How to Choose the Right Shoes for Your Outfit

We girls all know shoes rule, don’t we!  Yet selecting the right shoes to wear with an outfit is one of the the most common questions I’m asked. So, to help you all, here’s the Style Counsel down-low on what to wear low-down. My Shoe Rules!

The first step is making sure they complement, not compete with, your outfit. It’s one of my golden styling rules and applies to more than just shoes.

If you want to look stylish from top-to-toe it means paying attention to the complete package and avoiding distracting focal points that detract from the overall “loveliness” of you!

It’s as simple as wearing busier shoes with simple outfits, and choosing simple shoes with prints, embellishments or statement accessories. It’s all just a bit of balancing act, so here’s what to consider:

  • When you look in the mirror, does one element of your outfit stand out more than the others?
  • Is your outfit chaotic? i.e. Are the sequins on your shoes competing with the crystals on your dress or the bold geometric pattern on your tunic?
  • Do your shoes and clothes blend almost too well? i.e. Does your black jumper, black pants and black boots all look like a bit like a “onesie” (one big long body suit)? If so, perhaps a change of textures is needed?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above then the quickest way to re-work your outfit is to simply try on another pair of shoes, and ask yourself the questions again.

Remember: It doesn’t matter how pretty, comfortable or heavily discounted the shoes – if they don’t fit the occasion, location, or climate, they are – at least perhaps temporarily – the wrong shoes!

Glam evening shoes and killer stilettos don’t belong in the office. Thongs only belong on the beach.  Runners are only for exercising and should NEVER to be worn with jeans (ala Jerry Seinfeld). The list goes on, but what are the simple style guidelines and how can you adapt the rules to suit you?

Basic Shoe Ready-Reckoner

Casual/Day: Simple loafers,ballet flats, flat sandals or espadrilles, sneakers

Beach : Thongs, slip-ons, flat casual sandals

Office:  Simple, classic pumps with a stacked heel or wedge. No bling, statement heels or OTT embellishments.

Dressy/Night:  Heels, stilettos, strappy, delicate, colours, embellishments and bold accents.

Shoe Colours

Black shoes (and bags for that matter) may be versatile, but I believe the real reason for their popularity is that people are afraid of choosing the wrong colour shoes for their outfit. They think that “black goes with everything” because it’s neutral. But did you know there are many other “neutrals” and having a variety of different coloured neutral and coloured shoes in varying styles a great way to revamp many an outfit and make your wardrobe work better for you.

Here are a few tips on which shoe colours go best with certain clothing colours:

  • Black shoes: With almost anything except pastels. Avoid a chunky distraction at the end of your legs if you’re wearing lightweight, floaty fabrics in light colours.   
  • Brown shoes: With shades of tan, brown, beige, orange, greens, and darker earth tones.
  • Tan/Light Brown shoes: With lighter earth tones, blue, beige, lighter tan or white.
  • Cream/Taupe/white shoes: Whites, light neutrals, and pastels, brights.
  • Silver shoes: Pastels, as well as with white, black, blues and purples.
  • Grey shoes: Blacks, blues, greys, reds, as well as some purples and yellows.
  • Gold shoes: Greens, reds, browns, and they usually also look good with black and white. Make a bland/neutral outfit pop with a bright coloured shoe, and vice-versa – tone down a colour-blocked outfit with a neutral shoe.
  • Nude Shoes – go with pretty much everything. And the added bonus is they always add length to your legs
  • Resist the old-fashioned temptation to match shoes, bag and belt. Just repeat a colour twice to look “put together”. Generally, if a colour is present somewhere in your outfit, you can repeat it in your shoes. If the shoe colour isn’t in your outfit, try matching “values” or tones (deep with deep, light with light, etc.) OR to make it even easier, just repeat a similar tone with a bag, belt, scarf or other accessory.

See? Told you it’s pretty simple didn’t I? If you have any questions, please just holler!


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