Besides visual harmony, a harmony of purpose is essential in creating pleasing, sensible and harmonious costumes. This harmony of purpose should be observed in shoes as carefully as in any part of your costume – if not even more carefully, since shoes are the groundwork on which your entire outfit stands and more demands of comfort are made on shoes than other wearables. Also the meaning, so to speak, of the entire outfit is more clearly manifest in shoes than any other part of the outfit. Shoes should proclaim the true intention of the wearer – be it elegance, practicality, festivity or any other reason to wear a particular costume. And if the shoes are not in harmony with the purpose of the costume, only absurdity follows. The wrong shoes can totally destroy the chic of an otherwise lovely appearance. Sturdy oxfords are quite as impossible with an organdy dress as satin slippers are with a pleated tweed skirt. On the other hand, a businesswoman conjuring a dressy pair of satin pumps from her capacious tote bag at the end of the work day, and taking off her practical low-heeled shoes, can transform her simple but elegant crepe wool dress from perfectly work-appropriate to perfectly cocktail-appropriate. A decorative hat and a dressy pair of gloves are necessary to complete the transformation, and a stole, earrings or a striking bracelet add interest if desired, but shoes are the major ingredient in seemingly magically disappearing the efficient businesswoman and creating a glamorous, alluring creature.
They seem out of place with chic city clothes.
From harmony of purpose the truly elegant dresser proceeds to ensuring visual harmony. Principally that means matching shoes to the overall coloring of the outfit. This is fairly straightforward and many valuable hints regarding colour can be obtained from guide books. If the first rule of visual harmony be colour, then the second rule of harmony is texture. In selecting shoes to wear with certain clothes, exercise care to have the leather of the shoes correspond with the texture of the dress or suit. For instance, soft silk dresses, such as charmeuse and satin, are really better with low fine kid or patent-leather shoes, and, the shoes being low, silk or nylon stockings help to soften the lines of the foot. Patent-leather shoes and slippers are frequently desirable for wear with lingerie dresses, as well as with silk and satin dresses. The hard-surface woolen materials, such as heavy cheviots, serges, tweeds and novelty suitings seem to call for shoes of reasonably heavy leather. A tailored suit calls for a shoe with a plain heel. Incongruous combinations occasionally, when created with great artistic skill, produce chic effects, but more often than not the effect is merely inharmonious and uneasy. Usually it is best to choose shoes which do not call attention to themselves, but pleasantly complete the outfit.