Sunday, 16 September 2012

Ballet/Ballerina Flats: Gender-less

Choices: Non-Gender Specific

Closet Content Analysis: Ballet Flats
Tory Burch Ballet Flats. Photo Credit: Brian Davis, Calgary, Alberta
The other day I was shopping at Galleries LaFayette department store in Bordeaux, France and was overwhelmed by the preponderance of ballet flats. I've wanted to write a post about these particular flats for awhile now but it wasn't until I met Brian that I knew I had to post his preferences.

In the 16th century the ballet flat was a popular form of footwear for both men and women and so we can assume they started as non-gender specific footwear in fashion evolution. Historically, heels interrupted that development and progression. Ballet flats came into fashion again after Marie Antoinette wore heels on her way to the guillotine and they disappeared and reappeared over the next two centuries with a predominant focus for children. Then in the 1950s Audrey Hepburn wore them with skinny jeans and capris thereby popularizing them in the 20th century, albeit amongst women for the most part.

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.

JoyD: From the photos I have seen, your ballet flats collection is amazing. How many pairs do you own? 

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.
I've often heard women ask this question, "How many pairs of black ballet flats do you need?" My answer to this is, "one more pair than I have now"

JoyD: I like that response - "one more pair than I have now" - I think I'm going to borrow that one. So then, when and where did you buy your first pair?

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.

JoyD: What a difference an attentive and respectful sales associate makes! . . . What attributes did that first pair have?

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.

JoyD: Actually my first and only pair of ballet flats had that elastic Mary Jane strap and I cut it off. On this blog, in another post on jackets, I received a comment telling me it was just plain wrong for a woman to wear a man's jacket. With that in mind, have you ever felt self-conscious about wearing ballet flats just because they are predominantly considered part of a woman’s wardrobe?

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!

JoyD: Of course you shouldn't have to rationalize your choice to wear ballet flats to me or to anyone else but I appreciate that you have taken the time to share your preference as a guy who simply likes the look. Historically ballet flats were worn by men therefore it shouldn't be considered as odd. After all, women wear brogues.

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.
NICE: Nice for me are my Tory Burch Eddies. They are everyday flats with a memory foam foot bed for comfort and a patent finish for a bit of zing but not like  the" in your face" look that the Reva flats have. Some people think they look like cheap $15. Payless flats because of the patent finish but what they may not know is these are high quality nappa leather patent flats from Tory Burch.  What can I say . . . these are NICE and considered my everyday flats.


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.
NOTE-WORTHY:  I would have to consider my Puma Rhythm ballet flats to be noteworthy. Yes, Puma make flats - great ones. They are super comfy and cute and once you find the right size I'm sure most people will love the way they hug your foot and the way they feel. I bought them in every colour I could find in my size and I have 7 colours total.



Tory Burch Reva Flats. Photo Credit: Brian Davis, Calgary, Alberta
NEW: And the flats that are my personal pride are my Tory Burch Revas. For me they are iconic. They are the Holy Grail of ballet flats. I've searched for a pair of these for 3 years and now they are in my grip, or should I say on my feet. Women "ohhh" over these, they crave them and I'm lucky enough to have some for myself. The Revas are flats named after Tory's mother and this is my Reva collection. These were bought from the Tory Burch boutique, Nordstroms and Holt Renfrew. 

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

70 comments:

  1. Hi I was delighted to read this post as I have been wearing ballet flats for quite a few years now. It all began when as a kid I realised that girls had way prettier shoes than guys and I was jealous cos my sis had pretty shoes and I just had boring lace-ups or penny loafers if I was lucky.
    I really wanted to wear pretty shoes like the flat maryjanes that girls my age wore and once when a sister's friend came to visit one day she was wearing classic red maryjanes and as it had been raining she took them off to dry. I slipped my feet into them and from that moment on I wanted to wear maryjanes too.
    Later in life, my wife and then our daughter wore flat maryjanes, my wife still does but daughter who is a but short stopped wearing them as they make her look like a little girl.
    As I grew older I discovered ballet flats and as a ballet lover who had danced for a while when younger found it very easy to wear them. So simple and comfy why should the gals have all the fun. So then i began wering ballet flats too and I find drawn to buying a new pair everytime I go on holiday. On my last trip to Lyon France I went crazy, one pair of black patent, one pair of white and one pair of red really OTT :)
    Never having been a red wearer, I wear mainly blues and mauves, I recently had to buy some red and white T shirts to go with my red ballerinas.
    I wear both my flat maryjanes (I hate heels and think they are ridiculous) and ballerinas in public. At home I wear kilts and I have a denim skirt I find very comfortable.
    Like the other Brian I find that a guy can never have too many ballerinas and my desperate search is for a mid or sky blue pair. This morning my wife told me she is going to give me back the pink canvas ballerinas I bought her as they are too big for her.

    My next shopping trip will be to kyoto in the autumn, I find shoes there rather expensive but no doubt will return home with yet another pretty pair of shoes.

    By the way, I agree totally with Brian about trying on and being honest when assistant say something like 'you know they are womens shoes'. I just reply that I know, that I like them and they are for me.

    I am not gay but I hate the way some clothes are labelled gender specific. Women wear what they want to wear so why cant we men wear what we want to wear too?

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    1. Thanks for your contribution; it's a wonder that a designer of men's shoes hasn't picked up on this market. It appears to me that it would be easy to adapt. After all, I believe there is no market that is too small. Have fun shopping in Kyoto and let us know if you buy a pair or two or three of ballet flats.

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    2. I just noticed your ps at the bottom of the blog. Nice to see you are keeping in touch.

      You are going to Lyon, my absolute fave French City, you are just going to love it and as for shoe shopping it will blow your mind and possibly your wallet too. It's a shoe shoppers paradise.

      There is a central pedestrian precinct that runs north south through almost the whole of the central peninsular just filled with shops. Dont forget to visit the old city the 'Traboules' the solk weaving district and take a trip on one of the river boats. Try to get on the long trip that goes on both the Rhone and the Saone, well worth it especially by night, magic.

      Saturday fruit and veg market by the Saone great.

      The street of restaurants mouthwateringly good, just north of Cordoniers, French food at it's gourmet best.

      Street of art galleries in the old silk weavers district.
      www.flickr.com/photos/abriwin/
      I need to upload some more, travelled so much this year I am getting behind on uploading images.

      Great food, great sightseeing and fabulous shoe shopping, you might need to buy an extra bag for all your new ballerinas :)

      Oh you are going to love it, Enjoy yourself.

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    3. Thank you for the "whirlwind" suggestions. I know some of what you suggested and now you have added to my wish list. I have been to Lyon before and one time I left the city with 8 pairs of shoes. On this visit, enroute to Lyons, I have already purchased one pair of ballet flats in a town called Romans, where there are schools and apprenticeships for making shoes, as well as factories for Charles Jourdan and the like, and therefore many factory outlet stores. I bought another pair with a funky platform heel (Robert Clergerie) that will probably influence a future post. Also, thanks for the link!

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    4. I love your Story and thanks for sharing. That is so cool that your wife and daughter also wear flats. That would be so neat going out somewhere the 3 of you all wearing flats. It is nice also that your shoe size is close to your wife's so that if she can't wear a pair she give them to you. I have been wearing flats for years and they are now my everyday footwear. I do not like black or white but I have have just about every other color of flats including pink and animal print as well as gold and silver some glittery. I probably have about 25 to 30 pairs. Can't afford the high end one like Brian has but I am fine with the inexpensive Walmart or Payless flats. I also find some good deals on Ebay. Anyway like everyone else has said they are very comfortable so I wear them all the time. Have worn them on our last couple of vacation trips and I love the fact I fit a half dozen or so in my suitcase no problem without taking up much room. I enjoy reading Brian's posts and the picture updates. I hope we start a new fashion trend or judging by the history bring back an old one.

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  2. I´m completly agree with you both, flats should be for both men and women, in fact, i love to use flats in public from time to time. If flats are sexy and comfy to wear why men do not?
    If many of us starts to wear in a daily way, i´m sure that in a few time it will be part of men wardrove, of course, not for business but could bee cool for leisure wear.
    I´ve like a lot that like "... one more pair than actually..." is the same that happens to me with women shoes, i have more than 20 women sneakers that i use to wear in public. About a dozen of flats that wear from time to time and ten pairs of heels that i have wore in public at least one time. Any way, shoes should not be held to gender. Cheers!

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    1. I'm pleased that you commented and shared your gender-less shoe thoughts. You are right about wearing them in a daily way; this opens the door for acceptability and for product/market development.

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  3. Hi JoyD,

    I really like the interview with Brian. He is very inspiring and he knows how to wear flats on public, and how to match this really comfortable shoes with his clothes.
    I am young man in my mid-30´s and I´ve worn since I was a teenager. I tried my aunts worn blue flats at the age of 16 y.o and I felt in love with this kind of shoes. One day my aunt caught me trying her flats and I said the truth: "I love how comfy this shoes are, may I keep the, auntie?". She smiled , gave me hug and told me to kept them and that I looked great on her shoes.

    Despite my sexual orientation(sorry I am bi well nobody is perfect lol) I found that flats really match great with anything in your closet: capris, pants, shorts,etc. And as I used to live in a very hot weather town socks are forbidden so I always wore flip flops and flats barefeet,one other reason I started to wear flats is that I have very small narrow feet for a guy actually I wear women shoe US size 9 or 9.5 depending the brand so I hate to buy shoes at the kids section. I found flats without a cute bow can pass easier when wearing jeans, I wear mostly black flats and brown flats mostly from GAP and Sam Edelman when I have the money to pamper my feet. I also love low cut flats.And from time to time and when I dont have the budget I go to payless shoes to get 2 pairs of cheapies lol.

    I really dont care what people say as I live in a gay friendly town, I see a pair of flats I ask the sales lady and I try them. Most of the sales ladies are really helpful and I even become friend with some of them. It is better to say the truth and talk straight. I wear my flats in public as often as I can during the summer even that in Canada, summer lasts only 3 months lol

    So I hope one day flats become a unisex shoe because they are very comfy, practical , easy to slip on/off, ho laces, no need to wear socks, light weight shoe and we can find them in huge range of colours and designs :)

    Regards

    Ivan

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    1. No apologies necessary Ivan. And what a nice auntie you have! Like I wrote in my other responses to comments, it appears as if there is a market here and it just feels like if there were designs created for a wider foot (although you might still have to buy in the women's department since you have narrow feet) with a more ?masculine? style, more men would be wearing them. I have a goddaughter in Toronto who wants to design shoes; this could be her first project! Thanks for your comment!

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    2. Hi JoyD,

      Hope I can help in the future your goddaughter with her project and why not doing business with her, maybe distribuiting her unisex design for flats here in Halifax. By the way next time that I have the chance to visit again France I will visit Lyon to buy some ballerinas pairs.
      Bonne journée et c´est un plaisir de te connaître!

      Ivan

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    3. I love the connections that the internet affords us! What will be will be and one never knows how things will progress. Also think of visiting Romans-sur-Isere the shoe capital of France; it is only 2 hours from Lyon. A meme chose de ma part.

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  4. I found all this fascinating as i too love girlish shoes,ballet flats being a soft spot,But to me girls shoes are a lot nicer/smarter looking.Over the years ive built up such a large collection and on several occasions ventured out in them,Like Brian says most of the time people dont notice but some of the ones who do just want to have a giggle or follow you to make sure what their seeing is real.I cant vouch for every pair of feminine shoes but Ballet Flats are such comfortable shoes and so nice looking its hard to resist the want to wear them.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/65961768@N06/6207124139/in/photostream/

    I enclose a link to a pair of mt toned down flats but i do prefer patent,Obviously delete the link if its not suitable.
    Cheers John

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    1. Thank you John - it's interesting that you say they are "nicer/smarter looking" - there may be another post in that.

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  5. Hey Joy D,

    That was a very professional interview you had with Brian...great interactive dialogue. Your questions and Brian's responses were well thought out...I love Closet Content Analysis: Nice, No Thanks, Note-Worthy, Need and New...the pictures really complimented the blog. Brian must have a significant investment in ballet flats. He looks pretty classy in capris and ballet flats.
    It was a great lead into the interview...hard to believe that men (Louis XIV) wore ballet flats before women.
    I started wearing ballet slippers over 40 years ago. My wife and I took and adult ballet class together. My dance attire included black tights, leotard and and Capezio ballet slippers. I liked wearing the ballet slippers so much I started wearing them at home all the time and when I visited friends and relatives. There soft leather soles were not conducive to wearing them outside...Then along came the ubiquitous ballet flats. Finally, I had a comfortable, feminine shoe I could wear out doors. I started purchasing ballet flats about 3 years ago. My collection
    of ballet flats is at about 30 pairs (way behind Brian's collection). It consists of many pairs of Gap City ballet flats in many colors (black, tan, gray, purple, rose and pink), black and tan colored Puma Rhythm ballet flats, BCBG Girls, Maria Sharipova (by Cole Haan) and numerous miscellaneous ballet flats. I LOVE wearing ballet flats with my skinny jeans, capris and shorts. I wear ballet flats every day of the week...to the grocery store, library, bank, restaurants, Starbucks,Home Depot etc. One customer in Starbucks (after staring at my Silver BCBG Girls ballet flats)asked if I was a ballet teacher...I responded " no, that I find ballet flats very flexible, comfortable and versatile with my wardrobe." It is important to be look and be confident. I totally agree with Brian about being honest with sales girls and anybody that asks you a question about why you are wearing what most people consider feminine shoes. Thankfully, my wife and children have accepted my choice in shoes. I still get some giggles, snickers, OMG, finger pointing and outright laughter directed at me because of the ballet flats...however, the compliments I have received from some women and my ballet flats wearing pleasure trumps...to all guys I say "have the confidence to do and wear what makes you happy and gives you pleasure!!

    KUDOS to Joy D for establishing the blog and to Brian (trailblazer) for his honesty and significant, outstanding ballet collection!!!

    Joy, keep up the great work!!!

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    1. Thank you so much for your "ballet" flats experiences and for your kind words. Please feel free to comment or email your ideas for this blog - I appreciate the suggestions for future posts from readers and followers.

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  6. Joy D, I enjoyed the article about Brian very much. As an older married male who has been wearing black, plain, ballet flats in public for a number of years, I would very much like to see this fashion trend accelerated so that it would be more widely accepted as shoe wear for men. Since I'm older (in my 60's) I have long stopped worrying about what others think about my choice of shoes.

    I'm not gay or a cross dresser, I just like wearing ballet flats because they are comfortable. They are light on my feet (weigh about half of my lightest men's shoe) and slip on an off easily. The lower cut of the shoe makes it much more comfortable to wear. I wear a size 11 in women's shoes so finding a plain flat is not too difficult for me.

    A few months ago, I sustained a deep bone bruise to the top of my foot, to the point that I could not comfortably wear any shoe but a ballet flat. The lower cut on the vamp, kept the shoe from rubbing on the injured area.

    I own about 12 pairs of ballet flats and will purchase more in the future. I even contacted The Gap about possibly making shoes in larger sizes to accommodate some of my male friends with larger feet.

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    1. Yet another man who finds this style of shoe comfortable! The more comments I read, the more I wonder why this style of shoe did not remain an alternative style for men. Again I say, there is an opportunity here. Thank your for your comment and the more men who write of their preferences and desires for ballet flats, perhaps someone in the industry will listen.

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  7. What a great interview. It is good to see that other men also believe that ballet flats can be a comfortable and functional shoe style for me. I have a high instep, so the most comfortable shoes I own are ballet flats. I began wearing them openly about 3 years ago and have never looked back.

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    1. Thanks for visiting and reading and I'm glad you enjoyed it! I am impressed to read about so many men who are wearing their ballet flats confidently and happily.

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    2. Joy's blog, Brian's interview and the other input from ballet flats wearing men confirms my belief that balllet flats could become a staple item for males....Just think bacjk 20 years ago...men would not consider wearing an earring, carrying a handbag (satchel), capris, running tights, makeup ,pedicures, etc....why not ballet flats?...I wear ballet flats 7 days a week. They are very comfortable and look great on my feet...I have a black pair of Bloch Arabian leather ballet flats that I adore!!
      Thanks to Joy and Brian for bringing this discussion forward!!

      Joy: Tell your daughter to put in an order for the fiirst pair of ballet flats that she produces!!

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    3. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I agree with you completely on the progression and evolution of ballet flats. Insofar as shoes go, you can add flip flops to your list of clothing and footwear that men have only recently (50 years is recent in cultural development) begun wearing.

      Hopefully (it's my god-daughter - don't have kids) she will read this and be inspired.

      As well, I have some other ideas on wearing clothing "meant" for other sexes by people who have not categorized themselves but who have simply worn what was always offered to their gender and were pleasantly surprised.

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  8. It's hard to find experienced people about this subject, but you sound like you know what you're talking about!
    Thanks
    Feel free to surf my page ; higher per capita income

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  9. My wife and I just returned from a holiday to San Francisco and San Diego....I wore my black Puma Rhythm ballet flats from the moment we left Saskatoon (home)...they complimented my skinny jeans, shorts and capris..I did get some second looks, fingering pointing and OMG's...they are the perfect traveling shoes...comfortable, lightweight, and easy to take off and put back on when going through airport security....ballet flats are Awesome for men and women!!

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    1. I find myself shaking my head at the rudeness.

      I agree that they would be the perfect travel shoe; however I bought a pair of ballet flats in September and it seems the fit is just not for me. This recent purchase was only my second pair. Curious, that so many men find them comfortable. Maybe I just haven't found "the" pair. So was it snowing when you arrived in Saskatoon? They can be a challenge in the snow.

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    2. Some ballet flats aren't meant to be worn...all my Gap ballet flats, the Puma Rhythm and Maria Sharapova by Cole Haan ballet flats are super comfy...the Maria Sharapova's are like walking on air...you owe it to your self to get a pair...we did arrive back in Saskatoon just before the snow came...in the winter I wear my ballet flats while shopping at Superstore (can park underground)...I love your blog!

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    3. Next shoe shopping trip, I'll take your suggestions with me. I'll look for your shoes next time I'm in Superstore. Can you imagine, me walking up to some guy in Superstore and asking, are you PinkPanther222? What a pleasure to write for you!

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    4. I know when I wear my ballet flats out I get lots of curious onlookers and I think I speak for Pinkpather too - That would be awesome to have someone approach you and say "hello are you pinkpanther? You commented on my blog." Never say never. Whether you are half way around the world or even in the same city it's always possible for your paths to cross. :)

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    5. Thanks for your comments Brian. It's the comments that inspire me to write - writers need an audience and I appreciate that you are re-visiting. You've given me several ideas upon which I will eventually expand in this blog. I anticipate our paths will cross . . .

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    6. JoyD, glad I've inspired you with some future ideas. I will help you in anyway I can. I'm crossing my fingers on our paths crossing.

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    7. Hi Joy,

      That would be awesome to meet you...I shop at the 8th Street Superstore location...I was at a Starbucks location waiting for my latte to be prepared...a girl in her 20's looked at me, then my silver ballet flats and asked are you a ballet teacher?... I said "no, I used to take ballet and find ballet flats very comfortable and stylish"...we had a 20 minute conversation about the versatility and merits of ballet flats...loved it!!

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    8. In anticipation of f2f encounters!

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    9. Hey Brian,

      I just looked at your Flickr page....I love the the recent ballet flats you purchased for yourself as a birthdate present...beautiful colors...I'm very envious.

      Joy: Perhaps, Brian and I could pool our money and get you a pair for your birthday...what size of a ballet flat would you normally wear?

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    10. Now there's an offer one does not get everyday! I'd be happy with a coffee at the Roastery or a glass of wine at Earl's. But alas, I'm usually in France for my birthday.

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  10. Ahh. I never get tired of re-reading this post and looking at these flats. I'm cruise around in the pink ones down here in the Valley of the Sun, same spot I took the pictures of the black ones.

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    1. Enjoy the sun, the valley, the warmth and the freedom to wear your ballet flats without getting your toes cold and wet. More snow is on its way up here!

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  11. Thanks JoyD. I had a great day again today wearing my magenta babies in the mall. Thanks for the update on the blog. I guess my "no thanks" has maybe changed to "yes please" about pink flats. Either way there was no snow on my toes here. :)

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    1. My pleasure. Change is good especially when a NO THANKS becomes a NICE. Yes . . . please.

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    2. The magenta flats were a very nice change from No Thanks to Nice, yes please. The next No Thanks happens this Saturday. Sadly the pink flats will get put away till Spring when I leave the Valley of the Sun for the cold chilly climate North of the 49th. No Thanks! But the sad reality is I have to go home :(

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    3. Remember, it's a dry cold ;-). However, the snow is a tad overwhelming this year and the ballet flats are best stored for the winter. Each day closer to leaving is also a day closer to returning.

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    4. Well said. " Each day closer to leaving is also a day closer to return" February will be here soon and so will the Arizona. Thanks JoyD. for the warm thoughts. You are amazing.

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  12. Brian,

    You are one lucky guy...being in Arizona in November and the ability to wear ballet flats outdoors...I just love your new ballet flats...Awesome colors!!

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  13. T thank you for giving guys the confidence to experiment with fashion. Women have had that freedom for years, some new womens's styles are even advertised as "Man Tailored". I see no reason why men should not be accepted wearing ballet flats. Thanks for inspiring us about possibilities.

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    1. You are very welcome. Brian Davis is the one to receive the first thank you because it was he who inspired me to write this post and continue the conversation. In fact I have received emails about other shared items of clothing that I must post about. So I thank you for your encouragement. It is comments like yours that motivate me to continue writing.

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  14. Ballet flats have no grip on the soles as I went to a club and round the bag area I tryed on a couple of girls ballet flats/pumps abd moving my foot back and forth had no grip on the floor.

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    1. You are right, some do not. I have three pair of JCrew ballet flats and they have a smooth leather sole that will not grip well on wet surfaces and I need to be careful in stores where things might be spilled on the floor. Ironically, my cheaper flats like the Gap or Payless, have better soles for wearing in wet weather.

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  15. Men wearing ballet flats? It´s a question of time. Like earrings. First gay, then common. Tatoos on women, first...can´t beleve it....then common. I like to wear ballet flats, - and I´m a man.
    Georg

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    1. Thanks for your observation Georg. Your examples state an obvious natural progression. Consider yourself part of the transition along with posts such as this one I hope.

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    2. These are Crocs marnie unisex ballet flats. Georg
      https://a.disquscdn.com/uploads/mediaembed/images/1734/7744/original.jpg

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  16. This is a great and very interesting interview! I consider ballet flats and some other types of "female" shoes as unisex shoes. And I wear them most days. Everywhere. For me it is easy - as a known professional artist you have a lot of freedom to wear the clothes you like! It is an interesting fact that I receive nearly only positive comments on my look, mainly from women! Oftenly I am asked where I buy my clothes and shoes. To give everybody the answer, my wife and I started the blog www.saaibestrijding.blogspot.com.

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    1. Thank you for your kind adjudication of the interview. I visited your blog and very much like the look and feel you have created. I would like to add it to my page of Stylish Connections. I am most taken by a line in your introduction, "The Saaibestrijding project wants to inspire, to encourage everybody to leave the rude dictatorship of the fashion industry and its commercial power behind." I respect and admire people like you who have taken the time to express statements of philosophical position in a public forum. I believe that my mandate (and I admit sometimes it is not made very clear) is to present an almost anthropological overview about that with which people have chosen to adorn their bodies.

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  17. Anniversaries are occasions that take place at yearly intervals in time. They can be a happy day to remember or sad. Today is an anniversary for me and it is a happy one. Just over a year ago I made a comment at this blog about a pair of ballet flats and that has lead to so many positive changes in my life. I would have never guessed it would lead to an amazing new friendship and a confirmation of my love for these shoes even though I'm a guy. I quickly learned JoyD was an amazing writer but also she was a true friend. And friends help friends. Not only did JoyD support me with my desire to wear these adorable shoes but she also did several awesome posts about it. Starting with this post one year ago today. The positive feedback from the stories she has posted makes us both feel great about what we are doing. Her writing about ballet flats and me wearing them. JoyD, you are truly amazing and have helped so many males, including myself that it is OK to wear this awesome style of feminine footwear. Great big hug!

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    1. My how time flies when you're having fun - thank you for the anniversary acknowledgement, accolades and affirmations. You were my first Brian - online relationship that is! Respecting other people's choices (those choices that don't bring harm to anyone else) was the foundation for my original response to you. I must say that when I began "talking" to you, I was intrigued since I never really had any particular interest in or feelings toward men wearing ballet flats and to be perfectly honest, it simply was a topic for a future post. I must also admit here that I never thought of these posts as making a difference in someone's life and so that pleases me. The ballet flats have become a topic of interest on this blog but by now, even if you told me you were giving them up, the relationship would still be there. And really, in business, in pleasure, in social media, in face to face experiences, it's all about developing relationships. Since I'm in France, "bises (kisses)" to you.

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    2. I was your first...online relationship! It's wonderful how we have become friends. Online relationships are a tricky way to have a friendship. It can go horribly wrong since it is so easy to hide things about yourself thru this form of communication. I feel I was open with you right from the get go and you responded the way any true friend would. Non judgmental and supportive. I guess you could say we have nothing to hide from each other. HECK what have we done together...4 posts about my ballet flats and one post about my espadrilles, I mean loafers, haha I know there are LOTS of guys who would love to be able to stroke "wearing ballet flats" off their "bucket list" I'm sure lots have just by reading your posts. As for me giving them up! I enjoy my harmless pleasure too much to stop anytime soon, except maybe for Winter.

      Bises

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    3. And there it lies . . . harmless pleasure and good for the economy too. Horribly sick right now; don't know when I'll post again.Speaking of firsts, visited my first French doctor. Hopefully I'll notice a difference in the next couple of days with the prescribed antibiotics.An aside: I don't think North American doctors would work in France - these professionals work longer hours for less money! There's a post here but it would have nothing to do with clothing.

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    4. Hey Brian, have you ever tried any Toms? If did, did you try the glitter? If did, did you tried the black ones?

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  18. Katie...Merci beaucoup de votre aide (little bit of French I know) for writing your amazing blog and helping me become more confident to wear my ballet flats out on a regular basis...shopping, library, Starbucks, etc...unfortunately, the snow in Saskatoon is not conducive to wearing ballet flats in the winter time...I would like to extend a Marry Christmas to you and Brian!!..here's hoping we all find some nice ballet flats packaged under the Christmas tree!!

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  19. Bonjour Joy D,
    Comment ça va, c'est Ivan, et maintenant je porte plus souvant mes ballerines en publique, et pas beaucoup des gens remarquent qu'est -ce que je porte comme souliers, de fois des petits sourires ou regards d'admiration mais en géneral presque tous les vendeuses sont agreables et sympa quand j'essaie mes ballerines au magasin, dernierement j'ai acheté à moitié prix des ballerines SamEdelman Felicia en 7 differents couleurs je les trouve tres comfortables et elles ne me causent pas des ampoules et pas besoin de les casser...switch to English, honestly Joy, girls and guys if you have the chance to buy a pair or two f Sam Edelman Felicia (they bring this cute flats up to women size US 13) you will enjoy a beautiful good quality flats that feels like slippers., the leather is so soft that you dont need to break in and there isnt problem with blisters they have at least 12 different colors and textures, they look great with dressy and casual outfit and so comfortable that I only take them off for taking the shower and to sleep.If you ar between sizes I suggest go a size up for more comfort. You can order them directly to the SE website they also ship to Canada. Have a good day
    Bonne journée
    Ivan

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    1. Bonjour Ivan,
      When you say, je porte plus souvant mes ballerines en publique, ou etes-vous? I imagine in Europe or in larger Canadian centres like Montreal, you wouldn't get too many negative responses. I often think of Brian in Calgary, cow-town, oil money and such, and think that his experiences may have the potential of being quite negative. I am in France now and I understand Sam Edelman will ship anywhere in the world. I am pleased to hear that you, Brian and many others have found such pleasure in ballet flats but I have to tell you, they are not my favourites. Mind you the thought of 12 different colours in a wearable style is quite appealing . . . I think there's a post there. A bientot . . .

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  20. Felicitaciones; me ha gustado mucho su carácter y su sentido común de por que hace lo que hace. Me hace recordar como comencé yo a utilizar faldas, y vestidos con falda, y bufandas en cambio de corbatas.
    Hace ya algunos años, encontré esta información y me decidí a dejar de usar los incómodos pantalones.

    Por tradición los hombres desde siempre se habían vestido con faldas, solo hace 300 años que los obligaron a usar pantalón.
    El pantalón es la prenda menos adecuada para un hombre; el calzoncillo bóxer, hace las veces de férula en los genitales, (propiciando mal funcionamiento, y discapacidades), la costura central del pantalón maltrata, magulla e incomoda todo el tiempo los genitales; la correa o cinturón hace las veces de torniquete, y obliga al corazón a bombear la sangre con mayor esfuerzo, (para vencer la contracción que hace el torniquete), y por mala irrigacion sanguínea afecta: el aparato digestivo, el sistema urinario, el aparato reproductor. Ademas con el uso del pantalón el hombre ha terminado orinando de pie lo cual es totalmente antinatural. Las Faldas y los vestidos con faldas para los hombres son suprema-mente SALUDABLES, CÓMODOS Y CONFORTABLES. El pantalón, el calzoncillo ajustado, la costura central del pantalón, y la correa o cinturón, están promoviendo las enfermedades modernas de los hombres: IMPOTENCIA, ESTERILIDAD, PROBLEMAS DE LA PRÓSTATA Y POSIBLEMENTE CÁNCER DEL TESTÍCULO.
    Ninguna parte del cuerpo del varón se maltrata mas que los genitales.
    Por salud y comodidad mejor usar FALDAS O VESTIDOS CON FALDA

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    1. I cannot respond to your comments about your preference for loose fitting "dress" for men owing to medical complications caused by pants but historically I agree, those in the Middle East and Africa were wearing open ended garb before, during and after those in Western Europe were wearing tight fitting pants. In fact it is loose fitting peasant pants or the "sharavary" of the kozaks on the Eastern Steppes that probably are more appropriate relative to your concerns. A more democratic view of what can be worn or should be worn by either men or women is necessary for a variety of reasons.

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  21. this is wonderful ballet flats blog to bring with u thanks to share with us.

    Become a ballet instructor | Where can I go to a ballet fitness class

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  22. There are various online sources to provide you informative details on this topic,
    but this is one is very helpful.
    ballet flats for women

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  23. As usual I am searching some useful information, immediately I found this post and gain some useful information,
    womens ballet flats

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  24. Why do women enjoy dangling their shoes (heels/flats)?
    womens flats

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  25. It's hard to believe this amazing post is almost 4 years old. WOW time flies. I guess the most obvious thing that's happen in this past 4 years is, I've gotten 4 years older. During that time my collection of Tory's has also gotten "much" larger. But my biggest hope over this past 4 years is that this post has helped lots of guys and girls overcome any fears they have and do what makes them happy. For me it's wearing ballet flats but you can substitute any words you want with ballet flats to customize this post for yourself and your fears.

    The "No Thanks" portion of this post was about my love/hate relationship with pink flats. At the time this was posted I could pull off a look with pink flats. Then in November 2012 I did buy myself a bright pink patent pair of flats. A few weeks ago I treated myself to a soft shade of pink flats. I guess I can honestly say, "I love pink flats."

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    1. As always, I appreciate your comments and am motivated to write, "there's a post there" - we'll do a transition to pink flats post - it's time. Thanks again.

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    2. It's me that needs to thank you for your motivational words! :))

      I like the sounds of another post. Besides pictures let me know what else you need.

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  26. Hi Brian, do you wear men or women pants along with your flats? Also, are there any flats that you'll able to give away?

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    1. I most often wear women's pants with my flats but men's shorts if I'm wearing my women's sandals

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Your comments inspire me and so I read them in gratitude and reply with delight. Thank you.