How to Pick a Shoe Color Part 2: Match Your Hair (Bookend)
In this warm weather footwear series, I am reviewing our choices when we select a shoe color for our outfits.
Previous posts in the series:
Part 1: Match Your Skin Tone (Nude to You)
Today we'll continue with another "matching yourself" option: wearing shoes that match/coordinate with your hair color. This styling strategy goes by many different names, such as visual grouping, bookending, and top 'n tail.
Some of the benefits of bookending your shoes with your hair color:
It always matches your outfit because you are probably wearing your own hair. (If you are wearing a wig, you would match that color instead.)
It creates a visual loop from your hair to your feet and back to your hair, which brings attention to your face/portrait area.
It looks "finished," visually balanced, and aesthetically pleasing.
I have several pairs of shoes that coordinate well with my hair color, which is a natural blonde with colors ranging from a medium-light golden blonde through dark blonde. The variety of colors in my hair gives me a lot to work with when selecting coordinating colors. The nude wedges that I consider nude-to-me despite being somewhat darker and warmer beige than my skin tone actually do a good job of repeating the lighter blonde colors from my hair. I also have two pairs of gold metallic shoes that pick up the gold blonde in my hair (I will discuss these shoes later). I have animal print shoes with various beige or cognac colors that are wonderful with my hair (I will discuss them later too). My taupe-beige ankle boots and tall cognac boots are great winter options that tie back to my hair color. This leaves me two pairs of shoes to cover today.
Taupe Smoking Slippers
I didn't realize when I bought these Gap brand smoking slippers at Goodwill ($10, July 2015) what a wonderful shoe option they'd turn out to be. At the time, I found this brown/grey color kind of strange, but I liked the style (one that I didn't already have) and the comfort of them, so I gave them a chance. Of course, taupe is actually a marvelously versatile neutral, and with my hair darker now than it was then, it serves as a good bookend color these days. I've worn these shoes 30 times for a current cost per wear (CPW) of $0.33, and they are still in good condition despite being bought secondhand.
I wear these shoes with pants/jeans in fall, winter, and spring. I like them a lot with green, beige/brown, and burgundy, but as a neutral that echoes my hair color, they work with just about anything but black.
Brown Pointy-Toed Flats
I hear you - my hair isn't brown, so what gives? Yes, these flats are an obvious bookend color for a woman with brown hair, but I find the brown to be a very useful dark neutral that grounds an outfit and is related to my hair color (they are somewhat darker than the darkest areas of my hair). This makes these flats a great alternative to black shoes for me. I bought these Frye brand flats in April 2014 for $111. They have been worn 111 times for a CPW of $1 (how's that for some conveniently easy math?), and I swear they are just hitting their stride. Frye has a reputation for good quality leather shoes/boots, which is quite well-deserved if my experience is typical.
This is another pair of shoes that have come more fully into their own in recent years. I purchased them with the intention of wearing them with brown (which I did). And of course I do still wear them that way, but I also wear them in outfits with little to no brown. When I bought my brown Slothlorien necklace in summer 2021 (see outfit #12 below for a close up), that gave me the start of a brown beauty bundle/accessory set that I can easily complete with brown bracelets (as in outfit #7 below).
If you aren't sure what colors would work well to match your hair color, Angie Cox at You Look Fab lays out your options in this post for platinum blonde through rainbow hair.
If you have a hair color that is very different from your skin tone, Imogen Lamport at Inside Out Style provides some guidance on the "match your skin or match your hair" dilemma in this post.
Do you wear shoes that match to your footwear? Do you ever wear darker neutral footwear to ground your look?
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