The average woman owns 19 pairs of shoes. That’s almost enough to wear a different pair every weekday for a month!
Whether you own five pairs or fifty, your shoes are a valuable investment. Shoes aren’t just a necessity for walking safely, they’re also a fun way to express your personal style.
The right shoes can make or break an outfit, but you don’t need to own a whole shoe museum to look stylish. With fashionable shoes and a stylist’s knowledge, you can create a variety of looks!
Check out this handy guide to mastering your shoe fashion!
How to Choose the Right Shoes for Your Outfit
No matter the style or age of your shoes, pairing them with the right outfits is key. But how can you know exactly which shoes go with which outfits? Make sure your footwear fits these essential aspects.
Dress for the Season and Occasion
There’s nothing worse than being caught wearing sandals in a snowstorm. Before heading out the door, check the weather. Make sure your shoes are appropriate for the weather and that they don’t look out of place for the season.
As a rule of thumb, save the open-toed shoes for spring and summer outfits, and wear your boots in winter and fall. Of course, exceptions apply, but if you’re going to break the seasonal rules, you should do it with caution.
The occasion may matter more than the season sometimes. For example, if you’re going to a formal indoor event in the winter, you may be able to get away with an open-toed heel. However, a pump would be the more classic option.
Prioritize Comfort and Function
No matter how cute the shoes are, waddling around is not a good look. Make sure you prioritize comfort over fashion when choosing what shoes to wear with an outfit. At the end of the day, you’ll feel more confident if you’re able to move, walk, and dance without struggling to stay upright.
Consider how much you’ll need to walk and move when you choose your shoes. If you’re planning to explore the city, high-heel wedges may not be the most practical option. The wrong shoes can make you appear overdressed and out of place.
Consider Color Matching
When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a neutral black, white, or nude shoe. A neutral pattern, like leopard, can pair with almost anything! Monochromatic looks are always in style, but you should try experimenting with a little color sometimes!
The best way to pick a shoe that matches your outfit is to select one color from your clothing pieces. For example, a white dress with a blue floral pattern would pair well with blue heels or ballet flats. If your outfit doesn’t have any color, add a bold accessory, like a colorful purse or sunglasses to tie in your shoe color.
Another way to pair colors in your outfit is to go for a complementary or analogous color scheme. Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel, and they’ll give your outfit a vibrant pop. For example, pairing a yellow skirt with fuchsia pumps.
Analogous colors are near to each other on the color wheel and create a tonal, balanced effect in your outfit. Examples include blue and green, Red and pink, or brown and beige.
Dress for Your Desired Effect
Most people know that a flat shoe will make an outfit feel more casual, while a boot or heeled shoe will feel more dressed up. But did you know you can also change your shoes to change your body’s proportions?
If you want to have longer legs, opt for a nude-for-you shoe or a shoe with a low front or pointed toe. Exposing your ankles and the top of your foot extends the visual line of your legs. For example, a thong-style sandal will make your legs look longer than a gladiator sandal.
Not everyone wants to look like they have legs up to their neck, especially if they have a proportionally short torso. To de-emphasize your legs, choose a taller, heavier shoe like a boot or a sandal with ankle straps. A horizontal line at the ankle cuts the legs shorter.
If you want to show off more muscular, toned legs, opt for a platform, chunky shoe to offset your calves and ankles and make your feet appear proportionally larger. Platform fashion shoes and ankle details will shorten the legs and make them look stronger.
Want to look like you have dainty, more delicate pins? Wear a shoe that is proportional to your legs and feet. Pairing heavy-set legs with a kitten heel will make them appear larger. Instead, choose a block heel or platform to balance your legs and make them look slimmer.
Tips for Shoe Shopping
Going shopping for anything to add to your wardrobe can feel thrilling. But before you hit the racks, make sure you’re making the right decisions about your footwear!
Consider Your Lifestyle
You want to get the most “bang” for your buck. If you work from home or spend a lot of time at the gym, you probably don’t need ten pairs of heels. However, if you work in a formal office or attend a lot of special events, heels and pumps may be a closet necessity!
Focus on the Basics
Before you go crazy with the neon platform heels, make sure you have all your bases covered. We’d recommend collecting all your basic shoes in black, brown, or nude before branching out into colors and patterns. Stay tuned for a more comprehensive list of shoe must-haves!
Invest in Your Footwear
Sure, you could buy three cheap pairs for the price of one designer brand, but you’ll be sacrificing comfort and quality. The cost per wear rule definitely applies to footwear. You can typically expect to get more use out of high-end shoe brands and save money in the long run because they are designed for durability.
Try Before You Buy
Although it can be tempting to stock up online, it’s best to try on shoes before you buy them. Going to an actual shoe store will save you time, money, and energy. All shoes break in with time, but make sure you walk, hop, and dance in the shoes before you buy them!
If you must shop online, make sure your shoes are returnable. Try on the shoes at home and wear each pair around your house for at least half an hour.
Keep a Record
Ensure that you’ll get plenty of wear out of your new shoes. Before adding any new shoes to your collection, consider which shoes you wear the most. Keeping a mental list of which shoes you wear the most will help you make wise purchases in the future.
What do you like about your favorite shoes? How do they change your outfits and what makes them comfortable? Which shoes do you rarely wear and why?
8 Essential Shoes for Every Fashionista
Now that we’ve covered how to shop for shoes wisely, you’re ready to assess your collection. Make a list of the shoes you need, including shoes that are worn out or need to be replaced. Let’s jump in (feet first) to essential shoe styles!
1. Simple Sneakers
Even if you spend most of your time in business wear, every person needs a reliable pair of sneakers. Sneakers can make any outfit appear more casual, and are a great way to show off your street style.
If you plan to wear your sneakers at the gym or on a run, they may need to be designed with more function in mind. Of course, you don’t always have to choose between function and fashion. You can get the best of both worlds with cute sneakers like the Giannis Immortality Force Field!
2. Basic Ballet Flats
Love them or hate them, ballet flats are a footwear staple that’s here to stay. These simple, comfortable shoes make your legs appear longer and leaner. Ballet flats also walk the fine line between dressy and casual, making them perfect for lazy days at the office or a quick brunch with the girls.
3. Sunny Sandals
Every fashion lover needs at least one go-to pair of sandals. Sandals are a necessity in the summer months, especially if you live in a hot and humid climate. There are many different styles of shoes to choose from, but we’d recommend starting your collection with at least one brown and one black pair of sandals.
4. Professional Pumps
When you picture fashionable shoes, your mind probably conjures images of a bright, sexy, high-heeled pump. Of course, pumps can come in all types of styles and are an essential shoe to have for weddings, date nights, business offices, and more. Before going crazy with patterns and colors, make sure you have a reliable, comfortable black and nude-for-you pair.
5. Hot Heels
What’s the difference between pumps and heels, you might ask? Pumps typically feature a closed toe and conservative structure, making them appropriate for more formal environments. Heels can have an open toe, ankle straps, cutouts, or other fun details that make them appear slightly more sexy and dainty.
For a balanced wardrobe, it’s a good idea to have both heels and pumps in your footwear collection. Heels are better for dressy occasions and nights out, while pumps are usually better for office wear, formal events, and religious services.
6. Wonderful Wedges
Like ballet flats, wedges tend to walk the delicate line between dressy and casual. They’re a perfect shoe if you work in a casual office environment, and can help you look put-together without appearing overdressed.
Wedges are also a great place to start if you’re new to wearing heeled shoes. Wedges are easier to walk in than heels or pumps, but more warm-weather appropriate than a heeled boot. If you are headed to an outdoor celebration or event, choose wedges to keep your heels from sinking into the ground!
7. Adorable Ankle Boots
If you don’t yet have a pair of ankle boots, what are you waiting for? Boots are a favorite for many people and are just one of the things we most look forward to wearing in the fall. Plus, they come in a wide variety, from mini cowboy boots to platform combat styles.
Grab yourself a pair of ankle boots in a simple color like brown or black. These versatile shoes add edge to any look and are incredibly easy to wear and style.
8. Classic Knee-High Boots
Not everyone loves a knee-high look, but it’s safe to say they’re worth a try. If you live in a colder climate, knee-high boots are essential for keeping your legs and pants dry during the winter. Of course, they fulfill much more than simple function!
Knee-high boots pair well with jeans, leggings, and even dresses. Large and loose varieties are having a major moment right now, but you can’t go wrong by adding a classic fitted knee-high boot to your wardrobe.
Step Up Your Shoe Fashion
After you’ve established your basic footwear collection, consider spicing up your outfits with some new trendy shoes. These shoe trends are all the rage for 2022, but we think they’ll be stylish for many years to come!
Mules are other slide-style shoes are going strong all year long in 2022. A mule in a neutral color like brown or black is a classic, but we’re seeing an uptick in bright, funky colors, especially for spring and summer. Purchasing a classic silhouette in a fun color is one way to ensure your trendy pieces stay timeless!
Square Toe Styles
For several years, round-toe shoes have been the standard shoe types in footwear, with pointed toes reserved for more formal wear. Like many other trends from the 90s and early aughts, square toes are back and better than ever! Square toe sandals, boots, and heels make the legs look stronger and somewhat shorter, a common theme for trendy shoes at the moment.
Take center stage everywhere you go with a pair of chunky platforms. Platforms of all kinds are trending in 2022, including platform sandals, boots, heels, and sneakers. A bold pair of platforms will give any outfit an extra boost of height and confidence!
Take a Walk on the Stylish Side
Although it can seem tricky at first, shoe fashion is a great way to express your style and enhance your outfits. Invest in basics, style with care, and purchase a few trendy pairs, and you’ll be the star of the show everywhere you go!
Are you eager to learn more about trends, celebrity styles, and fashion advice? Check out our other hot fashion articles!