Treat shoes as your new statement jewelry
There are so many ways to use great shoes to elevate your outfits to a more polished version of you.
What do shoes need to be? Above all, comfortable.
There’s no point in great looking shoes if they pinch
and make you walk like a constipated camel.
The right texture can make an otherwise simple nondescript everyday walk-to-the-bus-stop-penny-loafer look super sophisticated. Shiny or matte, smooth or rough, there are so many textures to choose from, and even to mix.
Winters look great in shiny shoes, as do bright Spring to a certain extent (because of the Winter influence). Springs and Summers do well in smooth leather with moderate shine. Autumns excel in mixed textures both in outfits and in shoes. A pair of brown and beige brogues that mix suede and smooth leather is something I would love to see on an Autumn. Might be hard to find, but fret not, pure suede shoes are super for Autumns.
There's nothing wrong with shoes in one of your neutral colours. Just pick some that harmonise with your Season. Black and white are neutrals, just make sure that black is in your palette. Most Seasons look much better in other neutrals than black, and optic white is only ever great on a True Winter, even in shoes. There are many neutrals to choose from besides black and white.
But don't go buying any pair of beige shoes just because some YouTuber said that when you wear beige shoes your legs look longer and you look more put together.
What a bunch of codswallop.
A pair of light to medium dark neutral shoes are classy, though. If your Season calls for cool colours, your neutral shoes could be a grey taupe, cool grey or muted pewter. The warm Seasons can of course go for golden beige and camel without looking like they're wearing zoo animals on their feet.
When you know your Season, picking neutrals is easy, and always a safe choice when it comes to footwear. But listen, zing cowgirls. Insert a little colour in your shoe collection, and see how it makes you smile!
I have been known to say that everybody needs a pair of red shoes in their wardrobe. And for a while I had a pair of bright red patent leather Dr Martens, and I loved them. They’re not around anymore, I gave them to the local thrift store because they pinched my feet so I hope they give someone else a big smile when they wear them now.
But truth be told, there are other alternatives. A pair of white sneakers really made a difference in my own wardrobe. And they’re super comfortable.
Take guidance from your Season's colour fan when looking at shoes. Choose a colour that harmonizes with your palette, and that will make it look good with all the clothes that you own, because this is the magic of colour analysis and knowing your Season.
Metallic shoes are great. Look at these images of gold sneakers that a Bright Spring reader sent! They’re adorable. And as she pointed out, the way the gold sneakers echo the beige skirt makes this outfit especially compelling.
If you’re a winter, silver shoes can be stunning. Dark Winter can look for metallic shoes with a pewter tone, or even a snakeskin look can be a super statement shoe for Dark Winter as well as Dark Autumn. True Autumn and a warmer leaning Soft Autumn can go for a golden copper kind of metallic to create a fabulous look. All three springs can wear gold shoes with great effect.
Metallic shoes for Summers would have more muted shine, a more subdued kind of metallic that doesn’t scream bling but exudes quiet sophistication.
Buckles and laces
Buckles in metal that suits your Season are brilliant. Winters and Summers look for shoes with silver or steel details. Springs search for shiny gold or brass, and for Autumns, brushed metal in golden hues like copper is very compatible with the vibes you want to radiate.
Lace-up shoes are great because you can so easily change the laces to a better colour, increasing or toning down contrast and adding a little spice to your step.
How many shoes do you need?
In a sensible everyday capsule wardrobe, you'll need at least two pairs of casual shoes and a pair of dressier shoes, because putting on a pair of great shoes to complement a fetching outfit makes you feel so good.
A pair of shoes does to your outfit what lipstick does to your face.
Everybody needs a pair of super comfortable sneakers. Sneakers can be anything from your scuffed-up old Adidas from when you downloaded that “From beginner to 5K” running app that have mostly been used for gardening and walking your German Shepheard/Poodle Fred, to sleek leather sneakers in gold, the kind that lets the world believe that you’re on your way to lunch at a Parisian café even if you live in Chugwater, Wyoming.
Loafers are a smidge more dressed up than sneakers, but not quite as formal as pumps. You can find comfortably wide versions that are stylish. You can wear loafers with trousers and also with a casual skirt and sweater outfit, which makes them very versatile.
These can be an alternative to loafers, if you like a more feminine style and have narrow feet, in which case ballerina flats are great as alternatives to loafers and can even be used instead of pumps. In my experience, ballerina flats are not so great if you have wide feet and high instep, and I speak from personal experience. My feet are so wide that I could play Donald Duck in a school play without using fake feet, and with a very high instep. Ballerina flats always pinch the top of my foot and leave angry red marks, revealed when I not so discreetly and with a loud sigh of relief slip them off under the table at the first possible opportunity. And wearing uncomfortable shoes makes me walk very much not a graceful ballerina so it’s quite counterproductive.
High heeled shoes or pumps can be anything from courtroom lawyer boring to movie star fabulous. They are almost always uncomfortable, bordering on unhealthy. The only exception to this is Roccamore. Last year, I invested in a pair of Roccamore heels, and I’m convinced. I didn’t choose the highest heel option (I want heels, but I also want to be able to walk). They were pricey but the cost per wear is plummeting to a very sensible price point. I have worn them on several occasions, our family Christmas celebration last year was one of them and I’m proud to say that I was the only female still wearing her shoes at the end of the evening. The rest of the women had shed theirs long before dinner. I’ve even taken to wearing them on semi-dressed up occasions, which has never. Happened. Before. Ever.
The team at Roccamore tells me that if you use this link, they'll give you a discount when you order Roccamore shoes. If you don't, let me know, and I'll tell Vinnie to go have a gently persuasive chat with them. If you do order heels from Roccamore, do let me know what you think of them!
Do you have a favourite pair of shoes that you use when you want to make your outfit look especially snazzy? Send me a photo, please, and tell me why you love them!
I posted a video version of this blog post, with some additional content: