp on the rest of your outfit. Try wearing a cropped blazer with a pair of leather pants to match the edginess of your footwear.

(Photo credit: Maison Margiela)

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Prada patent-leather ballet flats

We didn’t think it possible, but Prada actually managed to turn the frivolous ballerina flats into something befitting a more serious, corporate environment. This pair, which also nods to the equally girly Mary Jane shoes with its bold strap, is made of glossy patent leather that’s hard to look away from. They’ll add a nice twist to your tailored ensemble for your next board meeting.

(Photo credit: Net-a-Porter)

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Alaïa laser-cut leather ballet flats

For your summer staycations, consider packing these Alaïa flats. The intricate laser-cut leatherwork is stunning, but it also makes the shoes pair nicely with the basket tote bag you’ll take with you to the beach or the pool. Wear them with your prettiest summer frock.

(Photo credit: Net-a-Porter)

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Pretty Ballerinas 'Kristen' flat shoes

Pretty Ballerinas obviously has a whole range of ballet flats, but we particularly favour this Kristen style. It offers a modern look thanks to its ruched design and angular toe. Show them off with a pair of skinny cropped pants.

(Photo credit: Pretty Ballerinas)

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Pameyla Cambe
Senior Writer
Pameyla Cambe is a fashion and jewellery writer who believes that style and substance shouldn't be mutually exclusive. She makes sense of the world through Gothic novels, horror films and music. Lots of music.