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How to Wear Statement Shoes without Stealing the Show

When someone striking walks into a room, chances are you’ll end up focusing heavily on their clothes first and foremost. After all, clothes cover most of the body and will thus be among the first things you see when you look at a person. Shoes, in comparison, can become something of an afterthought when it comes to styling oneself. People will often choose to play it safe with relatively unobtrusive, neutral footwear, especially if they’ve already incorporated statement pieces elsewhere in their ensembles.

If your taste in footwear tends to skew toward the conservative, then you may find the idea of statement shoes intimidating. However, most fashion experts will enthusiastically advocate for the value of a bold shoe. When paired with the right combination of clothes and accessories, a good statement shoe will elevate any look. Statement shoes also afford you an easy way to jazz up an otherwise basic outfit without going over the top.

From sky-high heels to brightly colored booties and elaborate gladiator sandals, statement shoes are available in more styles today than ever before. But how do you ensure that they highlight the rest of your look rather than overwhelm it? This handy guide can give you some practical answers.

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Keep the Rest of Your Outfit Simple

Equally loud, printed, or otherwise attention-grabbing clothing will compete with a pair of bold shoes and can make your overall look appear chaotic. The last thing you want is to look like you’re simply piling on the statement pieces with no rhyme or reason whatsoever. Instead, ease yourself into wearing statement shoes by pairing them first with very simple outfits. With your shoes taking center stage and no distracting elements, your overall look will appear more cohesive and intentional.

To illustrate, a white T-shirt and denim cutoffs will make the perfect canvas for a pair of eye-catching high-top sneakers. And if you’d like to bring some color to your winter wardrobe with a pair of brightly colored booties, donning a dark-colored dress and some high-quality opaque tights can make sure that your shoes really pop. Lastly, in a professional setting, pairing a tasteful statement heel with a structured pantsuit will make you look chic and powerful.

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Strive for Balance

Offsetting your statement shoes with more subtle clothing and accessories is just one way to achieve balance in your look, but there’s much more to think about where that came from. When you’re working with a patterned shoe, for example, you’ll generally want to keep the rest of your outfit in solid colors. If you do elect to mix prints, it’s usually a good idea to pair a loud print with a more understated one so they don’t clash. Choosing prints with similar or complementary color schemes is another good way to keep your outfit cohesive.

Choosing the right clothes to pair with a statement shoe also requires you to pay close attention to fit and silhouette. For example, there’s no sense in covering up a tall boot or a strappy sandal with a pair of baggy palazzo pants or a long skirt. Choose some shorter bottoms instead to show off high-cut footwear to perfection.

Review Your Color Theory

If you’re intimidated by the idea of coordinating brightly colored footwear with the rest of your outfit, it’s high time to let go of those fears. Many style experts will argue that very bright colors are practically neutral because they’ll go with pretty much anything and will lend a modern, stylish vibe to any ensemble. One easy way to style a colorful shoe is to choose clothes in neutral shades like black, white, beige, gray, or navy to create a base that won’t clash with it. Include one more pop of color in your outfit, perhaps with a clutch or a pair of earrings in the same color as your shoes, and you’ll be good to go.

Once you feel ready to branch out into more adventurous color choices, knowing some basic color theory can help you avoid tacky or jarring combinations. Pull up a color wheel and take note of which shades sit opposite each other, like purple and yellow, red and green, and blue and orange. These colors complement each other, so they’ll appear brighter and more vibrant when you wear them together.

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Invest in Quality Shoes

Don’t purchase a statement shoe just because it’s fun and makes a bold statement. Like any other type of footwear, take time to choose pairs that are sized appropriately for you and in a style that will flatter your feet. You’ll also want to veer away from shoes with cheap-looking prints and embellishments and instead invest in a quality pair that will last you a long time without breaking.

Don’t Sacrifice Comfort

At the end of the day, shoes are meant to be worn, so make sure that you can walk and stand in them easily. Many statement shoes achieve their wow factor with extra high heels, tall platforms, or long boot shafts—but you’re going to lose that effect entirely if you can’t take a comfortable stride. Part of the beauty of a statement shoe is watching someone move confidently in them, so do consider how they feel and impact your movement before you buy. 

Revolving your outfit around a pair of striking shoes can open up new and exciting possibilities for your wardrobe. Keep the above tips in mind, and you’ll soon be rocking statement footwear like a pro.

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