I recently received a comment about how to determine what shoes to wear when putting together outfits. I resonated with this question because back in the day, this is also something I struggled with. I remember back in my high school days I had three pairs of shoes I would just rotate in between and even into college I never really considered shoes a way to pull an outfit together. In the past few years (as my shoe addiction grew) I really honed in on a few ways to help determine what shoes to wear with what outfits.
Let’s take a look at some examples and walk through the thought process of pairing shoes with outfits.
How To Determine What Shoes To Wear
Starting it off, when it comes to spring and summer dresses I think it’s necessary to have a pair of nude heels in your closet. For a dress like this that has a busy print, it’s critical not to add too much contrast as it can appear busy.
This look is perfect for something like church or maybe a bridal/baby shower. To keep it rather conservative I think a closed-toed heel is a great option, the height of the heel is manageable and since it’s closed-toe it’s slightly more polished in my opinion.
I love the texture of these heels because they compliment the wicker bag really nicely and add texture to the overall look without overwhelming the print of the dress.
So if you want something more conservative go for a classic closed-toe nude silhouette.
For this dress, it’s definitely more casual so an open-toe heeled sandal is perfect! The nude really elongates the leg while the braided detail adds a little pop. Since the dress and the bag draw the most attention these shoes are more of a background singer. They tie the look together without distracting.
An open-toe block heel sandal is a great option for a slightly dressier but still casual look.
Here’s another example of neutral shoes but in a totally different way. These shoes make a statement with the bow detailing. The overall vibe of this outfit is flirty and feminine and the shoes play a big part in that. Because they are neutral they still elongate the leg which is important for midi dress lengths but they really draw the eye.
If I opted for the two shoes above for this look it would be relatively simple but by adding in a shoe with a lot of details it really takes the outfit to the next level, which would be perfect for a wedding, date night, or an event.
Nude shoes don’t always mean simple and neutral having one with a lot of details can make a big impact on an outfit in an easy way.
This basic nude ballet style flat is perfect for more professional or smart-casual looks. In this case, the shoe is almost invisible which is perfect! Again it elongates the leg and doesn’t distract but because it’s simple, closed-toe, and flat it blends into the outfit without distracting and still looks polished and put together.
I prefer closed-toed shoes exclusively in the office because it is more professional in my opinion.
Shop these shoes here.
For the last nude shoe example, this classic pair of nude pumps are something I’ve had in my closet for YEARS! Seriously I think I bought them in 2016. They are a classic pump and truly go with everything dressy from business professional attire to cocktail or formal dress codes. I don’t wear them a ton but they are a classic that will never go out of style.
Another type of simple shoe I love is a basic gold heeled sandal. These shoes are so versatile and can quickly add a little touch of glam to any outfit. I’ve had these shoes for years and love them with white jeans and dresses. If I had a nude flat it would completely change the whole vibe of this outfit.
These type of shoes are great for a dressy casual look.
Loafers are one of my favorite flat styles because they are versatile and comfortable. I typically opt for this style for more business casual outfits. I think blush pink is a great neutral option but you also can’t go wrong with a camel color. Blush is great for Spring and Summer and camel is perfect all year round.
Loafers are really popular right now so it’s a great shoe to invest in.
Along with nude shoes I like to have a dark-colored option in my shoe roster. These are great for more professional settings or great for contrasting outfits like this dress which it’s navy and white. I prefer navy over black in my closet so the navy made more sense but if you tend to wear more black it’s great to have that option instead.
Shop these shoes here.
When it comes to a pop of color for shoes I’m definitely no stranger, I think it’s good to have one or two bold shoes in your closet for certain occasions. This whole look was inspired by these hot pink shoes. I kept racking my brain on how to style them and then it hit me to go with a full hot pink look! It perfectly matches the dress as if they were made for each other.
With a bold shoe like this, you could also opt for an all-white or all-black look as well to let the shoes be the lead singer.
Another good example of printed or colorful shoes are these floral flats. These are the same style and brand as the nude one shown above and I’ve gotten so much wear out of them. Because the floral is such a tiny print it goes with a lot more than you would imagine. They work with a seersucker stripe as shown here or can be the star of the outfit with a simple white blouse and jeans.
Colorful or printed shoes don’t always mean bold. These shoes are perfect for Spring and from far away the print is very subtle.
Shop these shoes here.
Last up everyone needs a pair of white sneakers in their wardrobe. They go with EVERYTHING and can easily dress down any look. Think about how different this outfit would look by swapping the sneakers with the braided pair of nude heels from above. It would go from a casual running errands look to a dressier date night or brunch look.
White sneakers and dresses are one of my favorite everyday combinations but you can also wear your white sneakers with jeans and other very casual outfits.
I feel like I could talk about shoes forever because it really can be complex picking out the right pair to complete the outfit. I hope this is helpful and if you want to see more let me know in the comments and I’ll put together a part 2!
In the meantime, check out this easy download for 10 closet essentials for Spring/Summer 2022.