Tuesday, February 16, 2010


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.

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: 

2-12-10 6
2-10-10 2
2-9-10 6
The brogues: perfect shape, elongating, but not too pointy, black on black

2-3-10 5
1-28-10 5
1-27-10 4
Utilizing both a subtle difference in color and a patent texture

1-21-10 3
Black on black, but with the patent texture to differentiate

1-15-10 5
A little tweed texture to pop the shoes, and in this case, a little embellishment for added interest

1-14-10 1
Subtle color variation, perfect shoe shape

11-18-09 5
Again - black on black, but with the patent texture to differentiate

10-15-09 5
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.


  1. Great Post Kyla! I had never put so much thought into flat wearing. One of the things that you don't mention is how skirts play into the whole look. Having exposed knees does wonders for elongating the whole look too even when they're in tights. You've taught me that many times.

  2. Great post! I never seem to make the flats + tights things work, but I will surely give these tips a try! Thanks for the inspiration!


  3. These tips are great lady! :) I'm always having trouble figuring out how to make myself look long and lean even in tights and flats. Usually I can't figure it out... that's why I just wear heels all the time. haha. I'm definitely going to try and utilize some of these tips!

  4. Dilemma;
    I cannot for the life of me find and affordable (I'm talking under $50.00) pair of black or brown LEATHER brogues ANYWHERE! I am seriously debating caving and getting the ones from Target, biting the bullet and telling myself "They don't have to be leather you know". But they do, they do have to be leather. Every time I see you in your Brogues I furrow my brows in jealousy and try to convince myself "look how great they look on Kyla, just get em you idiot".

    You are a pro in wearing flats my friend.

  5. THANKS!!
    this info is so fantastic. I really hope I can pull it off in my wardrobe. I am a total flats girl. I actually feel pretty uncomfortable in heels and I have spent a TON of money trying to find a pair that I loved so I wouldn't feel like a midget next to my 5'6 friend who loves heels. It hasn't happened yet! I am also 5'3 but my inseam is closer to 29. So I appreciate even more that you have taken to flats as a wardrobe staple. The socks and shoe thing never worked for me as I always felt a bit silly but your advice makes a lot of sense and has given me courage!

  6. Cool post! Very informative, helpful, and empowering!

  7. You are a tights + flats genius! This was extremely helpful - thank you!

  8. Great advice! As a girl who wears flats everyday, this is extremely helpful. Thanks for sharing!

  9. This post is great, you've got wonderful advice! :D My flats never look quite right with my tights, so this has been super-helpful for me!


  10. Such a fabulous post!!! Very informative. I love all those looks :)

  11. Amazing outfits!!! I just followed your blog!

  12. You, Kyla, are the queen of cute flats!
    Thanks for the advice. I'm almost 5"8 and my boyfriend is slightly shorter than I (plus, heels are hard to walk in and bad for my feet so I avoid them when the sun is up) so I'm a big flat wearer. I love that I can look to you for inspiration when I'm having a "but everyone else wears heels" day.


  13. I love all of your colorful tights!!

  14. Great post! I really enjoyed it. I love flats. They are so practical and I'm all about practicality. This will make me more open to different types of flats now. I only have two pairs. GASP!


  15. Great post. I will definitely take your flat wearing advice and get the most out of my flats!

  16. Great tips. I just bought some cute silver pointed toe flats, so I'm going to heed all of your advice when pairing them.

    Thanks for the great post!

  17. I just found this wonderful site. Keep up the great work!!!

  18. This is a great post! I'm really partial to flats myself and I really appreciate style bloggers who have a more realistic depiction of footwear and fashion - maybe I'm deceiving myself, but I really have a hard time believing that people can live in platforms and stilettos on an almost daily basis. Thanks for keeping it real! S