Bag and Shoe Combinations for Spring/Summer

An outfit can be put together in nearly endless combinations, but no outfit would be complete without the right shoes and the right handbag.  Here are some stylish shoe and bag combinations:

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From Left, Mango Croc-Effect Tote ($80) and Enzo Call Me Pump ($99) // Milly Kelly Purse ($435) and Shilo Pump ($305) // MK Jetset Messenger ($228) and J. Renee Wedge ($90)

One. When wearing a nude-to-you heel, you have as many bag choices as you can dream up.  The simplest of these, however, is to pair a lighter-colored shoe with a darker bag in the same color family.  This is also a good opportunity to carry a colored bag, like this kelly green woven satchel ($60) or this Botkier coral tote (on sale for $234).

One word of caution on buying nude-colored shoes: Don’t buy them too light.  Even if you’re fair-skinned, buy your shoes in a tan or taupe color, otherwise it can make you look too pale.  The ones above are a good example, but I like these as well. 

If you are African-American, try a chocolate brown shoe or, as a commenter suggests below, a store with a wide variety of “nude” colors like Nine West.  And if you just don’t like taupe, try tortoise instead.

Two. Many women retire their black pumps in the summer, but if you intend to keep wearing yours, you can lighten up the look with the right handbag.  Need a cheaper pair of round toe pumps?  I own these J.CREW, but these Ann Taylor shoes are good too.

I chose the colorblock Milly satchel because I loved the mix of grey, black, white and blush.  If you’re looking for the same look for less, try this simple flap purse.  I also love (LOVE!) this simple two-tone purse from Mango. And if colorblock isn’t for you, pair your black pumps with a grey handbag instead.

Three.  Low, red wedges are one of my summertime staples.  I wear them with navy dresses, black and white dresses and trousers.  They’re more comfortable than heels, but still dressy, and they add a pop of color to my outfit.  Need a cheaper pair?  These Bandolino wedges should do the trick.

I like them with this navy messenger, but you could also choose a cognac or gray bag.

More combinations for casual days and evenings out, after the jump…


From Left, Dooney & Bourke Crossbody ($298) and Edelman Milly Flats ($179) // Asos Metal Tip satchel ($125) and Madewell Slingback Sandal ($60) // Cork Invitation Clutch ($98) and Rachel Roy Pavla ($350)

One. A gold flat is my go-to commute, travel and casual days shoe.  Matches everything and almost always looks chic.  If you’re looking for a less expensive option, try these simple flats or these metallic t-straps for a lighter look.

 A metallic shoe offers you the opportunity to add color.  I love this bright orange bag, but this vibrant cobalt is nice too.  Yellow purses are also hot this season, and this $135 DKNY bag is sublime.

Two. I adore these sandals with a mix of cognac, seafoam and navy.  They would look so great with some navy shorts and a white eyelet top.  And the price isn’t too shabby at $60.

This bag was chosen for its light color and fun hardware.  It’s a great travel bag or summer I’m-going-to-be-out-of-the-house-all-day bag.  (It also comes in black.)  I also like this darker structured messenger.

Three.  Lastly, we have a combination for going out on the town, which would also be good for weddings.  I love this cork clutch (I own its last season version.) for its lightness and versatility.  It goes with every spring cocktail dress and sundress I own.  This cork box clutch with the tortoise clasp rocks, as well, and this $42 clutch is fairly similar.

These sandals are modern, chic and versatile.  I love the braided and metal details.  These studded Guess heels are also nice at $120, and I like these simpler, more classic mid-heel pumps for $42. And I couldn’t resist these fashion-forward, mixed-media sandals for under-$100.

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  1. lesley says:

    One comment: just because someone is African American, it does not mean they should buy chocolate brown shoes! Brown and nude are totally different (for instance, nude is way more versatile) and a chocolate brown shoe does not necessarily match/complement someone’s skin tone just because they are black. I would suggest for a nude shoe for brown skin tones going to a store like Nine West that usually has a good range of shoe colors.

    April 24, 2013/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I meant that more as a suggestion than a universal statement, my apologies. I was basing it off an email I got from a dark-complected black woman who wanted to know if choco brown could give her the same look.

      April 24, 2013/Reply
      • Af-Am Hill Staffer says:

        It sucks that very few companies/blogs even consider us when they label things “nude,” but you always make an outstanding effort. I love that you give lots of great nude-to-you options in this blog and rightfully include options for darker skin tones.

        April 25, 2013/Reply
  2. Caroline says:

    I’m not much of a bag person and can’t imagine matching a bag to my shoes. Not only do I have no place to store all those bags, but I would hate having to move my stuff back and forth between them!

    However, I would like to get a new one. Currently I’m using a black nylon Nine West bag that I hate (someone gave it to me for free) but I keep using it every day because the size and shape are perfect and it doesn’t look at all worn after several years of heavy use. I’d love to find a similar but more stylish bag made out of a nicer material. Any ideas? The bag is maybe a foot high and a foot and a half wide, with short nonadjustable shoulder straps and a flat bottom. It has zippered outer pockets on both sides, plus a zippered and two non zippered pockets inside (pockets are less of a concern though). Looking for something under $100. Thanks!

    April 24, 2013/Reply
  3. Kathleen Lisson says:

    Thanks so much for this post. I love coordinating bags to shoes. Makes the look much more polished.

    April 24, 2013/Reply
  4. JS says:

    the ann taylor pumps are SUPER comfortable. I was so happy with the black ones that I bought the nude ones as well!

    April 24, 2013/Reply
  5. Kathy says:

    Great post, Belle. This is exactly the kind of advice I need – I have no flair for shoes and bags!

    April 25, 2013/Reply