Dressing for winter is notoriously difficult, with many of us finding it a challenge to pick outfits that are both warm and stylish. This is especially the case for those who love to keep warm with a pair of tights, but can’t find footwear to match their look. To help you stay at the top of your outfit game in even the most treacherous of weathers, we spoke to Rachel Clinkard, Ecommerce Director at footwear specialist Charles Clinkard. Here, she shares her top tips for finding the perfect shoes to complement your winter hosiery.
Excess layering, as well as donning gloves, hats and scarves: it’s all part and parcel of dressing for winter. And, while it can seem tricky to find your perfect look during the colder months, wearing tights is a fool proof way to ensure you always look dressed up and stylish. But, with so many possible shoe styles out there, I know it can seem overwhelming to find the right pair to go with your winter aesthetic.
To help you nail your outfit from head to toe, I’ll be sharing my top tips for pairing shoes with your winter hosiery, no matter how plain or busy the style.
Pair opaque tights with heels or boots
Opaque tights tend to be the most versatile style, but even they can cause some confusion when it comes to choosing complementary footwear. If you’re wearing this type of hosiery for work or a formal event and want to pair them with heels, I’d advise steering clear of anything but a court shoe as peep toes or strappy Mary Janes may look too busy and overwhelming. If you’re wearing black tights, I would also recommend sticking with black heels to tie your outfit together nicely — leather, patent, or suede all work well, so find your perfect finish. If you’ve chosen coloured opaque tights, you can afford to be a little more experimental with your shoe colour choices. For example, pairing brown tights with sand-coloured boot heels will help you achieve a neutral and understated look.
If you’re wearing opaque tights for less formal events such as day trips or shopping, pairing them with some fleece-lined biker boots or an over-the-knee style will give you the perfect off-duty look while ensuring your feet are kept warm and toasty.
Complement patterned tights with moccasins
Wearing patterned fashion tights is a sure way to add uniqueness to any outfit but, with these styles being so busy, it can certainly limit your footwear options. My best tip would be to go with flat shoes that won’t extend up your leg to cover any of the pattern. This will ensure the focus remains on the stylish pattern on the tights and will give you a sophisticated way to round off a statement outfit.
Moccasins in a plain style will keep the focus on the tights' pattern and will be versatile enough to match to many different pairs of patterned tights. Plus, as they tend to have more grip than ballet pumps, they will be a good choice for days when the weather looks bleak.
If you’re wearing patterned tights to a formal occasion, it’s best to play it safe with some simple court shoes to make sure you don’t overdo it. But, don’t be afraid to pick out a colour from the patterned design to match your shoes with — the coordination is sure to have a great impact!
Team fishnets with trainers
Fishnets have taken off again in recent years, with many younger people wearing them under ripped jeans for the ultimate off-duty look. If you do choose to take influence from this style, trainers are the perfect footwear to complete your casual outfit. These can either coordinate with the colour of your fishnets or be contrasting to add an extra edge.
If you’re wanting to smarten up your fishnet look, try teaming them with a pair of military-esque ankle boots. These will work well whether you’re wearing fishnets with a midi dress, or with an oversized blazer with a skirt.
It’s not uncommon for people to avoid wearing fishnets with heels at risk of looking over-the-top but, there is a way of doing this in a classy and sophisticated way. So, if you’re wanting to give this a try, I’d recommend teaming them with suede over-the-knee boots that co-ordinate with the rest of your outfit, or some open-back heels for a super feminine appeal.
Contrast sheer tights with standout styles
Reserved for the days when you need warmth but don’t want to take too much away from your outfits, sheer tights can be a life-saver. And, as the nude versions mimic your natural skin, they are one of the most versatile hosiery purchases you can make this winter. Of course, the exact shoes you choose may depend on the outfit you’re wearing but, in most cases, you can afford to team sheer styles with standout shoes, whether that means bright colours, bold patterns, or unusual heel shapes. Think big chunky flatform soles in winter-appropriate colours like burgundy or sleek heels in patterns of the moment like animal print and you’re there!
If you’re wearing sheer or translucent tights underneath your work dress or skirt, you can keep it looking professional with a pair of wedged court shoes to provide support, comfort, and undeniable style all day.
Tights are a functional part of any winter wardrobe, so don’t be tempted to avoid them just because of the overwhelming footwear choices you’re faced with. With my top tips and some creativity, you’ll be nailing winter style before you know it!