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A Woman's Guide to Matching Shoes and Dresses

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by Lionel (subscribe)
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Published April 11th 2013
Easy Tips to match shoes to bold and printed dresses
A Woman's Guide to Matching Shoes and Dresses
Photo by Abitha_Arabella of Flickr

You can't escape from the topic of women's fashion when surrounded by sweet and savory treats at an afternoon tea inspired by Jimmy Choo's Sping/Summer 2013 Collection in Hong Kong. Naturally the conversation progressed to shoes. Suddenly every female friend started rattling off the names of several international designers and brands in concerto, each having spent many a lunch break trying on and owning a wardrobe full of heels.
Photo courtesy of Leina Broughton
However the conversation disintegrated into chaos as we discussed the right shoes to match their colourful and printed dresses. Without Jimmy Choo onsite to cut through the diverse opinions and confusion, I decided to call upon practical advice from friend and fashion designer, Leina Broughton. Born in New Zealand and now based on the Gold Coast, Leina worked alongside the likes of Nicola Finetti, Tim O'Connor, Josh Goot and Lisa Ho before launching her fashion label of the same name in 2010. Her proudly Australian-made for the Australian women designs don celebrities like Giaan Rooney, the cast of Channel 7's Winner and Losers, 9 News' Melissa Downes, Sunrise's Samantha Armytage, and other Australian TV personalities.

Photo by fervent-adepte-de-la-mode of Flickr

If you're in a similar fix and mulling over uninteresting, uninspired choices of heels, don't fret. Here are our 6 simple tips to help you find the right shoe to match your dress, allowing you to put your best foot forward.

Tip #1 - Stay Neutral

Photo courtesy of Leina Broughton

So you have a beautiful printed frock to wear to this weekend's charity luncheon or a graphic printed mini dress for a big night out on the town. What shoe are you going to choose? When in doubt, our suggestion is to go neutral. You can't go wrong with a metallic, bone, beige, or tan heel. This style of pump will elongate the leg and redirect the eye to the dress, where you want the focus to be. Depending on the occasion, simply change up the texture and detailing of your nude shoe. For an autumn day event, you can opt for a neutral, textured pump in suede to elongate the leg. For an evening soiree you can rock a bi-tonal black and oyster-pink glamour heel.

Tip #2 - Choose a Colour from the Print
Photo courtesy of Leina Broughton

Use the colours in the print of your dress as a guide to what colour shoes to select. If your dress is multi-coloured and plays with shades of lemon, navy blue, black, peach or green, any of these hues would look great in your choice of shoes. Be daring and go for a rich purple pump to go with that geometric patterned purple and pink blouse.

Tip #3 - Avoid Matchy-Matchy
Photo by BeJaMarie of Flickr

It's a trap most women fall into by matching their shoes within an inch of their lives to the dress they're wearing. Red dress? Red shoes of course, right? Wrong! Do not wear one solid color from head to toe. This is the perfect opportunity to inject your style personality into your outfit. If you have on a blue dress, avoid wearing blue shoes. Get creative and show your fashion flair. If in doubt, consult the 'Wheel' in Tip #4.

Tip #4 - Use a Contrast Colour
Image courtesy of Leina Broughton

When working with a dress in a block colour, think about using a contrast colour for your shoes. A contrast colour is a colour opposite to the original colour on the colour wheel. They are total opposites in the colour world, which means they will look amazing
against each other and clash in a fabulous way!

If you look at this stunning dress in cobalt blue, the colour wheel tells us that tones of orange will work like magic. It doesn't have to be bright orange. It can be a subtle interpretation, like this Mimco heel. Not only do the colours work with the cobalt, but when you are dealing with a dress in a block colour, it also doesn't hurt to add some punch with a printed shoe. An on-trend leopard print will do just the trick to make this outfit a head-turner.

Photo courtesy of Leina Broughton


Tip #5 - A Touch of Texture and Glitz

Photo courtesy of Leina Broughton

If a colour clash just isn't your thing, look for neutrals that are a little off-centre and unexpected. Leina chose these 2 styles for her shoe closet - the Joanne Mercer 'Forbes' ballet flat has the perfect amount of texture and glitz and is a beautiful shoe that will dress up any block-coloured piece. The Tony Bianco 'Aliyah' heel combines on-trend embellishments with a subtle military influence and would look gorgeous against any dress in the wardrobe. If your feet simply can't handle heels, the same rules apply for their comfier cousins! There are many gorgeous flats on the market these days. Mid-heels, wedges, ballet flats, flat points. Find the shoe that is right for you and use the guidelines irrespective of heel height!

Tip #6 - Right is More
Photo by coco kelley of Flickr

Ladies, take some time to audit your shoe wardrobe this week. You don't need that many shoes, you just need the right shoes! Nudes and neutrals are a must, as are a classic black heel as well as something playful and flirty. Closed in and strappy need to make an appearance in your collection, as do some elegant, practical flats. Now you can enjoy putting your best shoe forward with that dress. Have fun!
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Why? Here's 6 easy tips to help you match that shoes and dress
Your Comment
It was a gr8 help !
by anmol (score: 0|2) 1371 days ago
Cn I put on gold shoe on a pink dress
by oyind (score: 0|2) 999 days ago
is it okay to wear a cobalt blue sandals to a plum cocktail gown??
by sarah (score: 0|2) 699 days ago
My wife was asking me about matching shoes....It made her understand what matches with a redish and greenish shoes...as far as choosing a dress....
by timsi (score: 0|2) 395 days ago
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