I AM GOING TO ADD a provision in my will stipulating, among other things, the outfit that I am to be buried in. I will be very specific about the shoes I am to wear because let’s face it, my arrival at the pearly gates is not the time for a faux pas, or rather, a pas taken in poorly chosen footwear. Shoes are everything! One misstep can make or break an outfit, and in some very judge-y cities (I won’t say where but there is a big metal tower in the middle of it), shoes are believed to sum up one’s fashion sense, or lack thereof. Unless you are fortunate enough to be or look like a fashion model (in which case the rules of our species do not apply because you can wear anything), the key to choosing the right shoes is a combination of tangible and intangible aspects: your silhouette and what, if anything, you want your choice to say about you.
Back in the day when as a lawyer, my stomping grounds were firms in places like L.A., Manhattan and Paris, the shoes I wore to do aforementioned stomping simply could not be flat. I considered flats to be a sign of defeat, or worse: laziness. I’ve eased up on my general ban, both because I no longer measure my self-worth in inches (aka heel heights), but also because flats are in fact the most sensible, effortless choice there is. The thing to keep in mind is that with few exceptions, they will do nothing for your sex appeal. Flats won’t give you great legs, and they do not convey power, two things most men (and women) find highly attractive. But that doesn’t mean you won’t look chic in them, if you follow some simple rules.
DO wear sandals, slides, ballerina flats, espadrilles and white sneakers with shorts, including short rompers which have made a big comeback this season, and with boyfriend, skinny, palazzo and cropped jeans and pants.
DO wear ballerina flats and flat sandals and slides with shift dresses, beach cover-ups and maxi-dresses.
DO (to look like a fashion blogger) wear white sneakers with longer skirts and dresses.
DON’T wear flats with mini skirts or mini dresses (unless you are under 18), body-con dresses, culottes or flared-bottom jeans.
Wear ballerinas, like these Tabitha Simmons’ Coco leather flats, with cropped pants. SHOP.
Valentino’s studded sandals work well with these mid-thigh bermudas. SHOP.
Where do I begin? So. Many. Options. As with everything in life, however, balance is key. Don’t choose the highest, busiest, most colorful or embellished shoe you see, unless the occasion or your outfit calls for it. It’s easy to put on an expensive, eye-catching pair of shoes in an effort to impress, but what is truly impressive is a woman whose overall look is polished, proportionate, and who doesn’t look as if she is trying at all. Here are some styling tips.
DO wear stilettos, open-toed pumps, high-heeled sandals and mules with dresses and skirts of any length and style (body-con, tea-length, shift); with skinny, boyfriend and cropped jeans; with culottes, bermudas and jumpsuits.
DO wear platform, wedge and block-heeled shoes with dress and skirt hemlines that fall below the knee, whether body-con or not; with maxi-dresses; with culottes; with skinny or flared-bottom jeans or pants, and with palazzo pants.
DO wear booties with skinny and boyfriend jeans, and with body-con and above-the knee dresses and skirts.
Rick Owens’ leather wedge sandals offset the slim silhouette of this dress. SHOP.
Pierre Hardy’s dark pink suede sandals are a win-win for below-the-knee skirts and this monochrome outfit. SHOP.
Aquazzurra’s Forever Marilyn pumps with a tassel embellishment make legs look miles long. SHOP.
DON’T choose a heel height that looks good on the sales floor, but that makes you walk like a camel rather than a swan across said floor.
DON’T choose a shoe design or color that will compete with whatever you are wearing – pick a focal point.
DON’T wear heavy, sky-high platforms if you are very petite unless you want to look like you have bricks on your feet.
DON’T, unless your job description requires otherwise, ignore the inverse correlation between skirt length and heel height – the higher the hemline, the lower the heel.
Remember, as Marilyn Monroe once said: “Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world.”
Sylvia Colella blogs about fashion and lifestyle-related subjects. A former Parisienne, she is obsessed with all things chic and glamorous.