Reader Paula emailed me this query:
Here’s my question, and it’s something I’ve been talking about with some other people, and we’re all a little stumped.. I recently bought a beautiful pair of grey Dansko short boots. They are lovely! But nothing I wear really seems right with them, and I’d love (if you think it would be useful to other people) to hear how to wear boots that are grey or other non-standard color. I never can quite know if I am choosing the right leggings or tights, and it always feels a little off to me. It might be because I am used to wearing darker shoes?
Know why I love this question? Because I STRUGGLE WITH GREY BOOTS. In fact, I’ve owned at least two pairs over the past decade and have long since donated or sold them. Grey boots seem like they’ll be the perfect solution to so many issues, since grey is a versatile neutral. But they are challenging. No doubt about it.
There are ways to make them work, though. Here are a few tips.
Make sure to wear something else grey
Since we’re used to footwear being either dark or bright, colors that are light and pale trip us up when worn that low on the silhouette. Mirroring the grey at your feet with grey elsewhere makes the addition seem more natural. So a black top, grey skirt, black tights, and grey boots will likely work.
Do lighter hosiery
I know I just said black tights, but depending on your taste and preferences that high contrast may look a bit odd when the footwear is the lighter shade. Charcoal works with a variety of grey tones, but you can also look at olive, tan, or even patterned tights which feel less heavy/dark than opaques.
Save them for warm weather
No matter how dark your skin tone is, grey shoes tend to look more natural against bare skin. Light-colored footwear makes us think of spring and summer, so even tall grey boots will work well on bare legs.
Wear them with lighter color mixes
This is my preferred technique for making grey footwear work . If you do the boots with a light wash jean, white sweater, and khaki jacket they’ll look more natural than with dark jeans, a navy sweater, and a burgundy jacket.
And there’s the eternal cheat: Look at what other people have done on Pinterest. No shame in it, I promise!
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