With all the colors, styles, and materials of shoes to wear today, it can sometimes be difficult to tell what shoes to wear with which outfit, especially if you’re a woman. Bright, eye-catching colors, especially, require a bit of extra care when selecting shoes to wear with them, as you don’t want to detract from the beauty of the dress itself! Yellow dresses are one such case.
In this guide, we’ll teach you all about what color shoes to wear with a yellow dress. By the end of this article, you’ll understand a bit more about color theory, how to choose the right colors to match your dress and other style tips that might help you select your matching shoes.
Styling a Yellow Dress
Yellow is a bright, eye-catching color. However, if you’re adventurous enough to wear it in the first place, it’s a flexible, adaptable color that can go with many different shoe colors and styles. Unfortunately, not many people are adventurous enough to wear yellow styles in the first place, and they can be a bit daunting to style, too.
One of the difficulties with styling yellow dresses and other clothing is that yellow comes in many different shades. A deep mustard yellow, for example, should be styled very differently than a bright dandelion yellow should. Additionally, while a warmer mustard yellow would be very appropriate for fall, a bright yellow would be better suited to summer and spring.
As such, there is no clear-cut rule to what color shoes to wear with a yellow dress; it depends very much on the style, shape, and weight of the dress itself. However, because of this versatility, yellow dresses can match with many different styles and colors of shoes.
Do keep in mind that yellow dresses look particularly stunning on women with dark complexions or tanned skin. A bright yellow dress creates a beautiful contrast against dark skin tones. However, the same vivid colors can wash out light skin tones, so keep this in mind when shopping for yellow dresses.
The “Mood” of the Dress
The first thing you should do before choosing what color shoes to wear with a yellow dress is to determine your dress’s “mood.” Like we touched on above, a mustard yellow dress will have a very different mood than a dandelion yellow one. While mustard yellow is a warm, calm color suited for fall, dandelion yellow is a bright, energetic color that complements the summer and spring seasons.
The shade of your dress will be a significant contributor to the mood it gives off, but it’s not the only thing. Some other things you will need to take into account are:
- Pattern (if applicable)
While this may sound overly complicated, you will generally be able to get a feel of the “mood” of your dress without thinking about it too much. Does your dress look like something you’d wear to work? If so, you might use words like “serious” and “no-nonsense” to describe it. Does it look like something that would be suited to a cocktail party? If so, you would probably describe it with words like “flirty” and “fun.”
In most cases, you will want to pair the mood of your dress with the same feeling as a pair of shoes. Because yellow is a very versatile color, most shoes will be able to match with it, as long as you correlate them by shade and by feel.
Shoes for Light-Yellow Dresses
If you’re wearing a bright, light, summery yellow dress, you’ll generally want to pair it with similarly light footwear. However, there are ways to style yellow dresses with darker colors, especially if you’re accessorizing with other darks or trying to up the seriousness of the dress.
Generally, the best color shoes to wear with a light-yellow dress are:
Typically, a light, airy summer dress in a bright yellow shade will look exceptional with white shoes. White shoes double down on the playful, summery nature of a yellow dress. As such, they go best with dresses that are lightweight and warm-weather oriented, such as sundresses or cocktail dresses.
If you want to tone down the playful nature of a white shoe, or even wear a white shoe with a slightly darker yellow dress, reach for an off-white shoe instead. An off-white shoe will look a bit more subtle and reserved when coupled with a yellow dress, but will still look cheery and happy.
If you’re looking to turn up the sass of a yellow dress, try pairing it with navy or purple shoes. These colors are complementary colors with yellow, and will really “pop” when worn with a yellow dress. However, because of this, they may be too much for serious outings or work environments.
If you want to tone down a bright yellow dress for a work environment, a surefire way to do so is to pair it with black accessories. A pair of black high heels and a black cardigan or sweater is both an excellent way to bring a yellow dress into colder weather and to tone down its color a bit.
As a rule, try to avoid drab or washed-out colors with a bright yellow dress. Instead, pair it with bold colors that can stand on their own next to bright yellow without looking washed out. Our main exception is off-white and black shoes, which work on toning down the color without washing out next to it.
Brown shoes are also an excellent pairing for yellow dresses, especially if the pump is dark brown or contains shades of red. Brown shoes that edge too close to nude or beige territory, however, can end up washing out next to the brightness of the dress.
Beware of patterns when wearing a bright yellow dress. For the most part, many designs will be too busy to pair with an eye-catching yellow dress, but some are okay. Animal prints, like leopard and zebra, for example, tend to go very well with colorful yellow outfits.
Shoes with Medium or Patterned Yellow Dresses
Dresses that are on the border between light and dark or that come with patterns can be especially challenging to style. This is because these dresses can typically go either way in terms of styling; some might look better with accessories meant for dark yellow dresses, while others might work better with lighter, more playful colors.
If you feel lost on what color shoes to wear with a yellow dress, there’s a trick to it. The trick to styling a medium or patterned dress, as with any other clothing, is to get a feel for its mood first. If your dress feels more serious, style it with sober colors. Sometimes, if you want your dress to feel a certain way, combining it with accessories of the same feel can help you accomplish that goal, too.
For example, if you have a medium yellow dress that doesn’t seem quite fun enough for a cocktail party, try styling it up with some bright white shoes. This might be just enough to make it sufficient to suit your chosen venue. However, be careful with this technique, as it’s not always guaranteed to work.
Instead, it’s much safer to take the cue from the existing tone of your dress and go with that. If your yellow dress seems just a tad too provocative to wear to work, keep it safely in your closet until your next night out on the town instead, for example.
A patterned dress works the same way, but the rules for choosing which colors to go with it work a bit differently. For a patterned dress, the best way to pick a matching shoe is to “pull out” a color used in the outfit and accessorize with it. For example, if you’re wearing a yellow dress with white flowers on it, your best bet would be to wear white shoes. If you’re wearing a yellow dress with red polka-dots, wear red shoes to play upon the pattern.
The trouble with a patterned dress is that you should almost always avoid wearing patterned shoes. Even if you have shoes that sport the same pattern as the dress, there is such a thing as matching too much. Wearing shoes that feature the same design as your dress often looks tacky, and wearing any other type can be risky. Unless you’re an experienced fashionista, avoid combining patterned shoes with a patterned outfit.
For the most part, medium yellow dresses will look good with shoes on either side of the spectrum. However, they also go well with some colors that neither light nor dark yellow dresses can pull off, such as:
Shoes with Dark Yellow Dresses
Dark yellow dresses, such as those in mustard, goldenrod, or rusty yellow, can make a bold statement in the fall. However, these dresses require completely different accessorization rules than a bright yellow dress does. White shoes, for example, tend to clash with a dark yellow dress, leaving you looking indecisive between dark and light shades.
The most reliable color to wear with a dark yellow dress is brown. Brown shoes play upon the earthiness of a mustard yellow dress, giving you a serious but casual boho vibe. A pair of sage green shoes can accentuate this look, as well, while making you look playful at the same time.
As a general rule, try to stay away from saturated colors when wearing dark yellow dresses. However, if your saturated color is very dark, it’s generally okay. Deep maroons, greens, and blues tend to look dashing when paired with a dark yellow dress, for example.
Be especially careful to stay away from bright hues when wearing a dark yellow dress. Eye-catching shoes will wash out the subtle colors of a deep yellow dress and will often clash with it.
However, where dark yellow dresses genuinely shine is their acceptance of patterns. Pinstripes, houndstooth, and multi-patterned shoes go excellently with mustard or rusty yellow dresses, especially if the shoes are in black and white. Again, try to stay away from bright shades with your patterns, but otherwise, most designs will complement a dark yellow dress.
Metallics with Yellow Dresses
For the most part, when you’re wearing a yellow dress, you will want to stay away from shiny, metallic shoes. Some medium yellow dresses will be able to pull off silver and gold, but we still recommend staying away from bling and shine whenever possible. Yellow is overwhelming enough on its own, and adding shine to that can clash or detract from the accessory as well as the dress.
Try to keep most shoes and accessories that you wear with a yellow dress as matte as possible. One exception is leather, which can pair exquisitely with yellow dresses under the right circumstances. However, as far as “bling” goes, avoid shiny jewels, sequins, and reflective materials that might detract from the beauty of your yellow dress. This is especially true for yellow dresses that are metallic themselves.
Color Blocking Yellow Dresses
Yellow is a color that lends itself exceptionally well to the practice of “color blocking.” Color blocking means to pick another bright, saturated shade to go with the existing yellow in your dress. However, one drawback of yellow is its overwhelming intensity and its inability to combine with many patterns. Yellow doesn’t tend to go well with multiple hues, for example.
If you’re planning to color block with your yellow dress, pick one accompanying shade and stick to it. Avoid accessorizing your yellow dress with multiple other shades, especially if it’s bright. Too many bright colors can leave you looking clown-like and unfashionable.
If you have a pair of shoes that comes in an attractive multicolor pattern that complements your yellow dress, that’s great! However, avoid pairing blue sandals with a red cardigan over a yellow dress. Doing this can leave you looking like you came from the circus, not your closet.
Types of Shoes to Wear with Yellow Dresses
Like we said earlier in this article, the style of shoe that goes with your yellow dress generally depends on the mood of the dress itself. If your dress is darker and more casual-looking, it may go well with a pair of sneakers or canvas shoes. However, if it’s bright and formal-looking, then it would likely pair best with high-heeled pumps or sandals.
Determining the style of shoe that goes with your yellow dress is just as important as choosing the color, after all. Unfortunately, though, there is no hard-and-fast rule for determining which style of shoe will go best with your yellow dress. You’ll have to follow your gut to decide which footwear works best for you.
Consider a bright yellow dress that’s fitted, professional-looking, and modest enough to be suitable for work, for example. Bright yellow dresses tend to be playful and eye-catching, and they go best with white sandals or shoes. However, more often than not, white shoes are too much for a yellow dress in the workplace. It’s much better to accessorize a work dress with black or navy shoes instead.
In the same way, you’ll have to decide on the shape of your shoes, too. On a rainy, cold day, your yellow dress will pair best with boots or booties and a black leather jacket. On a sunny day, strappy navy or black heels, if they’re allowed in your office, would complement the dress better. Peep-toes or full pumps would be ideal for springtime when temperatures are still warming up.
As a general rule, as far as shape goes, the coverage of your shoe tends to go best with the season you’re wearing it in. If temperatures outside are soaring and warm, wear strappy sandals and breathable shoes, if you can. As temperatures fall (and during inclement weather), opt for shoes that cover more of your foot, and possibly your leg, too.
Dark yellow dresses, as more of a winter and fall style, will pair exceptionally well with full-coverage footwear and accessories such as:
- Black or brown leather boots
- Charcoal or patterned booties
- Long tights or socks
- Hats, earmuffs, and jackets
Yellow Dress Textures
Believe it or not, yellow dresses can add yet another variable that makes them difficult to style: texture. When we say texture in this context, we mean the type of fabric the dress is made with. For example, a lightweight, billowy, see-through sundress would be appropriate for the beach, but not the workplace. A fitted, straight-cut, herringbone-patterned work dress might be a bit too serious to wear out for a night on the town.
However, the texture of a yellow dress can act as a helpful guide in making your style choices, too. Yellow lace, for example, tends to be earthy and honest, like most lace dresses. A yellow lace dress goes exceptionally well with light brown shoes and accessories that play up the natural tones of the lace and the floral notes of the yellow color.
In the end, yellow is a versatile, if challenging, color to style, especially in dresses. However, as long as you keep the mood of the dress in mind and trust your gut, you won’t have any trouble styling this eye-catching color.