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Style SOS: How to wear pastel shoes

From our ASK.fm question box:

how to wear pastel shoes

selection of pastel shoes

Pastels, as we’re sure we don’t need to tell you, are as ubiquitous in Spring/Summer as florals are, and pastel shoes have been a trend for the past couple of years, with mint, lemon and baby blue footwear particularly in evidence.

While pastel shoes LOOK cute, summery and easy to wear, however, they can actually be rather tricky to style. Those soft pastel shades may look pretty on the screen, but once you put them on your feet those light colours can look much brighter than you might have expected to. They’re colours that draw the eye right to them, which means they can make your feet look larger than they really are, while overwhelming the rest of your look.

So, how do you wear them?

As pastel shoes come in every kind of style and shape imaginable, and exactly what you wear with them will, to a large extent, depend on the shoe itself, here are some general suggestions:

Choose sandals rather than pumps

As mentioned above, pale-coloured shoes draw attention right to your feet, and pastels have a similar kind of effect to bright white in this respect. The easiest way to wear pastel shoes, then, is to do it in small doses, going for a strappy sandal rather than a closed-toe pump or large platform. In the collage above, for instance, the sandals in the centre of the image will probably be the easiest to wear, because the slim straps allow you to have the look of pastel shoes without too many of the drawbacks of them. The pale blue wedges, meanwhile, will create a bold look, despite the delicate colour, because they cover a much larger area, and will make your feet appear correspondingly larger.

Make pastel shoes the focal point of the outfit

We’re not fond of fashion rules, as we’ve said before, but we do tend to think that one “statement” piece per outfit is enough. Even a very simple pair of pastel shoes will make something of a statement, so it can be a good idea to let them do the talking, rather than drowning them out with too many prints or accessories which will compete with them.

Go neutral

With any very usual or brightly-coloured shoes, one of the easiest ways to wear them is to pair them with neutral shades like white or black. Black will work with any pastel you can think of, but will make the colour look brighter in comparison. White, meanwhile, is a great choice with pastels, because it allows them to stand out, but in a slightly more muted way.

Pastel shoes with pastel clothes

pastel shoes and jeans

Styling: J Crew

One of the great things about pastels is that they work with, well, most other pastels. While the colour blocking trend of 2011/12 focuses mainly on mixing bold, jewel tones, it’s just as effective – and a little easier to pull off – with pastel shades. Sure, you might run the risk of looking like a candy store exploded on you, but mixing pastels can look great if done right, and it’s a little more interesting than sticking to neutrals. If you’re not into colour blocking, a really effective trick is to match the colour of the shoes to the bottom half of your outfit (or to your dress, if you’re wearing one). In the image above, for instance, the mint shoes are worn with mint jeans, which creates a pulled-together look, and prevents the eye from going straight to the shoes and stopping there. In this example, J Crew have avoided the “candy” effect by using two neutral colours on the top half of the outfit, so the overall effect isn’t too “busy”.

These are some very general suggestions on how to wear pastel shoes, but of course, they’re far from the ONLY ways, so we’d love to hear some suggestions from our readers, here. Do you own any pastel shoes? What do you tend to wear them with, if so?

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