I was asked recently by a reader where I find my shoe collection from, and how I manage to find shoes to go with my outfits.
The reality is, my shoes have been collected over the past 20 years (or so), though I only keep those in a good state of repair. But don’t despair, I’ve researched a range of flat or flatish and interesting shoes for you at the end of this post!
There is no one pair of shoes that is going to go with everything you own. Sometimes I do see people who have 3-5 pairs of shoes, and that’s it. Sadly, these shoes will work with a few outfits, but they won’t work with everything you own. You need to consider everything from the weight of the fabric, and therefore the weight and style of the shoe to the level of refinement, as well as colour, and form, pattern and shape. Here are 6 essentials to consider when choosing shoes to go with your outfit.
How to Choose Shoes to Go With Your Outfit
1. Match the Pattern
In this example I’ve matched the floral details and colours on the dress with this thong (yes that’s what we call these sorts of flip flop/Sandal in Australia). It’s a light floaty summery dress which needs a light shoe (nothing heavy or clunky)
2. Repeat the Colours
This black/grey and white snakeskin print dress works well with these (from Target people) wedge sandals. I could have also worn some blue or turquoise shoes to match my accessories.
My shoes repeat the colour of my top (not perfectly but close enough). These are from Clarks and I love them for their comfy shoes.
3. Match the Texture Element
The spots on these shoes harmonise with the broderie Anglais texture of my white top, creating a relationship that works well. The stripes that the holes create also work well with the multiple straps on the shoes.
Here the snakeskin pattern relates to the fishnet tights, repeating the pattern. These boots were also from Clarks
4. Make Your Shoes the Hero
Sometimes you want to make your shoes the hero of your outfit, such as these red boots. Just remember to relate the colour to something else in your outfit so they make sense as a whole.
5. Relate them to Your Hair Colour
Wearing a shoe in a colour that relates to your hair colour is another way to create Visual Grouping. It has a top and tail effect which is harmonising and pleasant. (By the way, I got these shoes at an Op Shop).
Here are 7 more ways you can use visual grouping to match your shoes to your outfit.
6. Consider the Level of Refinement
Level of Refinement is super important when choosing shoes. Dressy outfit requires a more refined shoe.
A casual outfit can take a more relaxed or chunky shoe such as these sneakers
Is your shoe wardrobe full of black and lacking in any other colours or filled with the same style? Then take a look at these beauties to give you some inspiration to expand your shoe horizons.
I’m sharing this outfit on Not Dressed as Lamb’s Casual Outfits inspiration linkup.
I just love some of those 30 ideas for shoes, especially the delicate ones with heels one could walk in. I love shoes and I look after my favourites – still have a pair of Charles Jourdain boots from the late 70s that I drag out when I want to be extra well dressed in winter.
But I do think that first of all shoes must be comfortable and I see no reason why they can’t also be beautiful.
And finally my mother said that you should always buy good quality shoes and look after them – bad shoes show on your face and your feet over time.
Another great post! Can I ask: sometimes I like to wear nude coloured shoes to work to lengthen my legs. They look good to me with a mid grey skirt, but I don’t like them with a black skirt. Is that because the value contrast is too great or is it just my personal taste, do you think? I’m curious!
Depends on your hair colour – and can also be personal preference. The contrast is high – so if your contrast is more medium then that could be why.
Ah… yes, my contrast IS medium 🙂
Thank you for the post! I am one of those people you mentioned with an assortment of black shoes only. Until now I didn’t see a reason to change this. I am afraid that if I buy shoes that are more colorful or fancy I will not wear them in the end. Also, I do not know where to start. Imogen, how would you go about starting a more varied shoe collection ? What to buy first? How do you still find shoes that are classics and can be worn for a long time?
The first shoe I’d look for is one in the same colour as your hair.
What a great article! I struggle with finding loafers and pumps that work on my EU size 39/UK size 6 feet. I can find ones that fit but I feel they look unflattering and was wondering if you could advise me. I am 5’4″ and a UK size 12, pear shaped. Many thanks Chrissie x
Your hair looks ammmmazing this length Im, you look 35!!