How to Wear Statement Shoes

Greetings, friends, and happy First Day of Fall!!!🍁🍂 Today we’re talking about how to wear statement shoes.

I got this question a while back, and I thought it would make a good post. In her words:

“I love funky shoes, but my problem is I buy them but then never wear them… I always second guess as to how/with what to wear them. I just never feel like I could pull it off without being self-conscious. I would bypass them for my old faithfuls every time!”

Can anyone relate?

Well, I hope this post helps! I rounded up a bunch of outfits that feature statement shoes, and we’re talking about what makes them work.

How To Wear Statement Shoes: I rounded up a bunch of outfits that feature statement shoes, and we're talking about what makes them work.

Before we get started, I just want to give y’all a heads-up that Tory Burch started her Fall Sale today! You can save up to 30% with code FALL. I’ll put together a Favorites page for The Shop with all my top picks.

How to Wear Statement Shoes

I’m going to start with my usual disclaimer: I think you have to take into account your personality, lifestyle, the area in which you live, and what type of pieces make up the most of your wardrobe when deciding on purchasing a pair of statement shoes.

It’s one thing to be drawn to a bold red shoe or a fun snake print, but if they don’t work with your lifestyle and your wardrobe, you probably won’t wear them much.

My wardrobe is made up largely of solids and neutrals, so a statement shoe is a great way to add texture or color to a plain outfit. That said, I live a very casual life with the occasional “date night” thrown in the mix, so I’m more likely to get a good cost per wear out of casual statement shoes than dressy ones.

How to Wear Statement Shoes: Snake Print Booties

I purchased these snake print booties last fall, and I styled them a few times for the blog, but I think I only actually wore them twice. This picture is from last Thanksgiving . . . I wore this outfit to my brother’s house for dinner.

Snake Print booties with grey jeans and a, burgundy sweater

old burgundy sweater // similar grey jeans // snake print booties

I think I wore them one other time, but I can’t find a picture. I also styled them twice for the blog . . . first with the same grey jeans, a pink sweater, and a black leather jacket.

How to Wear Statement Shoes: Snake Print booties with grey jeans, black jacket, and pink sweater

old leather jacket // pink turtleneck // similar grey jeans // snake print booties

And then with blue jeans, an ivory sweater, and a taupe moto jacket.

While these outfits aren’t made up entirely of neutrals, they are made up of solids, and I like how the snake print adds texture and pattern to the simple looks in a way a plain black or taupe shoe would not.

How to Wear Statement Shoes: Snake Print booties with bluejeans, ivory sweater, and taupe suede moto jacket

similar taupe moto // old ivory sweater // blue jeans // snake print booties

I did end up passing those boots on at the end of last season. Although they were gorgeous, they weren’t very comfortable, and I just didn’t find myself wearing them very much.

But this year, I grabbed this pair of Jeffrey Campbell snake print booties during the #NSale, and I’ve already worn them 4 or 5 times!

How to Wear Statement Shoes: Snake Print booties with bluejeans and a grey top

grey snap cuff tee // blue jeans // snake print booties

You can see that my tendency is to pair them with neutrals . . .

similar grey cardigan // black tank // similar grey jeans // snake print booties

Snake Print booties with bluejeans and ivory sweater

ivory sweater // chewed hem jeans // snake print booties

But not always . . .

waffle knit tunic // similar grey jeans // snake print booties

Why have I worn these snake print booties so much more than the other pair? For one thing, these booties are sooooo much more comfortable. But they also have a more casual styling that makes them work better with my casual wardrobe.

I think that black heel in the Dolce Vita pair as well as the high contrast within the snake print made them feel dressier and more difficult to style.

The color palette in this Jeffrey Campbell pair is more muted, so I don’t feel quite so conspicuous wearing them . . . although I will tell you, every single time I’ve worn them, I’ve had multiple comments on them. They definitely make a statement.

How to Wear Statement Shoes: Snake Print Booties

And trust me, I’m as annoyed as you are that they’re sold out in this color. If you like them, I recommend looking at this pair, this pair, or this pair.

How to Wear Statement Shoes: Snake Print Sneakers

I’m also having a lot of fun with my snake print slip-on sneakers. In fact, it was a pair of snake print sneakers that inspired the question that prompted this post.

I tried a few different styles and hemmed and hawed for several days before finally deciding to make an investment in the Vince pair.

Again, because I live a very casual lifestyle, and most of my clothes are solids and neutrals, I find myself reaching for these often.

They really elevate a casual look, and make it current and interesting and fun.

How to Wear Statement Shoes: Snake Print sneakers with blue jeans and graphic tee

graphic tee // skinny jeans // Vince slip-on sneakers

You’ll see that I mostly wear them with jeans, t-shirts, and maybe a jacket on top if the weather permits.

Snake Print sneakers with grey tee, black jeans, and denim jacket

grey tee // denim jacket // black jeans // Vince slip-on sneakers

How to Wear Statement Shoes: Snake Print sneakers with blue jeans and graphic tee

graphic tee // blue jeans // Vince slip-on sneakers

Snake Print sneakers with jean shorts and white sweatshirt

white sweatshirt // old jean shorts // Vince slip-on sneakers

How to Wear Statement Shoes: Snake Print sneakers with blue jeans and black tank

black tank // blue jeans // Vince slip-on sneakers

A more budget-friendly option is this Steve Madden pair. They come in two different options — taupe snake and natural snake.

I like the looks of these a lot, they just didn’t fit my foot well. I also prefer the lower vamp on the Vince pair, but that wouldn’t have been a deal breaker if these had been a little more comfortable.

Snake Print sneakers with olive cargo joggers and black side tie tee

side tie tee // cargo jogger pants (budget option) // Steve Madden snake print sneakers in taupe snake

How to Wear Statement Shoes: Snake Print sneakers with a white tee and blue jeans

white tee // blue jeans // Steve Madden snake print sneakers in natural snake

And at the risk of beating the snake print shoe trend to death, I also have these snake print flats that I wore out to dinner and a movie on Friday night . . .

Snake Print flats with blue jeans, red tank, and grey leather jacket

leather jacket // red tank // similar jeans // snake print flats

But of course, snake print is not the only option for a statement shoe. Let’s move on!

How to Wear Statement Shoes: Leopard Print

Leopard print is another obvious choice for a statement shoe, and I’ve had both leopard print pumps and flats in my wardrobe for years.

The nice thing about leopard (and snake, for that matter) is that they’re patterns made up of neutral tones, so both can be worn as a neutral and paired with a variety of colors.

Here I wore leopard pumps with a black dress and carried a red bag.

How to Wear Statement Shoes: LBD with Leopard Pumps

Red and leopard are a bold pairing that has become rather predictable, but they really work. (All of the above items are out of stock, as that picture is from a few years ago.)

And here’s another oldie but goodie . . . mustard yellow sweater, black jeans, and leopard flats.

Leopard Flats with black jeans and mustard yellow sweater

When wearing a printed shoe, I often incorporate the colors from the shoe into my outfit.

I’m not sure I would have thought to pair mustard yellow with black if they hadn’t both been part of the print in these shoes, but the combo really works.

This outfit is similar, but the yellow sweater is a bit brighter, and I wore blue jeans instead of black.

How to Wear Statement Shoes: Leopard Flats with yellow sweater and blue jeans

yellow sweater // blue jeans // similar leopard mules

Sometimes it’s fun to wear another color entirely, and let the shoes provide a contrast.

In this next look, I wore blue jeans and leopard mules with an olive green sweater. The olive creates a nice contrast against the warm neutral tones in the leopard print. Also note how the printed shoe elevates a very simple outfit and makes it more interesting.

Leopard Flats with olive sweater and blue jeans

And wearing neutrals with leopard is always a safe bet.

ivory turtleneck // blue jeans // leopard pumps

It’s fine to wear a contrasting color as well — sort of the way red and leopard work well together.

Last spring I paired leopard flats with blue jeans and a magenta top. I had a few people act surprised that I paired the leopard and magenta, but leopard is pretty much considered a neutral, and I think it works.

How to Wear Statement Shoes: Leopard Flats with blue jeans and magenta top

And here’s a more casual look with leopard ballet flats . . . combining stripes and leopard is always fun, and the green vest is a nice contrast.

Leopard Flats with blue jeans, stripe tee, green vest

The same concept can be applied to plaid shoes.

How to Wear Statement Shoes: Plaid

I recently added these plaid pumps to my closet, and I usually wear them with colors that are in the plaid — there are many to choose from.

Plaid Pumps with blue jeans and rust top

rust blouse // similar blue jeans // plaid pumps

How to Wear Statement Shoes: Plaid Pumps with blue jeans and ivory sweater

ivory sweater // chewed hem jeans // plaid pumps

Plaid Pumps with Rust Dress

rust dress / plaid pumps

Plaid loafers or mules or sneakers would work just as well. Again, it depends on your lifestyle and what you’ll wear the most.

How to Wear Statement Shoes: Bold Hues

Statement shoes don’t need to be a print; they can also be bold colors. My favorites are red and bright pink, although I had some turquoise shoes for a while that were fun too.

Sam Edelman Hazel pumps are one of the most comfortable pumps I’ve ever worn, and they come in a myriad of colors. The ones I’m showing below are old, but there are plenty of new fun colors and patterns available.

Pink Pumps with white jeans, black top, and neck scarf

How to Wear Statement Shoes: Turquoise Pumps with white jeans and black and white blouse

White pumps can make a bold statement too . . .

And there’s always red . . .

How to Wear Statement Shoes: Red Pumps with black top and blue jeans

These red boots are amazing, and it’s a shame to hide them under bootcut jeans, but I found the shaft height awkward to wear with skinny jeans.

Red Booties

I guess I kind of like the idea of the red just peeking out below the hem of the jeans — it’s a more subtle way to wear red shoes, if that idea intimidates you.

Red Booties with blue jeans, black top, and taupe moto

similar taupe moto // black tank // bootcut jeans // red bootie options

If red feels too bold for you, consider burgundy. I love these burgundy suede pumps, and I often pair them with camel, grey, denim, and/or black during the winter months.

How to Wear Statement Shoes: Burgundy Suede Pumps with blue jeans, camel sweater, and black moto

camel sweater // raw hem skinny jeans // black leather jacket // L.K. Bennett Sersha pumps in Oxblood // leopard clutch

Or if you can’t do heels, burgundy suede flats are a nice item to have in your fall/winter wardrobe.

camel sweater // black vest // similar jeans // similar flats (ON SALE!)

So yeah, that’s a lot of outfits! I hope some of this is helpful.

At the end of the day, I would say there’s a statement shoe for every woman. I don’t think they should dominate your closet, but it’s fun to have at least one or two pairs to shake things up a bit. The key is finding the shoe that works best for your personal style aesthetic, your lifestyle, and your wardrobe. Good luck!

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35 Responses

  1. I love almost all of those outfits, but that last one!!! I would like to recreate it almost every way (except I rarely wear pumps!) I’d just have to find some different shoes. 🙂

  2. I’m one that never buys statement shoes for the same reason – never knowing how to style them! These are such great outfits. Not a fan of the snake prints (although the snakeprint flats do look really cute), but I do love all these colorful shoes and the way you styled them!

  3. Love the outfits and all the statement shoe ideas… I’m so glad I bought Cheetah mules this year as it’s been warm. I’ll get to my leopard loafers as it cools off and my snake print pumps I’ll incorporate with a church outfit as I don’t do pumps or heels any other days.. I really like that last outfit and I just bought a sweater that color and similar style.. and have the vest as well no burgundy shoe but my leopard loafers will work or the mules. Great one for when the temps dip again.. 80 today 🤷‍♀️
    Have a great one

  4. Those burgundy suede pumps are stunners. Love L.K. Bennett.
    I like using statement shoes to add color or print to an outfit where otherwise there wouldn’t be any. I have wine and leopard pumps, leopard sneakers, and cheetah booties for fall. Trying to resist those Vince snake print sneakers — I think they’re really cute but I could probably use my leopard ones in the same outfits. We’ll see 😉

  5. I enjoy your blog and look forward to it everyday. My live style is similar to yours. Today’s post was fun and many great ideas to wear statement shoes. I LOVE SHOES !!!

  6. Love the post! Great ideas, but I really like the tops you have on when styling the Sam Edelman shoes. Could you please share info.

    Thanks again for all of your hard work, enjoy reading every post!

  7. I like them on you and others but would not wear enough to justify buying. I am thinking of plaid loafers. I think you styled a pair once. I would wear those alot with jeans.

  8. Another great post!  I now have leopard slip on sneakers that I’m just figuring out how to wear and would have never thought to put them with the striped top and green vest like you did, but that’s always  been  one of my favorite outfits of yours – though you had on flats and not sneakers.  My statement shoes only consist of a couple pairs of slip on sneakers, but anything else would just sit in my closet, as we are very casual here and I consider myself bold for wearing the printed sneakers!  Ha ha

  9. Thanks for this post Jo-Lynne. It helps me out alot. I feel conspicuous sometimes as well when I wear something a little different in my small town.

  10. OMG! I am not a huge shoe person, but I am absolutely LOVING these shoes. We just got an update on our work dress code, and I am looking for some fun, comfortable, closed-toes options that can stand up to 8 hours of walking.

  11. The AG jeans in the photo with the black tank. Are those skinny’s or cigarette. They look like the cigarette but you have them as the skinny. I want to be sure of what I ordered 

  12. Love, Love, Love all your outfits! I especially like the red boots, flats and pumps! I have to say though, I just cannot get my head wrapped around the snake print, especially the pyton print. I see a classy outfit then boom, there’s the snake again! LOL Maybe it’s because I’m just not used to it because the leopard doesn’t startle me like the serpent! But Jo-Lynne, I love that you embrace trends to show us how they’re to work. I’m just thankful I have the choice to sit some of them out! Hahah! Have a wonderful day!

  13. Thank you for yet another helpful and inspiring post. I enjoy your honesty regarding what works and doesn’t work which helps me try to avoid the same mistake. 😉

  14. I really like this post….as, I’ve just purchased some cute neutral mules WITH TASSELS on the top. I’m not sure how i really feel about the tassels but the shoes were on clearance at Target and I LOVE mules so i thought they would be a fun cheap way to try them out and if i end up not liking them I’m out only about $12 and i might attempt to cut the tassels off with no real risk.

  15. I love a statement shoe, but in a rural school, I sometimes feel like I stick out a lot-like you said! But I always get compliments. Since I’m a teacher I try to go for 1-2″ heels on boots, shoes, and booties. I LOVE snake skin booties you pictured first, but would be feeling very dressy I think. I opted for the other snake skin booties but haven’t worn them because we are still in sandals in the beautiful, warm Ozarks! I think i will like mine, except they almost have a cowgirl look to them (so I’ll fit right in), but I’m not a cowgirl. Do you know of any of the dressier snake skin like you pictured at first with a more square toe???

    1. Plus you are getting your money’s worth with those adorable plaid heels! Love them and all your other pumps (that I can no longer wear)! Leopard is awesome, too!

  16. Great post! I bought a pair of blue velvet loafers last year, but because they are velvet, I just leave them at work so they won’t get wrecked. 🙂 They are Nine West and have a clear block heel. I just love them and because I wear a lot of blue/navy they go with a lot of my outfits. I also invested in a red sandal.
    Next on the list snakeskin boots! (I have a pair of heels)

    I do agree that you have to look at your lifestyle – but that being said I tend to buy waaaayyy too much suede considering the climate I live in – thank goodness for shoe spray and protectant! LOL!

  17. I like that you suggested looking at your wardrobe, personality and lifestyle. Personally, I find that I can wear a patterned type statement shoe in the winter much more than in the summer because I wear a lot more print tops and dresses in the summer. I also get way more wear out of casual shoes than dress shoes (statement or otherwise), but I did just pick up a sweet pair to wedges at the Tory Burch sale.

  18. Thank you for showing us how versatile snakeskin booties are!  My snakeskin booties are on the darker side because they felt the best on my feet.  While I haven’t worn them yet, I am looking forward to pairing them up with different outfits.  When I do wear my snakeskin booties or my camo and leopard print sneakers, i hope you will let me know if they are a miss with the clothes I wear.

  19. Love this. Love your honesty on your choices. Thank you. You nailed it with we need to know our personality, lifestyle, where we live, etc. I now know I am only half-sassy. Last year I purchased all leopard print flats. Never wore them, gave them away. Also bought black suede booties with leopard heel and back heel panel. Wore them like crazy and they are ready for season 2. They are not as daring but still quite fun. So, Half-Sassy Kathy bought strappy snakeskin sandal-booties because not a fan of snakeskin and clearly, I would never wear the solid printed boot. I live just outside a large city so it is not my locale. It is me. 

  20. I loved this post!  I love your bold shoes but have a hard time putting them on and walking out the door in them.  You’ve encouraged me to give it a try. 

  21. Just scored on two pairs of pumps that will be statement shoes and I’m so excited that you’ve given me fresh ideas to play around with in my closet. Thanks so much for spreading confidence and “permission” around with your ideas!

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