In a world of heels and cool sneakers, the humble flat occupies a perfect middle ground. Life is full of events too casual for heels and too formal for Toms — lunch with your boyfriend's parents, an interview at that Silver Lake juice bar, quick drinks at a new restaurant — and it's during those rocky moments of indecision that flats step calmly to your side, putting a comforting hand on your distraught shoulder and whispering, "It's okay. Pick me."
Every woman needs a go-to pair — those soft, worn-in flats that are practically molded to her feet. And they don't have to be classic ballerina flats, either; loafers, D'Orsay, and smoking shoes are all fair game. The only requirements: no heel, neutral color, and a classic, 365-days-a-year shape.
Image: Tori Telfer
A rounded toe, soft leather, and absolutely zero embellishments make this flat your go-to. It'll never steal attention from the rest of your outfit, but it's definitely got your back.
Cece Leather Ballet Flats, $118 (on sale!), jcrew.com
Pirouettes optional, but the bow on the toe is most certainly not.
Classic Leather Ballet Flats, $40, gap.com
When it comes to the two-toned ballerina flat, blush and black are the only two acceptable hues if we're talking classics. Save up for one of the big names, like this Prada shoe, and you'll wear it for years — maybe it'll become your signature look.
Prada Bow Ballerina Flat, $550, nordstrom.com
D'Orsay flats are characterized by extreme cut-outs on either side, and they're surprisingly flattering on the foot. Best of all, the silhouette is classic enough to be recognizable, but not so classic that it's secretly just boring.
Jeffrey Campbell In Love Leather D'Orsay Flat, $90, urbanoutfitters.com
This near-perfect shoe takes the androgynous cred of a smoking flat and reinterprets it in a streamlined, feminine silhouette.
Nine West Sossi Leather Smoking Flats, $69, lordandtaylor.com
A little more masculine and heavy-duty than a smoking flat, loafers are the perfect choice for the Alexa Chungs of the world, and those of us who wish to be Alexa Chungs. Fringe forever.
Asos Mandem Pointed Flat Shoes, $62, asos.com
If you can't look at a quilted flat without dreaming of the Chanel classic, here's a consolation prize — and it's got a gold-capped toe to really cheer you up.
New Look Black Quilted Metal Toe Cap Flat Shoes, $32, asos.com
If your average flat is just a little too one-dimensional for your taste, a delicate ankle strap brings the silhouette higher without adding a heel.
Loeffler Randall Erica Ankle Strap Flat, $250, loefflerrandall.com