Is it OK to Wear Boots With a Cocktail Dress?

Lara Bingle pairs low boots with a cocktail dress.

Photo: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Boots of all sizes and stripes are totally hot right now, and the right cut shows off your legs and your fierce sense of style. To stand out from the crowd, you can buck convention and wear a boot with a cocktail dress. You will get noticed -- so make sure it's for the right reasons, by choosing the right cut and color boot.


The classic shoe to complement your cocktail dress is a high heel. From strappy sandals in the summer to sophisticated pumps year-round, the heel sets off your bare legs and gives you height. You can swap out pumps for boots with your cocktail dress, but if the event calls for a traditional look or if it's a professional soiree, stick with the pumps.


Whether you're going with boots or pumps, a poor color choice can totally crimp your style. Play it safe by going with a matchy-matchy look if you're in neutrals; complement a vivid dress with black shoes, or a pastel-colored affair with white shoes. Keep the footwear classy so your shoes aren't competing with your dress. If you look it over in the mirror and feel it's a bit too wild, swap something out to feel comfortable at your big event.


Not all boots are going to do your cocktail dress favors. Thigh-high boots with a vivid cocktail dress make a statement. J. Gallego of the "Orange County Register" pairs her thigh-highs with a hot-pink cocktail dress. Knee-high boots also work, as long as you have at least 3 inches between the top of the boot and your dress. Less space looks odd. Booties, ankle boots or calf-high boots don't look so hot when paired with a cocktail dress.

Style Considerations

A decent pair of boots should last. While you can follow on-trend styles, you'll want to keep a couple pairs of more classic boots, especially for sophisticated affairs. J. Gallego recommends staying away from those with super chunky or super slim heels, which could look dated in a couple seasons. Likewise, pointy-toes boots could be hot one minute and witchy the next, and square-toed boots could look old or clunky over time.

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