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In the very early stages of Poplin, I won a pair of shoes (of my choice!) from one of my very favorite retailers, the now defunct SoleStruck. I really wanted a pair of giant platform clogs. They were the result of a collaboration between Opening Ceremony and Chloe Sevigny. What could be better. There were two options: black leather or white patent leather. I was on the fence, but kept coming back to the white and since they were free, I decided to take the plunge. At the time, white shoes seemed like insanity. Naturally, there were few places to look for style inspiration and I found myself experimenting with them with much success. In fact, this blog post details that journey.
That experience was just the beginning of my white shoe phase. Next up, platform white Birkenstocks, white sneakers and so many others. My latest love is my white pair of Vince slides. As a personal stylist who works with real women using pieces in their existing collection or purchased using their actual budgets, it's vital that I know how to maximize pieces for my clients. White shoes and the challenges of styling them have come up often. That brings us to white shoes. They are ubiquitous, so if you don't already have a pair, you soon will. Now, let's make sure you know how to wear them so you get the most out of this hot trend. Off we go!
5 Ways to Style White Shoes
1. With White Accessories.
Believe it, my friends. Matchy- matchy is back full force. So, if you are rocking a white shoe, tie it to white somewhere else in your outfit. Accessories are a really easy way to do this. I have a necklace with wood, white and black beads. This makes it easy for me to pair white shoes with a colored dress and a black handbag. You can also introduce a black blazer or cardigan into the mix with an accessory that ties it all together. Alternatively, try a pair of white earrings or white with metal. White and gold earrings, gold bracelet and/or ring and white shoes. See how it all comes together? What does the rest of the outfit look like? Options abound.
2. With White Nail Polish.
The easiest way to integrate white into your look is with white nail polish. Think white out on your nails in junior high. (If you didn't actually do that, perhaps you saw someone who did. Or maybe you skipped detention? I digress.) Anyway, white nail polish means that any white accessories (handbag, shoes, jewelry) make sense with your overall look. Clients often ask for a "put together" style. This is a great way to achieve that.
3. With White on Top.
Now this is where your body type comes into play. If we're trying to draw the eye down and balance out broad shoulders, white shoes and a darker top are the way to go. But, if you carry your weight on the bottom half or across your middle, you'll want to balance out those attention-getting white shoes with something bright and eye catching on top. Wearing white on top will feel fresh as it will illustrate the current trend of coordinated outfits and it will balance your frame nicely. Do this with a top or one of my very favorite things, a white blazer. Consider a floral dress, white blazer and white shoes. Now, notice the smile on your face.
4. With White on the Bottom.
At this point, the vast majority of women have a pair of white jeans or white pants. Stylistically, these work well with white shoes. Again, remember the goal to keep things balanced. If you try this approach and feel like you are too top heavy (because the white pants + shoes feel like one section that is dominated by your top half) or your bottom half feels too heavy (because you have a dark shirt on and your bottom half becomes the focal point), make a change. If you don't feel like you are off balance, just go for it. One benefit of white bottoms and white shoes is that a monochromatic look is elongating. So, yes, you'll look taller. Also, balance isn't just about color. It's about shape, too. If things don't feel right, consider a different cut of pants (wide leg, a-line, etc.) or try a pair of white shoes with a differently colored sole or eye catching details. Experiment.
Sometimes, you may find that white shoes work just fine as the only white piece in your look. Consider a green and blue striped dress with white Addidas sneakers. Super cute. Yes?
You might have noticed that I didn't mention white shoes and a white handbag. I also didn't mention white shoes and a white hat. Nor did I mention with an all white look. There will undoubtedly be occasions that someone makes these approaches work. When you are that someone, nicely done. But, I wouldn't head in those directions without careful consideration. White shoes and a white backpack can be adorable. While white shoes and a white handbag, may or may not really work out, depending on the paring. So, just think carefully and dive in when it feels right. Also, if you are going with an all white look that isn't for a white party consider a nude or metallic shoe for the best result.
As with everything, know your personal style and be sure that what you are wearing is communicating who YOU are. If you love it, do it. When you are happy about how you present yourself to the world, you'll enter every situation with more self confidence and joy and we need that right now. So, please, bring it, Dear Reader. I'll see you and your white shoes out there!