What Kind of Shoes Should Women Wear to Formal Events?

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No one wants to step out in the wrong shoe -- especially to a special event. Choosing flattering formal footwear requires pairing the right shoe with the right outfit to avoid a fashion misstep. Consider style, color and material to make a winning choice the next time your feet lead you to the shoe department.

1 Assess Your Attire

Depending on your event, you will likely wear a cocktail dress, a full-length gown or a chic suit, and your outfit will dictate your shoe choice. If it's an evening event, each of these outfits work well with a strappy heel. For a daytime event, or an ultra-conservative business gathering, a pump is often the best choice.

2 Consider Color

Metallics such as gold, silver and bronze add that special sparkle that elevates an ordinary, everyday shoe to the more elegant look that complements formal wear. Silver is especially sophisticated with both black and white outfits, while gold and bronze compliment most every other color palette. When in doubt, however, black can be counted on to make a subtly elegant statement.

3 Make the Most of Material

Satin, metallic and patent leather are good selections for formal shoes as opposed to suede and flat leather which are generally too informal to blend well with formal attire. Up the ante on your shoe's material, and your footwear will look like an extension of your dressy ensemble.

An attorney for more than 20 years, Cara O'Neill currently practices in the areas of civil litigation, family law and bankruptcy. She also served as an Administrative Law Judge and taught undergraduate and graduate courses in the areas of employment law, business law and criminal law for a well-known university. Attending the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, she graduated a National member of the Order of the Barristers - an honor society recognizing excellence in courtroom advocacy. She is currently licensed in the state of California.