Style

How to pair bags and shoes

This is one of those fashion rules from way back that still manages to stump women of all ages. When it comes to accessories of any sort you want to aim for a coordinated effort, not a matching set

heels, shoes, bag, fashion, style

Plan shoes and Donges bag, Aldo

purse, flat, style, fashion

Flat and clutch, Banana Republic

colour, fashion, style, boots

Shoulder bag and boot, The Shopping Channel/American Eagle Outfitters

Olivia Palermo, beauty, fashion

Olivia Palermo, Patrick Aventurier/Image.net

Q: Should my bag and shoes match?

A: This is one of those fashion rules from way back that still manages to stump women of all ages. When it comes to accessories of any sort you want to aim for a coordinated effort, not a matching set. Matching shoes and bags don’t have nearly the same level of visual interest, and can have a particularly aging effect. Individual flair is one of the strongest pillars of personal style, and since shoes and bags are such standout wardrobe items simply matching them is a missed opportunity for expressing how fabulous you are. Don’t match ’em, mix ’em!

If your first choice in shoes and bags is always black, look to shake things up with a combination of textures. This will keep the overall effect from looking flat. Try a glossy, croc-print tote with pony hair flats, or a pebbled leather shoulder bag with fringed suede booties. With a black bag, footwear in any dark neutral shade will work. Period. Dove grey loafer heels, navy ballet slippers or cognac-coloured riding boots are all prime examples. The same is true if your daily tote is brown. This also gives you the option of monochromatic pairings, say a shopper in chocolate and boots in caramel. Delish.

Printed shoes and bags can be mixed with neutrals and solid bright colours. Leopard print and red is an incredibly chic combo, so there’s no reason why spotted heels and a red tote couldn’t step out together. And, in some cases, two printed accessories are better than one. Yes, really! A snakeskin printed mini-messenger bag could be seen with floral heels, if the tones were similar. In the case of printed duos, one should catch your eye slightly more than the other, they shouldn’t compete for attention.

For evening, essentials tend to be small in scale (a clutch that fits in your palm, rather than a laptop-sized carryall) and more delicate in silhouette (ladylike pumps and sexy peep toes, not chunky heels and all-terrain soles), so you have more license to mix with sartorial abandon because they won’t overwhelm the eye. Know that metallic tones go with everything – even other metallic tones. A silver clutch and gold heels can be dazzling. Just keep an eye on textures to maintain a sophisticated look. Think sequin heels and a satin bag, rather than glitter-covered everything. Metallics with vibrant hues also work brilliantly. Your silver heels would love to take a bright pink clutch on a date.

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