The shoe rack is probably one of the most prized areas in your home (besides the closet and wine cooler). Each pair of your Louboutins, Manolo Blahniks, and Common Projects are neatly arranged, whether by colour or brand that’s to your discretion. To mess them up would be to commit sacrilege. But what if that’s exactly what we’re trying to get you to do?

Mismatched shoes have always been a thing for those in tune with their own fashion, but it didn’t really take off in the mainstream until recently. Perhaps it had to do with the cultural impact of Carrie Bradshaw’s mismatched Louboutins highlighted by the Instagram account @everyoutfitonsatc back in June? In the post, Sarah Jessica Parker (who played Bradshaw) clarified this incident in a comment chock full of trivia.

“We had 2 pairs of what I believe are Louboutin strappy sandals.” Parker commented. “[Patricia Field] and I chose to do 1 of each. Perhaps because both were so delicious in color and seemed in harmony with the dress but also because we simply loved doing 1 of each.” What might have been seen as a faux pas back in season 3 of Sex and the City was actually a pioneering power play by the style mavens. In an homage of sorts, Parker also recently attended the New York City Ballet in a mismatched pair of shoes from her own collection.

 

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Later on in 2011, actress Helena Bonham-Carter also walked out onto the Golden Globes red carpet in a pair of mismatched shoes. With one heel in pink and the other in green, she set off a firestorm on the style blogs, telling People Magazine that she was “was just having fun.”

“For me, fashion is all about fantasy and putting unlikely things together. That’s what I love. I genuinely love dressing up,” she continued.

Phoebe Philo also famously sent out models wearing shoes in mismatched tones for her Celine Spring 2017 collection. Boots and sandals were not exempt from her nonconformity, and this trend just spiralled into the moodboards of other designers – Sacai for Fall 2018 also did the same.

However, trends can take some time to manifest themselves in the mainstream, and it was only recently that anyone who is not a model or a celebrity has attempted to pull off the subversive look.

Even so, rocking the mismatched look requires some adeptability, and it’s almost a Catch-22. You can’t just slip on two actually mismatched shoes and think you’re the next street style star. The first step is in making sure the shoes are the same style. After all, you wouldn’t want to be walking down the sidewalk with a platform boot on your right foot and a kitten heel on your left.

Next, the colour of your shoes should somewhat match your outfit. Celine Dion demonstrated this perfectly with a pair of patent leather Jimmy Choos in yellow and black that matched her similarly-toned ensemble.

Last, you need confidence. Strutting down a corridor in a pair of mismatched shoes will require swagger that silences anyone daring to question your sartorial choice. This style is a power play that is the perfect complement to power-dressing. Make that corridor your runway.

 

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Josiah Neo
Writer
Josiah Neo is a tech writer who contributes occasionally to the fashion, travel, and culture beats. When he’s not busy keeping up with the keynotes, he’s probably stuffing his face with the best Melbournian donuts (at Shortstop, BTW) or watching his favourite esports team, the Los Angeles Valiant, pummel their opponents into oblivion.