How to choose the right shoes

A wrong shoe with the right dress can make you look from chic to a chicken in a blink. Don't get cold feet, help is on its way

woman trying different types of shoesWithout exception, shoes are the most important fashion item that you will ever wear. They have the ability to tie your whole look together creating a well-dressed appearance, or negate the rest of your perfect ensemble by creating a mismatched look.

In addition to style, they have an indisputable power, when it comes to appearance. They can make us look taller, our legs look longer or shorter, our ankles look thick or thin; and above all, they have the ability to add the finishing touches to a great look.

Shoe rack staples


When it comes to footwear, women have many more choices than men. This can be a good and a bad thing. Having more choices is great but having more choices makes knowing what to wear, a bit trickier. Shoes are an essential part of a pulled together look and not to be worn haphazardly.The sneaker is a must-have for any woman’s wardrobe. For physical activity, choose running or walking sneakers. Canvas sneakers or flat casual sandals are great to wear with shorts, capris, or cargo pants.

Pumps [low or medium heel, closed or open-toe] and sling backs, are suitable for business. A two-inch pump with a low vamp creates a longer looking leg and a stacked pump is the perfect fit for pants. High elegant heels and dressy sandals are appropriate for evening and festive occasions.The loafer looks best when worn with slim or straight leg jeans or pants. Do not wear loafers with long skirts or wide-leg pants.

Long boots can be worn with jeans, dresses or pants. Long or ankle boots can be worn with pants. Long boots look great when worn with skirts. Avoid having a gap between the top of your boot and your skirt. If there is a gap, cover it with a dark hose.

Shoes with a low vamp, such as pumps, create a longer-looking leg. Large clunky shoes and shoes with large bulky heels make small ankles and thin legs look smaller and out-of-balance because the largeness of the shoe overpowers the leg. Thin, delicate heels, thin soles and ankle straps, make thick ankles look larger. It is important to choose shoes that are congruent with ankle and foot size.


Casual wear is an important part of every man’s lifestyle. When we think of casual dressing, we usually gravitate toward the sneaker. Sneakers come in many different styles. To look their best, they must be in harmony with the rest of the outfit.

Athletic sneakers, for instance, are meant for sports and are to be worn only with athletic shoes. If you are not involved in some sort of physical activity, then running shoes are not suitable.

The retro sneaker is meant for casual wear, usually worn with jeans. Retro sneakers come in a variety of colours, which makes them easy to fit into a casual wardrobe. Casual shoes, in the form of a lace-up-shoe with thin sole, loafers, the ankle boot, or moccasins are also suitable to be worn with jeans. The key is to make sure they match the outfit in colour and level of dress.

For business or formal occasions, the black dress shoe is the shoe of choice. Oxfords are good, all-round dress shoes. However, it is also important to own brown dress shoes to make matching easier. Wear black with black pants and suits and black or brown Oxfords with navy pants or suits. Brown shoes will automatically make your look appear more casual.

Pair of concerns

pair of shoesStudies show that unsuitable footwear contributes to a significant increase in foot complications and is linked to 60 – 80 per cent of all cases of foot damage. Laurier kinesiology professor Dr Stephen Perry is conducting research on how footwear affects our balance. And as you know your gait—our walk—depends on our sense of balance.

Perry often sees people whose balance is impaired by the shoes they are wearing. He says, “We typically have footwear, which can affect sensing and reacting to potential balance disturbances.” For instance, according to him prolonged use of high heels may lead to physiological problems for its wearer later in life. He says they make our muscles adjust to a certain kind of balance. And if we switch to flats suddenly, our body finds this shift dramatic. It can, in fact, affect how our body reacts to a missed step or bump, leading to a fall. Not just high heels, other shoes too, can cause problems. For instance, small toe boxes too restrict our toes and thick-soled running shoes can impair our foot’s ability to feel terrain differences.

—Team CW

Shoe tips


The fit of your shoe not only affects your health, but also your look. Imagine wearing shoes that are large for you; they’ll affect your walk and look out of place. Plus the discomfort will show. Try these tips to get the right fit.

  • Don’t buy shoes—no matter how much anyone insists that they fit you well—if you are not comfortable in them. Only you can decide that.
  • Don’t buy a pair that is even a little tight thinking it will stretch with wear. It won’t.
  • Don’t think that your shoe size remains constant in an adulthood. Sizes change with your age and size. Our feet spread with age, or reduce with weight loss. So, measure your feet every time you buy a pair.
  • Measure each foot as both are of different sizes. Buy shoes that fit the bigger foot.
  • Shop for shoes in the evening; your feet swell towards the end of the day.
  • Don’t stick to wearing the same shoe size every time because size depends on the shoe style, and the brand.

Wearing and pairing

No matter what you are wearing, your shoe should harmonise with the outfit in colour, occasion and weight. For example, with a light silk pastel dress, choose a shoe that is light in weight and colour; and with mid-weight pants, choose a thin leather shoe with a light sole in a dark colour.

  • To get shoe colour right, match it with your hem.
  • Rotate your shoes every day
  • Buy dress socks in wool or cotton
  • Buy the best quality shoes you can afford
  • Match your belt to your shoe.

— Team CW

Sheila Dicks
Sheila Dicks is an image and wardrobe consultant. Her motto help people reach their full potential and perk up their self-confidence with improved dress sense. She lives in Nova Scotia, Canada.


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