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T he key to successfully combine your dresses, skirts, or pants with your shoes is playing smart with proportions to achieve a balanced silhouette. Your body shape, as well as that of your clothes, and the details of your shoes should be considered thoroughly so that they coordinate. The goal is to create the illusion or maintain the impression of a nice figure.

A shorter or bulkier physique requires high heels that elongate it. A taller frame has more options, yet again looking “too tall” stands outside the desirable norm. It is needless to say that these fashion rules are constantly under revision as new avant-garde shapes are proposed by daring designers. So let’s tap into how we are mixing shoes and hems now.

Skinny & Straight-Leg Pants

They belong to a ‘no-brainer’ category, meaning they never make you doubt about your shoe choice. With flats they feel casual. High heels – especially stilettos – elongate the silhouette, and mid-heels increase the sophistication of the look. Skinny pants can also be tucked into booties, and knee or thigh-high boots. If the straight-leg hem is wider than the bootie, then let it partly cover it or roll its cuff a few centimeters up so that narrowest part of your legs becomes a little visible. Do not squeeze any excess into the shoe rim because gathered fabric is the opposite of clean slimming lines. Plus it causes friction with your skin, compromising your comfort.

Bootcut & Bell Bottoms

Both styles flare from the knee down and the only difference is that bell bottoms flare a bit more. Extra width visually shortens your silhouette. So, their mission – when combined with high-heel pointed-toe pumps – is to make you look taller. The hem should graze the top of your feet finishing a little above the ground. Avoid wearing these pants with flats, and if you are tall enough to ignore their benefit, at least style them with pointed toes. Keep in mind that the fabric should never hit the ground causing messy bulkiness, especially at the back. The minimum recommended heel height for these pants is 5 centimeters. Bootcut also pairs well with open-toe high heels.

Ankle-Length Pants

These belong to another versatile category of pants. Make sure that you picked the perfect fit and then play with any kind of shoes, from casual flats to fancy high heels; both pumps and sandals. Cropped lengths direct attention either to the ankle or to the shoes themselves. If, for example, your ankle isn’t your most flattering feature, do your best in picking impressively chic and glamorous shoes. Statement shoes will shine bright under a cuffed hem.

Boyfriend Jeans & Wide-Leg Pants

They are slouchy, so you need to offset this borrowed-from-men feature with ultra-feminine high-heel pumps or sandals. If you are into flats, try pointed-toe elegant styles. Avoid chunky heels, heavy platforms, and mannish brogues. Think also of high-heel booties, but let again a narrow strip of skin to be visible at the ankle level. If in a casual mood, you are also allowed to rock them with on-trend sock sneakers or sock boots. Our latest suggestion will be some designer kitten-heel slingbacks that are usually infusing raw hems with a generous dose of girliness.

Dresses & Skirts

Femininity is there and you are just taking it to the next level specifying the right shoes for each hem length and shape. Miniskirts – A-line, full, or straight – look classy with lower heels and flats. If combined with high heels and platforms, they give the impression that you are trying too hard. If you still need some extra height, embrace block heels or wedges. For a sporty feel, wear hip sneakers and for a preppy outfit try them with ballet flats. To revive the 60s mod style, accessorize your A-line mini dress with mid-heel loafers or square-toe Mary Jane pumps. Keep your high heels for your midi-length pencil skirts and sheath dresses because they are leg-lengthening. Ethereal summer maxis with flat Grecian sandals are effortless chic. You can dress them up with strappy high-heel sandals or pointed-toe stilettos. Solid fabric and tailored evening gowns look great with high-heel broad-toe pumps, and chunky block-heel platform sandals.

Special Cases and Exceptions

For a 70s feel mix your wide-leg jumpsuit with platform wedges. 50s trumpet skirts find their perfect match in kitten-heel sling backs or T-strap pumps (avoid flats and ankle boots). Moderate the girliness of your mini skirt with mannish brogues or flat boots. The wider the hem, the higher the heels should be, especially for petites. In business casual moments, knee-length skirts pair well with flats. Because office-appropriate pencil skirts taper, curvier women should only wear them with high-heel classic pumps. Mid-heel pointed-toe mules and platform sneakers are lately combined with almost any hem type, and this is where we are breaking the rules. As a final tip, let maximalist – textured, asymmetric or notched hems – shine bright with minimalist shoes.

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