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How to match your shoes to your outfit

A show-stopping pop of yellow brightens this faux raffia and patent polyurethane shoe. 3" heel.

With nearly limitless styles and colors of shoes to choose from, who can blame a woman for having a personal shoe store in her closet? Shoes are almost magical; they don’t shrink in the dryer and they’ll always fit – even if you ate that big piece of chocolate cake last night. So why not stock up? Every shoe tells a story, but the wrong pair can tank your outfit.

Wear your heart on your sole with these shoe and outfit pairings:

Keep it neutral

You just spent hours piecing together the perfect wardrobe but have no idea what shoes to wear. The shoe on your left foot is too casual and the coloring of the shoe on your right foot doesn’t quite match. When in doubt, keep it neutral. Black, nude and gray shoes go with just about everything.

Suede mule has 2 1/2" heel. Available only in Black.
Tris Shootie by Mojo Moxy from Monroe and Main

Don’t overmatch

Although a fashion handbook filled with rules and trends doesn’t exist, there are some suggestions fashionistas and stylists universally recommend. Avoiding overmatching is one of them – unless it’s black! You might think your slimming red dress will look great with a pair of red stilettos, but in reality, it’s a little overbearing and will make you look bland. You need something to make that red pop! If you’re really set on wearing those new pumps, here’s the trick: Avoid clashing by slipping on shoes that are slightly darker in color than your ensemble. You can also consider pairing a knit dress with a satin shoe and break up the reds by throwing on a leather jacket. Different textures between colors can work wonders in this department.

Simplify patterns and prints

If you’re wearing a leopard print dress, definitely avoid wearing leopard print shoes. To make a successful fashion statement, you want your ensemble to have one focal point. If your shoes match the print on your dress, people will have no idea where to look. Keep it simple! For a cheetah-print dress, stick with neutral tones. If your outfit has a rainbow of color in it, you have the freedom to choose any shade from the ensemble and match your shoes to that color.

A show-stopping pop of yellow brightens this faux raffia and patent polyurethane shoe. 3" heel.
Arcade Pump by Beacon from Monroe and Main

Wear contrasting colors

Ladies, if you aren’t familiar with the color wheel yet, there’s your first fashion foul. The color wheel is a fashionista’s best friend – it helps you see which colors mesh well together. Even though contrasting colors sit opposite of each other in the color wheel, they give off an electrifying vibe when paired together in an ensemble. This works for patterned shoes as well; just make sure the pattern is still contrasting in color.

Here’s a quick guide Who What Wear put together to help you pair shoe and fabric colors:

  • Red shoes: pink, orange, black and white, neutrals, navy.
  • Orange shoes: blue, white, earth tones, red, yellow.
  • Yellow shoes: blues, black and white, green.
  • Green shoes: brown, black, blue, neutrals, yellow.
  • Blue shoes: yellow, neutrals, brown, white, green.
  • Purple shoes: neutrals, navy, pink, green.
  • Silver shoes: white, red, purple neutrals, indigo, black.
  • Gold shoes: black, red, white, emerald, blue, burgundy.
Sparkle-sequined pompom highlights the top of this flirty, faux suede pump. Peep toe. 3 3/4" heel with 1/2" platform. Available only in cobalt.
Andiamo Bounty Pump from Monroe and Main

Rock a detailed texture

If you opt for a pair of fringe, leather, metallic finishing or sequin shoes, keep your ensemble simple, because your embellished kicks have just become the focal point. If you’re not a fan of patterned shoes or clashing colors, textured footwear is perfect for you. Spice up your little black dress and put your best foot forward in a pair of sequin pumps, or slip on those fringe booties with a pair of jeans and a basic T-shirt. Keep your accessories simple and let your textured shoes do the talking – and the walking.

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