A flat white is not a coffee. Not here; hasn’t been for weeks. It’s a shoe. In fact, it is the shoe. If you make one update to your summer wardrobe, make it a flat white shoe.
A flat white means a sporty, minimalist, white shoe. In its most fashionable form, it is pared back to simple, smooth lines with no hardware. Imagine if Rachel Whiteread were designing trainers instead of sculptures and you have the idea. But anything flat, white, laid-back and unisex counts, from a glossy loafer to a classic trainer.
The flat white is the lovechild of the two shoe styles that have dominated for five years. One is the Adidas Stan Smith trainer, the anti-status status shoe that has ruled the fashion front row. The other is the skin-toned, high-heel court shoe, beloved of the Duchess of Cambridge, and the default, play-it-safe smart shoe on red carpets, in table-service nightclubs and at weddings. The flat white blends the cool comfort of the trainer with the near-invisible elegance of the nude pump.
Fashion editors have a tendency towards hyperbole, always proclaiming the rose-gold ear cuff or the white denim culotte to be the latest must-have – with the result that, like the boy who cried wolf, our shout-outs eventually fall on deaf ears. All of which is a desperate disclaimer before I try to convince you that the flat white shoe really, truly is a gamechanger.
Like all sensible people, I outfit-plan from the bottom up. The day dictates the shoes, the shoes dictate everything else. There are many days when comfort is non-negotiable, but the agenda calls for smart. Those were ballet flat days for years; now, they’re flat white days.
A flat white works with almost anything, but particularly with a midi-length skirt. The trouble with these skirts, I find, is that you buy them thinking they are modern and edgy, but when you wear them with, say, a court shoe, they look like unreconstructed sensible-mum wear. This shoe brings a dynamic, whizzy kind of understatement. Right now, there is no better way to start your day than with a flat white.
Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and makeup: Laurence Close at Carol Hayes Management.