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Picking the Right Shoes for Each Occasion

By: Libby Pelham BA - Updated: 10 Sep 2012 | comments*Discuss
Shoes Running Shoes Casual Shoes Dress

It may sound like a no-brainer – you have an important function or event coming up and you must have the right outfit. It would seem that picking the right shoes would be easy once you get over the outfit hurdle, but too many people put most of their focus on the outfit and save little for the shoes. Choosing the right shoes is a very important part of the dressing process that may inadvertently be overlooked.

Remember that not only do your shoes compliment the outfit; but they also tell people a little bit about you and your personality. Think of your overall outfit and what message you are trying to convey to others when choosing shoes for an occasion.

Business Occasion

For women, wearing shoes with smaller heels may tell the others you are serious about your career. A business suit with strappy, high heels gives a mixed message because your outfit may suggest seriousness, but your feet may be screaming “party.” Flats are appropriate sometimes, but with business suits, they may look a bit sloppy, so double-check to make sure the flat shoes are dressy enough to complete the professional look.

Men have it a little easier than women do when it comes to picking the right business shoe. For men, oxfords, loafers, cap toes, dress boots, and monk straps are all acceptable for business wear.

Formal Occasion

When going to a dance or another type of formal occasion, women wearing high heels often give off the vibe that they are feeling romantic and feminine, which is a great way to feel at a formal event. But remember, you want to wear comfortable heels. Walking around a formal event looking like your feet are hurting is not a good thing and can ruin your special night.

Again, with formal shoes, men have it easy. Any shoe that is appropriate for business (with the exception of a loafer unless it is a very dress loafer) should be fine for a formal occasion. However, the same thing goes for comfort – make sure it is comfortable to wear!

Casual Occasion

Casual events are a much easier occasion in which to pick the right shoe. With casual events, you want to focus on two things: the shoes are casual and they match your outfit.

If you are female and wearing mixed colours – say a red top with black pants – you will want to choose a colour of shoes that matches your pants (or skirt). This gives a more elongated impression of the outfit and makes you appear thinner. Wearing red shoes in the example above will chop up the look. It is fine if you are thin, but remember no matter what your size, it will make you look a bit larger. With jeans, most women prefer to wear flat shoes, unless it is a bit of a dress casual occasion, then you may want to wear heels.

For men, casual occasions mean casual shoes. You should be able to judge by what you are doing and who will be there if the event calls for sneakers or something a bit dressier like loafers.

If your casual event includes running, be sure to pick the right running shoes. Running shoes should leave you adequate room at the toe, there should be adequate room at the widest part for your foot (running shoes should not be tight), and the heel should fit snugly again the back of the shoe to prevent rubbing and blisters.

Next time you get ready to leave the house for an event, stop at the door, look closely at your shoes, and ask yourself “Are these the right shoes? Are they the right colour? Are they appropriate for the occasion? Are they comfortable?” You want your shoes to match your outfit and be appealing, but again, if they are not comfortable, you will likely end up having a miserable night.

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