Do Shoes Make The Outfit?

A question for the ages. Do shoes really make an outfit? 

This expression implies that either an outfit is nothing without the shoes, or that a change of shoes transforms an outfit.

In an effort to get to the bottom of this, I played dress-up in a me-made outfit and tried the look with two different pairs of shoes.

The Outfit

The windowpane top is the one I made the night before vacation earlier this summer, and the skirt was also self-drafted and loosely based on an old fast-fashion skirt that's been kicking around my wardrobe for nine years. It's a pretty combo but the linen fabrication in both of the garments keeps it from being too glam.

shoes #1

Shoes #1 are my Everlane day heels in rose tan. I love these shoes! They are so lovely and demure. I save them for more special wear because the leather is super fragile and scuffs easy. They are quite comfortable for standing and walking though. I'd wear these all the time if the finish wasn't so delicate.

Everlane day heels in rose tan.

Everlane day heels in rose tan.

Shoes #2

Shoes #2 are dark gray suede block heel sandals by Jeffrey Campbell. I bought these last year in the throes of desire for Maryam Nassir Zadeh sophie block heel sandals. These were about 1/10 the price! Not an exact dupe, but I still love them and they sated my appetite for that block heel sandal look (I still wish I had a pair in a light neutral though). They are great for dressing up a summer outfit, but not too much.

Jeffrey Campbell block heel sandals

Jeffrey Campbell block heel sandals



The shoes definitely make a difference! But honestly, not a big one. Maybe because both pairs are block heels? But they are also both different colors and styles, so there SHOULD be some kind of difference. If we were being heavy handed, I'd say the Everlane heels make a more formal outfit while the sandals remain more casual.

I'd wear the Everlane shoes for when I wanted to channel more of the off-duty ballerina look out for a nice date-night dinner, while the sandals might be better for running around during the daytime, maybe stopping for a happy-hour margarita on a patio with a friend somewhere.

But really, any scenario that one pair works for, I can easily see the other would probably do just fine as well. 

So do shoes make the outfit? Yes.. and no? What do you think?