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How to Wear Printed Shoes: 8 Styles of Patterned Footwear

How to Wear Printed Shoes

by Tina Boomerina (Christina Gregoire)

If you’ve fallen in love with the print-on-print trend and you’re ready to take it to the professional-fashionista level, it’s time to start collecting printed shoes for mixing and matching with your other printed clothes.

How to Wear Leopard Print Shoes - boomerinas.com

How to Wear Leopard Shoes

I don’t care if you collect your patterned shoes from thrift stores, borrow them from your grandma’s closet, or buy them from ritzy stores like Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom's… just get them. Printed shoes, sandals, and boots are hot hot hot right now.It's so easy to jazz up any solid-colored outfit with a pair of printed pumps or flats. And, from what I’ve seen, all jeans look better with printed booties or sandals. So, try wearing a pair of floral-print heels with your rolled-up boyfriend jeans… to add a tiny dash of fashion-forward edginess. (This style looks good on all ages... as far as I know.)

Shoes Come in Your Size

It doesn’t matter what size you are… even if you are a plus-plus size… you can always find shoes that fit. So, if you can’t find trendy clothes that look good on you, shoes and other accessories are an awesome way to punk out (or glam up) your boring outfits.

Printed Shoes Update Your Wardrobe

Shoes are an easy fix. Shoes are fun.

How to Wear Animal Print Shoes - article

Animal Print Heels

Lots of women choose beige or black or solid-colored shoes when they are putting together a mixed-print outfit. It’s like the shoes don’t matter. It’s like the shoes are just an afterthought. But, we all know that shoes can make or break an outfit, so don’t forget to include your shoes when you’re playing with patterns.

And, at the bottom of the article, there's a link that goes to my Printed Shoes Pinterest board. (If you don't see it right away, come back in a bit.) If you pay attention to some of the really cool ensembles on my board, you’ll see that printed shoes really give many outfits a cohesive, polished touch. You’ll see what I mean. Mixing prints and patterns is all about scale and balance (and color). It’s an art form that requires practice… and a playful mind.

1. Leopard Print Shoes: Leopard is the easiest pattern to wear with other prints, because leopard feels like a solid. Leopard can be worn with floral prints, tribal prints, folkloric patterns, plaids, checks… heck, leopard will go with just about everything in your closet.

I think you should start with leopard shoes… just to get familiar with the fun of mixing and matching. After a while, leopard will seem so tame that you’ll want to branch out.

2. Animal Print Shoes: Other animal-print shoes include zebra, pony, cheetah, tiger, and strangely mutated digital designs that look like they come from another planet… but have the feel of an animal “skin”. These other animal prints are almost as easy to mix and match as zebra.


How to wear printed shoes

Floral Print Sandals

3. Floral Print Shoes: Florals are usually easy to mix and match with other prints, as well as with other florals. However, flowered designs are not quite as easy as leopard because florals come in so many different patterns… oversized florals, ditsy florals, abstract florals, vibrant multi-colored florals, single-colored florals… well, you get the idea. However, the very thing that makes florals seem tricky is also the very thing that makes florals so easy… I'm talking about the fact that there are so many different pattern options. Florals rock. Do not be afraid of color. Do not be afraid of patterns.

Tribal Print article - boomerinas.com

Tribal Print Shoes

4. Monochrome Print Shoes: Technically, monochrome means something with one color, but most of the time, people say monochrome when they’re referring to black-and-white patterns. So, I’m going to use that definition. Black-and-white printed shoes go with almost everything. So, monochrome shoes are perfect for all of you print-phobic chicks.

If you have an all-black outfit that needs a little punch, simply add a pair of shoes in a black-and-white pattern. It’s magic. You can use this same trick with leopard. Leopard shoes will make any black outfit look sexy.

5. Tribal Print Shoes: Tribal shoes are super easy. They go with almost everything. Just make sure you don’t go tribal from head to toe if you’re over 40.

Mix in some stripes or florals or animal patterns when you're wearing tribal prints… otherwise you’ll end up looking like you just came in from the jungle. (Let's just say that if you don't know what you're doing, wearing any trend from head to toe is probably not your best look.)

Printed Shoes Trend article

How to Wear Striped Shoes

6. Striped Shoes: Stripes can be nautical, preppy, punky, boho, steampunk… and more. It just depends on the shoe. So, if you have striped shoes or sneakers or sandals, do some experimenting. I want you to play dress-up like you did when you were five. (But, don’t leave the house looking like a five year old.)

How to wear printed shoes - boomerinas.com

Watercolor Print Shoes

7. Watercolor Print Shoes: Some watercolor patterns are soft and blurry, while others are creative and abstract. Almost all “blurry” patterns can be used just like solids… well, solids with “personality”.

Because there are so many forms that abstract patterns can take, it’s impossible to explain how to wear your abstract-print shoes. If I see the actual shoes, I can make an educated guess… but so much depends on the other colors and patterns in your outfit. So, I recommend trying your abstract, watercolor shoes with everything in your closet. You’ll be pleasantly surprised when you find a fabulous, new, kickass way to wear your shoes.

How to wear plaid shoes - boomerinas.com

What to Wear with Plaid

8. Plaid Shoes: I used to hate plaid, but I’ve come around and now I love plaid, checks, tartans… whatever you want to call them. Hey, someone recently said, “Plaid is the new black.” Well, plaids look especially good with other plaids. Sounds awful, I know… but plaid on plaid can be extraordinarily chic. Really. Cross my heart.

Tips for Shoes with Prints

1. Fit: Most printed shoes (that regular women like us can afford) are made with fabric uppers. Make sure that your shoe really fits your foot because textiles don’t stretch very much… and blisters suck. If you fall in love with a pair of shoes and you’re not sure about the fit, try wearing your shoes with socks until the fabric adapts to your foot.

2. Print-o-phobes: If you have never tried mixing and matching patterns, you can get a lot of great ideas by looking at tops and dresses made from mixed-print fabric.

3. Rules for Mixing and Matching: There are no rules. Well, there are a few “rules”, but every outfit is different.

Okay, babes, if you find some printed shoes on sale, that would be a good place to start. I think shoes and sandals with patterns are super easy to wear… and they are so much freaking fun! If you start with inexpensive footwear, what have you got to lose?

More Articles for Fashionistas Over 40, 50, 60:

7 Prints and Patterns that Work as Neutrals for Mixing and Matching

Tartan Plaid Clothing for Women - Is it Hip to Be Square?

3 Rules for Easy Mixing of Patterns and Prints

8 Accessories Trends for Spring and Summer


read about new shoe trend

Main Photo - Patterned Shoes & Sandals

Photo Credits: Prshots.com.

  • Main Photo
  •      Top Row: Call it Spring, Asos, Dune, Asos.
  •      Middle Row: Messeca, Asos, Asos, Debenham, Very.
  •      Bottom Row: Asos, Topshop, Miss   Selfridge, London Rebel, Lilli, Asos.
  • How to Wear Leopard Shoes: Topshop.
  • Animal Print Shoes: Scorpio, Dune, London Rebel.
  • Floral Print Sandals: River  Island.
  • Tribal Print Shoes: Asos.
  • How to Wear Striped Shoes: Asos, Aldo.
  • Watercolor Print Shoes: Asos, Asos.
  • What to Wear With Plaid: London Rebel, Call it Spring.

What do you think of this article? Leave a comment at the bottom of the page. It won't show up until I get around to reading and approving articles.

Tina Boomerina (AKA Christina Gregoire) is a Baby Boomer born at the end of 1952. Her mission is to make the internet a kinder and gentler place for Baby Boomer women around the world. Tina's specialty is fashion for women over 50.

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    Looking for a wedding dress I saw on your website. It was the cover on your pin. Can you please help
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