How to choose the perfect outfit to compliment your shoes!

Shoes Matching Outfit

So, you’ve got a fabulous footwear collection, a stock of super snazzy shoes to last you a lifetime (or until next season at least…) 

So far so great!

However, it’s no good having a variety of versatile kicks to kick it in if you haven’t got a clue what to wear with them.

Here at Footwear Studio we are firm believers that the clothes should match the shoes and not the other way around - in our eyes, shoes are the centrepiece that clothes are accessorising!

So, let us take you by the hand (or should that be the foot…), and walk you through the basics of how to match your wardrobe to your walkers!

Colour counts

Let’s start with the most immediately obvious feature of your shoes – their colour.

Whether you’ve got a collection made up only of little black shoes or the full rainbow in footwear, knowing how to pair the colours on your feet with those above your ankles is key to rocking your look.

And the big advice for this year’s foot-fashion-forward trends is to choose colours that compliment rather than match.

In times gone by, getting your shades of green perfectly in sync across your clothes and shoes would have been a top priority. But times have moved on, and 2023 is offering up a different way to work with colours.

Today’s fashionistas are all about picking colours that compliment or, alternatively, that contrast.

Complimentary colours can help to highlight the particular tone of your shoes without repeating that exact shade in another part of your outfit. 

We love using a colour wheel to look for inspiration when it comes to groups of colours that go together brilliantly. 

And don’t forget to consider your eye and hair colour and your skin tone for the ultimate complimentary colour curation!

If the complimentary approach sounds like a lot of work, a contrasting colours pathway might suit your shoe-clothing combo better.

The contrasting colours trend means putting colours together that, surprisingly, have a high level of contrast! 

Think black and white, red and green, blue and orange.

If you’ve never worked with brighter colours before, there’s no need to panic. We’re not suggesting that your entire shoe-clothing combo has to be stuffed full of lots of multicoloured madness. 

This trend simply works by having at least one colour that jumps out and adds a rebellious twist to an outfit. Think little black dress with scarlet red heels, or an electric blue clutch bag with coral ballet flats.

It might feel frightening at first if you aren’t used to playing with colour, but, trust us, once you start throwing some contrastingly coloured items together, you won’t be able to stop!

Specific shoes

Now you understand how to pair colours in your shoes with your outfit, let’s take a look at what clothing suits specific styles of shoes.

Kicking us off are…

Ballet flats

Audrey Hepburn’s favourite flats are very much back in fashion this season, making it a great time to look at how to wear these comfy classics.

We recommend pairing ballet flats with cropped trousers with straight leg silhouettes, leaving your ankles slightly exposed and your ballet flats centre stage.

We also love to pair ballet flats with midi-dresses, with mini-ballet combos feeling a little young (for some of us!) and longer or maxi dresses threatening to swallow flats with their length.

Similarly, if you do go for longer trousers, make sure that they stop just above your foot so that you’re not at risk of the trouser material pooling and obscuring your ballet flats.

After all, Darcey Bussell wouldn’t stand for being obscured when trying to take centre stage, and your ballet flats shouldn’t either!

Kitten heels

The previously polarising kitten heels are purring their way back to popularity post-pandemic, offering up a little more formality and glamour than your old pair of trainers did during lock-down, but without the pain-in-the-foot height of loftier heels.

Kitten heels offer the best of both worlds and can be dressed either up or down, adding class to more casual clothing, while suiting professional and formalwear perfectly too.

Breezy summer dresses are a brilliant pairing with kitten heels, with the slight bump of the heels adding a more grown up feel to shorter lengths when compared with ballet flats, for instance.

This means you can get away with pairing kitten heels with a minidress or miniskirt as well as longer lengths.

Kitten heels can also offer a hint of glamour, meaning that the rest of your outfit can have a bit of a rest! On lazy days, pairing kittens with leggings is the perfect way to dress-up a dress-down day.

Kitten heels can also work brilliantly in bright colours when you’re looking to add some spark to an outfit. 

Having been accused of being a bit of a dull-inbetweener shoe in the past (banish the thought!), the popular combination of brightly coloured or metallic kitten heels, paired with your favourite ‘out-out’ outfit, is giving kitten heels a new party girl reputation!

Platform shoes

Another resurfacing classic, like the Kitten heel, Platform shoes are enjoying a major resurgence at the moment and we are loving having the comfiest heel in town back in our favourite footwear pile!

Platforms are very versatile and come in so many different styles we could talk about what to pair them with all day.

The most tried and trusted combination would be wearing your platforms with cut-off shorts or mini-dress or skirt options, letting those chunky heels work their magic along with a short bottom half to give you the endless legs of your dreams!

A less-obvious pairing that we also love is putting your platforms on show with a cocktail dress combo. Adding a chunkier heel to a classy cocktail look adds a little rebellious twist to more glamorous outfits and allows you to really strut your stuff as you show off those shoes.

Gladiator sandals

Gladiator sandals can be an intimidating, if amazing shoe choice! 

These statement sandals snake up your legs, drawing attention from the moment you step out of the door in them.

Not surprisingly, with the criss-crossing leather laces or straps being the standout feature of these fearsome shoes, our main advice when wearing Gladiator sandals is to wear something short and show them off!

Summer dresses and skirts are clear winners when paired with Gladiators, but don’t overlook a pair of tailored shorts or even denim ones for a different take.

And for slightly shier sandal wearers, maxi-skirts or long dresses with a split at the front or side can offer a peep of the mighty Gladiators, without giving the whole game away from the off.

However, you choose to wear your Gladiator sandals, go with confidence and conquer!

Stepping out with your favourite shoes

So, whether you can’t get enough of ballet flats or if you’re a sucker for a summer sandal, with our guide at your disposal you can step out with full confidence that your wardrobe matches your walkers – and that your shoes will remain the main event!

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