How to wear Color Blocked Dresses

Color-blocked dresses have been a trend that’s got some serious adhesive. It’s been around since late last summer, and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon.

A color-blocked dress is a garment that has at least two bold, separated colors. It doesn’t matter how they’re separated as long as there’s no pattern, blending, or image.

Sounds beautiful, huh? Well… I’ve received a lot of e-mails asking what the hell to wear on your feet when your dress has more colors than a rainbow? The majority of readers want to default to black shoes, as they’re the easiest… I have one thing to say to that:

It’s a dowdy cop out!


So anyway, I figured that instead of shaking my head at people who fall in terror when faced with shoe choices, I ought to just shed some light and educate! It’s always the better choice.

How to Wear a Color Blocked Dress that’s Light:

Naturally, there are going to be dresses that are lighter, and dresses that are darker. They have different rules.

First rule: NO BLACK SHOES. White shoes only if there are like 18 different colors in your dress, and if that’s the case, it’s not a color block dress anyway, so go for it!

Here’s a great example of a “light color blocked dress”. The majority of the dress is white, giving it a bright, sunny feel – which should be reflected on your feets.

The dress is from Bluefly and designed by Romeo & Juliet Couture [$150 $90]. It’s lightweight jersey and ties in the back for an empire waist effect. GREAT for spring.

Since this dress only has a total of 3 colors, two of which are bold at all, you can really play up the boldness with your shoe selection.

The first shoe is the Charlotte Russe Platform Mary Janes [$22.99]. It’s beautiful saturated teal color really compliments (yes, compliments, not matches!) the saturated green and purple in the dress. The intensity isn’t overpowering and balances out the boldness of the outfit.

The second pair are from Rue 21 and are a beautiful yellow patent leather [$19.99]. If you’re a little too timid to do the big teal platforms but still want to make a statement, these lighter, easier pumps are for you.

The last pair, you’re probably sick of seeing by now. They’re from Lulu*’s [see discount code post!] and made by the infamous Naughty Monkey. They’re appropriately called “Colorful Talk” pumps [$70 or $59.50 with our discount code], and have the perfect combination of colors to compliment the dress. These shoes are the safest option for a new color block victim beginner.

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Keep it simple with the accessories. Don’t go too bold EVERYWHERE, you just want to keep with the theme. Maybe toss on a thick lucite bangle, a pair of simple earrings, and a solid-color bag.

How to Wear a Dark Color Blocked Dress:

As you could probably imagine, there’s a similar rule for darker color blocked dresses as there is to light: NO WHITE SHOES! Tacky, tacky, tacky…

However, you have a little more flexibility with darker colors because they tend to be a little more “intense” than lighter ones, i.e. matching isn’t such a horrid offense. Especially if there’s balance involved.

Cute dress, right? It’s from Bluefly by Sweet Pea [$148 $69.99] and has one of the coolest color blocking “patterns” I’ve seen yet! I love the light on bottom, dark on top vibe – very saucy. The scoopneck is super flattering, too.

So when it comes to the shoes – in my opinion, we can have more fun. We go from Brave to Wuss as we scan top to bottom of our shoe options. The bravest is an electric blue Satin Pleated Stiletto from Charlotte Russe [$24.99] that’ll really pop, yet still compliment the elegance of the dress. The big black space between the two pinks can either pop the colors, or mute them. In this case, they’re muted, so the blue sandals will really bring them back out.

Our second, middle choice is a perfect example of how “matching” is more acceptable with darker frocks. They’re Nine West Furgus fuchsia pumps from Piperlime [$80 $59.99]. The color is closer to the block that’s on the upper part of the dress, so it offers some balance to the outfit. I just think they’re super sexy.

Lastly, for all you wussies out there, we have some BCBGirls Albania sandals from Piperlime [$89]. You can imagine these delicate heels beneath you as you’re totally draped in beautiful sterling silver jewelry, right? Because that’s what I see when I look at them. Silver is never boring, so don’t even say “It’s a neutral, though!” to me. Don’t even TRY!

I hope this answers your color blocking questions! I hope you’ll all be a little more comfortable [and excited!] in your dresses with some dazzling shoesies to match compliment.


  • Chelsea Rae

    I love color blocking and having shoes that really make a statement. For me colors that are even slightly in the same family match most of the time, and I would never were two pieces of clothing that are exactly the same shade. It screams “I’m a professional, who happens to be a women, so take me seriously because I’m wearing a matching skirt suit.”

    I also really like the Nine West ‘Furgus pumps’, but I wish the came in the same color as the ‘Pleated Stiletto’ from Charlotte Russe.

  • nikki

    awesome blog!

  • I love your outfit suggestions! I do just that – pick a darker outfit and brighten it with some colorful heels and accessories. And yes, that is a very cute dress! I would prefer Violette Satin Pumps, because the pointed toe would look just exquisite with the flowing fabric of the dress. Here’s a link to those shoes:

    Annas last blog post: Comfort Shoe Industry Grows Despite Recession on

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  • Thank you for your post it is valuable information for me

  • taisha

    I just purchased a herve leger dress for my birthday party. The dress consist of 4 colors purple, dark pink , lavender ,& dark gray I was thinking silver shoes or even gunmetal any suggestions ?

    • Silver shoes would be AMAZING! Or maybe, to keep it from being to obvious a pairing, a dark, gunmetal pewter color would be wonderful.

      If you wanted to brighten it up, you could wear a rich royal blue to bring the color down to the bottom of your look. The dress sounds beautiful!

  • may obam

    i just bought a gren and yellow dress the green is light and is the top while the skirt is the yellow part..what color of shoes should i use.

    • I think that gold shoes would be really beautiful with those colors!

  • Kelsey

    I just bough this dress for a work thingy (which is why it is tamer)
    But what shoes?? Gray? A salmon/peach color? help!