As promised, here's my best tips and tricks for styling flats with some of your favorite tights.
The secret lies primarily in the shoe itself. While some flats can be worn quite well with tights, others will look hideous. So, what should you look for? Think about your flats as body-con dresses for your feet. Look for something that follows the curve (or maybe even adds curve) to your foot. This defined shape will look more like a sexy extension of your leg and less like a cement brick strapped to your foot. It's also a pretty good lesson in wearing the shoe, instead of letting the shoe wear you.
Avoid clunky or chunky toe boxes or adornments. Again, you want to wear the shoe - not the the other way around. In my experience, the bigger the shoe looks, the shorter my legs appear. No good. The same can be true for a super pointy toe box. I've worn the super pointy flat before, but only with pants. The main reason is because they just don't allow for my foot's shape to come through and end of looking like skis. Also, no good.
I have 2 main preferences in flats - either a round toe with the opening right along the base of my toes or an almond shaped toe with a shorter toe box. More recently, I've added a third preference - brogues. The secret here is pretty much the same - not too round and clunky, not too pointy, and enough of a shape to see the curve of my foot.
NOW, ADD THE TIGHTS
How many times have you put flats on with a pair of tights and just feel ... off? You either look barefoot, cut off at the ankles, or weighted down and a bit shlumpy. I think we've all been there. Here's a few things to keep in mind when pairing your flats with tights:
1. Don't forget the aforementioned shape of the shoe. Makes all the difference in the world.
2. Texture & shine can go a loooong way. Make sure that your shoes don't match your tights exactly. This doesn't mean that they should be a different color entirely (that can have the opposite effect sometimes), but just a little something so they stand out. A subtle texture, like patent or tweed, or a subtle color variation can work wonders.
3. When I talked earlier about my preferences, you'll notice that I pay great attention to wear the opening of the shoe lies on my foot. Just like photography, I think a rule of thirds applies. If the top of the shoe comes half way back on the top of your foot, guess what. You're foot looks half as long and most likely, out of proportion with your legs. Especially if you have short legs like me.* The reverse is also true. If a shoe opening just covers the tips of your toes, your feet will look monstrous compared to the shoes. And again, out of proportion. So, remember the rule of thirds, and shoot to leave 2/3 of your foot open.
Of course, everything has an exception. In my case, it's brogues. But again, they only work, because they show my foot shape and don't come all the way to my ankles. I also tend to stick with a similar color palette. A light colored brogue against dark tights, on me, would seriously stump my legs.
Here are some of my best examples:
The brogues: perfect shape, elongating, but not too pointy, black on black
Utilizing both a subtle difference in color and a patent texture
Black on black, but with the patent texture to differentiate
A little tweed texture to pop the shoes, and in this case, a little embellishment for added interest
Subtle color variation, perfect shoe shape
Again - black on black, but with the patent texture to differentiate
Again - a little tweed texture to pop the shoes, and in this case, a little embellishment
I hope this helps! Feel free to email me with any questions.
* For the record, I am only 5'3" with a 30" inseam ... so short legs.