Can’t decide what shoes to wear with your outfit? The perfect pair of footwear can help tie a look together – but the wrong choice can ruin your style completely. 

Given how important choosing the right footwear is, people can spend hours agonizing over this decision. However, you may not always have this time to spare – so to make things easier, here are some of our best tips on selecting the perfect shoes for your outfit.

  1. Consider the Visual Volume

Visual volume is a technique by which you determine what part of your outfit has the most “weight.” Pieces with more visual volume (or “weight”) are ones your eyes are drawn to. 

For example, a pair of ripped jeans will have more visual volume than a traditional pair of denims, and a floral dress will have more visual volume than a monochrome choice. There are a number of factors determining how much visual volume a piece has, including the colour, texture, size, pattern, and layers. 

Your shoes should help bring visual balance to your outfit. If your look is low on visual volume, choose a pair of shoes that create visual volume, such as shoes with a wedge sole, high heels, footwear with thicker straps, or a patterned style. On the other hand, if your look is high on visual volume, choose a more understated option (such as a ballerina style, monochrome shoes, or flat soles).

  1. Keep the Color in Mind

There are two ways to choose the shoe colour for your outfit – choose a neutral that goes with everything or a colour that ties into your clothes.

Neutrals like beige/nude, white, and black go with most outfits. Of these, black is perhaps the most versatile. Neutrals are an especially good option if your outfit has one or two colours and you don’t have something that matches it well. 

Alternatively, you can choose a colour that is part of your look. For example, if you’re wearing a patterned dress with shades of pink, purple, yellow, and orange on a neutral white background, you can choose one of the colours in the dress to highlight.

Once you’ve chosen the colour you want to focus on, the next step is matching it to your shoes. Your shoes should either be the same shade as the one in your outfit or a shade darker. 

People often opt for the latter option when they’re wearing a monochrome outfit – it allows them to match their heels to their outfit without looking like everything matches too much. It also ensures you don’t have to worry about choosing a shade that is almost identical to your outfit, but not quite – and is different enough that it ends up clashing with your clothes.

  1. Consider the Material

Another option to keep in mind is the material of your footwear. You can match the colour of your footwear to your outfit or match the materials – but not both at once. 

So, if you’re wearing a metallic silver outfit, choose silver footwear in another material – or metallic footwear in a colour that isn’t silver. You shouldn’t match metallic silver clothes with metallic silver shoes, as it will look like you’ve used the same bolt of fabric for both elements of your look.

  1. Think About Matching Patterns

When matching your outfit to your shoes, you don’t only have the chance to match colours – if you’re feeling like taking a risk, you can match patterns as well!

This is an especially popular option when you’re looking for shoes that work with animal print clothes. It allows you to get more wear out of both patterned clothes and shoes and helps you stand out from the rest. To offset the similarity between the shoes and outfit, complete your look with other monochrome contrasting accessories, such as a solid-coloured purse.

  1. Keep the Season in Mind

Just like clothes, shoes have seasons as well. Here are some popular shoes for every season:

  • Summer: Slides, strappy sandals, espadrilles, ballerinas, sneakers, and mules
  • Winter: Boots (both ankle and knee-high), sneakers, flats, and leather loafers
  • Monsoons: Wellington boots (rain boots), waterproofed ballerinas and slip-on sneakers

When possible, match your shoes to the season as well as your clothes. Summer is the time to enjoy sandals and espadrilles – footwear that you can wear without socks since you don’t need the additional warmth. In the winter, opt for warmer boots and footwear that gives you greater stability when walking on icy roads, such as loafers and flats. 

During the rains, choose waterproof footwear. Walking on the roads can also be challenging in this weather, as you may encounter slippery surfaces, potholes, and trip hazards, so choose footwear without heels. Finally, your shoes should be easy to wear and remove since you will likely leave them outside your home and need to wear them quickly when you’re stepping out.

  1. Don’t Forget the Activity

If you’re going to an event requiring you to be mobile and active, such as solving an escape room with friends or glamping, it’s best to choose practical footwear that will not get in the way, like sneakers and boots.

However, if you’re going for a house party or a meal that won’t be too hard on your legs, you can choose strappy sandals and heels that look great but aren’t comfortable options to stand in for long periods of time.

  1. Always Factor in the Occasion and Formality Level

Formal occasions require you to show up in dress shoes or heels. So, if you are on your way to a wedding or a baby shower, you will likely need to be dressed to the nines – including the footwear you choose. 

The one exception to this rule is when you’re the host. Since you’ll likely be running around ensuring your event goes off smoothly, choosing comfortable shoes will not be a faux pas. However, even if you’re wearing sneakers to your wedding, you should ensure they’re formal enough to match the event. 

Similarly, you should also consider any dress code that may be present. If you’re attending a black-tie event, you’ll be expected to wear closed-toe pumps, open-toe heels, and other similar footwear styles – and your footwear will also have to be in luxe materials such as patent leather. For men, the footwear options of choice are court shoes or oxfords in patent leather.

In a similar vein, if your workplace has a formal dress code, you’ll need to wear heels or dress shoes accordingly.

The shoes you choose to wear can make or break your outfits. However, with these tips in mind, you can be confident you’ll never set a foot out of place!

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