What Colour Shoes to Choose?


Have you ever heard of the term Visual Grouping (we group like with like to make it easier for our brains to work through all the millions of bits of data it has to contend with second by second)? This principle can help you when deciding on a shoe colour to wear with your skirts and dresses.

For example, in the polyvore below, I’ve chosen a mid-blue dress. I’ve then chosen shoes in a variety of shoe colours that will complement each hair colour.

Which Shoes to Choose

Which Shoes to Choose by imogenl featuring Kurt Geiger shoes

By choosing a shoe in your hair colour, when the eye travels down your body to your feet, the shoe colour relates to your hair, which then draws our eyes back up to your face, thus completing a circle.
For someone with blonde hair, if they wear a black shoe, this is unrelated to their colouring and so we are likely to get stuck at the shoe and not be drawn back up to your face.
Of course you can always tone the shoe to the skirt or dress, or alternatively wear a ‘skin colour’ shoe (whatever your skin colour is – pictured here assume a more fair skin), to create a longer leg line.
This is a particularly good tip for skirts, dresses and cropped pants, or something to think about as an alternative when wearing jeans or trousers.


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  • Great! For a long time I have thought, that the shoes and the handbag have to be the same color, maybe even of similar leather. Your suggestion is very liberating. I have a lilac croc bag, but I don´t need lilac croc shoes.

  • Metscan – absolutely no need to match shoes and handbags these days – and I think lilac croc shoes would be way too much for most people!

  • Fantastic blog Imogen! I have been following it for a while and gained some invaluable tips.

    I would love some advice about the most flattering length for a cropped jacket. I am a shortish waisted H with my waist being 9" smaller than my hips and shoulders.
    Is there a scientific formula to determine the most flattering length of jacket and should I even be considering it in the first place.

    Thanks, Lauren

  • Lauren – thanks – shortest length for a jacket for a shortwaisted H would be around your high hip (hip bone where it sticks out at the front of your pelvis).

  • I think that the "Bookend" thing is a concept in most kinds of designing: as long as the beginning and the end element match, the whole looks harmonious !

    I bought a pair of Gingko-coloured sandals. They aren't flesh coloured but darker, but this soft brown blends nicely with the skin tone and so it nicely leg-lengthening.

  • I just saw Imogen's question, so I'll follow it up with mine:
    What jacket length should I choose if I'm high-waisted but have a low raise ? I'm not sure which figure type I am, but I think it's an 8 but with a bit of belly…

  • Ahhh, this is a great tutorial; I have a lot of trouble selecting the right shoes for my dresses. This should help a lot.

  • Yay! I finally have one thing right. All my favorite shoes are a darker brown that are similar to my hair color.

    Now if I can just figure out what my body shape is. Even with the tutorial I'm still confused…lol.

  • Great post Imogen! I've been resisting black shoes in the summer (even though I'm raven haired) as it strikes me as too visually heavy and would draw the eye down — something a short gal doesn't need. But now I'll reconsider.

    However, I'm very drawn to the nude shoes also for their leg-lengthening effect, and because I can get away with buying fewer shoes as it goes with everything. What's your opinion, can one wear this (flesh-tone) shoe color with an all or mostly-black outfit?

  • Eternal – can you email me a photo of yourself so that I can see your body clearly?

    Modest Mum – having a look at your pics I'd say you're closest to an O shape. At least you know your hair and shoes match!

    Kristen – happy to help!

    Francesca – the nude shoe is a fantastic option – one that I employ lots in summer. As a raven hair- so it doesn't look too heavy, choose a finer strap and heel and low vamp for best leg lengthening effect – keep them looking lighter in weight.

  • Eternal Voyageur said:
    "I think that the "Bookend" thing is a concept in most kinds of designing: as long as the beginning and the end element match, the whole looks harmonious!"

    Reminds me of this – maybe it's the fashion version!

    Aoccdrnig to rseearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoatnt tihng is that the frist and lsat ltteer is at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.

  • Yay! I almost always wear dark shoes, and I have dark hair! I'm doing something right!

    I'm still searching for some reasonable flesh-toned shoes though, as I think they'll be a useful summer shoe 🙂

  • Ooh! Interesting about the shoe and hair color. I usually wear pale shoes to elongate my legs ao I guess I'm on the right track. Another très cool post!

  • I'm just wondering what happened to your newly designed blog? I liked it so much and then the next time I was on it was back to the old style…I thought I was going crazy. What happened?

  • Sal – I love to educate!

    Vildy – thanks for sharing.

    Belle – works – unless you're bald I suppose!

    Tat – of course you're doing LOTS right!

    Rosina – you get the double benefit of visual grouping plus leg lengthening!

    LPC – a group of image consultants knew!

    Anon – some technical difficulties – normal services will resume shortly.

    S – give it a go – spend some time with different shoes on and look in a mirror to see the difference.

  • Perhaps this is the one bit of style of advice that is actually instinctive for me. For years I've been wearing brown shoes and at times looking down thinking "how on earth did I pick them? What attracted me to these shoes?". Not that I decide I hate whatever shoes they are….but I always seem to go for brown over black.

    And I've been dreaming of a pair of chocolate brown boots. Must find some before boots are out of shops again.

  • that's a usefull post, really! now I see why my golden flats look alot better on me again since my hair is back to reddish blond from dark brown.

  • What a shame. It won't do a thing for me, as my hair a either dark burgundy or very vivid red. Neither of those colors are very available (or attractive!) in shoes.
    I seem to stick with black.

  • Redhead Fae – what do you mean no nice red or burgundy shoes? There are lots out there – some of my favourite shoes are red or burgundy!

  • This is so interesting and I like the theory a lot.
    In fact, it reminds me of a color/image seminar I went to, where the speaker recommended we think of ourselves as 'a walking road map of color' (or words to that effect). Her message was similar, that we look to our own coloring (eyes, hair, etc) for clues as to what to wear in order to look harmonious.

  • Very wise and interesting Imogen! I can't wait to look for an orange shoe…I found a shoe repair store where they also can dye your leather shoes. I have two pairs of white shoes I do'nt wear. Maybe you have a color to suggest me? My hair was strawberry blond, now at 48 getting gingerish(?). The right color would'be tan, or some sort of gold yellow or light brown, but these are colors usually obtained starting from the raw leather… any idea? I'm grey eyes. thanks!!!

  • The idea is that your hair color or skintone is already part of your color scheme. Repeating that color makes you look more pulled together. Wearing a shoe that gives the illusion of matching or blending with your hair color or skintone is a much better choice than using a shoe color that is not related to your natural coloring.

  • Imogen could you precise what does the blue shoe mean placed next to the nude one in the picture: blue color as neutral or “toned to the skirt or dress”?

  • So if you want to wear a shoe color that is not your hair/skin color you should make sure it matches your pants or dress?

  • Being someone with very dark brown/black hair, I now finally understand why it always looks strange when I try to wear my pastel pink flats unless I have the same pink in my clothes. Thank you for this revelation.

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