That ensemble looked darling as you twirled and turned in the three-way mirror at the store. That’s why you bought the whole thing – the top, the pants and the jacket. You even sprang for the colorful three-tiered necklace the sales associate brought to the fitting room for you to try. Yeah, she got you. But you don’t mind, because you know you’re going to look smashing in your new duds. Until you realize you were barefooted in the fitting room, and you don’t have any shoes in your closet to complete the look.
There’s nothing more frustrating (style-wise anyhow) than being sure of your spiffy pants only to question your judgment about your shoes. Nothing will make you feel more frumpy than shoes that somehow just “don’t go.”
A Little Review
This is part two of a two-part style guide focusing on hem length and proper shoe choices with the variety of pant styles in your closet or wish list. In Where My Pants End and My Shoes Begin we discussed selecting pants and pant lengths that create the most flattering and elongated silhouette on your body. Another key point we talked about was deciding on one height of heels for any full length pants so that they could be purchased or hemmed to the proper length for every wearing.
In fact if you haven’t read the previous style guide, you might want to do that before reading further in this one.
In our style guide on selecting the right shoes we want to keep that same goal of a flattering silhouette in mind, but also factor in other considerations.
What Does a Shoe Say?
First, let’s agree that different shoes say different things about you – about your personality, your purpose, your environment and your tastes.While each of us may “read” shoes a little differently, there are some common assumptions about shoes, too. Most of us would agree that:
Regardless of the pants you’re pairing them with, you’ll want to consider what your shoes alone are saying. Bottom line, you don’t want to send mixed messages. So if you’ve put together clothing to say, “I’m smart, professional and competent,” you don’t want your rounded toe flats to chime in with, “but I’m also cute and youthful.” At least I don’t think you do. Wouldn’t it be better to round out your smart, professional ensemble with at least low heel flats with a bow?
Now About Those Hem Lengths
If you’ve read the first part of this style guide you’ll remember that I pointed out that the proper hem length and the right shoe need to pair together to achieve the desired style. So let’s consider some of the guidelines concerning shoes and hem lengths.
Ankle Length Skinny Jeans or Jeggings
These pants are meant to show some ankle. So you want to pair them with shoes that leave enough of the ankle exposed to achieve the desired silhouette. Depending on the occasion and the rest of your ensemble, the following shoe styles work well with ankle length skinnies:
- moccasins & loafers
- ballerina flats
- heels – they lengthen your leg, making hips and thighs look more narrow
- ankle boots
Just make sure you have these pants at the right hem length, and, as you can tell, you can wear an assortment of ankle baring shoes. Oh, and do not wear socks with them. (Except maybe no-show socks under sneakers, oxfords, or booties.)
Once again, the idea is to show plenty of ankle with these pants, so feel free to choose from:
- ballerina flats
- kitten heels
These pants are generally a little nicer, so you’ll want to pair them with dressier shoes. But if they’re more casual athleisure pants, for instance, you could even wear sneakers. Otherwise stick to:
- Stiletto heels – especially nude
- flat sandals
Again, remember these pants should go almost to the floor. So whatever heel size you first decide to wear them with is the size you’ll need to consistently pair them with.
Straight Leg Jeans
These jeans/pants present a more casual silhouette than the skinny pants/jeans, so you want to wear different shoes. Remember, the pants need to come to the shoe and can have a single break a couple of inches above the hem. Best pairings include:
- chunky heels
- loafers or oxfords
- low heeled shoes
Flared jeans or pants
These unique pants need a heel. You can wear high heels, stilettos or chunky heels depending on the aesthetic you hope to desire. But steer clear of flats in general.
You do have some options with dress trousers, but the key to this selection is more about the construction of the shoe than the heel size. With dress trousers choose shoes with:
- structure – a shoe that keeps its shape even when your foot is not in it.
- a proper sole – the shoe needs to have at least a little bit of a heel so that it doesn’t look like a slipper. Remember, these pants are made for work, not leisure.
- a pointed toe – this isn’t a necessity, obviously, but it a pointy toe will make you look and feel more like the one in charge rather than the junior or the student.
I hope this style guide is helpful to you. I know I learned a lot as I did my research. Shoes and pants really can present a conundrum. But with the right combination we can create great lines and a cohesive message.
This post is not really about the specific shoes pictured, but in case you’re interested, here are shopping links to many of them.
Blessed for My Day
The Bible promises that God will protect and provide strength for the righteous woman in her days of trouble. That’s such an amazing assurance. But how do I know if I’m a righteous woman? To be righteous simply means to live in right standing with God. And the Bible is very clear that the only way we can achieve a right standing with a holy God is through faith. So if I consistently put my faith in God’s character, His ways and His Word as I walk through my days of trouble, then I can claim God’s promise of provision. A righteous woman is a woman who has faith in her God…not in her own words or manipulations or plans.
But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in time of trouble. And the Lord helps them, and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked, and saves them, because they have faith in Him. ~ Psalm 37:39-40