Nobody ever said that keeping on top of the latest trends and fads of women’s fashion was easy. After all, sometimes it feels like you’re expending a great deal of time and emotional energy on making sure you don’t commit an unacceptable fashion faux pas, just to remain within the realms of acceptable style while trying to carve out your own personal look that you’re comfortable with.
That said, there are some golden rules to women’s fashion that never seem to change; a few pointers that to see noted down and to read, make perfect, logical sense and help to keep you on the straight and narrow, style-wise. And some of these guidelines cover what footwear to mix and match with specific outfits – undeniably, making sure what you’re wearing on top and what you’re wearing on your feet complement and don’t clash with each other is a pretty universal fashion necessity; it’s something every woman should surely seek to get right. So how do you do it…?
Complement don’t clash
To pull this off effectively, a good habit is to ask yourself questions – and, in answering them, put right what’s necessary if you haven’t done it at the outset. It’s often a case of finding a balance when it comes to pairing shoes with an outfit, just as it does when building the different clothing components of the outfit. For example:
- Does your outfit look relatively simple? If so, pair it with busier shoes (say, leopard print pumps)
- Do your shoes look relatively simple? If so, pair them with a busier outfit (for instance, dynamic prints)
- Does one element of the outfit dominate all the others? Is it a good focal point or could it do with toning down?
- Is the overall look too much – are spikes on your heels competing with sequins on your dress?
- Does the whole outfit blend together too much (jacket, trousers and shoes)? Does it need some contrast?
What are you dressing for?
Forget how much you love the way they look (on their own), how well they fit and, yes, how much a bargain they may have been when you bought them, if the pair of shoes you really want to wear don’t suit an occasion, they’re simply the wrong footwear choice.
Killer stilettos (especially if strappy) are a big no-no for a workday in the office, almost as much as sandals and anything that resemble flipflops – however, sunny and warm a day it may be outdoors. Take your cue from mens smart shoes and slip on a pair of heeled or flat pumps/ brogues that are somewhat conservative, instead. You’re dressing for office-work, remember. These shoe styles also work adequately for casual events – especially smart-casual crossovers – although they can be a little unimaginative. A lively and cool pair of sneakers may work better here.
If you don’t want to play it totally safe, change things up by contrasting the colour of shoes with the general colours of your outfit. Or, if you just feel like it one day and can get away with it for the occasion and at the location concerned, really change things up by wearing the likes of stilettos with jeans. It’ll doubtless make you feel dramatic, even a bit glamorous.
Observe the seasons
Generally, it’s most appropriate and stylishly embellishes your outfit if you wear the ‘correct’ footwear for the current season. This means then, for instance, matching autumnal and winter clothing (jackets, scarves, hats, gloves and three-quarter-length coats) with the according shoe choices; the likes of Marco Tozzi ankle boots or Gucinari Chelsea boots. Suede – often in browns of varying tones – is a fine shoe material for the colder months, not least because of its autumn- and winter-friendly shades.
That said, there are exceptions, of course. For instance, if it’s unseasonably warm at the start of autumn, you might want to continue wearing sandals or even flipflops for two or three weeks; after all, in this scenario your wardrobe’s unlikely to have started changing over for the season. And, for nights out on the town, matching strappy heels with long wintry coats is de rigeur even in the depths of winter. Moreover, wearing sophisticated open-toe heeled pumps is entirely acceptable all-year-round.
Let’s be honest, colour co-ordination isn’t the easiest thing to pull off when composing an overall outfit. Probably because of that reason, a lot of people tend to play it safe and wear black shoes the majority of the time (black goes with *everything*), but throwing in a splash of colour (or colour contrast) via your footwear rarely fails in adding a touch of spice to your look without any fear of going overboard. Indeed, here’s a rundown then of died-in-the-wool effective colour co-ordinations:
- Brown shoes for brown, beige, tan, green and orange clothes
- Cream shoes for white, light and ‘pastel shade’ clothes
- Light brown shoes for beige, blue, light tan and ‘earth tone’ clothes
- Silver shoes for black, blue, purple, white and ‘pastel shade’ clothes
- Gold shoes for black, brown, green, red and white clothes
- White shoes for bright, light and ‘pastel shade’ clothes.