Best Shoes for Your Summer LBD

Real Style on 06.06.11
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Photo: Nordstrom.com

"Can I wear black suede open toed heels (3.5) in late June?" asks Beverly. "No stockings, with a black sleeveless cocktail dress." The answer is a qualified yes.

Once upon a time, certain shoes were seasonal: suede was for winter and patent leather for summer. These days, though, you can wear a suede or patent pump virtually year round, if the styling is right. In this case, the peep toe makes Beverly's black suede pumps appropriate for summer, although she should keep in mind that suede is a fairly heavy material. Depending on her dress, these shoes may be too substantial -- even with the open toe -- for a summer event.

But having said that yes, Beverly can wear her black suede pumps to a cocktail event in late June, I'm also going to say that she should look for a better option. A lighter color or a lighter material is a better choice for a summer event.

If you're looking for a really wearable year-round black pump, opt for a classic leather style. I like the shape of the Ivanka Trump pumps pictured above; they're available in black leather and milk patent for $119.95. This is a shoe that will work with everything in your closet, and that you can wear to the office and to church and to a fancy black tie dinner. A good investment for your closet.

Black is always practical but it's not the only option with an LBD. A nude or neutral shoe -- the patent option pictured above, for example -- is perfect for summer, when you'll be showing off your legs. A black shoe, particularly with bare legs, can be heavy, no matter what the shape or style or fabric. A nude shoe lengthens your leg line and makes you look taller. For summer I like a nude peep toe with a bright pedicure, but a nude pump is also a good investment. And yes, you can wear a nude shoe with a black dress -- in fact, if you're looking at a hemline that hits just at or below your knee, a nude pump will give you a little extra leg without forcing you to go shorter in the skirt. It's a nice way to maintain your modesty and still highlight your legs.

But summer is all about fun -- think outside the box! A brightly colored shoe is an easy way to give your LBD a pop of color. A bright blue or hot pink pump is perfect with a black dress.

One caveat, though: skip the extreme platform pump, in any color. They just look like stripper shoes, and I'm assuming that stripper is not the look any of us is going for when we get dressed up for a night -- or day -- out.

More on summer shoes!

Sole Survivor Shoe Quiz
Top 5 Nude Shoes
5 Footwear Mistakes