A few years ago, I wrote an article for another blog on how to wear red shoes, and I was quite surprised by some of the comments it got.
For me, you see, red shoes have always been a closet essential: I have more pairs of them than I care to think about, and I wear them so often I consider them almost as a “neutral”, as strange as that might sound. Not so the readers of that particular blog, though, apparently. Red shoes are risky, they told me in the comments section. They are challenging. Wearing them requires bravery, and – according to some charming male commenters, who were apparently telegraphing their comments from some time in the 1940s – make me look like a loose woman. Well, I’ve been called worse, to be totally honest with you…
Seriously, though: I know that clothes and colours often have meanings beyond the surface “that’s pretty!” or whatever, but I was still pretty depressed to find that some sections of society will still judge women based on the colour of their shoes, of all things. Despite that, though, I’m still wearing my red shoes with pride – and today I’m here to help you do the same: IF you want to, that is.
Here are 10 of my favourite ways to wear red shoes…
How to Wear Red Shoes
01. With more red…
One of the most obvious ways to wear red shoes is with MOAR red. This can actually be trickier than it looks because, a) Not all reds are created equal, and if the two shades of red clash with each other, it’s not the best look, and b) Head-to-red (or any colour) can be tricky to pull off, but if you can find a red that works with your shoes, it’s an easy, no-effort way to wear them. I, unfortunately, look like a vampire if I wear red next to my face, but this skirt comes out every summer – and so do the red shoes…
02. Red shoes with navy
Red and navy is one of my favourite colour combinations: unlike the ‘red on red’ option above, it’s really hard to go wrong with this one: the red stops the navy from looking too corporate or staid (Not that this particular dress looks “corporate” obviously, but navy can sometimes look that way…), while the navy stops the red from looking too bold. Win-win.
03. With black and white
I call this my “newspaper” look (What’s black and white and red all over? No?), and it’s another really easy way to wear red shoes without having to put too much thought into it. I won”t say that everything goes with black and white, because I don’t actually think that’s true, but most things do – and red shoes are one of those things.
04. With jeans
If in doubt, wear jeans, right? If in MORE doubt? Wear stripes with your jeans: OBVIOUSLY. This is another go-to look for me, and if I’m wearing jeans with one of my many, many Breton stripe tops, I will almost invariably be reaching for a pair of red shoes to wear with them. I’m trying really, REALLY hard not to use the hackneyed phrase “a pop of colour” here, but … you can sense it struggling to get out, can’t you?
05. With black
I very rarely wear head-to-toe black, and I didn’t here either, because, as you can see, I added a pair of red shoes to make the overall look a little bit less funereal. It might be a colour associated with funerals, and other Un-Fun things in life, though, but black can also be very dramatic, which is why I occasionally like to completely ignore all of that well-meaning style advice that says redheads/pale people shouldn’t wear it, and give it a go. With this particular outfit (and also the one above it), I’m also avoiding the advice that says you shouldn’t match your bag to your shoes: I don’t do it all the time, and don’t believe that accessories should always match, but I don’t think it’s as huge a crime of fashion as some people like to make out, either. Can you tell I’m not a fan of fashion “rules”?
06. With gingham
These blue gingham print trousers were just crying out to be worn with a bright colour: don’t get me wrong, I love my neutrals, and nude or gold shoes are very close to red ones in my affections, but they’d have looked a little too plain with this look, which needed something fun to finish it off. Almost any bright colour would have worked here, but red, white and blue is always a winner in my book, so red, white and blue won the day!
07. With polka dots
OK, I’m cheating a bit here because this is really just a variation on the black and white look, above, but there’s something about polka dots that makes them just perfect for red shoes: together, they create a bit of a pin-up inspired look, which I don’t think I’ll ever get bored of, no matter how many times I wear it.
08. With stripes
Now take everything I just said about red shoes with polka dots, and apply it to stripes, too. This look is more preppy than pin-up, but the fact is, red shoes just work really well with stripes: they just do.
09. With blue
I’ve already talked about how to wear red shoes with navy, but they work with most other shades of blue, too: wear them with cobalt for a bold, vibrant look, or with a paler, baby-blue for a sweeter style.
10. How to wear red shoes with green
I suspect a lot of people would answer the question, “How to wear red shoes with green?” by saying, “Er, you DON’T: or not unless you want to look like one of Santa’s little helpers, anyway.” I mostly concur with that: the two colours do work together, but I personally don’t wear bright red with bright green (even although I love both colours separately), purely because it feels a little too costumey/festive to me (If you can pull it off, though, more power to you!). If I do want to wear red shoes with green, though, I find the easiest way to do it is by toning down the colour palette a little: so, in this photo, I’m wearing mint green with a paler, coral red: that way the two colours don’t clash too much – plus, the fact that the coral shade also appears in the dress helps tie the two colours together.