Photo: Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images News/Getty Images
The Salvatore Ferragamo company has designed what seems to be the perfect flat -- available in colors and textures that include black patent leather, metallic and even animal print. Flats are dainty with daytime dresses, phenomenal with tights and skirts, business chic with a suit and epic with skinny jeans. But, when it comes to evening wear, most women worry about ditching their high heels. Draw on the fashion wisdom of current and timeless muses to find out if flats and fancy mix.
Then: Audrey Hepburn
Models Elle Macpherson and Kate Moss may be more current inspirations for skinny jeans and flats, but Audrey Hepburn invented the look in 1954 when she paired skinny pants with ballet flats in "Sabrina" and again in 1957's "Funny Face." Whether on screen dressed in fabulous Edith Head or Givenchy costumes, or off screen, Audrey maintained an effortlessly elegant style most often accompanied by flats. In a "Sabrina" promo, Audrey -- flanked by eye candy William Holden and Humphrey Bogart -- rocked a black evening dress with flats resembling modern-day Ferragamos.
Now: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy
Fast forward to present-day Paris, where former model and first lady of France, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, often pairs flats with evening gowns -- most likely to avoid dwarfing her 5-foot-5-inch husband -- to stunning effect. In the years since she snagged President Nicolas Sarkozy, Carla's mastered the combination of flats and formal wear while hosting galas and meeting foreign dignitaries. Even if state dinners aren't on your agenda, there's a lesson to learn here: Carla sticks to silhouettes that flatter her long and lean physique, with fabrics that avoid unnecessary embellishments, making flats a natural choice.
Alexa Chung -- a fashion It Girl -- brought her London sensibilities and mix of designer and vintage stateside in 2010. Her effortless about-face from rugged tomboy to little-girl femininity, complete with "ditsy" prints and Peter Pan collars, made her a style trendsetter. Amid women teetering on towering heels through the Tuileries during Paris Fashion Week, Alexa was photographed at Chanel and Chloe, pairing these designers' dresses with flats for a chic -- and comfy -- look.
On the Runway
If you need more proof that flats with evening wear are a fashion-do, consider the czar of fashion, Karl Lagerfeld. The Chanel couture spring 2011 show featured every single model walking in flats. That's not just designer duds, but haute couture -- each piece a modern-day work of art, with delicate details and intricate embroideries -- paired with simple black flats. Karl shockingly suggested real women consider comfort when choosing their shoes; commenting on the lack of high heels, he said he "was sick of all those Eiffel Towers."