How to Select the Right Shoes for your Clothing
The first step in selecting the best shoes is choosing shoes that complement your clothing, rather than ones that compete with your outfit.
For that reason, we always recommend pairing busier shoes with simple outfits and wearing simple shoes with clothing that features a lot of prints, embellishments or dynamic accessories. It can be tricky to find shoes that complement your clothing, without dominating or being overpowered by it, but the reality is, it’s a simple balancing act.
What’s the Occasion?
It doesn’t matter how pretty they are, how comfortable they feel, or how discounted they were when you bought them—if they don’t fit the event, the environment, and the occasion, then they are—at least temporarily—the wrong shoes.
Glitzy evening shoes have no place in the office, and flip-flops aren’t generally considered acceptable for a formal event. So how do you know which shoes you should wear?
Well, the simplest approach would be to wear simple loafers or ballet flats for casual events, and classic pumps for anything dressy—but that can get a little boring. If you want to play it safe without giving into tedium, go ahead and wear those widely-accepted styles but choose a unique color, or a pair that is embellished with a chic buckle or another accent.
If you want to make a more dramatic statement, by all means, pair stilettos with your jeans, and sandals with your suits—but to avoid attracting the wrong kind of attention, you should still stick with shoes that are well-suited to your environment.
Think about the day’s events and locations. For example, if an outing to the park is on the agenda, then it’s probably not a heels kind of day—but where you really need to pay attention to which shoes you choose is at work, and at formal events.
The Right Shoes for your Clothing: Dressing in Season
Of course they’ll be times when you’ll wear a pair of evening sandals when it’s cold outside, and you might even wear flip-flops long after the official end of summer—but if, for example, you’re wearing Fall clothing, the easiest way to select a pair of complimentary shoes, is to choose shoes that look like Fall shoes.
For instance, a pair of brocade pumps will look far more at home with a velvet evening suit than a pair of skimpy sandals will—and those suede boots that you looked great in all winter should be put away with your heavy coats.
But it is worth noting that some shoes, like leather pumps, that are truly multi-seasonal, and weather permitting, there’s no reason you can’t wear open toes through Fall.
The Right Shoes for your Clothing: The Best Colors
Black shoes are extremely versatile, but we believe that the real reason for the popularity of black shoes is that people are afraid of choosing the wrong color shoes for their clothing.
But take it from us, colorful shoes are a great way to bring color to your wardrobe. You can wear shoes in colors that you wouldn’t dream of wearing near your face.
Here are a few tips on which shoe colors go best with certain clothing colors.
- Black shoes: nearly anything except pastels and some earth tones — but even then, if black is repeated elsewhere in the outfit, black shoes can be a dynamic choice.
- Brown shoes: shades of tan, brown, beige, orange, greens, and darker earth tones.
- Tan/Light Brown shoes: lighter earth tones, blue, beige, lighter tan or white.
- Cream/Taupe shoes: whites, light neutrals, and pastels.
- White shoes: light neutrals, brights, and pastels.
- Silver shoes: pastels, as well as with white, black, blues and purples.
- Gray shoes: blacks, blues, grays, reds, as well as some purples and yellows.
- Gold shoes: greens, reds, browns, and they usually look good with black and white as well.
Even less common shoe colors are simple to match to your clothing. If a color is present in your outfit, you can repeat it in your shoes. If the shoe color isn’t in your outfit, you can rely on matching “values” (deep with deep, light with light, etc.), and other color theory rules.
Artists use a color wheel to determine how one color will work with another. Complementary colors (those that are opposite of each other on the color wheel) will create a bold contrast when paired together, while colors that are next to each other will create a more harmonious look.