Choosing shoes to compliment your outfit

The type of shoes you wear can make or break an outfit. A boring outfit is instantly transformed into a chic presentation when you add a pair of stunning shoes.

  • PublishedAugust 3, 2011

The type of shoes you wear can make or break an outfit. A boring outfit is instantly transformed into a chic presentation when you add a pair of stunning shoes. On the flipside, an eye-catching outfit is overlooked when the accompanying shoes are a mess. If you are unsure of which shoes best suit particular outfits, read on for great tips.


Stilettos are the epitome of glamour in the world of ladies’ shoes. Not only do they give you an obvious height advantage and an alluring gait, they also make your thighs and calves look slimmer. Another great advantage of stilettos is that they can be worn with both formal and casual outfits. Although stilettos are made to be seen, they should not overshadow the rest of your outfit. When wearing trousers, chose lengths that fall between your ankle and the sole of your foot. That way, your stilettos will be covered just enough. Stilettos look best with sleek, form fitting clothes such as pencil skirts for formal wear and skinny jeans for casual wear. Loose fitting clothes like A-line skirts can be worn with strappy stilettos to eliminate a bulky appearance. To show off your calves, wear skirts with hemlines just above or below the knees.

When wearing stilettos with formal wear, stick to neutral colours like black, brown, dark blue or grey. Bright colours should be left for casual wear. Avoid wearing clothes that are too tightly fitting with stilettos, as your body movements become more exaggerated. Kitten heels are a good alternative to stilettos for tall women and those who cannot walk confidently in sky-high heels. Kitten heels are short and slender and set inward from the edge of the shoe. They too can be worn with both office and casual attire.


Unlike stilettos, the base of a wedged heel runs flat across the front to the back of the shoe without any gaps, and the back is raised upward. Wedges have a few advantages over stilettos. They add height and are easier to walk in. They also look good with nearly any skirt or dress and add definition and shape to heavy ankles, making them appear thinner.

Wedges are mostly worn casually and look good with long flowing skirts, wrap dresses, shorts, and flared jeans or pants. Wedges also favour thin, light fabrics. They should not be worn with pencil skirts, Capri pants, or pantswith narrow or straight legs. They should also not be paired with very tight-fitting clothing as they tend to look chunky. Women with skinny ankles should steer clear of wedge-heeled shoes as they make skinny ankles appear even thinner.


For those who prefer comfort or cannot walk in heels, flats are a welcome alternative. There are all sorts of colours, designs and materials available in the market. Flats or ballet shoes as they are sometimes called, can easily pass for both casual and formal settings. They are classy without being overpowering, yet delicate without being unnoticeable. Designs for flat shoes range from pointy toed to those with metal detailing, buckles and bows.

Shapeless flats with rubber soles and dreary colours, better known as ‘grandma flats’, are not an option for either the trendy or reserved dresser.

Flats look good with cropped pants as well as Capri pants, or bottoms with a shorter hemline. Select pants that are either straight-legged or have a slight flare. Avoid pants that are too long or tight. Flats should be paired with the right skirt length. They look better when worn with a shorter skirt – an inch or more above the knee. Having no heel can make legs look shorter and showing a bit more leg gains that length back. The skirt can be paired with tights. Flats should not be worn with long skirts or those that fall below the knee. They especially make short women appear shorter. These shoes can also be worn formally when coupled with a well-tailored suit. In this case, they should be of a neutral colour to keep them office-friendly.


We are still experiencing relatively hot weather and many women love to step out in sandals during weekends. The versatility in comfort, functionality and style offered by sandals is simply unbeatable. Nonetheless, they, like all other shoes, must be worn with proper adherence to certain rules. Don’t wear sandals that are too small. Not only do they look ridiculous on your feet, but are also uncomfortable and may damage your feet in the long run. The same goes for loose fitting sandals.

Sandals that are too long, too big, or too loose fitting will have an effect on the way you walk as they make you drag your feet. They also increase your chances of tripping or slipping. Sandals should not be worn with dirty or untrimmed nails. You don’t need a pedicure treatment to do this, although it would be a plus. Simply trimming and filing your nails makes them look clean and presentable. Even worse than untrimmed nails, is peeled nail polish. If you plan to wear open-toe sandals, remove all traces of peeled nail polish first. If not, get a pedicure if your time and resources allow.

When wearing sandals, consider the type of material used and the place you are going to, or the occasion you are attending. If your feet sweat a lot, avoid sandals made of plastic, rubber, or faux leather as they will make you sweat more. You could also use antiperspirant foot products to minimise perspiration. Rubber sandals should not be worn in formal places like offices. Heel height is also an important consideration when wearing sandals especially if you plan to do a lot of walking.


Sneakers are no longer just sports accessories; they have become fashion statements in themselves. There are sporty, comfortable, yet fashionable sneakers for the modern woman. However, sneakers are only confined to casual wear. There are no formal sneakers. Converse sneakers, better known as ‘old schools’, are probably the most versatile of sneakers as they can be worn with pants, as well as skirts and dresses. The other athletic type should be reserved for jeans or khaki pants. Avoid washing your sneakers too often as this makes them wear out fast. Also avoid using a rough brush on the soft part of the shoe and only scrub the soles. When they’re not too dirty, a simple wipe with a wet cloth is fine.


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