How to Pick a Shoe Color Part 1: Match Your Skin Tone (Nude to You)
With temperatures on the rise across the northern hemisphere, it's time (even in Minnesota) to ditch the boots and tights and turn our attention to footwear with less coverage...like loafers, flats, and sandals...worn without (visible) socks! In this series, I'll work through our choices when we select a shoe color for our outfits and share a lot of examples from my OOTD archives. (This is a good opportunity to show some of my older OOTD photos I have not yet shared on the blog.)
Today we'll start with the most basic, classic, fool-proof warm weather shoe option: the nude-to-you shoe that matches your skin tone. (Note that when I say "match" in this series, I really mean "match/coordinate in the same/similar color" because you don't have to match your shoe color perfectly!) I will never say there is anything literally every woman should own, but if I were to make the list of pieces that many women would find useful, the nude-to-you summer shoe is right up there.
Some of the benefits of nude-to-you shoes:
It always matches your outfit because you are always wearing your own skin. (If you are not always wearing your own skin...well, I really can't help you there.)
It de-emphasizes the feet and keeps the attention elsewhere.
It's a low-key option when an outfit has a lot going on.
It can elongate the legs when worn with a skirt/dress because there is no notable break point between the feet and legs.
If you don't know what to wear with an outfit, it always works.
I have 3 pairs of shoes I consider nude-to-me.
My oldest pair of nude-to-me shoes are nude wedges by Cole Haan purchased in Nov 2013 for $120 (one of my accessories from 2014 or earlier). I purchased them while I was interviewing for jobs after grad school. I didn't want to commit to a full-out pair of heels, but I thought these wedges were both comfortable and classic/dressy enough to work in a professional or business casual environment. I have worn them 100 times (!) for a cost per wear (CPW) of $1.20, and they are still in great shape.
I wear these wedges exclusively (or close to it) with skirts and dresses due to the (small) heel, as you can see from these OOTD photos. I wear them with skirts/dresses in solid accent colors, accent prints, semi-neutrals/colored neutrals, and neutrals. As far as the skin tone match goes, the shoes are a bit darker and more beige than my pale and pink-ish skin (and the contrast is always exaggerated in outfit photos). A closer match would be ideal, but I find these close enough to my skin color that the difference doesn't bother me, and I think they have the basic effects of nude-to-me shoes.
Nude Studded Flats
In 2016, I fell for the knock-off rockstud flats look and purchased these studded flats from Amazon for $20 in July. I've worn them 47 times for a CPW of $0.43, which is well below both my <$1 and my <$0.65 goals. These shoes are reaching the end of their lifespan, though; I think I'll make 60 wears but perhaps not much beyond that. I would like to buy a replacement pair before they wear out because I love the combination of the pointed toe and the studs, but it seems this style isn't having its fashion moment right now.
While I wear the wedges with skirts/dresses, the studded flats mostly go with pants...especially colorful ankle pants, which I wear often (#4 on my "feels like me" list), and capri pants. These shoes work well with bright pants because they are neutral and low-key (don't compete with pants) but still look interesting because of the studs. The color is a bit darker than my skin tone, but the cooler undertone works very well with my skin color. When my wedges wear out (if they wear out!), I would like to replace them with a nude tone that is more similar to these flats.
Light Grey Wedges
These pale grey/taupe shoes with a slight wedge are an interesting case of a nearly nude-to-me shoe...yes, I always categorize them with my other two pairs of nude shoes because they are light with a cool undertone that works well with my skin. I bought these BCBGeneration shoes in Dec. 2014 for $70; I have worn them 70 times for a CPW of $1 (with one more wear, I'll have met my goal).
I really like the color and style of these shoes, but they have been a bit of a disappointment to me in terms of durability. Though the main body of the shoe (which is leather) is still in good shape, there is a slight crack in the edging on each shoe. The cracks aren't super obvious, but it's enough that I would not wear these shoes in a situation where I want to look at all polished. (I still wear them for day to day WFH wear.) That issue is compounded by the fact that one day my foot slid on a pebble on the sidewalk at work (why do they edge sidewalks with pebbles??) and I fell forward on my hands, scraping the back of one of the shoes when it fell off me. So unfortunately, these shoes are probably on their way out. It's too bad because they are comfortable and looked really good when new!
Due to the very slight wedge, I happily wear these shoes with pants of any length and skirts/dresses...so they are quite versatile!
I think a pale blush pink would make a really good nude-to-me option, as weird as that feels to say. I would just want to make sure that the blush color leans more beige than pink so it would wear like a neutral rather than a semi-neutral or accent color.
Do you wear nude-to-you shoes? What color works well as a nude for you?
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