Model wears: dress £399, shoes £179, both

The fashionable flat isn’t just for daytime: wear a pair this party season and you’ll be dancing all night

It’s one of the many ironies of growing up, that the item you pester your parents for soon loses its appeal when it becomes accepted, or even worse, expected. Take, for example, party shoes of the heeled variety – when all you’ve got to look forward to is the school disco or the occasional wedding, a pair of little heels is almost magical in its allure. But that sparkle soon fades, and before long we’re begging to get back to flats.


This season though, the gods are smiling on the collective aching arches and bruised bunions, as flat shoes are back in vogue and will remain there well into the party season. The rules of party dressing in general have gradually been rebelled against with a relaxed, more androgynous approach – making old-fashioned glamour look old hat. That’s not to say that things have to be boring or muted – there’s still plenty of scope for a statement pair of shoes.

First things first, while trainers have risen inexorably from only-on-errands to fashionable feet on the front row, they’re not acceptable on all occasions. If a dress code calls for smart casual a pair of souped-up skate shoes – think studs, bows, or textured calfskin – are ok, but need to be balanced out by something more formal than jeans.

There’s something appealingly louche about a smoking slipper, especially in velvet, but a pair of brogues is your best bet and can be worn with feminine dresses or borrowed from the blokes tailoring, especially if you opt for a shiny metallic or glitter ball finish. Bear in mind, though, that a stiff leather upper or wooden sole may need some serious breaking in before you bust any moves. After all, what’s the point in wearing flats if you can’t dance all night in them?