How to Wear Ballet Flats Without Looking Basic

Before there was the basic bitch, there was, plainly, the concept of looking basic. It was equally as lethal as the former term and frankly, Charlotte got her job at Man Repeller because during her interview, she exclaimed with equal parts conviction and the swagger of a Fred Astaire/Lena Dunham hybrid creature that the only thing worse than looking bad is looking basic.

You know the drill, right? A cardigan and skinny jeans. Maybe a little black dress. It’s like the unironic, unaffected version of normcore. And you know what the most emphatic totem of basic dressing is?

Ballet flats.

Always has been, always will be.

But see, there’s a caveat because in recent months, the popularly comfortable shoe is seeping right back into the fashion zeitgeist via Saint Laurent, Isabel Marant, Cรฉline and A.P.C.

The final location comes with an anecdote: last Sunday, while I was committing to a pair of white jeans and a striped shirt from the mens department at the anterior, I saw a woman walk over to the register with a pair of red ballet flats. They looked used and that made them seem maximally appealing.

I asked if I could see a pair for myself and when I did, I tried them on. First in nude, then in red, then in black patent — held up against my large white jeans and oversize t-shirt — and that’s when I settled on the shoes. For a minute, I felt like I was trying to renew my license to look basic, or “jappy,” as we Yeshiva students called it way back yonder, but then I got to thinking about what my liking the shoes implied.

I concluded that because I dress like a boy five out of seven days a week, my conceding to ballet flats meant coming to understand that I’m ready to wear them because I know how to wear them. So, without further ado, I give you: how to wear ballet flats without looking like a basic bitch who has just spent the entirety of her Sunday in the West Village, taking photos of tulips and hash-tagging #nofilter.

What you see here is a pair of enormous ripped jeans I purchased from Asos three years ago. They’re worn right below my stomach and fastened with a black belt. While you don’t have to wear a dramatic off-the-shoulder top to approximate the same concept (a t-shirt plus trench coat or jean jacket will do, I’d steer clear of a blazer unless it’s boxy and big), I figured that pairing a traditionally fancy-as-fuck top with the jeans and flats would detract even further from the wrath of that which is eleMENTAL.

The ultimate key here is: big pants, a little bit of exposed ankle and messy hair. Here’s a shopping bar to break it down:

And here are flats so you too can defeat basic bitchery.

I’m glad we had this chat.

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  • Awesome!!!! I have to pairs that I need to wear soon. Thanks so much for inspiration.

    MOD DRESS WITH AN EDGEโ€ฆblog post at:

  • mmkimiss
  • Tayler

    Even though I agree that flats aren’t really the most interesting of shoe, and yes, you’re outfit is great and weird. Relating ballet flats to such a negative profile is an interesting take. Ballet flats are a classic and have been around FOREVER. I more just have a problem with how mean the “basic bitch” trend of gossip is. Wouldn’t you agree? Basically shaming people for wearing whatever they see to fit that profile?

    • Leandra Medine

      I don’t think people deliberately dress to look basic, though. I mean, if they’re dressing to mean anything deliberate at all.

      • Tayler

        Right. Exactly my point. The term basic bitch essentially is a new way to shame people who aren’t intentional in their dress. Basically anyone who is unaware and isn’t interested in style/fashion who wears basic things?

        • 1 big room full of bad bitches

          honestly the term is just a joke, it’s not shaming anyone, it’s like the kreayshawn song

          • Layla


        • Leandra Medine

          So, what I’m thinking is happening here is a problem with the term “bitch” and not so much basic — which I get, because “bitch shaming” is a thing but to talk about looking basic and how to assuage that doesn’t seem like a point of contention particularly on a site that is about taking the mundane and making it more interesting. That said, very sorry to have offended you and absolutely appreciate your equally respectful and constructive points.

          • Tayler

            Very true, agreed. A devils advocate is always needed. Especially when a lot of young girls read your site. Jokes and all, the term is a form of bullying and everyone should stand against it.

          • Binks

            Can we stop applying the word “shaming” to everything?? Such an overly used buzz word.

          • Tayler

            Agreed! If I thought up another workd, I would have used it. Any suggestions?

            Just trying to engange in what I think is an important discussion here. That is all! I am glad to see that the article has been shifted in a less derogatory light.


          • Binks

            Well my issue is not solely with the word but the idea behind it. It blows mundane things out of proportion. It’s as if no one’s allowed to have a negative opinion about anything anymore. Sometimes a negative opinion is just that– an opinion. It’s nothing to analyze, break down, and compartmentalize. In this case, yes, maybe some people will find the term “basic bitch” offensive but let’s not act like not liking someone’s outfit is shaming them.

          • srsll

            Their outfit isn’t shaming them, mean girls are (trying to)

    • Cee

      I 100% agree! While I feel as though Leandra’s article maintains a playful message, “Basic Bitch” shaming is taking over. We live in a world where we have eyes on each other all of the time. It’s a constant competition for recognition. I’m not sure if we can ever change that, but we must learn to adapt and realize the negative connotation towards being basic is entirely ass backwards.

      I recently wrote an article on it – check it out here, if it strikes your interest!

      • Tayler

        I mean there’s this that attempts to define “basic bitch”::

        But it’s just really mean slang term that the fashion industry has exacerbated… I’d take offense to anyone who called me a basic bitch, and I couldn’t imagine calling someone else it either.

      • The conversation that happened here is exactly why I love this website. We’re not like the regular comments sections, we’re the calm, polite, thoughtful, respectful, and constructive comments section. You all rock. And so do those black and white flats.

  • Your top is amazing Leandra, this outfit is smashing! Ballerina flats are actually compulsory in France, especially Repetto, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t own a pair!

    Mafalda โค

    • Jessica Davis

      Compulsory? As in you would get in trouble for not having a pair? What about those feet that just don’t fit into flats? No matter the size. And the foot looks shipwrecked inside the shoe.

  • Sophia

    More flat shoe tutorials would be awesome, especially when tall girls who are afraid to wear high heels (such as myself) can only wear flats. I contemplate this issue in my blogpost

    • Leandra Medine

      Afraid to wear heels?!!??! Talk to me about this.

      • Sophia

        With heels I’d be well over 6ft tall. Yeah, sure, models do it all the time. But I constantly find myself to be in places where I am already so tall. I love heels so, so much but I guess it’s the age old, lack-of-confidence thing. Any tips?

        • Leandra Medine

          I feel like loving heels with two so’s is enough reason to combat the self consciousness. Try wearing them to work just one time, see how you feel, then do it again, and again, and again, until you can barely fathom living without them (or at least until your feet hurt so much you are actually grateful that in flats, you can still be so tall)

          • Sophia

            I love how they look and of course there are so many more options. I guess it’s just a matter of getting over it, so I shall definitely try. Thanks!

        • Liz

          I’m 5’10” and I love wearing heels! And I’m not a model, and my hubby is two inches shorter than me. And he loves me in heels; in fact years ago he bought me a gorgeous pair of louboutin platform wedges that make me easily 6’4″. You just have to embrace the fact that you’re tall — it makes you striking AND you can see across the room easily. What makes you distinctive makes you beautiful.

          • Sophia

            Inspiring ๐Ÿ™‚ I will definitely try and hopefully learn to a) walk in them b) love being even taller. Thanks!

          • Laura Robinson

            I’m tall too and I used to feel the same way that you do. Now, I don’t care. If I want to wear heels (which I often do) I just do. I think sometimes tall girls are made to feel… “indelicate” because of our height. Like we’re somehow less feminine if we can reach the coffee mugs on the top shelf. I’ve come to accept that this is a view about someone else’s sense of self and not a testament to my femininity or lack there of.

    • stuff

      I agree, more flat shoe tutorials! I’m short (5’4″) and don’t wear heels while living in NYC and taking the subway or walking everywhere. So, I wear flats while darting around the city, but heels really do make an outfit.

    • Olivia

      Couldn’t agree more! I’m tall and have a business casual dress code at work, but a heel-unfriendly environment. What’s the ballet flat alternative?

  • monkeyshines
  • Peacing

    I’m astounded at the basic-ness behind this mentality. I rarely wear ballet flats and still find this article rather surreal and absurd. Another way to avoid “looking boring” is stop being so boring, but also, just choosing more interesting ballet flats than the drab shape-color-material type. Why am I even writing this? Un-bookmarking Manrepeller I suppose. Fail.

    • Molly Brien

      I think that this article speaks more to how items that are eternally chic become streamlined and tired with certain styling tactics. Here she is showing us a new fun way to style something we may be sick of seeing on masses of girls who look the same. The whole ethos of man repeller is to dress a bit funkier or outside the box and I feel like this is a pretty adequate representation.
      Kudos Leandra and that top is EVERYTHING AND MORE.

      • tuna bop

        right. i totally agree. basic bitch is basically just a funnier term for norm core! and i HATE that word norm core. basic bitch is sassiEr.

    • Leandra Medine

      Hi – I am sorry to see you go but fear you may have missed the point! This was supposed to be a jovial story about unconventionally styling ballet flats, not a negative social comment on the way people dress. That’s not what we do and it won’t be what we do.

      • Courtney

        You tell em, Leandra. Just say Peace out, bitch! (see what I did there? lol.)

      • AOK

        But that IS what you DID. No matter the intent, it still came across that way.

    • Guest

      I love Man Repeller and your sense of style, Leandra, but negatively surprised by your narrow-mindedness here.

  • Ashely Spence Bruce

    Is this top available anywhere!??! OBSESSED!~

    • Ellah

      You and me both Ashley!! Leandra, I have read every single comment hoping to come across a link for the top or something similar. Please share. Lots of love from another fancy-as-fuck top collector. OBSESSED!xx

      • Ashely Spence Bruce

        It’s on Moda Operandi….for quite the pretty penny! Gorgeous pieces for sure!

        • Ellah

          Ashley I found the designer too.I definitely cannot afford it!!However, I might look into getting one custom made if I come across the right fabric. A gal’s got to make it work I guess!

  • YES!!! Love this post! A girl does not have to wear heels to look chic and stylish, flats done right can look just as hot. Here are some L’ezu ballet flats perfect for looks like this

  • Samy

    Nice shoulder-off top!

    Pls take a look @


  • B.

    Leandra, I believe that being basic is one of the worst things you can be. So does that mean that during my commute I’m basic? No. Heels in the bag, and if I’m omw to a night out (with a flat sized clutch), in my hand. I RARELY leave myself without the option to change. Because you can look just as basic if you’re struggling to walk in heels after a long day/night and like THE ULTIMATE BASIC BITCH if you’re barefoot. So while I certainly appreciate this post on your thoughts on doing the flat correctly, I must admit I initially took this a little personally as a New Yorker who owns many (although not all ballet) flats so that I am ALWAYS prepared for those dreaded, yet inevitable walks.


  • Kathleen

    Are Birkenstocks more or less basic than ballet flats?

    I live on the West coast and I’m a student… so basically if I wore heels ever I would look like I’m trying too hard. Ballet flats are my go-to classic shoe for everything. I have some loafers and pointy flats, but more than that I would be uncomfortable. Ah, but I guess if it feels wrong it looks right, yeah?

    • Micha

      I think loafers can be a great alternative and look really fun with skirts and dresses too!

  • Miranda

    The big jeans thing is a major tip. I think I was getting tired of my same old skinnies coupled with ballet flats but this is such an easy fix i probably wouldn’t have thought of otherwise. Seriously THANK YOUUUUUUU

  • Sarah A.

    After reading this article, I thought I knew what “basic bitch” meant. I thought the term meant anyone who was a “cliche” thereby anyone who would blend into the crowd and that doesn’t really denote a particular style. Urban dictionary says it’s a woman who thinks she’s the shit but really just like everyone else. Anyway, back to flats. I love flats and that’s basically all I wear. I love them because they are classic and Audrey Hepburn wore them– and she is by no means basic. I understand what this post is saying, you can wear flats and look chic but I’m pretty sure you can also wear heels and look “basic” whatever that means.

    • Leandra Medine

      I continue to maintain that it means cliche!!!!!!@@@!!!@@@

      • Sarah A.

        I might have missed that was your intended definition of the word in the blogpost, so we agree it means ‘cliche’ which has got me thinking (obviously about important things in life) about the fashion blogosphere. Almost everyone on my instagram feed and blogs I follow are now in birkenstock inspired sandals that I am finding it hard to distinguish whose pretty well-manicured toes belong to whom based on the– if I may use the word “basic”– fashion-stagram (you know the one, high angled point-of-view photo of legs and feet with a little sneak peak of the arm party). Are fashion bloggers in danger of becoming basic? I just think about Coachella and once a friend asked if I saw any celebs. My response is I probably did except I can’t tell because 80% of the people look the same, young, beautiful, toned, tanned and in expensive clothes… so “basic.”
        Anyway, I rarely partake in the discourse of fashion, but I have to admit (and a little shamefully) I enjoyed it.

  • Mary

    As per always, I appreciate the light-hearted, hyperbolic approach to presenting women with interesting ways to personalize–how many variations on a theme can there really be, anyway!
    So for me, this is on point because I think most of us can relate to feeling embarrassed when as if what we’ve put on feels formulaic.
    I would add that as a tall girl my favorite flats are my tried and true penny loafers–for distinctiveness and functionality.

  • jaxx

    I don’t know how this didn’t occur to betches sooner. Have you ever worked fashion retail? To dress up the ballet flat is an art and a godsend. The flat has been having its renewed moment for the last two years, and we’re all happy to take a little break from the discomfort of a heel from time to time.

  • sheree

    not a fan. Every one of these looks would look better with a pointy-toe flat.

  • About the BASIC BITCH: didn’t know the expression and had to look it up – I found this definition useful: “A Basic Bitch is one who likes what everyone else likes, because they
    think it’s cool to like what everyone else likes. A Basic Bitch is a
    manipulated pawn of media and everything advertisers want you to be. You
    are a marketers DREAM.” (Source.)

    So a basic bitch would wear flats because everyone does and not for a simple reason that she feels comfortable in them and always has. I do not consider myself a basic bitch because I have always worn Birkenstocks and sports shoes, but if I bought my first pair of Birkenstocks now just because everyone and his wife are wearing them, I might have made the first step towards gaining the monicker (I would only need to adore Eat, Pray, Love and Pumpkin Spice Latte, for example). As it is, the shoe doesn’t fit me and I needn’t wear it.

    Anyone who’s not following trends at their peak for the sole reason of following trends everyone else is following is simply living and making choices. Nothing Basic and nothing Bitchy about it. You only enter the game if behaving as quoted above.

    I really don’t think anyone reading this blog does.

    Either that or I need to improve my English and German (I read texts about basic bitches in both languages)

    • Also, in my experience being basic and being a basic bitch are 2 opposites: I should know because I have been criticised for not following the trends everyone is following way too often. While the word basic has not been used by the eager wearers of everything “all the rage” (and I didn’t know it existed), I couldn’t help but notice the fear lurking behind those sartorial reproaches: How dare I resist the pull of the crowd, why wouldn’t I try with all my might to prove I belong there, how can I afford to simply wear simple things (the shoes of my baseness being big, outdoorish things verging on men’s or being men’s) … And wearing simple things because one needs to be dressed when leaving the flat is gradually becoming a No-No? Well then.

  • Mahvin

    Basic bitch ballet flats need to come with some basic bitch band-aids as the first few wears will leave the skin on the backs of your feet scraped and bleeding. Unless of course you’re the type of basic bitch who buys them half a size bigger and then have one shoe slipping off as you walk……(actually saw this scenario this morning) Also, I feel like people here are taking the term basic bitch too seriously. This isn’t algebra. Take a chill pill.

  • Tamara

    the blouse is fantastic. details? and – forgive me for commenting on your body- how in heaven’s name are you holding it up? it looks like the blouse weighs more than you do and it’s soooo precariously low!

  • Nico

    Great tips Leandra!

    S/S 2014 must have JACKETS on lowbudget-lowcost Fashion Blog

  • Stephanie

    2 things: people are clearly freakishly passionate about flats! Second: I just realized in horror that I am wearing a cardigan, skinny jeans, and ballet flats today! I clearly got dressed in a hurry and went for old reliable…

  • Anna

    First of all, maybe I’m stating the obvious but I feel that you are mixing the term ,basic bitch’ – someone who has no opinion of it’s own but goes with the trend, with someone who actually wears basic stuff and I believe the first one to be far worse..Second, you talk about dressing basic like it’s so bad and you put an equal sign between basic and classic, which most of the girls wearing basic stuff actually aim to since they are sick of wasting their money on clownish one season pieces.. meanwhile you are gradually practicing it yourself – basic tee, flats, basic coats, basic sneakers, jeans which will always be basic in all forms and shapes (sorry), since the man repelling layering of statement pieces is slowly going out of style..seems to be a growing normcore trend that we are hating at the moment but will gladly accept in few months when it’s in style..IMO, most ,basic bitches’ look better in A.P.C. cardigan and jeans than most people working their ass off to follow the latest trends and ‘show their original style’ which with fashion over-consumption trough blogs has become a bit meaningless and predictable because we all have style now and we copied it from the internet ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Maui Mendoza

      Yeah, I felt a bit bad about my self at the beginning of this article since I am wearing a black ballet flat (with a ribbon, gasp!) right now. Yesterday as well. And the day before that. I wear them because they’re comfortable and goes with pretty much everything I have in my closet. Never thought they’d get so much thinly veiled flak for being too simple and mainstream.

    • elso

      yes-the lines between dressing basic and classic seem a bit blurry! yiiikes.

  • Kyra

    What great coincidental validation! I happen to have worn a version of this outfit today (swapped out the top for a trench). Always feels great to confirm that I am not, in fact, basic. Thanks for the post; I find none of it offensive and all of it fun, witty, and helpful.

  • annesarah

    where the jeans and the top come from ?

  • Olivia

    This is everything! With the weather finally turning I have been avoiding my flats because they make outfits look so…average. I’m interested in your opinion on boots, well booties, in warm weather- can this work??

  • I love ur blog and IG!!! always perfects looks! congrats! ๐Ÿ™‚

    visit my profile and IG and check out the outfits!! see u there.XXX

  • Chloe

    This article is a little too pretentious, demeaning, petty, and just plain bitchy for me. Sorry, but this is not something that I expect from the Man Repeller.

    • ???

      ???? are you reading something i missed

  • Hannah

    This is my favourite thing I have ever read on the internet. I don’t even know if I’m exaggerating. I have struggled to support friends’ ongoing, basal use of the ballet flat. Partly because they make me feel like some kind of light footed elf helper, which for some reason (I mean I really couldn’t tell you the reason) I am averse to. But I will of course re-consider this notion, in light of above.

    Hannah from London (who had never commented on any blogs prior to this day!) (Also- whilst I’m here, that web guy with the forwarded emails you wrote about earlier- how nasty. He must have been intimidated, as was definitely talking rubbish)

  • nah

    I thought basic belonged on that article of overused annoying sayings???????

  • Margaret Ely

    Leandra i LOVE basic flats…. JK this is funny.

  • Linda Kenyon

    I too dress like a 12 year old boy most of the week…my leopard ballet flats contrast nicely.

  • mel

    Oh lord, the internet. I’m confused as to how so many people are offended or “negatively surprised” by this. Guys, its a funny little article about dressing up flats, for sh*t’s sake. Isn’t there more serious things to be rilled up by? Leandra, great as always. The day I learn to write with such humour and grace.. gah.

  • Michelle N. McBride

    Thank you for sharing. I wear flats on a daily basis and will proudly admit I struggle with this. I look down at my feet and think ” Sorry you two can’t be cutting-edge right now. Mama needs to work.”
    You are always so helpful. Thank you

  • Mel Carrero

    I f—ing love you, you are amazing.

  • Joy Bomer

    Some people are too serious… I love this article!


  • You will never look basic, Leandra.

  • Maui Mendoza

    This is like the meanest and most condescending article I’ve read here. I came here to look for inspiration on stuff to wear on my upcoming trip then I see this. Forget it.

  • May I request another weekly outfit post featuring all of you girls? They are so fun fun fun

  • Joselinne Mora

    oh god. im such a basic bitch. thanks leandra ๐Ÿ™

  • Tessa

    People crying about the condescending nature of this article… Please. The term “basic” has been overused now for probably two years, it’s not a groundbreaking categorization. The way I see it, anyone confident enough to throw around the term “basic bitch” most likely cares about fashion and has a personal taste. That said person is potentailly judging out of personal fear of their own style being perceived as “normal”. & the girl actually getting labeled as basic probably doesn’t place fashion at the threshold of her existence. (Yes, I realize there are a lot of “probably’s” in that argument). All in all, one girl is judging for basic-ness, the other is probably judging for peacocking. I guess we’re all at fault if we dig into this too deeply.

  • TheRanta

    Okay, so I clicked on that Isabel Marant link. I want all of it. ALL THE ISABEL MARANT.

  • reversecommuter

    Promise I will wear ballet flats if I too can have a smorgazborg of Rosie Assoulin pieces! LOVE the tag “basic bitchery” a little too much. Permission to use?

  • Lana Morrison

    WHERE IS YOUR TOP FROM, I need this in my life.

  • Chandler Leik

    Great inspo!!! How can you dress appropriately for a conservative job without looking like a basic bitch?

  • alix de Beer

    Love this cool outfit ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • GUYS, FOR THE RECORD: I went to breakfast at an airport on Friday. They had two sections: “Basic Breakfast” and “Not So Basic Breakfast” The basic breakfast was your standard meal which included eggs and toast. The NOT SO BASIC had egg whites and avocado options and omelets with cool ingredients. I do not think that Legal Seafoods in Terminal B of the Philadelphia airport was shaming breakfast, I think it was just pointing out that while both breakfasts are delicious and nourishing, one steps out of the box a little more than the other. I had a flight to catch, so I was a basic bitch and just got regular eggs. Some days I’m feeling basic, and some days I’m not. Sometimes I even feel ratchet. And that’s ok.

    p.s. those jeans are coooool.

    • Binks

      “I think it was just pointing out that while both breakfasts are delicious and nourishing, one steps out of the box a little more than the other.”

      Exactly. One breakfast wears flats and the other one doesn’t.

  • Marjorie Gavan

    I love flats, I have more of ’em than those high-heeled shoes. I have them in different colors and I also customize them so they’d be more stylish.

  • Laura Robinson

    I may be basic. I love ballet flats. I dream of owning a pair from French Sole. I’m okay with that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Laura Robinson

      Also, I’m totally going to basic out with my basics this weekend (thanks, Tayler).

  • Alyssa Cohen

    I didn’t think it could be done!!!!! I am amazed

  • No matter what you do they still look basic to me…it’s still lipstick on a pig.

  • vivazabata

    You know, if your title had been: “How to jazz up your ballet flats.” Or something of the kind, nobody would’ve reacted….even if it means exactly the same thing as your title…Take a chill pill people, there are worse things in life than thinking that your ballet flats are boring!!

  • Dominica C

    love ’em and wear them when hubby is not around ; he hates flats !

  • Chicspace/Marguerite

    I think I have 7 pairs of Repettos (repeato Repettos?). It’s an addiction.

  • jaclyn

    the moment I saw these i saw this post I instantly new exactly how I can dup this look. I mean it is perfect! PERFECT!

    check my blog:

  • claudia
  • CM

    I am actually stunned at how over-sensitive people are being about this article. How in God’s name do you cope in the real world?! Do you all put a noose around your neck whenever anyone criticizes you? Ballet flats are not meant to be anything other than basic – that’s pretty much their entire deal. Yes, when you wear them, to some people, you will look basic. Boring even. And??
    I have a very, very avant garde way of dressing and, to me, Leandra is basic, even her crazier outfits are basic to me. Like everything else, basic is in the eye of the beholder.
    And stop all this ridiculous ‘shaming’ nonsense. As someone before me said, it’s getting to the point where people are wholly unable to take any form of criticism, lest they cry like babies. Is your self confidence so incredibly fragile? I suggest that needs looking at before your choice of footwear.

  • Holly Laine Mascaro

    I enjoy your blog because I think it’s important to view fashion with an open mind and value the fact that style is what each person makes of it; I remind myself of this even when MR showcases outfits that, to me personally, make little sense or aren’t my personal style. That’s the point – fashion is a way to express yourself. With that in mind, I think it’s grossly unfair to insult a more basic style simply because it’s basic. Some people prefer that look and enjoy finding ways to still be creative in a subtle way–what you may call basic. I think this article could have been written to encourage exploring basic looks/items without bashing basic style itself, or even mentioning a term like “basic bitch.” I like to think of it as, “timeless.” There’s absolutely nothing wrong with timelessness.

  • ellkaybee

    Have been rockin ballets for ages and never felt “basic”. However today I had a conversation about this with a female coworker – that I have a stash of “basic” ballets for work and then a much larger stash of stylish ballets for outside work. So for me its always going to hang on the texture, colour or details that take a wardrobe staple and turn it into the focal point of an outfit.


    OMG I’m so sick of the term basic bitch. I feel like it’s offensive yet not very clearly defined… I guess Instagrams of #latteart may be considered unoriginal and therefore basic, but little black dresses are classic and fail-proof. Should people wearing them really be deemed ‘basic’? I don’t know. Maybe making this argument makes me basic. Who knows anymore.

    Either way, this is a great post. Flats are so much more interesting when paired with chunkier silhouettes on top.

  • Laura Mitchell

    From a higher fashion standpoint, flats have always been basic! Doesn’t mean they can’t be stylish. Chanel has been selling them for years. But there is a point to be made that the purveyors of the Philo/Ghesquiere asthetic have avoided them. Until recently.

  • Can we talk about the top!? Amazing…need it..whose?

    • Laura Mitchell

      It looks like Rosie? That’s my first guess.

      • Leandra Medine

        Yup, it is Rosie!

  • I generally love your writing Leandra, but I cringe every time I see you or other MRs use the term basic bitch. When it first entered the vernacular (over 5 years ago), there was a lot of gross sexism and classism attached to it, and I honestly don’t think its far enough removed now to mean something else entirely.

  • amy

    is the top yohji?? had one similar that I got rid of. totally regretting now.
    case & point – lanvin ballet flats amy winehouse – sooo not basic!

  • Maddie

    Here is what I would love to add on the subject!

    Clearly, this is a sartorial platform for writing. Everyone reading this is most likely concerned if not consumed with the way they dress. Not to go all Susan Miller but, as a libra I am always in tune with aesthetics and the way things look. It haunts me and thats why I read this blog everyday. I read a comment below that said “the term basic bitch essentially is a new way to shame people who aren’t intentional in their dress.” I have to politely disagree. I believe that the overall fear of becoming said “basic bitch” is looking like you are very intentional in the way you dress, while in fact you look like everyone else. Basic. I fear drifting into basicality (yes, I made that up) everyday, and I find it humbling that even the man repeller herself has that fear. Bravo!

  • Quinn

    Just the other day I felt like a boring “basic bitch” sporting my flats. I hated my outfit the whole day because of it. Thank you for for this.

  • Maisie

    I would love to see a post about those tiny little details dividing basic bitchery from “actually quite nice”-chicery! Go on. Let us have one.

  • Laura Robinson

    Okay. I need to know about the engineering of this blouse. I see it is a recurring theme for the designer.

  • Nikki Lowe

    Ballet flats make me feel weird and anxious and I’ve never been able to figure out why. They’re just so… daggy. Do you guys use that word in the states? I said it to an American guy once and he had no idea what I was talking about. Basic bitch = daggy. And not in a cool normcore way. In a really average underwhelming way. Audrey Hepburn may have made them a thing but, you know, she’s Audrey Hepburn, sooo….

  • Marnie

    Leandra, if you are trying to disguise the “basic-ness”
    of the ballet flat, why bother with them at all?

  • Lauren

    Leandra where is this top from? In love!!!

  • Ella

    Lol. This comment board is hilarious. Chill out everybody. She’s just trying to zhuzh up the ubiquitous, classic, un-ugly footwear that are ballet flats in light of the trend that is now ugly footwear. The only basic thing actually demonstrated in this foray is how commenters took it to be a slight to them and their flats without reading into the cultural context of her piece.

  • Ella

    @leandramedine:disqus – are those repettos you’re wearing?

  • Dedektifhecit

    You might want to be tall to look non-basic with all those.

  • Berty Morales

    Oh Leandra, my I have that top? Wow it is gorgeous, and since you put it like this now I think I can wear flats more often LOL.

  • jessica221

    ballet flats are jappy? interesting. love your look here.

  • lemkam

    “Basic Bitch” aside, I suppose what surprised me the most is the underlying thought that unless you go out of your way to look anything *but* normal, you’re essentially boring. To me that seems to go against the whole premise of this blog which I understood to be “you do you.”

  • Saakshi Kaushik

    I could not (NOT) help myself:

  • Ban the Ballett Flat!

    Not a fan at all…these shoes scream #BasicBitch with whatever they are paired with!

  • One of Many

    I have observed and liked your sense of style for a while but have not read much of your blog till now and am pretty disappointed to discover how much of spoilt brat you are – wakeup call – there are millions of women in the world who can’t totter about in sky high heels because they don’t have the luxury of being driven about in private towncars so they barely touch the pavement – or afford to supplement their couple of pairs of ballet flats and 1 pair of heels with a pair of mens shoes just in case they feel like being edgy – and the addition of the term ‘jappy’ in the piece takes this already derogatory post to next level racist – seriously WTF?

  • tumblebunny


  • stranger

    You, along with all the other “big” bloggers, own practically every “it” piece there is. Does that make you a basic bitch?

  • Argyroula

    Loving the idea of a “basic bitch” and the paragraph describing said bitch photographing tulips is amongst your best writing ever. Thank you for being the most unbasic bitch schlepping around.

  • Lovely <3

    O. R. R.

  • inmylittlemind

    I love your top! where is it from?

  • Maria

    Can you please tell us where this top is from????

  • babs


  • toby

    whose striped top are you wearing?

  • Melanie

    People really missed the entire point of this article. LIke completely.

  • Brian

    I dress like a boy 7 out of 7 days a week. (Cuz I am a boy ) But any boy outfit can look feminine with the right pair of comfy ballet flats peaking out from under your jeans. Yes, you have to know how to wear them.

  • Abbie Tanner

    This totally works, I am not even a ballet pump fan but think I might have just been slightly converted to this shoe, totally all down to the way you styled this look!!! xx

  • Marion Plr

    i never really liked ballet flats. too preppy for me, you made them look truly appealing though! any info on the top??

  • Maria
  • Maria

    You need to have They are amazing!

  • Gregory Mason

    So check it out pretty people, The word “Basic Bitches” exists because our generation learned how to be
    funny from watching sitcoms, confusing meanness with humor:

  • shard47

    So confuse them with everything else you wear so they don’t notice your shoes. got it.

  • Cari

    Very well written! I actually bought a pair in October and have taken them back, I looked way too boring!!!

  • ceceliashop

    consider embellishing flats with CECELIA semi-precious clips or use as a centerpiece on a clutch as shown on Alessandra Ambrosio in celeb section

  • RubyMoon

    I agree that the article seems a little rough on the “basics” @tayler, the haha part of the term “basic bitch” gets lost when the author obviously does NOT like basic style.

    I hate heels and find ballet flats the most work appropriate option and I would never consider myself “basic” but also wouldn’t think that a day out in skinny jeans, a cardigan, and ballet flats was just the worst fashion mistake ever. When you talk about the “Yeshiva girls” I’m right there with you but then it feels like more of a rejection of how peers dressed during our homogenous youth rather than anything really being wrong with “basic” style.

    Must also say the commenters on this stream are fantastic, all smart and respectful ๐Ÿ™‚

  • jasica

    thanks for the great inspiration. i would like to wear pairs to get attraction!
    Hum TV

  • Bekka323

    that first outfit is shit. like literal shit. like id be confused if someone wore that.

  • Chantelle

    Looks messy n not in a chic way

  • real tv vancouver

    i would like to thanks all of you for sharing great inspiration with us !
    real tv vancouver

  • lorddragonstar

    WOW!! The model is GORGEOUS!!!

  • KwitBitchin

    Ballet flats not only look basic, they look BAD. They are ugly as hell and usually worn by prissy, prudish and uptight women that never get the joke and always have a condescending frown on their puss. YUCK.

  • Ms. Lizzy

    Very nice…..but where do I get the top?

  • es

    ballet flats are and always will be so effortlessly horrendous. no way to hide it. no excuses. really. ever.

  • Blackeyepeach

    Another amazing way to pair flats is with an up to date suit. The perfect combination to tone down the suit and tone up the basic bitch vibe.

  • Jayjay

    Actually, I think you look hideous, tired and worn out. Put on a shirt that you can do something in it. Take some vitamins. Laugh.
    Calling people a bitch is offensive.
    And who cares what composition of threads you put on your body? Meaningless.

  • jill

    Just visiting here as I saw the photo and have seen that top on pinterest, and really like. Wow…I do not read many comment sections anymore because someone is AlWAYS being offended whether it was intended or not. Big ego trip, an excuse to dump their issues, seek attention, and complain when they are not happy inside. Good luck trying to change everyone else so you will feel better. Not really interested in it…would like to know the source of cool blouse though.

  • Zulu

    Not meaning to be rude but warts and all, must say I find everything so dowdy and unattractive. From head to toe – it wouldnt have been so bad if say, for example the 80’s looking jeans suited her or she could make it somehow appealing, but it just doesnt look good.. terribly unflattering and shabby (on her) to say the least.
    Just saying’

  • awoaca

    Not basic, but classic: Audrey Hepburn.

  • cc

    UGLY ugly greasy broad–nice em..Classy always..

  • JustSaying

    I find it ironic that someone as butt-ugly as this writer would have the nerve to judge anyone else. Just deal with your own issues and don’t judge others. I think your outfit is disgusting btw, and the ballet flats can’t save it.

  • Natalie Fitzgerald

    How not to be basic: Stop calling other women bitches and wear what you like with confidence instead of ridiculous hypervigilance about what anyone may think.

  • Tara

    This would have been a great article except the author’s outfit and choice of flats is hideous. She looks terrible.

  • nonononono

    ok no. no no no no no. this is ugly. you live in a parallel universe where you cant see it. im here to enlighten you that it’s bad and photos of you in this getup in ten years will make your great grandchildren’s children squirm. ew.

  • CiJone

    Hmm… I’m not disagreeing that ballet flats are “basic,” but I didn’t realize it was a bad thing. They’re classics, they’re staples, they’re (to me) the perfect in-between shoe–more polished than tennis shoes or sandals, more casual than any kind of heels or boots. I wear mine out.

    I guess in order to keep it interesting, I always tend toward some flashy details. Currently wearing snake-skin black and white flats with extremely pointy toes. They look bad. As in they look really good.

  • Jane1010

    I love ballet flats but they always hurt my feet when I would wear them more than a couple hours, found a solution! #ballet #balletshoes #balletflats #soulinsole

  • Ramona Voss

    Brilliant article, very interesting take. I too have always been overly cautious of the ballet flat. I find the ballet flat to be a metaphorical gateway drug; first the ballet flat then monogram everything then before you know it you’re wearing Tory Burch and then to hell with all senses of dignity. Love your humour as well

    • Brian

      Haha, your comments about Tory flats and loss of dignity made me chuckle. I LOVE my Tory flats and as for my dignity….well, you can decide.

  • Laina

    now, if you want to actually be comfortable in those ballet flats, I created a solution…just launched on kickstarter, thanks for looking!

  • shane

    Can you teach someone to wear flats like a girl dose.