How to Select Shoes to Wear With a Full-Length Gown

Whether you're going out for a night at the opera, an office Christmas party or a New Year's Eve fete, the right pair of shoes are essential. Strappy sandals, stilettos, platforms—so many possibilities.

No. 1: color. Decide whether you'd like to match or contrast the colors of your dress and shoes. Black shoes go with almost everything, but if you want to complement light or bright colors, a neutral nude usually works perfectly.

Your dress fabric is also important. A flowing, lightweight chiffon dress would be stunning with delicate strappy sandals. For heavier fabrics like velvet or heavy silk, consider patent-leather, supple-leather or velvet shoes.

Complement the embellishments in your dress. If the dress has embroidery, rhinestones or appliqués, look for textured shoes with similar details. If your gown has gold or silver accents, gold or silver shoes, respectively, can complete the look.

Most of the time, heels are the way to go with a fancy dress. Choose the right heel height depending on the length of the dress. Many gowns are designed to just barely graze the floor. Wear a high enough heel so that you won't be stepping on the dress, but not so high that it makes the hem look short.

Remember to consider comfort. You might find a gorgeous shoe that's perfect for a sit-down event. But if you know you're going to be tearing up the dance floor, buy shoes that can get you through the night without killing your feet.


If you wear stilettos, give your feet a break when you sit down by slipping off your shoes. Your calves and lower back will thank you in the morning.

Treat yourself to a pedicure if you choose open-toed styles.