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Ballet flat: Wikis

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A woman wears a pair of ballet flats

Ballet flats are derived from a woman's soft ballet slipper, with a very thin heel or the appearance of no heel at all. The style usually features a ribbon-like binding around the low tops of the slipper and may have a slight gathering at the top-front of the vamp (toe box) and a tiny, decorative string tie. Ballet slippers can be adjusted and tightened to the wearer's foot by means of this string tie.

The essence of the ballet flat has existed since at least the 16th century, in which men wore a similar shoe, then known as pompes. In medieval times ballet flats were popular with both men and women. They only came out of fashion in the 17th and 18th centuries when the high-heeled shoe came into fashion after Catherine de' Medici requested that her cobbler add two inches to her wedding shoes. Heels went out of fashion quickly after Marie Antoinette walked to the guillotine in a pair of heels. Functional shoes: sandals, boots, and flat shoes prevailed in the 1800s. Ballet flats took off again when Audrey Hepburn wore them with skinny jeans in Funny Face in 1957.

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