What to Wear with Neutral Shoes
Neutral shoes have the advantage of never really going out of style, mainly because they’re so versatile. But also because many women feel more comfortable wearing neutral colors than they do very bold colors like red, pink, or green shoes. Wearing Beige, Sand, Nude, Taupe & Neutral Footwear. Here are a few tips on how to identify neutral colors, and how to wear neutral shoes.
What Are Neutral Colors?
Without getting into too much color theory, some people define “neutral colors” as being black, white and shades of gray, while most others will also throw in shades of browns, like tans and creams.
By definition, a neutral color is not warm or cool, so in theory, neutral colors are meant to work with any other color — and just like decorating your home in neutral colors allows you to change your accent pieces at a whim, neutral shoes allow you to pair them with nearly any outfit.
Will Neutral Shoes Work With Clothes of Any Color?
Well, that’s the idea, but the reality is, whichever color scheme you’re choosing, any outfit works best when it’s balanced.
For example, white — being a neutral color — will go great with any other color, but, if every other part of your outfit is bright red, wearing only white shoes might call too much attention to your footwear. Of course, that might be the effect you’re going for. But a more balanced approach would be to pair red pants and white shoes with a white shirt, or at least a white belt or handbag.
There is at least one exception to the “well-balanced outfit” principle: shoes that are the same color as your skin.
If the color of your shoes is closely-matched to your skin tone, then your shoes, in effect, disappear. This frees you up to wear whatever you want with them.
However, I still prefer that the rest of the color palette is limited to one or two colors. Just a personal taste thing, but I really think skin-toned neutrals are best used with simpler outfits.
You may have also heard that black shoes don’t work well with pastels — this isn’t exactly true. If you were wearing a light pink suit and the only black in your outfit was a pair of black pumps, then no, that wouldn’t work. However, if black appears repeatedly throughout the outfit — even sparingly — then it can be a dramatic and stylish complement to very light colors.
In general, the tone of your entire outfit should be considered. For example, a dark burgundy dress with a black belt won’t work with cream shoes because they’re too light for the rest of the outfit.
What Are the Most Versatile Shades?
If you could only have one pair of shoes in your closet, I’d recommend that it was a pair of black pumps. Black pumps are an essential piece in every woman’s closet.
Check out a few of my favorite black pumps:
If I was allowed to suggest a second pair, it would be a pair of pumps in a light neutral color, like beige or tan.
Check out a few of my favorite neutral color pumps:
These two shades would work with nearly anything in your closet, and of course, basic pumps are classics that will work with everything from jeans to suits.
Choosing the Right Colors for Your Neutrals
The beauty of neutral shoes is that you can mix and match them with nearly anything. Ranging from an all-neutral outfit (i.e. tan shoes with a variety of tan and cream pieces) to neutral accents for a bolder ensemble (i.e. gray shoes and belt with a purple suit).
How To Pair Different Neutral Shades With A Variety Of Other Colors
Below are a few suggestions, but remember these are only suggestions! the best thing about neutrals is how versatile they are. To ensure that the term “neutral” doesn’t become synonymous with “boring,” have fun! and try your neutral shoes with several different colors.
Clothing Color Suggestions for Neutral Shoes
|Neutral Shoe Color||Complementary||Harmonious||Dramatic|
|Black Shoes||red, blue, purple, turquoise, green||all blacks and grays||white or brights with black accents|
|Dark Gray Shoes||navy, dark red, purples, mid to dark yellows||all blacks, grays, whites||bright shades with other gray accents|
|The Light Gray Shoes||light pink, and purples, chartreuse, light to mid yellows||the light grays and whites||white with other gray accents|
|White Shoes||any light neutral or pastel with other white accents||all whites and creams or grays||bright shades with other white accents|
|Beige/Cream Shoes||medium pinks, greens, purples, turquoises||browns, tans, and creams||black or dark blue with other cream accents|
|Tan Shoes||any mid-tone shade||light to mid neutrals||brights with other tan accents|
|Brown Shoes||mid to dark earth tones like greens, rusts, burgundy||lighter browns and creams||white or black with other brown accents|
What to Wear with Brown Women’s Shoes
To help you pick right check our guide on what to wear with brown women’s shoes! As black shoes, especially high-heeled black pumps, are a staple in most women’s wardrobes, but there are some colors that just don’t work well with black clothing. To cover all of your bases, it’s best to add a pair of brown shoes into the mix.
Complementary Colors and Styles
Dark red, forest green, burnt orange; think of all of the colors of fall, and you’ve conjured up an image of earth tones.
Just like the bark of tree trunks, brown goes wonderfully with all of those hues, but to really be certain you’re getting it right, also look to make a tonal match. For example, a dark green skirt will work better with dark brown shoes than it will with light brown shoes.
In cases where that’s not possible, err on the side of caution, and make sure your winter boots or shoes are darker than your pants or skirt.
Whites, grays, blacks, creams, ivories, tans, and taupes. This is an easy one, since, by sheer virtue of being a neutral color, any of these should work with just about any color of footwear, including brown. But, of course, some combinations are easier to pull off than others.
Take, for example, trying to wear brown pumps with a gray skirt. This is totally doable, but it requires a lot of attention to detail, like tonal values and color balance. In other words, if your skirt is a dark gray, you’ll want dark brown shoes, and you’ll need to mix other brownish neutrals into the rest of your outfit and accessories as well.
On the other hand, some neutrals are super-easy to wear with brown shoes — in fact, shades of cream, ivory, tan, and some taupes are begging to be paired with brown boots and shoes — and often, brown footwear will work better with these shades than black will.
Does Black Clothing Go With Brown Women’s Shoes or Boots?
As a neutral color, black could have been addressed in the last section, but I broke it out on its own because the topic of pairing black and brown is an issue that’s totally worthy of further discussion.
It seems as though people are scared of combining these two colors, and I believe that fear comes from the world of men’s fashion, where guys are instructed from an early age to choose either black or brown shoes, then told which colors to wear with each. And, generally speaking, this is reliable advice — for men.
Let’s face it, when a guy puts on a black suit, it’s easy and proper to reach for a pair of black shoes, along with a black belt. But for women, there are so many other things to consider. When done well, black and brown make for a dynamic and wonderful combination.
There are a couple of ways to incorporate brown shoes into an outfit that’s heavy in black. The first is by adding in pieces that feature both hues, as a lot of animal prints do.
Another way to ensure success when pairing black clothing with brown footwear is to make sure that both colors are distributed throughout the outfit, and that your browns are very closely matched. For example, try pairing brown shoes or boots with a black skirt and blouse, and add in a brown belt and bag that match the brown shoes as closely as possible.
To really pull the look together, opt for jewelry that incorporates or works well with both colors, like copper-toned pieces or gemstone beads.
Blues and Pinks
Most blues work wonderfully with brown shoes, and turquoises are especially nice when paired with chocolate brown. In fact, in recent years; this has been a notably popular combination in everything; from stationery to home decor, and of course, in women’s fashion. Another winning combination is chocolate brown worn with pink, reds, and purplish berry shades.
The trick to wearing brown with any of these colors is; again, to be sure that touches of browns are worked throughout the entire outfit; and keep your accessory colors as closely matched as possible. In other words, don’t go mixing a pink dress, a black belt, and brown shoes; unless you really have a clear mission in mind.
Though I’m sure it’s been done well before; I can’t imagine a time when you’d want to wear a pair of brown shoes; with a metallic dress or gown.
Brown Women’s Shoes
But if you ever do find yourself in that situation; it will help you to know that brown shoes go best with yellow; and pink-based metallics, like gold, copper, bronze, and brass; and not so well with silvers, chromes, and pewters.