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display: flex will override floats (which is used on display: block elements) and display: inline-block, which means it can be treated as an enhancement to your layouts. Therefore, older browsers will simply use the float and inline-block-style layouts, while modern browsers will use flexbox. This is the best way to make sure your layouts are presentable across all browsers.
When it comes to using floats – just make sure you have a clearfix class on the parent container.
When it comes to using inline-block, just be aware of the small spaces that can occur between elements and ways to deal with it.
There are many scenarios where either using floats or inline-block will be all you need for a particular section on a site. It just depends on the demands of the design.