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Although it's origins date back to the early 18th century, patent leather shoes spent many decades lost in the back of people's closets. It seemed that they were destined to be branded as sturdy, dependable but boring shoes. However, Recently, however, they appear to have made a miraculous fashion comeback. Women everywhere can be seen donning patent leathers with pride. Patent leather's are great because they're versatile-- they can be dressed up or down and are appropriate year round. Here are a few of the go to guidelines for wearing patent leather:

Patent Leather for Winter, Summer & Everyday in Between

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Nowadays,patent leather shoes can be found in all styles and designs. There are patent leather boots, pumps, flats and even sandals. Designers have transformed patent leathers from durable cold-weather shoes into trendy, all-weather, all-occasion foot-wear.

Patents for Everyday Wear

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At one time, patent leather was reserved for formal, fancy occasions-- today they are worn at locations as casual as the supermarket. Patent leather pumps are great for jazzing up a dull pant suit, wearing into the office, or a night on the town-- their versatility is unmatched-- no longer just the shoe mom forced you to wear with your Easter dress.


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Patent leather shoes add shine and glamour; they can liven up an otherwise basic ensemble. There is such a thing as too much shine, however, and adding shiny, glimmering shoes to an outfit that's already loud is laying it on a bit too thick. Be mindful when accessorizing-- there are times when the added glam of patent leather is overdoing it and will actually minimize the outfit's beauty. If you’re unwilling to give up patent leather completely, then go with a patent leather strappy sandal. A sandal provides the right amount of sophistication without shine-overkill. Men, however, have the green light when it comes to mixing patent leather with formal wear.


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While black patent leather is the most adaptable color, stylists with Style Phyle recommend trying out other colors. For example, green, yellow, and even pink shoes add not just shine, but color that brightens and lightens an otherwise muted outfit.

Pairing Patent Leather with other Fabrics

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When done right, patent leather can compliment other fabrics like suede and leather, adding funk and variety to your wardrobe. Don't be afraid to branch out and experiment a little bit with mixing and matching fabrics.

At the same time, keep in mind the old adage: less is more. The phrase holds true in the fashion world as well. When in doubt, leave it out.

About the Author

Christie Gross

Christie Gross has been writing since 1998. Her work writing public policy platforms for elected officials nationwide has been featured in national and local newspapers under various client pen names. Gross has a Bachelor of Arts in English and political science, as well as a Master of Public Administration from the University of Delaware.