I think I also have to re- frame my issue as “ bulbous footwear” rather than flats per se. Because I used to be able to wear a lot of different types of flats in more refined styles and profiles- regular loafers, ballet flats, sleeker almond- toe boots, slimmer shaped Oxfords and lower- profile sneakers.
Now I need more toe room and sizing up , and to keep shoe on , need laces or high vamp, and may need fabric or suede rather than harder leathers.
All that seems fine in terms of today’s sneaker and comfort- oriented society, but I am finding it harder to “ juxtapose” the items in an outfit to get the look I want.
As noted , the chunky/ sneaker/ combat footwear look with dresses and skirts or perhaps dressy trousers is a type of juxtaposition, and works well for me when I occasionally wear a skirt. Also lot of chunky footwear with leggings, which I almost never wear. But I wanted to wear more casual or sporty pants, joggers and some chinos, jeans such with T’s, and used to think of juxtaposing that with more refined footwear ( for outings, not around the house). Can’t do that much ( still have a very few shoes that work).
So if wear chunky running shoes with jeans and casual tops- well, that’s great, that’s my real lifestyle, but I have not figured out how to do that little something that feels like my style.
It does help to add jewelry, maybe tops that are something a bit more special.
Anyway, food for thought as I reconsider that I am building outfits from the feet up and I think I lost sight of that and how much it affects what bottoms and other items to choose.