Or Colored Shoes!
3 Style Hacks
Happy day, reader dear!
I’ve heard it said: There are two kinds of women. Those who love shoes and those… Oh, never mind! Most of those I’ve met who don’t love shoes have foot issues and would love to love shoes, but shoes don’t love them back. What is it about shoes? (And other accessories for that matter?) Well, shoes fit when you fit in your skinny jeans, and they fit in your not-so-skinny jeans. Shoes don’t judge you after a weekend of too many nachos and chocolate chip cookies. Your jeans don’t either, BTW. You’re the one doing the judging. No one else is…
Statement shoes are not for everyone. They are certainly a style personality preference. Personality aside, there are other reasons women may not like statement shoes. Women with large feet are often told to avoid colored or statement shoes to avoid drawing attention to their feet. I would say that if you feel self-conscious about the size of your feet, large or small, you’re probably happy to give colored or statement shoes a miss. If you don’t mind your feet being noticed, then go for it!
Petites are also often told to skip statement shoes, because wearing shoes the same color as our trousers, or if in shorts–nude shoes, creates the most lengthening effect. Yes, those options will create the longest visual line, but sometimes you just don’t care about length! Most of the time looking taller is not one of the things I am dressing to do. Remember: You do your personality, and it will all work out! That’s what style is about. (Look, I rhymed!)
Today let’s talk about styling colored shoes, or statement shoes. Here are three tips to make a statement in those shoes without them walking all over you!
1. Keep It Simple
The rest of your outfit, that is. Unless your style personality scores high on Creative or Dramatic, you’re not likely to feel comfortable in a LOT going on. Colored shoes are one of my Style Staples, and are also an awesome way to up your Color Contrast levels if you need more color! Are you worried about wearing too much color? For some basics on choosing a colored shoe, read this.
2. Repeat the Color (or theme)
How do you repeat theme or color without getting matchy or kitchy? Try a scarf (You knew that was coming, right?) or jewelry in the same color as the shoe. Repeating the color back up by your face is the best way to balance the color on your feet! If you are comfortable dotting the color a third time at the wrist or waist, that steps the eye easily back up to the face. (I expect this feature might be part of my love for pairing bags and shoes of the same color!) This tip is especially important for petites. The easiest way to finesse a red shoe? Pop on a bright red lip.
One simple way to repeat color and/or theme is to think in Beauty Bundles. I’ve written about Beauty Bundles before, but for the Reader’s Digest version: a Beauty Bundle (BB) is a grouping of accessories that share a color or theme. I know some people who store their bundles together. I don’t go that far, but if I am looking for inspiration, I will pull together all the items that would make a bundle and take a picture of them to remind me what I have that coordinates or “goes together.” You can also pull together a theme bundle by feeling, say Capri, or Rock Chick, or Flower Child.
Note: Be careful repeating a bow, lace, or glitter theme… It can easily trip into little girl territory!
3a. Watch the Style AND Fit
Flattery and Fit are Fabulous! Statement shoes are awesome, but if the shoe doesn’t flatter your foot or body shape it’s going to be a distraction rather than a positive statement. And don’t even get me started about fit…
Actually, let’s start with fit and then I’ll get off my soapbox and onto flattery. Badly fitting shoes make me crazy! Your foot should sit comfortably on the footbed of the shoe. A shoe should snugly surround (not pinch) and support your foot. When you walk naturally, your shoes shouldn’t slip or flop, nor should you step out of them. Leather shoes will stretch with wear; make sure they fit properly at the start! I see women daily (In warm weather, pre-Covid.) wearing sandals that don’t fit!
When wearing sandals, there should be NO overhang, front or back. Yes, I’m talking about those toes hanging over the front of your platforms. Just say no. When your toes slide over, that’s a sign that the front of the shoe is too wide for your foot. And those little toes poking out of the side? That means the straps aren’t placed properly for your foot. Yes, it’s frustrating. As vanity sizing has taken over in clothing, shoe width has also shifted. The typical B (or Medium) width shoe you find in your big box store is wider than it was 15 years ago. The foot measuring tool you used to find in every shoe store and department are now rare. Shoe manufacturers making whole sizes only to save money compound the problem!
Note: Foot size changes during a woman’s lifetime. Pregnancy and weight loss or gain, and working conditions can change the size of our feet. I have a client who lost 100 pounds, and was wearing shoes two full sizes too large. Her feet were not only less wide, but smaller than they were before her weight loss!
3b. As for Flattery…
Personality will drive most of our shoe preferences. But what do I look for aesthetically for a client? The main markers are: Heels, Straps, and Sole Thickness. These three should be in proportion with your body scale for maximum flattery. A very thin body and leg will look scrawny in a chunky platform sandal with wide straps. That same sandal will look more harmonious on a woman of more substance. A spike heeled sandal will lengthen the leg, but one with a very narrow heel and dainty straps will accentuate a wider foot or calf, but a block heel of the same height will look more in sync. Horizontal straps (wide or narrow) across the ankles widen the ankle.
Look also at the shapes of the heels and toes. Some shoe heels are very square, others more sculpted or curvy. What do you look like from behind? More curved? Or more straight? Choose the heel that mimics your shape! Toes are very much a personality piece, rounded curved toes are often preferred by more Feminine or Relaxed personality styles, while sharp points fall more into the Dramatic or Rebellious territory. The almond toe, somewhere between the round and pointed? Often found on Ms. Classic or Elegant Chic. As a flattering neckline mimics the shape of the chin, a flattering toe reflects the shape of the nose. This is why almond toed shoes so often look “right” and don’t really call attention to themselves. And why almond toes are generally not found on statement shoes!
Make Sure They’re Walkable Often a statement shoe will make its point by being outrageous in height. That could mean heel height, the length of a boot shaft (Boots that end up OTK, but weren’t meant to be.), or a platform. Please make sure you can walk comfortably in whatever shoes you buy! I have seen more than one woman doing (What Mr. CP calls) the flamingo walk. You know, the one that happens when the shoes are so high or awkwardly shaped that the wearer cannot straighten her legs to take a stride, and she picks up her feet with bent knees and moves the bent knee and dangling foot forward… Surreal. Platform shoes that make you walk like Frankenstein aren’t any better. If you cannot take a natural stride in a shoe, please leave them in the store!
Smile! While you’re at it, throw your shoulders back and hold your head high. That’s good style advice for any day, but especially for when you are wearing statement shoes, because people will see them and look up at you and smile.
How About YOU?
Are you a statement shoe wearer? Colored shoes? What color of shoes make you smile? Is finding shoes that fit well a challenge for you? Is your foot narrow? Wide? Arch or toe issues? What is your favorite brand of shoe? Most comfortable brand for your feet? What is your favorite pair of shoes? I am always looking for new resources for my clients and to share with you, so please let me know your faves…
PS: I’m tickled at Naturalizer this season. They’ve introduced a line of nude sandals… LOTS of nudes for a variety of skin tones! Woo hoo!