I’ve been drooling over the various printed shoes and sandals that are flooding the shops this season, and since the amazing folks at ideeli were kind enough to send me a pair of pumps from Desigual’s new line of footwear,* I thought I’d whip up a post about printed shoes. Mostly because – if I’m being honest – they challenge me.
And by “challenge,” I mean “stymie.”
Now, I realize that this is subject to taste and preference, but I find animal prints to be far easier to style:
Animal prints are typically done up in neutral colors, and read fairly neutral themselves. They can be incorporated into colorful mixes, neutral ensembles, or any hybrid with relative ease.
It’s colorful prints that trip me up. The shoes themselves are gorgeous, but working them seamlessly into a sophisticated ensemble is no mean feat. Here are the three main tricks I use to style my printed shoes:
It’s not exactly polka dots and plaid, but there IS a print mix going on within this outfit. Printed shoes are energetic and eye-catching, and a great way to balance them out is to incorporate pattern elsewhere in your ensemble. A printed top is ideal – like this striped button-front shirt – but a printed scarf can do the job just as well.
Printed shoes can also be worn with printed dresses, but make sure that the two prints create a harmonious mix. For instance, these brightly colored pumps have a fairly large scale floral print, so they complement their print opposites: Fairly neutral regular geometrics like polka dots, stripes, or even gingham.
If your printed shoes will be the lone printed item in your outfit, picking colors from the shoes’ print and utilizing those colors in solids will create a unified look. Depending upon the print in question, this can allow for some very bold color pairings, but you could certainly choose to temper them with a neutral or two.
This particular outfit was designed to showcase the shoes, but it could be tweaked to be less shoe-centric. Remove the tights, and add a bold statement necklace up top to balance the printed pumps and you’ll achieve a more even distribution of focus.
This option may be the trickiest, but it’s awfully fun when it works. If you happen to have a pair of printed shoes with a pattern that occurs elsewhere in your wardrobe, throw it into the mix and see what happens! Florals, polka dots, stripes, and even plaid have been known to show up on the occasional pair of shoes, and those prints are common enough that they may also lurk within your closet.
Here, I’ve picked up the stripes on the platform of my Desigual peeptoes, and repeated it by wearing a seersucker dress. Both striped patterns include white, so they pair well and create a very spring-y mix.
Just a few ideas to get you started! Have fun experimenting with your own printed shoes and see what outfit combos you can come up with on your own.