The Guardian's fashion editor, Jess Cartner-Morley, has issued a moratorium on the ballet flat: too many proles are buying them, she says (Marks & Spencer saw a 76% sales bump in the first quarter of 2012; last August another British retailer, John Lewis, saw ballet flat sales jump 129% over the previous year), which means fashion people have to find a new shoe ASAP.
Interestingly, she points to Kate and Pippa Middleton's affection for the ballet flat as a sign of their lower-rent status: "Now that the ballet pump is the choice of daytime TV presenters and Middletons, edgy it most certainly is not." For edgy styling of the ballet shoe, Cartney-Morley cites Amy Winehouse, who edged up her flats with blood. But surely, everything is edgier when it's bloodstained?
Ballet flats certainly haven't been "edgy" for awhile (if ever), but "edgy" isn't the only way to go chic. As a fashion category, "classic style" is always in style (duh). And nothing pairs better with a slim, polished silhouette than the easy-to-wear, delicate ballet flat.
Just because everyone's buying ballet shoes doesn't mean they're out of style — it might mean that they've become a staple. I don't actually wear them myself, because I get too distracted by that little bow on the toe whenever I look down, but I would by no means snort derisively if I saw them on another foot.
So what, to Cartner-Morley's mind, is the hip new alternative to the hopelessly passe ballet flat? The flatform. Because there's nothing better than screwing up the proportions of your outfit and breaking your ankle all in one go.
Image via WENN.com (from March 2012, by the way. Oh yes, ballet flats are totally over)