The latest trend to hit the virtual shelves of the ever-evolving fashion world is the wrong shoe theory. This unusual yet captivating concept, this new styling hack paradoxes the use of mismatched shoes with your outfit.
Imagine pairing chunky New Balance sneakers with a gingham gown or matching your sophisticated slacks with laid-back beachy sandals. This trend relies on a clever twist of the adage “opposites attract,” wherein contrasting footwear is purposely chosen to offer a distinctive vibe from the rest of the outfit.
This specific theory can be seen in many pairings that play on the masculine-feminine dichotomy, and interestingly enough, they team up well with anything you wear. For instance, a floral, feminine skirt could be coupled with rugged, masculine boots to create an unexpected visual synergy. Similarly, a polished pantsuit or an elegant gown can be toned down with the addition of chunky sneakers for an air of effortless coolness.
The wrong shoe theory explained
According to popular Tiktoker Toiby Hayes, there’s always an instinctive ‘right’ shoe choice when assembling an outfit. However, she opines that choosing an ‘unexpected’ shoe can significantly enhance an outfit’s versatility and visual appeal.
This distinct styling hack opens up a world of possibilities, allowing pieces traditionally reserved for special occasions to see more regular use.
Hayes, known for her penchant for pairing disparate colors and patterns, revealed that her favorite way to execute the wrong shoe theory is by pairing a formal dress with sneakers. This allows her to integrate the dress into her day-to-day wear rather than leaving it in the closet awaiting a suitable event. This technique, she adds, lets her wear her puffy midi dresses far more often than if she were to stick with the conventional pairing.
While this shoe theory may not be entirely new, it has seen an unprecedented surge in popularity in recent times. On TikTok alone, topics surrounding this theory have amassed over 27 million views.
Wrong Shoe Theory (Image via Getty)
Stylist Allison Bornstein, known for advocating this trend, urges her clients to incorporate their favorite sneakers not merely as a functional choice but as a deliberate fashion statement. She believes that moving away from the traditional ‘sporty shoe’ approach and including go-to kicks in outfits that wouldn’t traditionally match them adds personality to your look.
On her Instagram, Bornstein presents various examples of the wrong shoe theory, such as coupling strappy sandals with trousers or loafers with mini skirts. The allure of this trend, she says, lies in the clear intentionality of the mismatch, which gives an outfit its unique character. Indeed, it is the very essence of the wrong shoe theory that enables combinations like kitten heels with mom jeans or Nike Air Force 1s with floral dresses to look effortlessly chic and casually flirtatious.
In short, the wrong shoe theory is a creative and fashionable trend that promotes the idea of unconventional pairings. Encouraging the mixing of contrasting styles pushes the boundaries of traditional fashion norms and opens up a world of infinite styling possibilities. So, why not add a dash of surprise to your next outfit and embrace this intriguing trend? It might just be the refreshing twist your wardrobe needs.