How to Build an Outfit Around a Great Pair of Shoes

Finding a great new pair of shoes is more exciting than having a sexy boyfriend (because the shoes are just as hot but they’ll never leave)! Sadly, the funkiest new shoes are often impossible to pair with old outfits. What’s a diva to do but go shopping for a whole new look to pair with the great new kicks? Here’s a guide to building your new ensemble around the fabulous new shoes.

Identify the Shoes Compliments


Image via Flickr by electricnerve

Determine which colors are the most vibrant in the shoes, and then find the exact opposite color on the wheel: this is what’s called the complimentary color. Complimentary colors are great to make the shoe color shine, so consider choosing a shirt or purse that is this shade.

Example: Predominantly red shoes go great with a predominantly green bag.

Boldly Go With a Contrasting Color

Finding a contrasting color has more to do with a gut feeling. A coral shoe might pop with an aqua blouse or even with soft pinks: it’s a matter of taste and style. If you aren’t sure which contrasting colors go with your shoes, avoid choosing one and go for strong common colors such as white, black, or beige.

Example: If a patterned shoe with gold toes has you stumped, try wearing a simple white blouse or choosing any one color from the shoe to wear.

Textures and Sheen of Shoes Count

Beware shoes that shine or sheen like satin paired with dull textiles like linen. Unless you know what you are doing, shiny shoes should be coupled with understated (but smooth) fabrics such as fine black slacks. Similar issues arise when you select a satin cocktail dress to go with dull flats: try to keep fabrics similar to avoid odd texture pairs. However, the worst possible thing you can do is pair shiny shoes with a shiny dress; this style should stay in New Jersey and brothels, so that no one has to see it!

Example: Shiny ballet flats with a gold decal will pair well with gold hoops and a silk top.

Special Occasion Shoes & Costumes

Sometimes you need an ensemble fabulous enough to match your funky clown shoes, glittered Dorothy toes, or thigh-high cowgirl boots. Halloween, costume parties, and sometimes high school reunions demand outfits that scream for attention. If you want to wear sensible school girl Keds with knee-high socks, then you should choose something like an adult cheerleader costume. However, if you want to keep it modest for a special occasion outfit, think fabulous shoes and subtle outfit (such as moon boots with an enclosed goldfish tank with a sweet shift dress).

Example: Flower child sandals with floppy leather daisies call for a tie-dyed blouse and solid colored pants.

Everyone knows shoe basics, such as that black shoes might clash with a brown bag. However, advanced shoe pairing requires taste, style, and sophistication. Try to browse fashion magazines for ideas of outfits that can work with your new fancy shoes.

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