The rules around dressing for a wedding can sound incredibly complicated. No one wants to ruin the day with a wild outfit, but it’s hard to know what to wear when there seems to be so much conflicting advice.
Matching your bag and shoes is one of those pieces of wisdom we all seem to know. The idea is that it makes you look sleek and sophisticated, perfectly put together for a special day. But do you still need to do it?
For most weddings, you won’t be required to match your bag and shoes. Or, at least, your bag and shoes won’t need to look like they were cut from the same material. If you’re still unsure on what to wear, then this simple guide can help you nail that wedding outfit.
Do shoes and bags have to match?
In most situations, you won’t be expected to match your bags to your shoes. This is quite an old-fashioned rule, and it doesn’t really reflect the current style guide for weddings.
Although matching your bag to your shoes is a popular choice, it isn’t a necessity. As long as your outfit is appropriate and well put together, how matched your accessories are won’t be of interest.
Although they may not need to match, there are a few rules you should consider following when choosing a bag and shoes for a wedding. Weddings, even casual ones, are still a fairly traditional occasion.
- Keep the bag small. Really, you shouldn’t need to be carrying much for a wedding. A phone, some money, and a pack of tissues are the basics. Carrying a large bag will feel ungainly, and when you move over to eating and dancing, a big bag will only get in your way. Go small, and if you can’t fit everything in, then you probably need to bring less.
- Make sure you can carry your bag easily in one hand. A clutch is perfect. You want to be able to tuck your bag under your arm, so you can help yourself to drinks.
- Wear a thin, small heel. One of the biggest mistakes people make is wearing towering heels. They’re uncomfortable, and they don’t look good among the toned back outfits. Chunky heels and wedges are also out, unless they match the wedding venue.
- If you’re going open toe, sort your nails. Open toed shoes are fine, and can be just what an outfit needs. But if you do choose to wear an open toe, be sure to use a coat of polish.
- Make sure everything is high-quality. Importantly, quality doesn’t have to mean expense. An expensive bag with scuffs will look worse than a clean and neat bag that costs less.
Matching doesn’t have to mean “matching”
A mistake people make is assuming that when you’re matching bags and shoes, they have to be identical. This isn’t true. You can match bags and shoes without having to buy them from the exact same range. The trick is in knowing what parts you’re matching.
Prints are a fun way to add interest to an outfit, and a popular choice for accessorizing. A print on a bag doesn’t have to match an identical print on the shoe. Instead, the shoe choice can emphasize part of the print (and vice versa).
Similarly, a bold color on the shoe only needs to match part of the bag, and the rest can be a neutral tone. For example, silver shoes can match the silver clasp of an otherwise low-key bag.
If you’ve decided on a statement bag or shoes, then it actually looks better not to match. Too much matching seems over the top. If you want to make a statement, the other accessory should work to tone it down.
What if the bride is very traditional?
If the bride is having a very traditional church wedding, then matching is appropriate. The bride will likely appreciate the effort you made to coordinate, and you won’t stand out.
For a particularly traditional wedding, the easiest color to wear is navy. This dark blue is so adaptable that it’s considered to be a neutral color. This allows you to match your accessories with ease. Pair a navy dress with champagne accessories, for a collected look. Otherwise, a polished silver adds a splash of interest, without being too bold.
Another traditional option is to wear neutrals. A pop of color can be added to a sleek neutral dress via the accessories, without going overboard.
The easiest way to match shoes and bags with a neutral dress is to look for the undertones. Pair blush accessories with a neutral that has a pink undertone, navy for cool toned neutrals, or metallic to match anything.
Advantages to matching your bag and shoes
We all understand that other people’s weddings aren’t about us, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have fun with our outfits. The best way to do that is with clever accessories.
A neutral dress is an obvious choice, but it doesn’t allow for much expression of personality. Matching accessories can make a real difference. A bold bag and shoe is unobtrusive enough to not be a distraction, but still a way to jazz up an outfit.
The reverse is also true. A printed or brightly colored dress should speak for itself. Matching your bag and shoes keeps the focus on the part of the outfit that should be standing out. It also prevents muddling your dress with too much visual interest.
And the time you’ll most appreciate matching is when you can’t decide what to wear. Finding accessories that will complement your dress, and each other, can be a daunting task. Matching the shoes and bags makes everything that bit simpler.
The rules of weddings aren’t quite as strict as they used to be. Matching your bag and shoes is a good idea, but it isn’t a necessity. Keep your clothing sophisticated, but have fun with it!