Whether you're anti-high heels or merely seeking out new alternatives to sandals for summer, on-trend flats are a great way to freshen up your warm-weather wardrobe. While classic ballet flats with rounded toes and petite bow ties are often the common denominator among preppy, polished, and French Girl-inspired outfits, designers have delivered unto flat fanatics new-age takes on the quintessential style for 2020.
"We've been seeing flat shoes all over the runways recently thanks to the likes of Bottega Veneta and The Row," Kirsty Stewart, a stylist whose clients include Patricia Manfield, Rochelle Humes, and Amy Jackson, tells TZR. "The updated shapes and styles give the flat shoe a modernized feel that influencers are loving."
Of course, slides and thongs have their place in the summer months, but if you're looking to sidestep toe-baring footwear on occasion —even if it's around the house or for errands — designers' fresh take on flats is undoubtedly the way to go this season. Tiffany Hsu, the fashion buying director at Mytheresa, favors the summer flat as a comfortable and easy-to-wear shoe with casual pieces and evening-wear alike. "I would combine them with high-waisted Bermuda shorts as they work perfectly with flats," she tells TZR, also advocating for a flat dressed down with a tee or tuned-up with a blazer for work. "For more of an evening look, wear an A-line oversize cotton dress [with flats] to add some drama."
For Stewart, it's all about simplicity when it comes to styling flats. "Wear [them] with your favorite tank top and cropped straight leg jeans," she tells TZR. "If you're feeling more adventurous, opt for a loose-fitting statement dress for an effortless Scandinavian feel." The stylist says modern iterations with newer toe shapes or a micro-heel feel freshest for the season if you're not the type to rock a classic round ballet flat. "We're seeing a lot of almond and square-toe shapes that can really elevate your look, as well as designers playing with fabrics and textures such as crochet and mesh," she adds.
Keep scrolling for 15 fashion influencer-approved ways to style flats this summer from super-modern takes to new-season twists on timeless styles. Plus, shop the edit of summer flats every price point.
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How To Wear Flats In The Summer: A Tank + Long Shorts
Add interest to a minimalist outfit with a textured flat in faux-croc or snake print. This season, it's all about cuts that go higher on the foot, whether the silhouette follows the shape of a loafer or ballet flat.
How To Wear Flats In The Summer: A Midi Dress + Shoulder Bag + Sunglasses
You can't go wrong with a classic ballet flat and feminine midi dress. In warm weather, textures like canvas will keep toes cool while feeling like a fresh alternative to leather or suede (though a timeless almond-toe iteration in tan is rather irresistible, not to mention versatile).
How To Wear Flats In The Summer: A Top + Skirt + Cardigan
For a new take on the ballet flat, a squared toe reads ultra-modern in optic white while feeling like a second-skin in supple leather. It's a perfect look for pairing with breezy white separates.
How To Wear Flats In The Summer: A Colorful Dress + Earrings
With a colorful dress in an elegant fabric like silk or satin, a simple black flat is the epitome of understated-chic. For a contemporary look, both high and low-cut vamps are achingly fresh.
How To Wear Flats In The Summer: A Matching Set + A Bag
Flats aren't always, well, flat like in the case of the micro heel. This look is perfect in juxtaposition with more casual pieces and silhouettes from flowy fabrics to denim.
How To Wear Flats In The Summer: A Tank + White Pants + A Bag
Another feminine take on the flat is the slingback. For 2020, square toes steer the silhouette in an ultra-modern direction.
How To Wear Flats In The Summer: A White Dress + Earrings
A pair of statement flats are ideal for livening up wardrobe staples like a white dress and sunglasses in the heat. Whether you opt for a brightly colored flat with a square toe or a woven Mary Jane with playful embellishment, this modern rendition is all about fun.
How To Wear Flats In The Summer: A Cropped Tee + Linen Pants + A Mini Bag
A delicate mule is a versatile flat that can go from preppy to playful in an instant. For a hybrid of both sensibilities, try styling a pair with printed linen pants and a cropped tee.
How To Wear Flats In The Summer: A Tank + Shorts + A Blazer
If ballet flats don't speak to you, a modern loafer or driving slipper just might. A minimal style with an elongated or square toe is peak modern with timeless attire.
How To Wear Flats In The Summer: A White Blouse + Midi Skirt + Basket Bag
Cap-toe flats are perfect for channeling a French-girl spirit. To push the look forward, aim for a fresh interpretation such as a slingback with knotted detailing or two-toned leather with a low-cut vamp.
How To Wear Flats In The Summer: An Off-The-Shoulder Top + Maxi Skirt + Layered Jewelry
Modern mesh flats are bold yet idyllic in warm weather, especially for maximalist sensibilities. Try yours with flowing separates for a unique "on holiday" vibe.
How To Wear Flats In The Summer: A Shirtdress + Bag + Hoop Earrings
Jellies are the epitome of nostalgia, and this season's woven flats offer a similar look that will appeal to au natural aesthetics.
How To Wear Flats In The Summer: A T-Shirt + Maxi Skirt + Bag
Put a modern twist on French-girl style by pairing classic black flats with a pleated skirt and a bold-shoulder tee—bonus points for perfectly tousled hair.
How To Wear Flats In The Summer: With A Printed Mini Dress
Feminine tastes will love this season's affinity for the pretty bow flat — a perfect finish to mini dresses in floral prints and fun colors.
How To Wear Flats In The Summer: A Tank + Jeans + A Minimal Bag
For minimalists that can't steer away from black in the summer, a dainty mule or ballet flat is fail-safe.