JavaScript disabled. Please enable JavaScript to use My News, My Clippings, My Comments and user settings.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

If you have trouble accessing our login form below, you can go to our login page.

Flat out fashionable

Date
Style revolution ... these shoes are made for walking.

Style revolution ... these shoes are made for walking.

I was Armani-ed at the weekend. From top to toe I took on the elegance of the Italian designer. From the top it was all fairly predictable - lux makeup, check; dark hair arranged off face, check; mist of limited-edition jasmine fragrance, check; sharp tailoring, check - but towards the toe end came the unexpected. I chose flat shoes. And - here is the surprising bit - in so doing, I was being very Armani.

I was initially inspired by Armani's ''face master'' in Australia, Grant Power, who offered to do my makeup at the David Jones counter before I went out on Saturday night. Power's artistry with the new purple and grey-toned eye shadow, the dark brow and blood-red lips inspired me to go home and don Armani - a black and white flecked kimono-style jacket and wide-legged black silk pants (that I'd bought in the States for a song in 2008). But instead of teaming it with the usual black T-bar heels, I wore black flats.

The more stylish outfit, the lower the heels. Have I identified a trend?  

Just that morning I'd read an interview in one of the magazines at the hairdressers of Roberta Armani, Giorgio's niece, muse and brand ambassador, in which she said she always wore flats. She said she liked to walk - she does a lot of walking in New York City and is always on her feet - so flats with her elegant Armani clothes made sense. She said it was practical and stylish and very Armani.

Flattering ... a model in Giorgio Armani flats.

Flattering ... a model in Giorgio Armani flats.

That evening I attended the Australian Ballet's production of Onegin. If anything was ever going to call for heels, this was it. The dancers were on their tippy-toes and so should be a respectful audience. But I noticed, as I made my way comfortably and confidently through the foyer, there were lots of flat shoes. In fact, the more stylish outfit, the lower the heels. Have I identified a trend? Among the patrons, very high heels were only teamed with more casual outfits, probably to dress them up.

Shoes in the past three or four years have been either sky-high ridiculous or arch-achingly flat. Shoe shopping has been a bit of an ordeal. I'm practical when it comes to shoes, if not clothes. I want to be able to get around, not just from ''taxi to table''. I want to be able to dance or to escape. Has fashion caught up? Are you still wearing heels? When? Do you wear them to work? Or are they a special occasion thing? And is wearing flats to the ballet ''very Armani'' or just plain wrong?

32 comments so far

  • I was beyond happy to see the comeback of '60s style slippers in velvets and golds this year - and I'd love to see the court heel or 1920s style low heel come back too. I understand that structurally sky-high shoes look incredible as objects, but on actual people they look awful and render the wearer crippled. I cannot understand how the army of girls wobble crookedly out of clubs in 12 cm high shoes don't see how unattractive and inhibited their walk becomes. Heels were meant to elongate legs and give you a sexy hip-swishing stride, not have you hobbling down the road like a crippled zombie with a broken ankle.

    Commenter
    missminute
    Location
    Sydney
    Date and time
    July 03, 2012, 11:58AM
    • Yay, I love flats and kitten heels, sorry high heels just are not comfortable, I look forward to a better selection in the stores!

      Commenter
      Newcastle Gal
      Date and time
      July 03, 2012, 12:52PM
    • Ooh, yes, kitten heels FTW. I'm hoping to find some kind of kitten heel sling back for the summer....

      The only thing I hate about flats is toe-cleavage. When I see toe-cleavage, I think of feet stuffed painfully into too small shoes and wonder why the wearer didn't buy a bigger size?

      In the meantime, I'm loving winter in my red, and very flat, ankle boots :)

      Commenter
      Donna Joy
      Date and time
      July 03, 2012, 1:56PM
    • Kitten heels, aka golfpeg heels, combine the worst of heels and flats: the lack of stability of a stilleto, with the non-leg-enhancing height of a flat. You can keep 'em. Give me a big block heel maybe 3cm high, and oh, cut the front way higher so that they have a chance of staying on my feet.

      (Hint to the other poster: the issue isn't that the shoe's too small on the girl whose toes are peeking out the back of the top of the shoe, it's that the toe area was cut too small for non-Asian toes. I tried to solve the "my toes bend enough that I fall out of my shoes from the front" issue by buying larger shoes, only to create the problem of falling out of them from the back.)

      Commenter
      Deb
      Date and time
      July 03, 2012, 8:38PM
  • When you get out of the habit of wearing heels, you really have trouble going back.
    Now in my early 50s, I find heels for me means a couple of inches - or at most, a supporting wedge, but I'm not on my toes (can't stand the two days of calf pain any more).
    I love flats. Sensible, comfy and now looking very smart.
    I love missminute's suggestion of 1920s style low heels. I particularly love the little heels that instead of tapering down, splay out (and are no more than an inch high). Sandler had this heel over a decade ago and it looked gorgeous.

    Commenter
    Robyn
    Location
    Ballarat
    Date and time
    July 03, 2012, 12:42PM
    • I can never find a decent pair of low-heel shoes anywhere at the moment! Am wearing my black suede Mary Janes to death because there is just nothing out there, not even on the Internet.

      Commenter
      Megan
      Date and time
      July 03, 2012, 5:32PM
    • I can't seem to find a decent array of styles in low heels either. I don't like ballet flats, they look shabby, twee and have no support, they remind me of hospital slippers ;) and high heels are crippling, I've seen some horrendous bunions and mangled toes on the way to work that have obviously been caused by these tortuous contraptions. Just some nice looking, style low heels that aren't made of plastic please!
      And what is it with shoes, the thousands of shoes, being sold out there that have no grip on the bottom?? Are you trying to kill me??? I hate finding a decent pair only to have to pay to get a friggin grip put on the sole.

      Commenter
      Pecan
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      July 04, 2012, 7:03AM
    • Hi Megan
      I have a large-ish very broad foot - and 'ordinary' shoes just don't do it. A few years ago I found Keen Sydney II Mary Janes. $150 or so was a shock but s-o-o-o comfortable and they fitted my feet! Got another pair a little while later, $170 or so. Then did the internet thing, bought every size 10 I found find In The World. Of course from the USA 2 for the price of 1 here. Anyway, now I have six pairs in three colours, and one pair of 'paddock shoes'. Seems not made any more, but there are still some Sydney Il's out there, now in smaller sizes, but The Best Shoe.

      Commenter
      Kegaro
      Date and time
      July 05, 2012, 7:23AM
  • High heels are a form of torture that women inflict on themselves for reasons I cannot understand. Anywhere I can find them, I snap up well made flats and designs with mid-height heels in solid blocks or a narrow top splaying out to a square base.

    One thing I've noticed in shoe shops, what's on the shelves is maybe 40% flats and 60% ridiculous heels. But what's on the customers' feet as they shop is pretty much 100% flats or sensible boots.

    Commenter
    Rosie
    Location
    Elsewhere
    Date and time
    July 03, 2012, 2:20PM
    • Unfortunately flats do not suit everyone, particularly if you are a petite woman. Heels provide an elegance for some women that flats can never give. It all depends on your height, your shape, your weight, and the length and shape of your legs, plus what you are wearing them with.
      The unfortunate thing with heels is that so many people simply do not know how to walk in them. If this is you, then you have no alternative but to where flats or low heels. Perhaps some of the manufacturers or retailers need to provide lessons on how to walk in heels - and for the current super high heels many girls need a license to wear them. But for those who can wear a high heel well - they will always look more elegant and stylish than anyone who wears flats.

      Commenter
      Wiseone
      Date and time
      July 03, 2012, 2:27PM

      More comments

      Make a comment

      You are logged in as [Logout]

      All information entered below may be published.

      Error: Please enter your screen name.

      Error: Your Screen Name must be less than 255 characters.

      Error: Your Location must be less than 255 characters.

      Error: Please enter your comment.

      Error: Your Message must be less than 300 words.

      Post to

      You need to have read and accepted the Conditions of Use.

      Thank you

      Your comment has been submitted for approval.

      Comments are moderated and are generally published if they are on-topic and not abusive.

      Featured advertisers

      Horoscopes

      Capricorn horoscope

      Trust others to think for themselves. Don't be snobbish about what seems obvious. Everyone learns at their own pace, including you.

      ...find out more here