Picking Elegant Shoes
& Elegant Heels
Even though elegant shoes & elegant heels seemed to be the last to be noticed, they are a very important part of our outfit.
If you do not have a big budget to spend, all the more you have to select your shoes carefully. Buy basic colours like black, beige and navy in classic styles.
For everyday shoes, choose a low to medium shoe with a solid heel. Calf court shoes for the afternoon. Leave the high heels for evening wear.
The important thing is that they have to be comfortable. Walking in terrible fitting and painful shoes will ruin your day (and your posture.)
Never buy cheap-looking shoes or heels (even if they are expensive).
The most elegant heels all closed pumps. They always go well with almost every outfit in the classic colours. I think elegance is designed to prevent 'too much fuss'. With such shoes, you don't have to worry about getting professional pedicures too often.
If you have big feet, stay away from white or chunky shoes. Depend on where are you going, opt for a slim heel to give an illusion of smaller feet.
Ankle straps draw attention to your ankles and gives a 'break' in the silhouette. Personally, I avoid shoes that 'cut' off at the ankle, such as ankle boots, ankle straps, sandals that have a high back. I've also noticed that they make your ankles look a lot bigger than they really are, so wear them if you have skinny legs.
The only way to wear an ankle strap I've found if you are wearing a very frilly short cocktail dress where it can be paired up with silver or shiny black strappies.
Of course, with any shoes showing skin or nails, they must be buffed or have the perfect pedicure.
Elegant Shoes, Elegant Heels
Categorize Your Shoes
I split my shoes into three categories:
1) Walking shoes
2) The Dress shoe
3) Evening or Cocktail shoes
Elegant Shoes, Elegant Heels Basics
These go with me everywhere for my daily errands. If I'm going to the library, or to get some groceries, or if I'm heading to a cafe for lunch with a friend. They are perfect for the country or in the mountains, for a picnic or a walk in Central Park.
I find it easier to have these elegant shoes in neutral colours, so I don't even have to think about matching when I wear them. My current pair is beige, as you can see on the left (and you can tell its worn!). As you can see to the left, this is my favourite pair. I use them till they die, then I seek to replace them.
I've gone through many 'walking shoes' in mainly off-whites, beige, black and navy. Ballerinas or ballet shoes and loafers make the perfect shoes for the casual ensemble.
Ballerinas are very sweet and feminine. These elegant shoes are very slimming for the feet especially those who have wide feet. They tend to be a bit too flat for me, but now there are ones that has a firmer heel. It helps to get a shoe-padding insert as well.
Loafers - Another Elegant Shoes Alternative
On the right just below the ballerinas, you can see my alternative pair of walking shoes - loafers. I usually like to wear with linen pants.
They make perfect travel elegant shoes as well. Easy to take on and off, comfortable enough to walk for hours, lightweight, you can wear this in all seasons and go with almost everything in your travel wardrobe. A good brand to buy is Tod's, though I'm sure you can get similar styles with other designers.
My other walking shoes are sports shoes designed for walking. Since walking is my main form of exercise for now, it is important to get the right ones to lessen the impact of your feet and joints. I've been advised to change them every half a year.
The other very popular form for walking shoes are 'flip-flops', as they call it. I personally have a pair but I don't advise you to wear them unless its a short distance from your house or unless you are going to the beach.
Most of them offer poor support for your feet and back, and the impact from the ground causes you to hurt your back if worn extended hours. They provide no coverage and protection for your feet and I've personally witnessed many times people tripping and hurting themselves due the sloppy nature of the sandal, getting caught on stairs and on escalators or others stepping on them.
Also, due to the flimsy way they are held under your feet, they cause your posture to suffer. If you notice, it is hard to walk in a proper dignified way and you tend to walk with a 'sweeping motion'. It may look good on a still photograph, but it is hardly elegant when you witness the motion.
P.s. No matter how elegant heels they may be, do not attempt to walk for long hours or shop in them. They hurt your back, posture and are not good for your health.
Elegant Shoes: Flip Flops Not Always Elegant
So I also suggest staying away from dressier shoes that model the 'slipper' or 'flip-flop' no matter how pretty and chic they look with heels. Not to mention that your feet will pick up a lot more dirt as well.
At this point, I'd say most of us need a pair, for the benefits of convenience, the easy-to-wash, lightweight and comfort that it provides.
I know most beach brands have good quality ones which you can buy, but right now I only buy Havaianas due to the support at heel on impact. They also don't give me blisters. They are so popular and rather expensive for their type. In fact, my chocolate brown pair just got stolen. :( Though thankfully it got replaced miraculously by a freebie one at a charity fashion show.
Elegant Shoes, Elegant Heels
The Dress Shoe
This shoe is slightly dressier events. Lunch in the city with a friend, high tea, shopping downtown, a dinner party, watching a movie, going to a museum. It is basically your 'social and leisure' activities shoe.
I am in favour of the medium heel as it helps you have better posture and not look sloppy. Also, since its a dressier event, a medium heel would suffice. Sometimes a low heel creates an impression of negligence.
A very popular city shoe are known as 'court shoes'. You can ask for them in shops On the left is my current dress shoe. It is dark chocolate brown, which I think is a bit more elegant than harsh black. It goes with all my day dresses and some evening dresses. I also have another pair with a slimmer heel in cream, but it is not with me at the moment!
Again, as the elegant principles for elegant shoes, always steer towards classic styles and colours. When shoes were first made, they were made with protection in mind and as we progressed, they incorporated style. In favour of our fashion-obsessed world, most shoes on sale are made with appearance in mind, prioritizing over support and even now, practicality.
I prefer the classic fashion - closed pumps. They are conservative, do not show skin, they give a proper 'balance' to your outfit by not distracting and taking eyes to your feet.
They are not as available as they used to be but I'm sure you can find them in good shops. It is your responsibility to invest in a good fit and material.
Other alternatives are medium heels though I favour the ones with a backing. Without a proper back to secure your whole foot, your walk may become sloppy as you either have sweeping movements or have the tendency to take long strides.
Elegant Shoes, Elegant Heels
The Evening or Cocktail shoe
This is for the dressiest events in your life. When you head out for drinks, for a ball, for a dance, or to a cocktail, Christmas party on a boat, basically everytime you want to look your absolute best.
How formal a cocktail shoe will depend on the material, the heel, and its colour. If you love high heels, this is the right time to be wearing a high heel without looking ridiculous.
Those shoes on my right are from this little boutique shop in Sydney many years ago. I love it so much that I take extreme care of it and it usually travels with me wherever I go.It is very lovely to match the colour of your elegant shoe to your dress or your bag (not both), or have matching material to your bag or dress.
Custom shoe makers are becoming a rarity of course in this fast world of mass production, as well as those that will make a matching shoe and bag with the material. I still see it around in some countries. Since they are unavailable, if you have the luxury, shop well for matching shoe and bag.
For extra feminine elegance, invest in elegant shoes made of satin or silk when you have some spare savings. They are very lovely.
For those with a limited budget, you only need a couple of pairs that will go with everything.
Bright coloured shoes always add a little spark to your outfit. These elegant shoes can be very chic. If you do love your shoes, ensure your entire outfit is of only one or two colours that blend with each other and not contrast, then add a little pair of red heels at the end.
It's been said that too high a heels are vulgar. While that is true, I do feel that wearing high heels is more accepted these days than in the past, but please confine them to wearing them only to dressy events, not to ski slopes, mountains, gardens or anywhere in the country.
Elegant Shoes, Elegant Heels
Extra Caution: Choose Shoes Carefully
The height of your heels affect the way you walk. Check yourself in the mirror when you walk in those heels. Also, though it sounds silly but train yourself to walk, not with a runway walk, but a walk that is a little "still." It is distracting to see someone bopping up and down or swaying side to side or 'marching'.
Your Comfort Comes First
I'm sure all of your have had the experience of wearing shoes that are ill fitting and they ruin your day. After that fateful day, we are left with blisters to heal over the next few weeks.
One note - it is never worth it.
Even if you can bear the pain, I was told people who love fashion have a high threshold of pain, a "tortured" look, "awkward walk" are something that cannot be prevented no matter how much pain you can endure.
It doesn't matter how many fashion magazines have esteemed the designer. A good shoe does not necessarily fit your feet because we are all unique.
Train Yourself To Know How To Fit Your Shoe
It is also hard to tell whether a shoe simply needs breaking in, or whether it'll be ill-fitting for life. I have wasted perhaps thousands of dollars trying to 'make it work'. If it doesn't break it by the 10th time you wore it, forget it. Wear them at home for a week each time for 2 hours before you take them out.
I find it helpful to stick to boutiques and brands that I know who can offer reliable elegant shoes. Sometimes I find it very helpful to identify a salesperson who is very good at fitting a shoe to your feet and I tend to shop only when he/she is working.
Have fun with your shoes! Thank you for reading Elegant Shoes!
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