Flats with formal wear: Yes or no?

Flats with formal wear: Yes or no?

Banned for wearing-gasp!-flats?

One of the hotly debated topics online this week is the report that some women were banned from the premieres at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival in France for wearing flats instead of heels.

The claim is that women in their 50s, including some who have medical conditions that prevented them from wearing heels, weren't allowed in at the screening of "Carol," a film that stars Cate Blanchett.

According to an account on ScreenDaily.com, a woman who was wearing "nice" flats was told to go "buy appropriate shoes."

The festival's director, Thierry Fremaux, had pooh-poohed the story, claiming them to be "unfounded." He also tweeted, "For the stairs, the regulations have not changed: 'No smoking, formal wear.' There is no mention of heels."

Actress Emily Blunt, star of "Sicario" which screened at Cannes, decried the rumored ban, calling it "disappointing." On the red carpet, however, she wore sky-high heels, but reportedly switched to flats at the after-party.

Dress-up glamour is one of the main attractions of high-wattage events like the Cannes film festival, where thousands descend on southern France every year to watch movie stars preen in couture gowns and their black-tie best on a vast red carpet.

While purveyors of fashion have relaxed the general style codes, making flat shoes and sneakers trendy, even appropriate and acceptable for certain occasions, it appears that certain circles still adhere to old-fashioned and rather passe sartorial rules.

It seems no amount of rhinestones sewn on one's flats can get her past the red-velvet rope of these archaic policies.

While the likes of Victoria Beckham, never seen in anything shorter than four-inch stilettos, have embraced flats, at least for casual days, we also know that some young fashion types frown on other (often older) women who even dare slip foldable flats in their purses to later change into. For these girls, you can sit with them, but only if you're wearing the right shoes.

We're not one to dismiss the instant confidence boost from the extra inches afforded by a pair of stilettos, especially for a petite Asian woman. Heels also nudge you to straighten your back so it improves your posture, and not a few will claim they feel instantly sexier in high heels.

So, flats with formal wear? Some might say, it's just never done; without heels, you're just under- or even inappropriately dressed.

But tell that to women who had spent years-years -feeling taller, sexier, and also sadly tortured as they crammed their toes in tight toe boxes, their arches bent and feet forever gnarled with ugly bunions and corns. They'll tell you to bugger off!

Or will they, really?

Dr. Aivee Aguilar-Teo

Celebrity dermatologist, Aivee Clinic and Aivee Institute

I personally do not wear flats to formal occasions as I need my heels to give me that extra height. Gowns look better when you're taller and it gives me that extra boost of confidence.

But I don't agree that it should be banned since most Caucasian women are tall anyway, and I'm sure they can pull off their beautiful gowns even in their flats. Fashion is one's expression of personal style and it should not be restricted by rules.

Amina Aranaz-Alunan

Accessories designer, Aranáz

I have never worn flats to a formal occasion. But I do not see anything wrong with it if the style of the flat shoe goes with the overall look you wish to achieve. I must admit, though, that I always feel better in heels especially during a formal occasion, and I am one of those who will suffer for fashion on a special occasion.

Whether I will ever wear flats on a formal occasion, you never know. My attitude toward heels has definitely changed. I used to live in heels and will not be caught dead in flats.

But I have eaten my words! I now love flats! (And even sneakers!) These days I would say I'm in flats 60 per cent of the time. I do believe that, depending on the style, flats can also look very elegant and polished.

Yvette Fernandez

Editor in chief, Town & Country

As someone taller than the average woman in Manila (and even when I lived in New York for that matter), I've always been comfortable in flats. I attend many events in flats. For more formal events, I have three-inch heels, nothing taller.

And I always have flats in the car to wear before and after those events. My attitude has always been the same: comfort before anything else. I've always been comfortable in my own skin. Maybe it's the New Yorker in me. I really don't care what other people think when it comes to what I wear.

Ingrid Chua

TV presenter and blogger, thebaghagdiaries.com

For formal wear, assuming the gown grazes the floor, I see absolutely nothing wrong with wearing flats. It won't look "off." That's actually the best way of doing formal wear "comfortably."

Personally, though, I don't wear flats with gowns because I want to have better posture and heels make me straighten my back more. I think with heels, the gown is showcased better because of your posture.

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