Sure, you weren’t made aware of the fact that we’re out of the woods and that the black-tie affairs and formal gatherings are back. But now you’re up to date and slowly starting to freak out because you don’t have a clue what kind of formal dresses to wear. Or, what shoes to wear with a formal dress?
And, we’re not blaming you even the slightest. We always put so much pressure on ourselves to choose the right eveningwear frocks that we forget we also need to choose the right Cinderella slippers.
We’re pretty sure the slippers were the reason why Cinderella got her happy ending. What makes you think that won’t happen to you once you attend your ball and wear your Manolo Blahnik crystal buckle pumps?
And, even without the fairytale, the right shoes are the ones that are going to carry you through the night. Everyone’s going to be looking at the dress, but one wrong move might make your shoes come off and wreck your princess moment.
Even when you’re not aware of that, there’s always at least some rhyme and reason behind the shoe styles that work with gala dresses. Whether you’re on the hunt for shoes to go with a breathtaking graduation party dress, a blushing bridesmaids dress, or a strict-dress-code fête number, you came to the right place.
We’re bringing you a rundown on some of the most timeless, elegant shoes that warrant head turns and sighs of exhilaration. Take a peep and choose the ones that work best for you.
What shoes to wear with a formal dress?
1. Stiletto pumps
When you’re wondering what style of shoes to wear with a formal dress, know that you can never go wrong with timeless, effortless stiletto pumps. Stiletto pumps elevate everything you wear, from tailored trousers and clean-cut blazers to flowy, floral dresses and evening gowns.
On the off chance that you’ve been living under a rock, stilettos are shoes with high, high heels that go up to a staggering twenty-five centimeters. Now, you won’t catch a glimpse of Kate Middleton or Meghan Markle sporting such shoes.
But, Kate’s huge on wearing her Jimmy Choo’s Romy stilettos (with 60mm, 85mm, and 100mm heels) to pretty much every occasion. And, Meghan can’t seem to get enough of her Manolo Blahnik BB 105mm Suede Pumps.
And, we can’t get enough of stiletto pumps which happens to be the reason why we suggest you wear them with every gala dress you own. Whether you go for Jimmy Choos or Manolo Blahniks, you’re bound to make a statement.
2. Strappy sandals
Strappy sandals are the way to go when you’re not scared of getting cold feet (about the dress, the shoes, or the event).
We’re kidding, of course. We’re not, however, kidding about the thought of styling your evening frocks with strappy sandals for a footwear moment that doesn’t take away from the rest of the ensemble.
Stiletto pumps, for example, might be a little bottom-heavy for lightweight dresses. Strappy sandals would add some drama (especially when they wrap around the ankles) without drawing attention to the bottom of the outfit.
Nude, metallic, and even transparent strappy sandals would work best with satin slip dresses, glittery dresses, and dresses with embellishments. Black strappy sandals would, of course, work with other gowns you might have an eye on.
Gianvito Rossi crystal-embellished leather sandals, Aquazzura Whisper lace-up metallic leather sandals, and Zara Blue Collection leather sandals are some of our current favorites.
3. Platform pumps
Truth be told, we can’t get enough of Versace Medusa Aevitas platform pumps. When you’re wondering what shoes to wear with a formal dress, don’t shy away from experimenting with trends that might make you look like you came straight off the runways.
Sure, those Versace Medusa Aevitas do exactly that. But, you don’t have to break the bank to achieve a similar effect. Because of the growing popularity of platform pumps, stores such as Zara, Mango, and H&M didn’t take long before they came out with affordable alternatives.
On the other hand, Nordstrom offers Steve Madden platform pumps, Jeffrey Campbell platform pumps, and Vince Camuto platform pumps that are a fraction of the price when compared with the Versace ones.
When choosing the right platform pumps, stick with the same color palette for a monochromatic moment or go for a pop of color on the bottom. Platform pumps go with most styles, but make sure they’re not taking away from the beauty of the dress.
4. Slingback pumps
And, what shoes to wear with a formal dress when you don’t want to be that formal?
Maybe you have numerous events you need to attend, but you’re not looking forward to wearing uncomfortable dresses and even more uncomfortable shoes. Perhaps you’re not a fan of party dresses and evening gowns and you’re looking to find a way to make a subdued statement.
Whatever your reasons might be, slingback pumps are the right answer for you. They’re not as “out there” as stiletto pumps, but they’re a fabulous day-to-night option for when you’re running late to whatever event you’re attending.
They’re easy to style, and they’re dressier than most other shoes you would deem appropriate. Stuart Weitzman SW Bow Slingback, Mango Braided Heel Shoes, Kate Spade New York Marseille Heel would give off goddess energy peeping through your floor-length dress.
5. Pointy-toe pumps
Stilettos pumps and pointy-toe pumps are pretty much the same. But, we’re separating them because you might want to wear the highest heels you own to every event you attend.
Weddings, for example, mean you’re going to spend hours and hours standing, running around assisting the bride, and dancing the night away.
Therefore, when you’re trying to rack your brain around what shoes to wear with a formal dress, pointy-toe pumps might save the day. Trust me, the pointy tips make them appear more elegant and effortless than other shoes without needing the assistance of high heels.
Opt for kitten heels, block heels, or even flats to protect your feet (and your sanity). Mango, Zara, and Asos have affordable alternatives to these styles, but there’s nothing wrong with spending a little more on Botega Venetta, Gianvito Rossi, or Burberry pumps because you’re bound to wear them all the time.
6. Stiletto mules
Stiletto mules have become a must-have shoe trend thanks to the likes of Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and other supermodels who made sure we started questioning whether such shoes would make our legs longer.
Now, nude or transparent stiletto mules are bound to elongate the entire ensemble you’re wearing (legs included), but that shouldn’t be the only reason to choose them.
Whenever you’re wondering what shoes to wear with a formal dress, wonder what shoes would be the easiest to slip on and slip off depending on what you need to do at the moment.
Mules (stiletto or otherwise) might be the answer you’re searching for because of that signature backless silhouette. Trust me, you can wear them with the ease of slippers but the aesthetics of stiletto pumps.
Our favorites are mules with creative, high heels such as the Cult Gaia Tayce metallic sculptural-heel mules and Dolce&Gabbana crisscross patent DG-heel mules. Wear them with a simple, silky dress or a little-black-dress moment.
7. Nude stilettos
We talked about stiletto pumps. We talked about strappy sandals. And, we talked about every (elegant) option you can choose from without mentioning the shade.
But, the shade of the shoe can make or break your outfit, depending on what you’re wearing. And, nude stilettos (your nude, of course) work wonderfully with everything you might wear.
Nude stilettos work as an extension of your legs, making you look like a literal goddess gracing the Earth with your presence.
Hailey Bieber, Blake Lively, and Joan Smalls mastered the nude look and paved the way for the rest of the world to wear their nudes with pride. What shoes to wear with a formal dress, you ask? Nude stilettos, of course!
Whether you go for classic, nude stiletto pumps or breathtaking, nude stiletto strappy sandals, you don’t even have to worry about the shade of your dress. When you choose the right shade of nude for yourself (one that matches your skin tone), you’re guaranteed to look your best.
8. Cinderella slippers
Oh, we can’t forget about Cinderella’s slippers! We’re not talking about wearing your grandma’s crystal kitchenware on your feet, of course. We’re not talking about getting Cinderella slippers off Etsy and looking like you’re attending a Halloween party, either.
But, wearing something along the lines of Amina Muaddi clear slingback pumps or Christian Louboutin Spikaqueen glittery slingback pumps can (and will) make you feel like a princess.
And, wearing transparent or adorned stilettos by other brands, designers, and stores can do the same without the staggering price tag. With that thought out of the way, you can stop wondering what shoes to wear with a formal dress.
Whether you go for the foolproof stiletto pumps, the wedding-season-worthy stiletto mules, or the statement Cinderella slippers, both you and your fashion choices are taken care of.