The New Rules for Matching Your Belt to your Shoes

When you were growing up, chances are you were told that your shoes, belt, hat, gloves, purse, etc. had to match. Well, today, that antiquated style rule has gone out the window, and can actually work against you to create a matronly look. However, it’s not all wrong.

Our grandmothers knew what they were talking about. But I want to put a fresh spin on this ‘rule’ as well as turn it into more of a guideline.beltshoes

Creating a ‘matching’ or pairing of two items, such as your boots and your belt, can transform the way you get dressed, and help you to create new combinations in your closet using what you already own. I call this the Power of Two. Let me explain.

The Power of Two starts with creating color pairings. For example, I recently wore my red jeans teamed with a black lace top. Many women would have automatically have paired black shoes with this combination, as this are the most obvious. However, I wanted to soften my look to make it more appropriate for daytime. I teamed my rustic brown riding boots and brown belt with brass buckle with this pairing, and – voila! The power of two brought my outfit together flawlessly.

Pairing two items together creates a ‘bookending effect’ and punctuates your look perfectly. It’s as if you’re adding 2 parentheses to your outfit. It creates harmony and connection with what you have on and allows it to flow effortlessly.

We are wired to seek out similarities, and find patterns in nature. When we create similarities in our outfit, it brings harmony and creates a balance. For example, say you’re wearing a leopard print dress and you want to spice it up to express your whimsical side. You want to wear your new violet blue pumps. This is great, but to repeat the violet blue in your clutch, your jewelry, your belt or your jacket – or even your scarf – creates a color pairing that is powerful and helps it to look purposeful rather than simply random. I don’t recommend you wear your violet in every one of these, but simple choose one or two. When you can connect color it’s like connecting the dots. When it’s singular and stand-alone, it can seem like a mistake and doesn’t work as well to punctuate your look with color.

Color pairings can help you to look polished and put together, while helping you to experiment with new colors and get away from wearing so much black. A few ways you can create color pairings in your wardrobe include:

Wear your red shoes with a red belt. They create a harmony with almost any jeans or pants and top. A scarf with a red accent further emphasizes the red and amps your look up.
Wear brown boots with a brown belt over your black dress to give it a new spin. It’s gets you away from the expected black and lightens/softens up your look.
Wear camel pumps and a camel handbag with your black pants, cream blouse and camel jacket for a sophisticated black and tan combination.
Wear taupe boots with a taupe sweater with your teal dress to temper the bold hue and add an unexpected neutral to complement your look.
Take note of what you have in your wardrobe and start noticing patterns. Do you happen to have shoes and a belt in the same color? Work it! Do you have a scarf that brings out some bold shoes or a skirt? Match it! Do you have a handbag and a necklace that repeat a similar hue? Mix it!

One word of warning is when it comes to prints. Too much of a good thing can be overkill and completely overwhelm your look. Keep it subtle and stick with pairing one solid color that exists in your print rather than mixing multiples of similar prints.

Try a color pairing using what’s already in your closet and see how you can get a completely different look by combining colors in new and different ways. Using the ‘power of two’ you can create combinations that look intentional and sophisticated, while getting more mileage from what’s already in your closet.