How to Choose the Right Combination of Shoes & Pants

Choosing the right shoes is crucial to pulling together an outfit.

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Cinderella isn’t the only girl whose shoes controlled her destiny. The right pair of shoes can make or break an outfit, and that one-of-a-kind fabulous fit could give you just the kick you need to ace the interview, glide through the date or rock the party like none other. Shoes do not stand alone, however, and half of the battle in picking the right pair lies in creating a chic match between shoes and pants that perfectly suits both.


Heels are a quick way to dress up any pair of pants. In “In Style Secrets of Style,” the editors of "In Style" magazine advise that a medium heel of about 2 inches is flattering for almost anyone. However, a lower heel such as kitten heel looks best with narrow slacks. Stacked heels go better with trousers that have a slightly wider leg. If you want to rock stilettos with a pair of pants, make sure the pants are long, so the hem grazes the top of the shoe, giving you an extra leggy look. Shoes with pointed toes and thin heels are the most formal. The heavier the shoe, the more casual it will look. So save rounded toes and chunky heels for jeans and a tee.


Flats and pants have a certain indefinable grace and glamour. Just think Audrey Hepburn. This style looks best with pants that are narrow and fitted. Cropped pants look stunning with flats as well. To elongate your legs while wearing flats, match the colors of the shoes to your pants. Black ballet flats and slim black leggings have all the benefits of an elongated leg without the discomfort of tottering about in heels.


The most important consideration when pairing boots with pants is making sure the pants fit inside the boot. If the boot is worn beneath the pant, you can treat it like a heel or flat, since you won’t be able to see past the hem of your pant line. Skinny jeans, jeggings and leggings are all made for rocking a stunning boot, and keeping it front and center where it belongs. Make sure your pants fit snuggly below the knee so you don’t have a balloon of excess fabric above the top of the boot. Knee high boots are generally the most flattering. Never select a boot style that hits your leg at the widest part, as this can make the leg look larger.


For a subtle, elegant look, select shoes in the same color family as your pants. The same color rules that apply to clothes also apply to shoes. Black is slimming while white draws more attention. On the foot, ivory and bone hues are more flattering than bright white. Colored shoes look best with a neutral outfit. Your red heels can really rock with dark jeans and a black top, whereas red shoes with a red outfit can be overwhelming on all counts.

Related Videos




In Style Secrets of Style; The Editors of In Style The Pocket Stylist; Kendall Farr Best Dressed; Suzy Gershman

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