Which shoes to wear is probably my most asked question. There are SO many reasons why choosing the right shoe for you and your outfit can be tricky.
Maybe you have problem/painful feet – I did for years and then I had my bunions done!
Perhaps comfort is one of the most important considerations for you, and you just aren’t prepared to wear anything that doesn’t feel like a slipper. Fair game.
Unless you move from house to car, car to desk and home again, you probably need a shoe to be robust and practical.
Your work and lifestyle will dictate the kind of footwear that is ‘appropriate’ to wear. If you are suited and booted at work or spend time schmoozing or being schmoozed in fancy venues, you’ll probably need to wear ‘fancy-pants’ shoes. I definitely have a couple of ‘sitting down shoes’ in my collection!
Depending on where you live, (I’m in the UK where the weather is anything but predictable), you’ll need options for sweltering heat and/or cold rainy days – even in the height of summer.
And on top of the issues I’ve outlined above, did you know that there are many, many reasons why certain colours, shapes and styles of shoe may or may not work for you and your outfit? Read on, I’ve got it all covered for you…
Get the colour wrong and you can inadvertently make yourself look shorter and wider.
Get the shape wrong and you can make your feet look like boats.
If you are blessed with a small waist and curvy hips, you may well have thicker ankles. Certain shoes will emphasise your ankles.
There is NO wonder that putting on a pair of shoes can be difficult!
So here you go. My simple guidelines to help you choose a shoe that complements your outfit.
Please note, if you have a pair of shoes that makes you feel good and goes against these guidelines, WEAR THEM. The only aim here is to make you feel good.
This is not THE LAW!
Simple Guidelines for shoes that complement your outfit
1. The more of your foot you can see, the longer your legs will appear. A low fronted shoe worn with a skirt, dress, shorts or a cropped trouser will elongate your leg.
2. An ankle strap will draw attention to your ankle, widen it and shorten your leg. For some women this is fine, but for many more it’s the reason they don’t like themselves with bare legs. A good option is an ankle strap that is a similar colour to your skin. This makes the strap less obvious.
3. Regardless of the shape of your ankle, if you want to look taller and/or slimmer choose a shoe that is the same tone in colour as what you are wearing on your legs (which might be your skin!) This doesn’t mean exactly the same colour, but as-dark-as or as-light-as your legs. Imagine your legs and feet in a black and white photo. Is there a stark difference between the tone of your legs and your feet? One tone will elongate.
4. The heel of your shoe should work with your personal scale. *If you don’t know about scale, skip to the end where I’ve popped a link to a very useful freebie. A dainty kitten heel on a heavy calf or leg will make your legs look heavier/bigger. Try a block heel instead for getting height without compromise.
And if you are conscious of having skinny legs, beware that a ‘large scale’ shoe with thick straps and a chunky sole or heel will make your legs look even skinnier.
Shoes that will make your life easier!
1. A Trainer. These days there isn’t much you can’t do in a trainer – unless you have a smart dress code at work. White leather is the smart option but refer to point 3 above, to decide if white is a good option for the outfits you tend to wear.
2. A nude shoe, or one that matches your skin tone is a good idea for a smart option. This could be a wedge sandal, a court shoe or a ballet flat style. If a nude shoe feels too lady-like for your style then a metallic shoe (again in a colour that blends well with your skin tone) is a useful option.
3. A closed-toe shoe for those inevitable rainy summer days. Or for smarter occasions when having your toes out isn’t an option. Your style will dictate the type of wet weather shoe that works best for you but here are some ideas:
A Ballet pump
A Leather (or vegan leather) trainer
An Ankle boot
A Court shoe
4. A summer sandal. Think about whether a flat sandal, a small heel, a wedge or a high heel would work best for you – or treat yourself to a couple of options. I have clients who class a 4-inch heel as flat – I’m fascinated by how we are all so different!
Mules are everywhere right now, from flats to block heel to high heels and are an incredibly versatile shoe. They work brilliantly with trousers, skirts, shorts and dresses.
You might prefer a strappy sandal. There are some lovely delicate styles around, square toes being the fashionable option (square toes work best for straighter figure types*). But again, check your personal scale to decide whether delicate straps work for you or make you look bigger. If you don’t know your scale, you can learn more about it my free video series (I’ve put a link below for you).
There are lots of great alternatives to delicate strappy sandals if your scale is large. I love the thicker strap styles that give a stronger, more statement look.
I do hope that this has been useful.
Please leave me a comment and let me know which shoes you’ve realised will make things easier for you.
*If you’d like my free video series ‘ 5 Easy Style Tips To Look Your Most Fabulous Self’ you can sign up here.
You’ll receive a short video each day for 5 days. Day 4 covers scale. You’ll also learn about colour, shape, print, textures and style in the other videos.
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