Brown Heels

Brown Heels Ideas

What to Wear with Neutral Shoes

Wearing Beige, Sand, Nude, Taupe & Neutral Footwear

Close-up shot of Amy Adams' pink dress and neutral pumps, by Crhistian Louboutin.
Jason LaVeris / FilmMagic / Getty Images

Fashion and Style

View More by Desiree Stimpert updated November 22, 2017

Neutral shoes have the advantage of never really going out of style, mainly because they’re so versatile, but also because many women feel more comfortable wearing neutral colors than they do very bold colors like red, pink or green shoes.

Here are a few tips on how to identify neutral colors, and how to wear neutral shoes.

What Are Neutral Colors?

Without getting into too much color theory, some people define “neutral colors” as being black, white and shades of gray, while most others will also throw in shades of browns, like tans and creams.

By definition, a neutral color is not warm or cool, so in theory, neutral colors are meant to work with any other color — and just like decorating your home in neutral colors allows you to change your accent pieces at a whim, neutral shoes allow you to pair them with nearly any outfit.

Will Neutral Shoes Work With Clothes of Any Color?

Well, that’s the idea, but the reality is, whichever color scheme you’re choosing, any outfit works best when it’s balanced.

For example, white — being a neutral color — will go great with any other color, but, if every other part of your outfit is bright red, wearing only white shoes might call too much attention to your footwear. Of course, that might be the effect you’re going for. But a more balanced approach would be to pair red pants and white shoes with a white shirt, or at least a white belt or handbag.

There is at least one exception to the “well-balanced outfit” principle: shoes that are the same color as your skin.

If the color of your shoes is closely-matched to your skin tone, then your shoes, in effect, disappear. This frees you up to wear whatever you want with them.

However, I still prefer that the rest of the color palette is limited to one or two colors. Just a personal taste thing, but I really think skin-toned neutrals are best used with simpler outfits.

You may have also heard that black shoes don’t work well with pastels — this isn’t exactly true. If you were wearing a light pink suit and the only black in your outfit was a pair of black pumps, then no, that wouldn’t work. However, if black appears repeatedly throughout the outfit — even sparingly — then it can be a dramatic and stylish complement to very light colors.

In general, the tone of your entire outfit should be considered. For example, a dark burgundy dress with a black belt won’t work with cream shoes because they’re too light for the rest of the outfit.

What Are the Most Versatile Shades?

If you could only have one pair of shoes in your closet, I’d recommend that it was a pair of black pumps. Black pumps are an essential piece in every woman’s closet. 

If I was allowed to suggest a second pair, it would be a pair of pumps in a light neutral color, like beige or tan.

These two shades would work with nearly anything in your closet, and of course, basic pumps are classics that will work with everything from jeans to suits.

Choosing the Right Colors for Your Neutrals

The beauty of neutral shoes is that you can mix and match them with nearly anything, ranging from an all neutral outfit (i.e. tan shoes with a variety of tan and cream pieces) to neutral accents for a bolder ensemble (i.e. gray shoes and belt with a purple suit).

Below are a few suggestions for how to pair different neutral shades with a variety of other colors, but remember these are only suggestions — the best thing about neutrals is how versatile they are. To ensure that the term “neutral” doesn’t become synonymous with “boring,” have fun, and try your neutral shoes with several different colors.

Clothing Color Suggestions for Neutral Shoes

Neutral Shoe ColorComplementaryHarmoniousDramatic
Black Shoesred, blue, purple, turquoise, greenall blacks and grayswhite or brights with black accents
Dark Gray Shoesnavy, dark red, purples, mid to dark yellowsall blacks, grays, whitesbright shades with other gray accents
Light Gray Shoeslight pink, light purples, chartreuse, light to mid yellowslight grays and whiteswhite with other gray accents
White Shoesany light neutral or pastel with other white accentsall whites and creams or graysbright shades with other white accents
Beige/Cream Shoesmedium pinks, greens, purples, turquoisesbrowns, tans and creamsblack or dark blue with other cream accents
Tan Shoesany mid-tone shadelight to mid neutralsbrights with other tan accents
Brown Shoesmid to dark earth tones like greens, rusts, burgundylighter browns and creamswhite or black with other brown accents

Colors That Look Great Paired With Brown

by Allyson Payer

Sure, we all love black—it’s the easiest shade on the color wheel to wear, right? As it turns out, brown is just as versatile, plus it’s a lot less predictable. And it’s both a classic color and has been a trend for the past several seasons, meaning that brown is, in fact, the new black (sorry, we had to).

When paired with a variety of other hues, brown looks surprisingly sophisticated, making it a great replacement for your standard-issue black. It feels rich and luxurious with these complementary colors, and what more could you ask for in a fall wardrobe’s color palette? That said, brown is notoriously polarizing. Many consider it to be an “ugly” color. But hear us out and give it a chance. It feels surprisingly fresh this season in particular, and it’s an unexpected departure from other more beloved neutrals.

Intrigued as to which shades work best with this rich neutral? Scroll down to see and shop the seven colors that go with brown.

If the toe part of your heel starts to wear down, simply paint it black.


Source If you’re bored of a pair of plain heels, add a little lace for a feminine look.



Sometimes the soles of our heels start to look funky. If so, you can color them for something fun!


If your patent leather shoes are starting to look really old, cover them with fabric for a totally new look.



Make plain shoes more fancy by adding ruffles.


SourceWant a pair of houndstooth heels but don’t want to spend the money? Make them yourself!