A Woman’s Guide to Pairing Shoes with Trousers

Contrary to popular belief, thong sandals are not the panacea for all your styling woes, and a pair of basic black pumps doesn’t go with everything. If your mind is blown by this information, then keep reading. You’re probably in store for some other hard truths. Still, rest assured, by the end of this style guide, you’ll be more confident, and less likely to turn heads for the wrong reasons.

Here’s the definitive guide on how to pair the right shoes with the right trousers. 

1) Heel to Hem

There’s nothing more cringe-worthy to one’s style sensibilities then seeing a killer outfit ruined by abysmal heel and hem ratio. Either the trousers are too long, and the person is trodding on their hem under the heel (and tearing up their pants), or the trousers are too short for the shoes, and those flared jeans look like absurd ankle flags.

Get it right with this rule of thumb: if the legs of your trousers are loose fitting from the knee down (e.g. flares, bootcut), then your hemline should fall at the bottom of the heel of your shoe, whether you’re wearing heels or flats. If you are wearing heels, this will mean your trousers will look a little too long when you’re standing barefoot. If you’re wearing leggings or skinny jeans that hug your ankles, then ankle length trousers are fine. If you’re wearing flats, however, you need to remember the hemline needs to fall at the same place, which means when it comes to certain cuts of trousers (i.e. those straight-legged or flared ones), you will have trousers you wear exclusively with heels, and ones you wear only with flats.

2) Dress Up

You may make the 10 block walk to the office in your sneakers, but that doesn’t mean you can wear them all day with your dress trousers. Dressy shoes should stick with dressy trousers – for the most part. Some types of shoes are more versatile, like pumps, loafers and ballet flats. These shoes can transition between dressy and casual. That pair of silver pumps you wear with your power suit at the office can do double duty with a pair of leggings or skinny jeans or even a pair of pristine sweat trousers if you’re going for that sports luxe look (but never your ratty old bleached stained ones). Now, those TOMS you wear with your leggings or skinny jeans? They can’t work with dressier garb.

So, what’s the takeaway? Dress shoes can look great with casual trousers, but casual shoes almost never work with dress trousers. When in doubt, always dress it up.

3) Tall Orders

Knee boots, over the knee boots and ankle boots are a huge trend, and they can look amazing worn over some trousers. But not all. If you have to shoehorn the fabric of your trousers into the boot, then it’s a fashion no-go. This means trousers with loose-fitting legs are out. Simple as that.

That’s it, friends! You’ve only got three simple guidelines to bear in mind, so this still leaves loads of room for you to experiment, find your sense of style, and make fashion breakthroughs. Happy pairing!

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