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How to Wear Flats with a Formal Dress – 5 Best Matches

How to Wear Flats with a Formal Dress – 5 Best Matches

Although high heels can make a powerful statement, they are not always practical, especially if you have back, foot, or joint issues.

A common question I get is, “Can I wear a formal dress with flats?” Fear not, ladies!

Here’s how to strut your stuff on any formal occasion when heels aren’t an option.

How to Wear Flats With a Formal Dress

You can wear flats with a formal dress and still be on point. Make sure the hemline of your formal dress lands at the knee or is full-length (no-between). Knee lengths dresses are best paired with a stylish shoe with eye-catching embellishments, while full-length dresses work best with pointed-toe flats with more minor detail. But also ballet flats and loafers are good options with a formal dress. 

How to Wear Flats with a Formal Dress

Also Sandals can work with a formal dress

What Types of Flats Can You Wear With A Formal Dress?

The following types of flats are suitable for wearing with a formal dress:

Ballet Flats

How to Wear Flats with a Formal Dress

Ballet flats are the classic choice.

Ballet flats are simple yet elegant shoes that can be worn on almost any occasion, including formal ones.

Ballet flats are ideal if you’re going for a classic look.

Be sure to invest in premium flats, for instance, black croc-embossed patent leather ballet flats for a more professional look.


Loafers are classic business shoes.

And in all fairness, not the first shoe I had in mind pairing with a formal dress.

However, this combination can work. Preferrable with a plain black dress and black loafers

Loafers are great because they have a low heel and are incredibly comfortable to walk in.

However, most loafers have a casual appearance, so they won’t pair well with formal dresses.

If you like loafers, your best bet is to buy high-end loafers.

You can wear these with a pantyhose for an office look.

The stylish linings and embellishments will make this shoe suitable for evening affairs.

Pointed-Toe Flats

How to Wear Flats with a Formal Dress

Pointed-Toe Flats give an elegant touch.

Formal dresses generally work well with covered shoes.

Pointed-toe flats are a favorite, whether you choose an option with a sharply pointed silhouette or a less distinct, softer point.

To ensure that pointed flats translate well with your dress, buy a premium quality pair that fits well.

This will also provide the highest level of comfort.

Dressy Lace-Up Flats

There’s a variety of lace-up formal flats that go well with knee-length formal dresses.

For instance, you can pair lace-up ballet flats, ankle boots, brogues, and oxfords with a formal dress for a modern and chic look.

Small Kitten Heel

A small kitten heel has a ½-inch to 1-inch heel, so it’s still considered a flat shoe style.

The small lift it gives you makes your appearance more dressed up without throwing practicality out of the window.

Kitten heels are especially helpful if you have short legs and want to add a bit of length without resorting to heels.

Go with a thin, tapered heel for the best look because a chunky heel doesn’t look as sophisticated.

Similarly, you should opt for thinner straps since these lend a more refined and sophisticated look, suitable for any formal occasion.

There are different types of kitten heels you can wear, depending on the event.

The list includes pumps, slingbacks, and classic pointed-toes styles.

Which Material Works Better?

If you’re wearing your formal dress with flats, make sure they are made from a fancy material that lends class to your outfit.

Satin fabric on flats is perfect for an evening look.

The sheen is just what you need for a red carpet look. Metallic flats are also a classy option.

Other materials that work well with flats include velvet, suede, and leather.

What Colors Should I Choose?

The best formal and elegant flats are found in nude colors.

Neutral colors like black, white, or nude usually pair well with most types of formal dresses.

Black is a classic all on its own, and you can add some embellishments if you want a bit of flair.

However, if your dress has a neutral color, you can make your outfit stand out more by pairing it with a striking print or color.

Are Embellished Flats Suitable?

Flats with class embellishments work well with a formal dress.

For instance, something with a floral pattern or studs for sparkle can make the shoes look more dressy.

Embellished flats are best worn with knee-length dresses to give your outfit that extra “oomph.”

Look for any flat shoe with additional detail that draws attention and elegant appeals, such as crystals or a ribbon embellishment.

Otherwise, if your hem is reaching almost the floor, you can get away with wearing something a bit less exciting.

Some Outfit Ideas for Weddings

  • Embellished flat sandals with a knee-length dress
  • Small kitten heels with a flowing knee-length dress
  • Nude flats with a floor-length dress

Some Outfit Ideas for Work

  • Loafers and pantyhose
  • Black leather pointed toe flats
  • Smart and polished ballet flats

Some Outfit Ideas for Evening Functions

  • Gliding gown with a metallic pointed-toe flat shoes
  • Knee-length dress with lace-up flats
  • Ankle strap flats with a knee-length dress

Frequently Asked Questions About Shoes for a Formal Dress

What accessories should you wear when wearing flats with a formal dress?

If you want to add a little more excitement to your outfit when wearing flats with a formal dress, you can add a ”snazzy” accessory, such as your clutch. You can also add a belt to your formal dress and add a bit of jewelry. However, don’t overaccessorize, as it can seem like you’re doing too much.

Can you wear flats with a floor-length dress?

Wearing flats with a floor-length dress works very well, especially if you choose a gown or dress with a fuller skirt. This is much better than wearing a formal dress with a hem that’s the same length as the heaviest parts of your calves or ankles. This will only make your legs look bigger.

Can you wear flats to a formal wedding?

Yes! The trick is to find classy flats that match the elegant occasion. Typically, the best flats to pair with a formal dress when going to a wedding are those with eye-catching embellishments. Whether you opt for ribbon, rhinestones, or some other shimmery and pretty embellishment, the added style element will add more class to your outfit.

How do flat shoes look elegant?

Flat shoes can be just as elegant as heels when wearing a formal dress. Ideally, the flat shoe you choose must have a fancy fabric, such as velvet, satin, or a metallic finish. In addition, stylish embellishments like bejeweled straps, ribbon embellishments, and neutral hues make flat shoes look more elegant.


When you choose the right flat shoe style, you can look as professional and elegant as you want without looking frumpy. That’s how you dress up while keeping both feet flat on the ground!