Yes, you are allowed to wear black tights and red shoes

Red mary janes and tights

Today’s post is inspired by a question that recently popped up in my blog’s search terms: “Is it ok to wear red shoes with black tights?”

I may not be a famous fashion expert or highly-paid stylist, but I am here to tell you, completely and unequivocally, that yes, it is OK. It’s as simple as that.

I suppose it could be a little bit more complicated, or people wouldn’t be searching for answers online. We are constantly bombarded with messages that we must look a certain way, to wear certain clothing, in order to conform to society’s idea of how we should appear. Magazines and fashion matrons tell us to lose weight, to avoid wearing white after Labor Day, to hide our imperfections with clothing meant to highlight our good spots. Tall girls shouldn’t wear high heels, fat girls shouldn’t wear horizontal stripes, women over 40 shouldn’t wear miniskirts.

I call bullshit on style rules. You needn’t ever ask if it’s all right to wear something. The only rules are to follow your personal tastes and your personal comforts.

red glitter all stars072My footShine

I am a firm believer that people should wear what’s comfortable to them, what they feel flatters their bodies, what works well with their personal styles. This is why you won’t hear me snarking on anyone else’s fashion faux pas. Yes, I will admit to having done this is the past, but I’ve since learned that criticizing others’ style, especially with no knowledge of their circumstances, helps no one and fosters a terrible cycle of self-doubt and body negativity.

Style is all about personal choices. My mother would never wear black tights with red shoes. Her personal style rule is to match her shoes to her bottoms, e.g. gold shoes with a gold pantsuit, navy shoes with a navy pinstripe skirt. Black hosiery is worn with black shoes, and nude with everything else. However, those are her rules, not mine, and certainly not yours.

Give yourself permission to wear black tights with red shoes, or to break any other style rules you find. To borrow a phrase from Ragen Chastain, you are the boss of your own underpants. If you want to wear black tights with red shoes, then you go right ahead with your bad self!

Sal of Already Pretty—who’s also been known to rock the black tights and red shoes look herself—wrote a great piece last year on style, taste, and judgment. I recommend reading the article, but the most important takeaway is this: “Style is for everyone, style is empowering, and there is no one right way to look good.”

Additional photo credits: mollybob, Vief C.,Reese Derrenberger, and Pru Comben via Flickr.


5 thoughts on “Yes, you are allowed to wear black tights and red shoes

  1. Ah, I love this. It seems like it’s so easy to internalize these weird rules so that it feels like we’ll burst into flames if we violate them. And yet, it not only remains physically possible to do so, it can look great! And even if it doesn’t look great, what’s the big flipping deal? I know I’d rather try new things and screw up sometimes…but that doesn’t stop me from nailbiting sometimes about how my weird choices are going to be received by others. Ahh, it’s a work in progress.

  2. Thanks, guys! Reading your blogs has also helped me to be more adventurous in my own style choices, and to push away those thoughts of what I should or shouldn’t be wearing. It definitely is a work in progress. It just sadden me when I hear people say things like “I wish I could wear that…” and then go on to explain why they could never wear that thing. I feel like if I say “Hey, if you like it, why not?” and start a discussion, then maybe people will start thinking more lovingly about their bodies and their style.

  3. Awww thanks for using my photo haha. Red shoes in contrasting tights look awesome and stylish! [But then again, I just reallllly love tights and I don’t really care about rules… ;D] Nice post!

  4. Latonya Bond says:

    I needed to read this wearing a black and red color block dress and wanted to wear red pumps and black tights

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