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|Written by Taryn Cheal|
|Friday, 08 June 2012 00:00|
I firmly believe that there is no reason that people should not look put-together on a daily basis (at the very least). This series is designed to outline basic steps anyone can take to improve their everyday wardrobe easily. I love clothes and am often asked for help in the style department by my friends and family. Over the years, I have developed some fairly basic principles regarding fashion that can help anyone improve their style. These are tips to help you develop your own style; they should give you the tools to assess clothing and make choices that will work best for you, whatever your income, body type, or personality.
I love shoes. I own too many pairs to count (I have a shoe closet), I refuse to wear shoes that do not coordinate with my outfit, and I occasionally base entire outfits around a pair of shoes that I feel like wearing. My personal love of shoes may be somewhat over the top, but shoes are an important part of style, and should be considered carefully each day. Shoes should always complement your outfit; they should match in tone and purpose. I have a number of pet peeves when it comes to shoes because all too often I see people who have effectively ruined their chances at looking put-together because of their inappropriate footwear. First, sneakers are never to be worn outside of exercise. Ever. They do not look nice, and there are other footwear options that can meet your needs that are not completely hideous. It should not even have to be said, but Sketchers Shape-Ups and those shoes that have individual toes are absolutely unacceptable.
Likewise, flip flops are not proper footwear, they belong on beaches or if you just got a pedicure, and it is still drying. And dudes, stop wearing mandals, they are basically the worst. Oh, and Velcro does not belong anywhere on adult footwear. Finally, and maybe most importantly, utilitarian footwear such as sneakers and hiking boots should be confined to the activity they were designed for. I understand that for those weird people who like to exercise and see nature, or whatever, special footwear is required, but just because you can wear it outside of the activity doesn't mean you should. Would you wear golf shoes not on a golf course? No, so you shouldn't wear other activity-specific footwear outside of the intended purpose, end of story. Really, I'm not kidding, stop wearing footwear in everyday life that has a specific purpose in the name or that you bought off of a wall under a sporting heading such as "running" or "walking." It is inappropriate. I do understand that people have special needs with footwear and certain trendy shoes are not feasible for everyone, but there are always more attractive options than settling when it comes to shoes -- they just may take a little bit of time to find.
There are endless options in footwear, and there are categories and subcategories and trends and styles are always changing. A few basic rules can apply no matter what the weather, your personal needs, or style.
You need to consider if your shoes complement your outfit as a whole. Shoes are technically an accessory, so they should fit in with your outfit as a whole, both in color and style. When buying a pair of shoes you will likely wear a decent amount, say a standard pair of flats that you can put on to run to the store or something, look for neutrals or colors that generally complement the majority of colours in your closet. This colour choice will allow you to be able to quickly run out the door looking put-together no matter the situation.
On a similar note, shoes can easily make or break the simplest outfits. I get really frustrated when I see a girl in a nice top and jeans, looking cute and casual, and then she ruins it with a pair of disgusting flip flops; they cheapen and destroy a whole look. I mean, it evens says "flop" in the name! The shoes know that they are the worst -- you should know it, too. If that girl were wearing a pair of plain flats or a nice sandal (one perhaps made of leather, not polyurethane), she would have looked really nice. The key is ensuring that your footwear meets the tone of your outfit because they are a part of the whole of your look.
You need to make sure that the shoes fit you properly. Try on different sizes (especially if the brand comes in half sizes) and always check to see if the shoes come in wide, as well, because that can drastically change the fit of shoes and make them much more comfortable and wearable, which is the goal of shoes you will be wearing on a daily basis. They should be snug but not tight, and your foot should not slide in the shoe because that will lead to blisters. Insoles are always an option to take a shoe a half size down if you absolutely must have them. But ultimately, when trying shoes on, no matter how amazing they are, if they don't fit or feel quite right, then don't bother, you won't wear them enough to make the purchase worth it.
When fitting sandals, your toes and heel should just fit inside the bounds of the shoe. Too much shoe beyond your foot or vice versa means that the sandal does not fit, and they will not be comfortable. You will look a bit crazy because it is extremely obvious when your shoes do not fit when it is a sandal.
High heels can be challenging because they are eventually going to hurt your feet. My advice is, for the most part, suck it up, but also to look for high-heeled shoes that are comfortable to start with because if you start with hurting, you are absolutely screwed. Also, don't be a hero; if you know you will be walking around for any extended amount of time, opt for a slightly more comfortable option or be willing to carry around a back-up pair of flats for the day.
Finally, shoes should be as versatile as possible, especially when they are for everyday wear. Even fancier shoes should be able to go with multiple outfits, so try to avoid footwear that is only going to coordinate with one outfit. The more clothing that your shoes go with, the fewer shoes you need. Look for shoes that could be slightly dressed up or down and that fit in with your lifestyle.