Nude Shoes for 12 Seasons

This article began from working with a Soft Summer who asked what the colour of her nude shoe would be.

I’m no more artistic or visionary or gifted with special colour acuity than you or anybody else. I’m just a guy who knows what I like to see and put those 12 Season palettes into 12 contexts. I don’t have a day of fashion education. I guess I’ve been amazed at how many could see it my way but part of me always wants to hold up her hands and say, Wait a minute, who says I’m right? Every time I show or say something, I hope everybody’s next thought is, Yeah, fine, but give me a second. Do I agree with her?




Spring Nude Shoes


The one with the star, either for Light or True Spring, would be nice on a strawberry blonde.

For Bright Spring,the  black would anchor them to the ground. The placement of it is elongated, as opposed to a crosswise bow or strap. Many are quite dark in appearance and would do well with a little black. Many others are lighter, more neutral, golden or beige overall and could wear their beige, quite like the shoe right under the words Light Spring in the row below.

True Spring may be fair or darker than you expect, containing many golden greens, new coin gold, and peach-brown colours.

The Light Spring, along with the Light Summer, this is a fashion event that looks really good with their body and their colour-analyzed clothing.

It’s all about the uninterrupted line. Peep toes are OK but keep the nail polish subtle.

Few or no horizontal effects – cap toes, bows, stripes, ankle straps are only in if the shoe is fabulousness.


Fashion Rules 

I’m nitpicky about perfection. For Winter, close enough is never good enough if they care about the subject at all. The idea of this article was to find that nude shoe for each type of natural colouring, or Season, or Tone, that does what fashion has taught us, which is to elongate the leg. As I got going with this article, I knew that I like to see a shell pinky beige shoe on Light Season women with light hair (Helen Mirren), just because it looks nice, not because her legs look any different. Besides the Light Spring and Summer, I’ve never thought flesh-coloured shoes looked so great, nor did it ever inspire any, Why, what long legs you have! reactions.

I do not believe most fashion rules. They don’t work as well as we’re led to believe. Like the idea of wearing one colour head to toe to look tall. You don’t. You might look great or like a short person in a mobster getup, but how tall you look is about the same as if you wore light or medium colour head to toe. Far as I can see, bisecting horizontal colour blocks do matter. Length of garments can make a difference, in that a shirt that ends below the rear end makes legs look shorter than one that ends at the hip bone – but the overall woman doesn’t look shorter. As David Kibbe said in a video recording of a session with a Gamine, “maybe you look taller if you’re standing in a room all by yourself” Who’s ever seen a 5’2″ woman and thought, Boy, I could have sworn you were 5’5″!! Victoria Beckham looks good in darkness, but even in stilettos, she looks like a small, slim woman.

Colour and line are all about context. They only look a certain way depending on what’s beside them. Put a woman alone in a picture wearing a shoe of colour similar to her leg, angle the lens upwards a little, make sure the floor is the colour of the shoes, and maybe the leg looks longer. Out in the real world, pouf, gone. She looks like a normal woman with pale shoes or absent feet.

Another of my Star Trek analogies: you know the transporter beam? When the person’s molecules are still spinning around and they haven’t gelled and landed yet? That’s the feeling I get from light shoes on dark people, as if they haven’t quite arrived. It’s a, Where’s the rest of you?  impression. Similar thing happens when dark people wear none or light lipstick. We see the hair, we see the eyes, but they have no mouth. It feels like the bottom half of their face is vanished or someone turned down the opacity, as if it’s not solid. You can actually create this magnificent effect by just Bright or True Winter in Summer colours. They have lots of eyes, they always do. The face drains, so the eyes seem even stronger by comparison. They say, My eyes are too much. but the real deal is that their face is not enough. The lips fade into the skin, the jawline is hard to see, really, it’s like the bottom half of the face is gone.




Summer Nude Shoes


Mauve flesh tones are superb on Soft Summer.

I think this image of Kate Middleton looks great. Very balanced.

Stay inside your lightest to darkest range as much as you can. A too-light shoe can stick out like too-light highlights up at the other end.

Thank you to D. who showed us two of the styles. You should see her buy a cocktail dress. Simply amazing what she finds out there.


Ask Your Kids

As a Winter, I tend to say no before I say yes. I’ve retrained myself to think, Why no? About the nude shoes, I asked my 18 and 19 year old daughters. They are of an age to believe that the status quo is probably and usually wrong, a conviction I hope they keep their entire lives. They are of a generation to reject dogma. They understand their own natural colouring (or Season, or Tone) and how it differs from others’. If you can do anything for your sons and daughters to give them identity and independence, never mind save them a fortune, have them know their colouring. Every person should know this about themselves by the time they’re 20. Their life will be different. I’ve analyzed 3 year olds. Their lives are different.

I asked them, Does wearing a nude shoe, in a colour similar to the skin, make you look like your legs are longer?

It took  #1 less than 3 seconds to say, No, it makes you look like you have boxy clunky feet.

– “Does it ever work? Say if the shoe is small with minimal platforms or stilettos or other weirdness that draws attention to the shoe?”

– “Maybe. I never think skin-coloured anything is anybody’s best choice.”


#2 said, equally instantly, No. It looks like there’s something wrong with your feet or you have no feet.

– “Does it ever work? What about those really neutral shoes JLo wears?”

– “Not that I can see. It doesn’t look like long legs or anything, if that’s what you’re after.”

– “How can you look like your legs are longer?”

– “By having long legs in the first place. ”


Let’s say Nude Shoe will mean the shoe you could wear with anything. The one that will be least obvious at the end of your leg. It will be neutrally coloured for your type of natural colouring. Lots of women appear to have the same skin colour. This nude shoe trick is like finding your foundation – which one will be hardest to see against the background of you?




Soft Autumn Nude Shoes


When you’re really close to the core colour, you don’t notice it on them. Like mulberry lips on Dark Winter, like blue anything on True Summer, like gold on Autumn. True Winter can disappear black so you can do things with black that would be more obvious on the other types of colouring. Autumn can disappear print, texture, and metallics that would be a distraction on someone else and would make you notice the shoe more because the person already appears to contain print, texture, and metallic. The shoe is just adding more of the same. That’s what the game is about. Adding more of what you already are. It looks calm, settled, belonging, and right.

Pinky, peachy, and yellow-beige are Light Spring’s world. Soft Autumn doesn’t do beige, they’re too dark and muted. Beige looks wimpy unless it’s pretty dark. They have green-toned grays and many neutral browns.

Dark Autumn is a lot. It has heat, darkness, strength, texture, metal, animal. They need a lot of shoe.




Winter Nude Shoes


Nude makeup is out of gas on Winters. I find flesh-toned shoes about the same.

Here’s a Winter (Kim Kardashian) who owns some shoes. Look through the style gallery and decide for yourself which is the longest leg, the tallest woman, and the most holistic image. Look at the whole image, not just the feet. Another gallery of Kim’s shoes.

Better to stay with their disappearing colour. Keep the lines plain, the detail small, and show lots of skin, like the width of the exposed skin in the True Winter pump, like the lace in the Bright Winter shoe. Since black disappears on True Winter, you can sneak in a crosswise strap.

Bright Winter is decidedly lighter than the other Winters. They are also shiny. Shoes made of tin foil would blend right in.

The snakeskin shoes for Dark Winter (which I sincerely hope are fake). They’re fabulous. Autumn’s texture and nod to nature, Winter’s slick and expensive.

Victoria Beckham could be a Dark Winter. Here is that colouring in a light gray shoe. Look at the 4th image down, where she’s stepping down off a step. The colour above that is better, it looks more part of her.

Bright Winter can disappear shine like it is part of her, not an add-on. It’s just amazing what they can suppress. Might even consider the word oppress. JK. I have seen them turn black-brown eyeliner into gray when you paint it on their hand. You can put them in gleaming royal blue satin and it’s just a blue blouse.

Are nude shoes gray if hair is gray? Not necessarily. They are the colours above or the Season gray.

18 thoughts on “Nude Shoes for 12 Seasons”

  1. I am pondering the shoes for DW and in discussion with a few others (so this is not statistically significant in any way) we like the idea of nude shoes/sandals for summer. Personally, I bought mine before I was draped DW and I thought it would be handy to have a got to pair of sandals for summer. Works for me. At, the same time I am looking for a go to shoe for the rest of the year which would likely be grey.

    On the other topic of looking tall or short. I know short people have been told many ways they should make themselves look tall. Guess what? I am tall and I’ve surprised a few people when I told them I’ve been told how to look shorter. Yes, really. Do you think that’s possible? It took some ladies breath away and they saw the craziness of it. I’m tall and nobody is surprised. Well, actually they are. A saleslady was totally surprised I wear heels. You’d think she would have more common sense than to say I would look taller if I wore heels. I wear them because I don’t wear moccasins with dresses. It’s a matter of proportion and suitability of footwear with clothing. So if you’re short look magnificent in your shortness and I will do my best to do the same in my tallness. It can take awhile to embrace these ideas when the world tells you something different.

  2. Totally love the snakeskin shoes for DW. They are what I am looking for. No higher than 3″. I’ve not got the knack for the stilettos. And, due to my draping with Christine and paying attention to the book Metamorphosis I know exactly what I want. And, I will wait until the exact right pair come along.

  3. I am a TW, and I find that a silver metallic shoe is very neutral for me, especially since I wear only silver-colored jewelry. Nothing sparkly or over the top, just simple shapes in shiny silver, even for sneakers. My overall style is kind of sleek/minimal as well.

  4. All I know is that as a tall person with long legs and quite long feet – the worst thing I could EVER do is wear flats. Ballet flats that look so ‘cute’ on other people make me look like I have flippers. Even the tiniest, smallest kitten heel will improve the look of my long foot miles ahead of a flat shoe. And that’s before I even start to THINK about getting the color I want!

    Great article Christine – well thought out and presented as always. Nice to see I’m in the write ballpark with my shoe color choices. ;)

  5. Thank you once again – great thoughts! I hate the idea of wearing skin-coloured shoes to “make one look taller”. I’m 158-159 cm and no nude shoe is going to make me look like a supermodel, ever. I don’t know if I want to look taller. I want to look my best.
    I love the idea that “nude shoes” really translates as the neutral colour that goes with anything and looks balanced with the rest. Even if it means black shoes in some case.
    I’m most likely a True Summer and look completely dead in nude lips, does that rule out the possibility of being a Soft Summer? The nude look is really unflattering for me – I need colour on my lips.

  6. I loved this article very much. I think I am DW and I have always tought that nude or other light shoes do not balance my look, like I am not “finished” at the bottom; unless there is black or other deep colour added.I wonder if dark toupe shoes could be neutral for this colouring and would go with any outfit.

  7. “Are nude shoes gray if hair is gray?”

    Possibly, but of course there are many different colors of “gray” both in hair and shoes. The “gray” in my TA hair is almost ivory, as is my skin.

  8. A new thought from the comments “bright winter can disappear shine” and “true winter can disappear black” – soft seasons can disappear dull!

    It looks dull on the hanger but put it on and the dull disappears!

  9. I’m pretty sure I’m a TSu, and often wear semi-sheeny (not super shiny) silvery-pewter ballet flats. They’re neutral, but not fake feet. Since silver is a pretty core colour for TSus, what’s your opinion on a semi-shine metallic?

    (I also have a flat version of the grey suede shoes in your photos – and they do go with practically everything!)

    Re: Denise – Ha! You’re so right, and I’ve definitely seen it happen!

  10. So many good thoughts.

    Pat sent me some photos of a DW in light taupe pink shoes, very close to skin colour. Her hair is medium gray. She mentioned that she had been cautioned in the past not to wear black footwear in summertime as it pulls the eye down. I can see how that would happen, entirely depending on what you wear and how you look. I don’t think that would happen on Penelope Cruz, so it’s partly hair-colour dependent. I also find white shoes pull my eyes down, not that it’s necessarily a bad thing, I just notice the shoes but I don’t get any sense of a shorter person…but I think any Winter or Bright could wear white shoes, just with lots of skin showing and colourful nail polish in your Season. She also mentioned a light-medium pewter, like a Soft Summer could wear, which works just fine. It gives variety in the wardrobe, lightness of weight and feeling, and you still look like you have feet. As Lena points out, on a woman with iron gray hair, that light pewter shoes might not balance the overall image. Renata’s dark taupe could be better, and easily worn on any DW since dark taupe is in the palette already. Love what you said about being magnificent in your shortness or tallness or whatever. Having a holistic image in one’s head is so much more important than one little item or one little swatch. It’s how the total adds up that we feel.

    Denise – that’s clever. I hadn’t thought of it in terms of TMIT, but you’re totally right. A Light can make light taupe look fairly dark, but there’s no limit to the light colour you can pile on and they look normal. On a Bright, Superman Blue is just blue. And on Soft, dull looks as bright as anyone else’s colours on them. We saw this in our last course, a BW and L Su. Once the right makeup for them went on, they both had healthy flush in the cheek, both had a natural pink-red lip, both had defined but balanced eyes. Neither makeup looked darker or brighter, but the BW most definitely was by a long shot. I see it matching fabric to Seasons too – on their right fabric, the Soft palettes have just as much energy as the Bright palettes on their fabric.

    Andrea – makes total sense, all of it. Many S Su look warmer than they are, especially in the eye colours and mucky is a good word for the SA palette. Wearing cooler colours of the neighbour Neutral is fine.

    Emma – to me, S Su needs lip colour, and darkness in lip colour, even more than T Su. Without a drop of Autumn’s darkness, as well as its warmth, the bone structure of the face and definition of the features is never quite achieved.

    Jennifer – that’s an awesome shoe. I bet you could find that colour or a close version in…well, probably in all 12 palettes. It wouldn’t get in the way.

    Gates – I can see what you mean. In in head, I tried a lot of different flats on you, patterned, structured, pointed toe, and I couldn’t come up with anything that felt right at home. Like Pat, you have height. I’m not sure I’d see Pat in a flat either. As soon as it has even a wedge or some presence at the heel, it feels better.

  11. Excellent job on the shoes, Christine. As a summer, I especially liked looking at the summer shoes. The subtle, cool nude shades of summer are hard to find in shoes except, for the most part, in high-end shoes. I know because I have been searching for years! By default I usually end up being able to find only an off-white or matte silver shoe to wear in the warmer weather instead of these lovely shades that you have posted, so you have given me food for thought.

    Very useful article. It is helpful to look at the other season’s nude shoes as well, to help me avoid those shades that are not best for me and to keep me on the correct path for my season.

    Would love to see another article on shoes for the seasons showing more shoe colors and varieties of shoes that might be right for each of the individual seasons. For instance, what color boots would be great for springs, summers, falls and winters?

    As a summer, finding the right color shoes is my biggest challenge and has been for decades.Thank you.

  12. Boots are a great idea. I could see chalk white and matte silver perfectly on a True Summer.

    Irem asked this: I have a related question, Christine: Nude nail polish. I have such trouble finding a light, neutral, nude polish to wear on my hands. By nude, I mean a color that doesn’t scream color, that is like an extension of one’s coloring, goes with everything to everywhere,but also doesn’t make my hands red or grey or green. Also, by nude I don’t necessarily mean mannequin hand colors which look as if I’ve painted foundation on my nails.
    I have never sought out nude shoes or nude anything to wear. My choice of color for shoes that go with everything is true red or black, patent leather if I can find it. Not surprising – I’ve been draped a bright winter. I love red or (almost) black nail polish on my toes. It truly goes with everything. But I cannot wear these colors on my hands. Most of the nudes or neutrals as you can imagine do not work. Would you or your dear readers have any suggestions?

    These were my thoughts (we’d love to hear yours): I’d pick the lightest from the red or purple strips (5.1 or 6.1). These are the core colours on Winters, the colours that just look normal but are obvious on anyone else. But I’d pick the lighter, peachier reds and sugarplums. You’re right, nude/neutral/flesh tones would be quite dull. I think the icy lights could be interesting too, especially the violet. Really, all the colours go with all the other colours automatically, that’s a necessary feature of the harmony within any Season palette. If you’re already comfortable with very dark, I’d even try clear, clean, sharp grays of various darkness levels. BW wears avant-garde, retro, Art Deco, and ultramodern extremely well. Gray polish can look unusual, elegant, and interesting.

  13. Christine, I must have picked up the thought “Soft seasons look good with nude lips” on some other site. IMO nude lips look good on only very very few people.

  14. Interesting comment about autumns “disappearing” texture, prints, and metallics. (Also what a commenter said about “disappearing dull”!) In the Bright Spring group on Facebook, a number of us have observed that our hair color seems easier to “match” in metallics than in regular fabrics. The working theory is that the shine of the metal is inherently “bright.”

  15. Wow ! I love the DA shoes *_*

    Have you other neutral shoes ideas for winter except black ? I was wondering about taupe and black-brown shoes for BW ?

    Thank you :)

  16. Sure, or navy or charcoal. For BW, even a little shiny and decorated. Not with tassels, buckles, and toggles, which are Autumn’s world. Perhaps a small heart or other shape.

  17. An interesting old post – I was just wondering about shoes, as truly the only ones that do not seem obvious on me, don’t stand out, are black shoes, and I’m quite surely *not* a Winter…! Basically any other colours just stands out and seem somehow weird. Especially light colours. Maybe some summer ballerinas I can wear in other colours, but otherwise black it is.

    (And can anyone really wear that kind of hard-coated, super-high heels like that in IRL..? I’d kill my feet in a second if I tried… ;))

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