Flat shoes are a long-standing style staple for French women. Karl Lagerfeld’s Chanel ballerina dates back to 1984. It pioneered the flat footwear innovation, with plenty of ballet flats following in its wake. The swoon-worthy shoe set the precedent for flush-to-the-ground variations and struck an appreciation for elegant and understated styles.
The creation was worn by many, from Bridget Bardot to modern-day style mavens—including French editors and influencers. The two-toned flat swiftly became synonymous with Parisian flair and it engineered the appeal of easy-wearing styles. The popularity of ballet pumps is prevalent on the cobbled streets of France. Brands from Repetto to French Sole have long-produced chic almond toe flats and retailers continue to fuel that demand and churn out classics.
Quintessentially French designers have cornered the footwear market and it doesn’t stop at ballet flats either. The variety of flats extends to buckled loafers, slingbacks, open-back flats, sandals and jute espadrilles. Following the lead of Chanel, the Hermes Oran sandal has also proven to be a popular style with French natives.
It’s the way French women wear flats that give the down-to-earth renditions that much more flavour. Comfort is pivotal, as is the art of subtle mark-ups—like contrast colour toe caps and horse-bit adornments.
French women experiment most with accessories, so it’s no surprise to see modern footwear updates trickling onto the streets of France. Ruched ballet flats, chunky loafers and low platform flip-flops are among some of the latest introductions. Although they aren’t the minimalist styles we’re accustomed to seeing on French women, they complement feminine silhouettes and are equally suited to straight-leg jeans and blouses.
If you’re looking for some chic fashion inspiration, or need reminding that flats are indeed cool, keep scrolling for eight French-inspired outfits. When experimental accessories adhere to comfort, there’s no getting in the way of French women!
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