What Shoes to Wear With a Red Dress

Anna Paquin went classic with a red dress and black heels at the Vanity Fair Oscars after party.

Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

You already know that the shoes can make the outfit. After all, you can walk out the door without bracelets or a hat or even a purse, but you just don't go out in public without shoes. When it comes to pieces as bold as a red dress though -- which can make a big statement on their own -- you may not think it matters what you wear on your feet. Think again. The right shoes can transform your look, making a red dress classic, sultry, sunny or bold.

Classic Pumps

Red for evening makes a bold, "look at me," statement, so if you plan to wear your red dress for a night out, pumps are a classic, stylish choice. Patent pumps in nude have a decidedly '50s vibe, while suede or patent black pumps add some luxury and sex appeal. If you want to keep the focus on the dress or other accessories, simple shoes are best, but if the shoes are the main attraction, look for pumps with a little something extra. Try shoes with metallic details (buckles, nail-head studs, etc.), scalloped edges or a platform in a contrasting material.

Strappy Metallics

Another evening-appropriate shoe for a red dress is something with a little shine. This is an especially good option if your dress has some sheen. It may seem like a no-no to do two metallics together, but the combination is confident and interesting. Don't shy away from strappy sandals with added interest in the form of bows, buckles or crystals.

Natural Wedge

Not every dress is meant to be paired with stilettos, so if you want to create a casual outfit with a red dress, add in wedges. Choose a shoe with a natural vibe, like espadrilles or cork-soled shoes. Shades of sand and taupe are light and casual, and allow the red of the dress to steal the show. This look works best with dresses that are jersey-knit and unfussy, creating a beach vacation vibe.

Contrasting Color

Color-blocking was seen all over the runways for Spring 2011, and it's a fresh and unexpected way to wear a dramatic color like red. Pair a red dress with your favorite solid, brightly colored shoes. Pink, orange and yellow all work well, thanks to their bright hues and proximity to red on the color wheel. It's a very bold look, but one that will have people admiring your fabulous fashion sense anew.

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