Fashion For Real Women

The "Rules" of Shoes

"I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes.
I had one thousand and sixty."
 --Imelda Marcos

For some, it's an obsession. For others, it's merely a necessity. For those of us somewhere in the middle, it's a sometime source of consternation.

What am I talking about? Shoes!

Whether you love them, couldn't care less, or are somewhere in between, there's no denying that shoes can make or break an ensemble. While choosing the right style is important, so is caring for your foot and your budget.

Here are some "best buy" guidelines:

1. If you can only afford one good shoe, make it a closed-toe pump in black or taupe (cool) or beige (warm). These seasonless neutrals will blend with everything in your wardrobe, and work well with either skirts or pants.

2. Shoe color should be the same value or darker than your hemline. This grounds the look without calling attention to your feet.

Black Pumps
Michael Kors

3. The more foot that shows, the less businesslike the shoe. Sandals, mules, and T-straps are not appropriate for business. However, a closed-toe, sling back pump is acceptable in most business settings.

4. If you have large legs, avoid T-straps or ankle straps, wide heels, and round or square toes. These styles visually enlarge legs and widen the foot.

5. Buy the best you can afford in materials that will span the seasons. Although it will cost more up front, it's the best investment of your money in the long run.

In short, think before you buy. How much wear will you get from this shoe? Will it last this season or several seasons? Does it go with at least three outfits in your closet? If it's not a good investment, don't buy it. Your money is better spent elsewhere.


Diana Pemberton-Sikes is a wardrobe and image consultant and author of Accessory Magic, an ebook that shows women how to use their fashion accessories to define their style and stretch their budgets. Visit her online at .

 Accessory Magic has a whole chapter on shoes

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