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Dressing up for the office, a fun luncheon, or a night on the town is fun if you have all the right clothes and accessories. Many women spend hours daydreaming about how they’ll put their favorite outfit together, but sometimes even the most fashion savvy gals need help. Seemingly simple concerns such as how to mix solids with patterns, which colors flatter your complexion, and how much skin to show can be overwhelming at times.
As if choosing the right outfit isn’t enough of a quandary, choosing the right shoes for the occasion can add anxiety to your day (or evening). If you need a few pointers to get you off on the right foot, read on. Just remember, the ideas presented here are just that: ideas. What you wear, how you wear it, and where you go in it are entirely up to you. Be yourself, don’t worry about the fashion police, and have fun.

The Basics

Conventional fashion wisdom says that you shouldn’t wear loud colored or patterned shoes with clothing that is loud or patterned, because they will clash. Unless you are really lucky and score shoes made of the exact same patterned fabric as your dress, it is best to pair solid shoes in basic colors such as black or navy with patterned fabrics, or pick one favorite color out of the pattern and match your shoes to it. For instance, if your skirt is plaid in plum, navy, and gray, wear navy shoes.

If you have your eye on a super-snazzy pair of shoes that you simply must wear or you’ll die, choose a dress that is solid in color to go with them. For example, red or hot pink heels can really jazz up a simple black or brown frock. Find a scarf or string of beads to match your shoes, and you’re all set to rock the town.

While it may be tempting to find shoes in the exact hue of your clothing, wearing the same shade from head-to-toe doesn’t usually look good. Instead, find shoes in a darker hue than your blouse or skirt. If matching is important to you, try to match your shoes to your lipstick instead.

The Heel

Photo: Ankle Strap Heel

In addition to color, the type of heel on your shoes can make or break your outfit. When selecting the perfect heel height, keep in mind the occasion and the length of your skirt. Generally, stiletto heels are inappropriate for the office or other conservative settings. Save your stilettos for short skirts worn on the town, when you want your legs to look extra long and inviting. If you want to look feminine while at your desk or attending a meeting, opt for kitten or other low heels, which work well with mid-calf-length skirts. To make a bold statement, go with a big, chunky heel. You’ll feel powerful, and you’ll convey strength and energy.

The Season

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Photo: Ankle bootie

Naturally, you’ll want to consult the calendar and the weather report before getting dressed. You probably won’t wear fuzzy boots in the heat of summer, or flip-flops in the dead of winter. Unless, of course, you just want to. In order to follow convention, however, stick with footwear that suits the season. Exceptions to the rule may be taken in transition periods between weather extremes, so in the spring and fall feel free to choose either boot or sandals, as long as you’re comfortable. Both boots and sandals can be dressed up or down, depending on heel height, strappiness, and material. Leather and high heels go with short skirts, while other materials and low heels go with long dresses and pants.

The Budget

Unless money is no object, you probably have some kind of fashion budget. Shoes can be pricey, but good ones are worth it. After all, if your feet are tired and sore by mid-morning, you’ll be truly miserable by evening. When budgeting an outfit, plan on spending about one-third of it on shoes. Your fashion dollars will stretch further if you buy shoes that go with more than one ensemble, which is a good reason to invest in solid-colored, classic styles.
Pairing shoes with clothes is a fun exercise that can take up as much or as little of your day as you desire. Whether you try on every pair in the closet, or just grab the nearest pair of loafers, be sure you dress for comfort as well as success. Your feet will thank you.

Disclosure: "Thanks to my partners for the helpful guide"

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