A unified look consists of three major key parts: clothes, shoes, and accessories. Each fashion component enhances the overall look. They all must work together cohesively to create a stylish and fashionable final appearance. Considering how you pair each piece with one another and how you style them ensures you curate a fashion-forward getup.
In the past, wearing a dress came with rules. For a long time, wearing pairing sneakers and dresses together was taboo or considered an alternative look. Many deemed that the two items sat on opposite ends of the spectrum, one symbolizing femininity while the other characterized a more masculine essence. Combining the two crossed a lot of etiquette and social barriers. It wasn’t until the 2000s that people fully accepted that sneakers and dresses don’t necessarily belong in separate categories. In 2019, Serena Williams rocked a red carpet look in a full Versace gown paired with iconic Jordan sneakers and pulled off an eye-catching look.
Fashion comes with numerous rules, but as the years pass, they diversify, mold, and break traditional barriers. The task of matching shoes with dresses has always come with rules, from what’s acceptable to what some deem poor etiquette. Today, the dos and don’ts of matching shoes with dresses focus on fashion style tips rather than meeting traditional standards. Here are four dos and don’ts pairings on creating fashionable looks while matching dresses and shoes.
Do: Pair Basics With Patterns and Prints
Prints, patterns, and florals create statements. They add a fun design aspect to outfits and showcase a lot of personality and characteristics. Pairing patterns and prints with a basic counterpart balances the detail richness of a patterned and printed piece with some calmness. Whether you opt for printed shoes or a patterned dress, matching either with a basic parallel creates a soothing balance for onlooking eyes. Plus, a plain counterpart also makes the pattern and prints on the other half more of a statement piece.
Don’t: Overwhelm Your Look
Using too many prints and patterns in one look can produce a lot of distractions. It overwhelms a person’s senses. Although playing around with different designs sparks a lot of creative enthusiasm, you don’t want to overwhelm your look and drown yourself out in a jungle of prints. Avoiding print and pattern clashes keeps your appearance balanced and attractive.
Do: Use Complementary Colors and Neutrals
Like matching prints, certain color coordinations work better than others. The best color pairing options include using complementary colors—like purple and yellow, blue and orange, or green and red—neutrals, and same-toned shades. Working with color theory helps you pair the color of your shoes with your dresses in a straightforward, appealing way.
Don’t: Match Head to Toe (in the Same Shade)
Monochromatic looks are often part of fashion-forward looks, but matching colors can also wash you out of the picture. When pairing matching colors, you want to use different shades and slight differences to ensure you don’t become a blur of color. Wearing a shorter dress and showing off some skin breaks your look apart and separates the colors of your dress and shoes. However, to be on the safe side, opting for different shades or pairing bold colors with neutrals creates the most appealing appearance.
Do: Consider the Length of Your Dress
Style variations are among the best qualities of dresses as a garment. They come in numerous designs and range in length. When pairing shoes with dresses, considering the length of your dress ensures you pick a stylish yet practical option. Long dresses work well with heels. The added height complements the long skirt and adds elevation so that you don’t drag the material or step on your dress and risk tripping. Surprisingly, long dresses and flip-flops often cause more tripping hazards for wearers than heels. Meanwhile, short dresses give you more flexibility in footwear.
Don’t: Pair Long Dresses With Tall Boots
A major fashion don’t is pairing long dresses with tall boots. Chunky over-the-knee boots and a long dress together create another overwhelming look that doesn’t sit right in with the eyes. It hides your natural figure and drowns you out in a sea of material. Unless you are wearing an old fashion hoop dress with tight knee-high lace-up boots, avoid pairing chunky, tall boots with long dresses.
Dressing for Occasions
Do: Consider Practicality and Comfort
Although a pair of pumps matched with a mini dress creates a sexy, stylish look, many find pumps uncomfortable and hard to walk in. When styling a look for any occasion, being mindful of practicality and comfort leads to the best results. Making choices that provide comfort ensures you enjoy your time out, boosts confidence, and balances fashion with your needs. Wearing chunkier heels, padded shoes, fancy booties, or boutique sneakers with your dress enhances comfort without sacrificing style. Do dress for comfort and practicality, and don’t sacrifice comfort and your well-being.
Don’t: Ignore Dress Codes
Despite being in the day and age of fashion freedom and accepting people no matter what they wear, some limitations are still at play. Dress codes serve various purposes in different situations. In the workplace, work-appropriate attire regulations enforce dress codes that maximize your safety while on the job, create a positive representation of your image, and optimize practicality. At weddings, dress codes often come into play to help establish the newlywed’s dream wedding look and feel. In certain scenarios, you don’t want to fully ignore dress codes. If a bride says no slippers, don’t go against her wishes without a good reason.
The dos and don’ts of matching shoes with your dress change somewhat as the years pass by and as new trends come into play. No matter the current fashion rules, the key styling considerations that never waver are comfort, confidence, and practicality. No matter how you style your clothes or pair your outfits, you want to make sure you stay safe and feel good about yourself and your look. Style fashion-forward looks with the right shoe and dress pairing while keeping comfort and self-expression in mind.
When creating a look and pairing outfit components that meet your needs and visions, a well-equipped closet makes a huge difference. A completed shoe collection gives you a variety of options and matching opportunities. Check out our women’s shoe boutique online and add numerous shoe variations to your closet and styling tool kit. At Two Cumberland, we offer a range of shoes fit for any type of dress, final look, and needs, from sneakers and heels to booties and cowboy boots.