Closet Content Analysis: Ballet Flats
|Tory Burch Ballet Flats. Photo Credit: Brian Davis, Calgary, Alberta|
Ballet/ballerina flats have been around long enough that they should be considered traditional for both men and women. Although, in a contemporary setting they are marketed for women; in a dance setting, but of course, ballet flats are worn by both men and women. So where am I going with this? It is with pleasure that I introduce you to Brian Davis from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, a man who has included the ballet flat in his wardrobe and has been fortunate enough to have a shoe size that he can accommodate what he desires within a woman’s market.
I interviewed Brian about his collection and his passion for the ballet flat. The following are the fascinating details of his footwear choices.
Brian Davis: How many pairs of ballet flats do I own? My immediate answer should be, too many and way too many for a guy. I have hundreds of pairs of "female" shoes, boots, sneakers, loafers and ballet flats. If I count just the shoes I consider to be ballet flats I'd say 45 pairs. My classification of ballet flats includes the following:
- Shoes that are completely flat or less than 1/4" of a heel.
- Shoes that expose the top of the foot basically down to the toes. Some show toe cleavage and some don't.
Brian Davis: I've loved women's shoes for years and years so I've had lots of shoes that were like ballet flats but none that would be considered ballet flats today - shoes like loafers or loafers with a bit of a stacked heel (about an 1" high) or athletic type shoes like Keds with a "ballet flats" look to them. So my first real pair of ballet flats were bought in Spring 2005 at the Nine West store in South Centre Mall in Calgary, Alberta. I entered the store and looked around. I spotted a pair I liked and approached the sales girl to see if she had them in a size 10. A few minutes later she had a box in her hand and said they were a size 10. I calmly asked if I could try them on. Nikki, the sales girl was fine with that and even said how nice they looked on me. Besides loving my first real pair of flats, I appreciated the great service. I learned some valuable lessons that day. It's better to try them on in the store to make sure you get the correct size. As well, be up front and honest with the sales people, stay calm and don't act weird. If you treat them nicely they will treat you nicely too. Since that day, anytime I'm thinking about buying a pair of flats I always try them on in the store. Almost all of the sales people are OK with it. In fact, I've become really good friends with 5 of the sales girls I've met over the years.
Brian Davis: My first real pair of ballet flats were made by Nine West, the style name is Dickert. There were 3 colours on display in the store. I chose the all black ones. One thing I liked about them right away was they were slightly curled up because of the elastic around the foot opening. They were all black but there was a black patent strip on the heel and a black patent toe cap. So yes they were all black but they were made up of 3 different black materials: the elastic, the leather and the patent. Another thing I liked about them was when I was walking around in the store the very thin plastic heel piece made a clicking sound on the tile floor. The only part I'm not fond of is the thin Mary Jane strap on them.
Brian Davis: I'd be lying if I said no I don't feel self-conscious about wearing them. If I'm just wearing plain black leather or tan flats I don't think much about it and most people don't notice. Slip on a pair of brightly coloured flats or flats that are sparkling in any way and people seem to notice right away and comment about them. Most men's shoes have a similar looking women's version and vise-versa; such as men's dress shoes, loafers, sandals, work boots, etc. They can be made to look gender neutral or unisex. Ballet flats are very feminine looking shoes and there's no real way to make them look more "manly". I guess that's why there is no men's version or even similar looking shoe to a ballet flat for men. So every time I'm buying myself a pair of flats I am in the women' side of the store or a store that only sell women's shoes.
Back in 2005 when I made the conscious decision to start buying and wearing ballet flats I also realized that I should expect different reactions and comments to my choice of footwear and accept both the positive and negative comments directed my way. I could write a small book with all the comments I've received over the years. Most people casually stare, some look shocked, some giggle and others outright laugh. others make a big deal of it and I've noticed that some will try to get a picture with a camera phone. Sadly there are some people who comment about a possible sexual orientation because of the shoes I'm wearing. This to me means they are uneducated. Although, my shoes are the cause of these reactions, I don't feel the need to try control them, but rather just accept them. The few positive reactions outweigh the abundance of negative for me.
My day to day life doesn't change much week in and week out, I go to the same grocery stores, bank, gas stations and coffee shops all the time and see the same people. After they've seen you wearing them several times they couldn't care less.
Thanks to the internet I do know there are thousands and thousands of guys that have bought themselves ballet flats. I think most only wish they could take those first few steps out in public. A large number of these "ballet flats" guys do go out in public as cross-dressers. Then an even smaller portion go out in public as regular guys that happen to be wearing ballet flats. That's me!
But back to your collection of ballet flats; which are your favourite pair?
Brian Davis: I'd have to say my favorite pair is my next pair. There is some truth to that. Years ago if I saw a women wearing a pair of flats I liked I'd try to find myself the same pair. Many years ago I saw a women wearing a pair of Tory Burch Reva flats. Again thanks to the internet I was able to determine the designer but sadly no one sold them in Canada. For years and years all I could do is dream about getting a pair. In 2008 one of the local shoe store sales girls and I really hit it off and became great friends. She moved me from the Nine West, Anne Klein brands to the more upscale Michael Kors brand. After trying on her Michael Kors flats on she insisted I get a pair for myself. We now have matching flats. Again like the other designers I bought several more pairs in different colours. She and I were talking about flats one day and I mentioned the Tory Burch flats. On my next trip to Arizona she suggested I go to the Scottsdale Fashion Plaza - a quick internet search led me to several department stores and boutiques that sold Tory Burch products. I nervously stopped by the Tory Burch boutique there and looked around. Did I say I was nervous?! Here I am in a high end boutique looking at flats and wearing a pair of MK flats. A sales girl asked if I needed any help and to let her know if I wanted to try something on. "Try something on"! WHEW! I could breathe again. I picked a pair of Tory's Reva and after an hour of trying flats I finally bought my first pair of Tory Burch Reva flats. I made several more trips down last winter and in 5 months had 7 pairs of Tory Burch flats and loafers.
NICE NO THANKS NOTE-WORTHY NEED NEW
|Tory Burch Ballet Flats. Photo Credit: Brian Davis, Calgary, Alberta.|
NO THANKS: NO THANKS is a real love/hate relationship I have and it's with pink flats. I LOVE pink flats but as a guy I just can get through what it takes to wear them out in public. Maybe some guys can pull them off but I'm not one of them (yet!). I've bought lots over the years only to return them later on. Don't get me wrong they are high quality flats but not quite right for me, so - NO THANKS.
|Puma Rhythm ballet Flats. Photo Credit: Brian Davis, Calgary, Alberta.|
|Tory Burch Reva Flats. Photo Credit: Brian Davis, Calgary, Alberta|
NEED: #1 on my need list is the ultramarine blue Tory Burch water snakeskin Eddies. If I can't have them I'll take them in any other colour available. They are the same Eddies comfort without the Reva medallion but what I love is the snakeskin material and look and the amazing colour.
I admire Brian for manifesting his desire to wear what he likes irrespective of the label imposed upon the item. The ballet flats look much better on his feet than sitting in a closet. Thank you for your example Brian; we should all be so adventuresome!
Update: November 24, 2012
While the temperatures plummet and the snow falls, Brian is enjoying his new magenta ballet flats in more agreeable weather down south.
|Tory Burch Ballet Flats. Photo Credit: Brian Davis, Calgary, Alberta|