Dress with contrast coloured shoe....ever thought of doing that? ever done that?
Be careful - the contrast may cause the eye to move down to the shoes & stay down.
The last thing you want is the eye on the ground (even if the shoes are TDF). Sure, you want the shoes noticed, but ultimately, the viewer's eye should move vertically and go back up to the face. This will maximise the "flattery factor" which will make the garment more likely to be worn often and will reduce your CPW (cost per wear).
Note: I have used photos of starlets to get the principles across to you - but these "rules" apply to any garment at any price point, from discount to chain store to department store.
Let me know what you think about these ideas - they have worked for me - do they work for you?
Lets start off with some "eye staying down" contrast shoe examples......
Here's Diane Kruger with a contrast shoe which causes the eye to go down & stay down....cross.
I realise the cut of this dress makes her look hippy and yes, that also contributes to the eye never making it above waist level - but I think you get the drift....see another of my blog posts for the "blink test" which will help you work out where the eye is moving with any ensemble.
Note: Its 2011 - The "IT" bag is actually the "IT" shoe - hence shoes are SO chunky and a very dominant part of any look (think platforms, thick straps, massive hardware - so this post is very important. Yes, it wont solve world peace or hunger, but its another tool in your tool box of knowledge and confidence. Please use it!
Same for Nicole - eye goes straight to the ground...tends to stay there....cross...
So if I may - I'd like to reinforce (again) the principle of this post -
What you want is for the eye to move up & down & ultimately to stay near your (lovely) face. You dont want the eye to move down to the shoes and stay there no matter how gorgeous your Manolos or Choos or Louboutins are)
If the shoe contrasts but it is a flesh toned neutral.
As in the following photo - this is Cameron at a Shrek premiere....leg lengthening & (despite my close up), the shoe isnt the focus - the focus is back up at the legs/person/dress....not on the floor.....the shoe disappears....tick.
Another example is Scarlett Johansen - neutral legs/shoe - if anything the eye goes back up to her lovely face & red lipstick - tick.
Incorporate the contrast colour somewhere else in your ensemble higher up the body - like a bag, a belt, a necklace, a brooch, a bracelet or earrings. Please, not all those at once.
By having the popping colour in 2 separate places, the eye will move up & down between the shoe pop & the other pop. When the eye moves up & down - you get a lengthening effect - in fact a slimming effect.
Lets look at some examples of how the two pops of colour works....
SJP pulls this off (Stella McCartney outfit) with the bag & shoe (although she has been panned for the "too dark" look of the accessories compared to the light spring look).....tick
AnnaLynne McCord pulls this off with red shoes & red nails - this is lovely (apologies if the photo is small - but you get the idea hopefully)....tick.
Cameron has linked the shoes and belt here - even though eye does move up/down to link the belt/shoes, this isnt my favourite way of getting away with this contrast look - it looks too "done"....I prefer a look that is a bit off kilter - maybe assymetrical with a contrast brooch or bracelet.....this is too "even" for me.....perhaps you agree? disagree? Please let me know.....technically this is a tick.
If you chose the bag/belt to be the other pop of colour, please, no "matchy matchy" of the leathers/skins/fabrics. Just make sure they are in harmony.
Malin Akerman works this execption beautifully - notice how her bag is a textured exotic leather while her shoes are smooth - harmonious tones with different texture....and the eye moves up & down....tick.
How many pops of colour?
If the dress is a solid colour, two places with the pop of colour are generally enough for beginners. If you amp it up to three pops, the eye starts to get a bit more challenged, but it can be done...its just (a touch) harder to do...
Keep the contrast near your face - in that case, you dont need a second point of contrast - as the eye has moved up in the process of examining the dress then the face.
Julianne Moore has done this well here - the eye moves up to the contrasting earrings against a black dress (just as well, as I am not convinced this choice of dress is flattering to her gorgeous figure, so I am pleased the eye goes to the face...hehehe)....tick.
Apologies for the full length photo - it doesnt show the emeralds clearly enough...
Cameron Diaz has managed to do this with the turquiose jewellery against a magenta (Galliano couture) dress - even though there are 2 pops here, there are close together & near the face - that works as one pop (IMO) & because of the long line of the dress, its a vertical look where the eye stops at the face.....tick.
In contrast the runway look doesnt highlight the face quite as well.
Reece Witherspoon does this well too with the satin trim of an Armani Prive dress - a column dress where the eye moves up to the decolletage...tick.....
While I have you here, there is another situation I want to talk about - hahaha - no, I talk, you listen......sometimes the dress may be a solid colour but it has "interest" via texture or sheen etc. In that case, if the "interest" is dominant compared to the contrasting shoes, the eye will in fact land in the dominant area (which may not be the shoes).....it could in fact be the boobs or the hips or whatever....
An example is Anne Hathaway at the 2009 Tony Awards in black Oscar de la Renta...you hardly blink at the red shoes - my eye lands on the beautiful full textured skirt. Luckily, its completely in proportion to the rest of the outfit & the face is lovely & everything is totally in harmony as well as the eye movement being upward to some extent - so no harm done even if the eye does in fact land below the waist. Other women are not so lucky!
So now that we've done this - here's a little quiz for you - dont worry - its little & easy....
Q: Where does the eye move in the following Reece photo (Nina Ricci frock) with yellow dress & red shoe?
scroll down for answer.....but think about it before you do....
scroll down more......just making sure you have thought about it......
A: Reece's shoes are so diminutive and the yellow of the dress is so over powering (in a good way), that the eye stays on the dress (which is a reasonably vertical line....tick) ...so it works nevertheless. Did you notice that the contrast in the shoes doesnt stand a chance in this case?