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Style myth: your bag should always match your shoes

Style myth: your bag should always match your shoes

With lockdown throwing many conventional dress codes out of the window, it’s high time we addressed the “your bag should always match your shoes” rule. If you’re someone who struggles to even pair your socks in the morning (let’s face it: who isn’t after months of WFH?), it’ll probably come as a relief to know that we’re fully behind you if you mismatch your accessories, too. In fact, we’re advocates for it. 

How you dress should be personal, after all, and adhering to old-school style rules is the fashion equivalent of colouring inside the lines. When you embrace the art of mixing and matching, beautiful things can happen – an old dress can feel completely refreshed, for instance. Or, you may discover a newfound freedom that comes with clashing prints, textures, or aesthetics – it’s really quite liberating and interesting to look at.

So, whether you’re wondering how to finish an outfit for an event or you’re just looking for a way to mix up your look, keep these tips in mind when choosing your shoes and bag. And remember, if matching your bag and shoes helps you feel more polished, that’s totally fine too. The secret is accessorising in the way that best reflects your style.

Complement, don’t coordinate 

Don’t stress about finding accessories that perfectly match in shade. Instead, choose items that complement each other – like brown suede boots and a cream-coloured bag. And if you’re putting an occasion look together, pick out colours from your outfit to coordinate your accessories. A floral dress with pastel undertones would work well with pale pink shoes and a baby blue bag, for example. 

Clash with confidence

By mixing prints and tones, your clashing shoes-and-bag combo will feel intentional, rather than a mismatched mistake. It’s all about confidence with this look, so don’t be afraid to partner bold patterns and colours: think leopard print with rich jewel tones or elaborately embellished textures with metallics.

Mix up dressing up

It’s not just about clashing colours and prints, either – juxtaposing different aesthetics can have a real impact when dressing up. For example, going for a delicate chain bag doesn’t mean your shoes have to be equally as dainty; instead, try tough chunky sole boots. Paired with a floaty midi dress, these accessories will really play on expectations and give your look a style-forward edge. 

Go bold with one accessory

This is particularly relevant for one-tone looks. Adding in a colour-pop accessory to a monochromatic outfit is an easy way to make a bold statement. Keep your outfit in one colour palette and team with either a brightly coloured bag or shoes. 

Match shoes, with a difference 

Your shoes and bag don’t have to be the same colour, but they don’t have to be polar opposites, either. Keep them in the same palette to give your look a multi-tonal finish. Rose-coloured heels with a light blush clutch is one way to achieve this.


Words: Ashlie Brombley
Illustration: Haley Tippmann