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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
You can see that my tendency is to pair them with neutrals . . .
But not always . . .
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 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.
You’ll see that I mostly wear them with jeans, t-shirts, and maybe a jacket on top if the weather permits.
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.
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 . . .
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.
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.
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.
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.
And wearing neutrals with leopard is always a safe bet.
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.
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.
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 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.
White pumps can make a bold statement too . . .
And there’s always red . . .
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.
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.
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.
Or if you can’t do heels, burgundy suede flats are a nice item to have in your fall/winter wardrobe.
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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