Recently, a beloved reader wrote in to ask about nude heel hues.
So ladies, I keep seeing nude pumps for a dressy combination that I love since they should go with almost everything. But what is the right coloring? There are so many shades - how close should they be to your skin tone? What are your thoughts?
Thanks so much for writing in, Meghan!
It is true that because of the nude heel trend (which we love!) there are a ton of "nude" shades to choose from. There are some with pinkish undertones, grey undertones, some that are straight-up pale, and others that are a little browner. The key to a nude heel is make sure that it doesn't wash you out. Nude heels always fare far better with a slight tan - we're not proposing that you roast yourself in UV coffins or bake yourself at the beach. Perhaps a little self-tanning lotion, or a bronzer? The nude heel just does better with some kind of coloring on your skin. If you are a pale-skinned beauty and self-tanners just make you look orange, we suggest that you consider a neutral heel, versus a nude.
Ok, that was a lot of talking (er, typing). Let's show you some photos to help you figure out what we're explaining.
Linzy heel by Kelsi Dagger is an example of the quintessential nude pump: close-toed (therefore office appropriate), a bit of a platform (making it sexy enough for a date) and that basic skin-tone color. Easy enough, right? Beware: the ECM, who has Mediterranean olive undertones, could probably pull this off a little better than our German WCM (frequently likened to color of alabaster).
So what should the more fair-skinned WCM look for? How about something like this Bevv pump by Steve Madden. Notice that this shoe is a little bit darker in color, and the undertones are pink - just like the WCM's undertones (if it's hard for you to tell what the shoe's undertones are, just take a cue from the name of the color - for example, they call the color of this shoe "blush patent." That's your clue). The slight blush of this shoe helps guard against wash-out.
This Stephanie slingback from Cole Haan is called "beige" and would probably look good on either of the Muses. It is sort of a medium tone so it wouldn't wash either of us out. So if you have pale pale skin or darker skin, this one could rock this one.
Ok, so now to demystify nude vs. neutral. Think of "neutral" as an adjective to describe any shoe that will pair well with almost anything - it doesn't take away from the outfit. Sort of like how a proper side dish never takes away from the main course, it just adds to it nicely and brings out the main flavor of the main course.
Neutral can look like this lovely Farrel heel from Enzo Angiolini.
or Claudine by Dolce Vita (this one has a little funky personality - nice)...
or even Guzman from Joan & David (love the texture! This is an ECM fave)
Remember, metallics qualify as a neutral too - particularly if you're getting gussied up for something. Whether gold (like these RSVP Gigi heels), silver, or bronze, the metallic serves the same purpose as a neutral shoe but for those fancier occasions.
Another neutral dressy option would be this Peep Train sandal (disregard the confusing and disturbing name) by Kenneth Cole.
Sweet Meghan, we hope this helps! Happy hunting for nude shoes - this post has surely inspired us.