Monday, May 13, 2013

Styling Saddle Shoes

Current/Elliot via Pinterest
Anyone else grow up wearing saddle shoes from Buster Brown? I had pairs in both black & white AND in pink & white.

Oxfords & saddle shoes are making a comeback in a big way, and while they're a very classic style, they can be difficult to integrate into a modern style without turning an outfit blatantly 1950's vintage and even costume-y.

My friend Erin is considering getting saddle shoes from ModCloth and writes:

"I think these little style of shoes are so cute by themselves but I'm hesitant to get them because I'm not sure how I would ever wear it. Any thoughts?"
via ModCloth

Those of us with awesome retro-vintage style could easily just throw these on with any outfit and make it work. But what about someone with a more modern style? Avoiding cutesy styling is key, so just say no to sweet collars, lots of ruffles, swingy skirts and old-fashioned/vintage cuts & lengths (unless of course that's just the look you're going for!).

Saddle shoes and two-tone oxfords are definitely statement pieces, since the style is so iconic and the color contrast is stark. As with any statement piece, the general idea/rule is to keep the rest of your outfit simple and streamlined, especially if you're going for a more modern styling.

Here are a few examples of how to make saddle shoes work:

via Pinterest // via Happy, Honey & Lark
- The styling here is more masculine, which works well with the oxford-style shoe.
- Leather pants/dark jeans are modern and sleek, providing contrast for a potentially cutesy shoes.
- The color-blocking in both the scarf and the checkered button down carry the black & white color-blocking of the shoes and makes the outfit look streamlined, consistent, and clean.

via Pinterest   //   via Pinterest
- The simple color palette of both outfits neutralizes the pop of the shoes.
- A worn-in, grunge style provides extra contrast and also helps neutralize the "dapper-ness." Specifically, the graphic tee & cut-off shorts and the ripped sweatshirt all contrast the potential "cutesy" factor and update an icon. 

Simple & Slightly Sweet:
via The Drifter & The Gypsy
- Modern colors and a simple jeans + blouse combo allow the shoes to be a statement piece.
- The polka dots hint at a retro style without screaming it, and provide a neutralizing interest point for the color-blocked shoes.
- If you do want to go a little more old school, choose just one or two pieces that speak to the retro factor, like a sweet dress, a collared shirt, a floral or vintage pattern, etc. Limiting the vintage pieces will help you avoid the costume effect. 

via Pinterest
- The preppy stripes provide a style contrast and dumb down the retro feel.
- Simple black pants and a more neutral colored shoe help keep things streamlined and modern. 
- Drinking coffee while wearing saddle shoes is always a good idea. 

Anyone else have ideas for wearing saddle shoes? Have a favorite way to style them? Share!


  1. These shoes are really very attractive and stylish. I really like all these shoes. I have also find some great at Saddleonline.

  2. you should always wear white socks with saddle shoes