Fashion Magazine

When Should You Wear Nude Shoes?

By Imogenl @ImogenLamport

Which Outfits Should You Wear Nude Shoes With?

Nude shoes are something you see frequently on the red carpet and they can be a great addition to your shoe wardrobe.  But when should you wear them and who do they suit the most?

How to decide when to wear nude shoes to elongate the leg and when to wear dark shoes that match your hair to create visual grouping?

There are two concepts here so you have to decide what is more important to you.

Nude Shoes Elongate the Leg

The first concept is that nude shoes elongate your legs. A nude shoe, one that blends with the colour of your skin on your foot, will make your legs look longer by creating a seamless transition from skin to shoe.

Nude shoes will have a leg elongating effect because they are not drawing attention to your feet. They continuing the colour of your leg create that illusion of longer legs with an extra few centimetres inches of leg length.

Nude shoes are a really great colour to wear with skirts, shorts, dresses, anything where the hem is not low down at your ankle. Midi skirts that end at your calf tend to actually have a leg shortening effect. This is where nude shoes can be brilliant. They add that length back in that you are cropping off by having that midi length.

Nude heels can also be used to tone down a busy outfit. If for example, you work in a more casual environment and you are wearing prints, they can be overwhelming to the eye and create lots of activity. One simple way to balance this is by wearing a nude shoe. 

If you are wearing nude shoes to lengthen your legs, remember to keep them simple. A subtle platform or peep-toe are fine, but complicated designs and embellishments will ensure your footwear has the opposite effect.

There are many shades of nude depending on your skin colour. Don’t be afraid to line up all the nude shoes in the shop to determine the best shade of nude for you – lining them up makes it easier to distinguish the pinker nudes from the yellow nudes from the grey nudes. You want the shoe that disappears when you look at your face

Linking Your Shoes to Your Hair

Visual grouping so this is a concept where our brain organises visual information into wholes, rather than parts.  When we repeat colours from such as hair colour and shoe colour, you create a visual group, like bookends and we find that quite aesthetically pleasing.

Visual Grouping - choosing shoes that match your hair colour to bookend your outfit

You can see with the nude shoe on the left relates to both my skin-tone and my hair colour. The black shoes on the right draw attention to my feet in a less flattering way.  

By choosing a shoe in your hair colour, the eye travels down your body to your feet, the shoe colour relates to your hair, which then draws our eyes back up to your face, thus completing a circle, making our brain realise that there is some similarity occurring and creating a visual looping effect.

When I had my very dark brown hair, black shoes would look more finished than a nude shoe as it created the bookend effect. I have long legs so it was very easy for me to wear dark shoes and not cut off too much leg length (this is where your body proportions come into this choice). For someone with blonde hair, if they wear a black shoe and an otherwise medium to light outfit, this is unrelated to their colouring and so we are likely to get stuck at the shoe and not be drawn back up to your face.

Which shoe colour is best?

It’s really up to you and the outfit that you are wearing… There are no rules only guidelines so take some outfit photos using both concepts to help you compare and assess what works best for your outfit and body proportions.Which is your best nude shoe colour - the simple test to find out

If you have proportionally longer legs, visual grouping is the way you want to go with your shoes matching your hair colour. If you have shorter legs then you can go for the nude shoe.

A knee-length skirt is better suited to visual grouping with your shoes matching your hair. A longer midi skirt is best suited to nude shoe.

Lastly, if you can’t decide then don’t be afraid to make your shoes the hero!

Further Reading

How to Choose Linking Pieces and Accessories to Co-ordinate Your Outfit More Stylishly

What Colour Shoes to Choose?

8 Simple Ways to Make Your Legs Look Longer

Essential Shoe Wardrobe

When Should You Wear Nude Shoes?


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