Do Handbags And Shoes Have To Match

So you’re putting together an outfit and you can’t help but wonder, do handbags and shoes really have to match? It’s a question that has left fashion-conscious individuals torn for ages. Some argue that matching your handbag and shoes is the epitome of fashion etiquette, while others believe in the beauty of mixing and matching. In this article, we’ll explore both perspectives and hopefully give you some clarity on whether or not coordinating your accessories is a must. Whether you’re a fashion enthusiast or simply curious, get ready for some insights into this age-old debate.

Why People Match Handbags and Shoes

Creating a cohesive and polished look

When it comes to fashion, one of the fundamental principles is achieving a cohesive and polished look. Matching your handbag with your shoes is a simple yet effective way to achieve this. It brings a sense of harmony and balance to your outfit, making you look put-together and stylish. When your accessories coordinate, it shows that you pay attention to detail and have a keen eye for fashion.

Reflecting personal style and taste

Matching handbags and shoes also allows you to express your personal style and taste. By carefully selecting accessories that complement each other, you can enhance your overall look and make a statement about who you are. Whether you prefer classic and elegant combinations, bold and daring choices, or something in between, coordinating your handbag and shoes allows you to showcase your unique fashion sense.

Enhancing overall outfit coordination

Matching handbags and shoes serves as an anchor for your outfit, tying all the elements together. It helps create a sense of harmony between different pieces of clothing and accessories, resulting in a more cohesive and well-put-together ensemble. When your handbag and shoes complement each other, it enhances the overall outfit coordination and elevates your style effortlessly.

Different Perspectives on Matching Handbags and Shoes

The traditional approach

The traditional approach to matching handbags and shoes involves selecting accessories in the same color or similar shades. This classic and timeless combination has long been favored by fashionistas and is a foolproof way to achieve a polished look. It provides a sense of continuity and sophistication, making it a safe choice for formal occasions or professional settings.

The mix-and-match trend

In recent years, the mix-and-match trend has gained popularity, challenging the traditional approach to matching handbags and shoes. This trend encourages experimentation and creativity by deliberately selecting accessories in contrasting or complementary colors. It allows you to play with different combinations and add a touch of individuality to your outfit. Mixing and matching can help create interesting and unexpected combinations that make a bold fashion statement.

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The contrasting style

Contrasting handbags and shoes is a style that goes against the notion of matching. This approach involves deliberately choosing accessories that do not necessarily coordinate in color or style. For example, pairing a feminine floral handbag with edgy leather boots creates an intriguing contrast that adds visual interest to your outfit. This style allows you to break the traditional rules and showcase your fashion-forward and adventurous side.

Factors to Consider When Matching Handbags and Shoes

Color coordination

Color coordination is an essential factor to consider when matching handbags and shoes. Whether you opt for matching accessories or choose a contrasting approach, ensuring that the colors work well together is key. The colors should complement each other and harmonize with the rest of your outfit. You can experiment with different color combinations, such as monochromatic schemes or bold complementary hues, to create the desired effect.

Material and texture

Matching handbags and shoes also requires considering the material and texture of each accessory. Pairing accessories made from the same material, such as leather or suede, can create a cohesive and polished look. Alternatively, combining different textures, such as a smooth patent leather handbag with a pair of textured fabric shoes, adds visual interest and dimension to your outfit. Balancing the material and texture choices helps create a harmonious and sophisticated look.

Formality and occasion

Another crucial factor to keep in mind when matching handbags and shoes is the formality of the occasion. For formal events or professional settings, opting for a classic and elegant approach is often preferred. However, for casual outings or creative gatherings, you have more freedom to experiment with different styles and combinations. Consider the dress code and the overall vibe of the event to ensure your matching choices are appropriate and in line with the occasion.

The Influence of Fashion and Trends

Iconic fashion duos

Throughout history, fashion has been shaped and influenced by iconic fashion duos who have showcased the power of matching handbags and shoes. Think of Audrey Hepburn and her classic black dress paired with black ballet flats and a matching black handbag, or Coco Chanel, who popularized the timeless combination of a quilted handbag with matching black pumps. These fashion icons have set the standard for elegant and coordinated outfits that continue to inspire fashion enthusiasts worldwide.

Fashion-forward statements

Fashion is constantly evolving, and trends come and go. Matching handbags and shoes allows you to stay on-trend and make fashion-forward statements. From color-blocking to animal prints, coordinating your accessories in line with the latest fashion trends helps you exude style and confidence. By keeping an eye on the runway and fashion influencers, you can incorporate current trends into your matching choices and make a bold fashion statement.

Breaking the rules

At times, fashion is about breaking the rules and challenging conventional norms. Matching handbags and shoes doesn’t always have to be a strict endeavor. Embracing creativity and individuality means breaking away from traditional matching and venturing into uncharted territory. Experimenting with contrasting colors, unexpected combinations, or unconventional styles allows you to create unique and eye-catching outfits that reflect your personal style.

Practicality versus Fashion

Versatility and convenience

While coordinating handbags and shoes is undoubtedly fashionable, practicality and versatility should also be taken into consideration. Opting for a versatile color, such as a neutral tone like black, brown, or nude, ensures that your accessories can be paired with multiple outfits. This not only saves you time and effort but also adds functionality to your fashion choices. Practicality doesn’t have to mean sacrificing style; instead, it allows you to create a wardrobe that seamlessly transitions between different occasions.

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Experimenting with different combinations

Matching handbags and shoes provides the perfect opportunity to experiment with different combinations. Trying out various colors, styles, and textures allows you to discover new and exciting ways to express your fashion sense. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and mix things up. By continuously challenging yourself to try new combinations, you might stumble upon unexpected pairings that become your signature style.

Budget considerations

Matching handbags and shoes doesn’t have to break the bank. While there are luxury designer options available, there are also affordable alternatives that offer style and quality without the hefty price tag. It’s important to set a budget and consider your financial situation when making matching choices. With a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can find budget-friendly accessories that still allow you to create stunning coordinated looks.

Tips on Matching Handbags and Shoes

Start with basic neutral tones

If you’re new to matching handbags and shoes, a good starting point is to choose basic neutral tones. Colors like black, white, nude, or brown are timeless and versatile, making them easy to coordinate with any outfit. By investing in neutral accessories, you can build a solid foundation for your matching choices and expand your collection as you gain confidence and experiment with bolder colors and styles.

Utilize color accents

Once you’ve mastered the art of neutral matching, it’s time to introduce color accents into your outfits. Choose accessories in vibrant hues that complement or contrast with your clothing. For example, a red handbag paired with black shoes instantly adds a pop of color and creates a focal point in your ensemble. Utilizing color accents allows you to inject personality and playfulness into your matching choices.

Focus on complementary styles

Matching handbags and shoes doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be identical. Instead, focus on selecting complementary styles that share similar characteristics. For instance, if you have a structured and sleek handbag, pair it with shoes that have clean lines and a polished finish. By coordinating accessories that harmonize in style, you create a cohesive look that showcases your attention to detail.

Experiment with pattern play

Matching handbags and shoes provides an excellent opportunity to experiment with pattern play. Mixing different patterns, such as stripes, florals, or animal prints, can result in a visually captivating outfit. When combining patterns, ensure that the colors complement each other and maintain a balanced overall look. Pattern play allows you to showcase your creativity and make a fashion-forward statement.

Matching Handbags and Shoes for Formal Occasions

Classic and elegant combinations

For formal occasions, classic and elegant combinations are a safe choice. Opt for a handbag and shoes in the same color family, such as black or navy, to create a sleek and sophisticated look. Matching accessories in neutral tones, like beige or gray, also exude timeless elegance. These combinations are versatile and suitable for a wide range of formal events, from weddings to business meetings.

Monochromatic schemes

Monochromatic schemes are an excellent way to match handbags and shoes for formal occasions. Select accessories in varying shades of the same color to create a sophisticated and harmonious look. For example, pair a burgundy handbag with deep red shoes for a luxurious monochromatic ensemble. This approach adds depth and dimension to your outfit while maintaining a cohesive and polished appearance.

Accessorizing with metallics

Adding metallic accessories to a formal outfit can elevate the entire look. Metallic handbags and shoes, such as gold, silver, or rose gold, bring a touch of glamour and sophistication. Even if the accessories are not an exact match in color, the metallic finish creates a sense of cohesiveness. When opting for metallic accents, ensure they complement the overall color palette of your outfit for a harmonious appearance.

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Matching Handbags and Shoes for Casual Outfits

Playing with vibrant colors

Casual outfits provide the opportunity to have fun and experiment with vibrant colors. Bold and bright accessories can instantly elevate a simple jeans and t-shirt ensemble. Select handbags and shoes in complementary or contrasting colors to inject personality and vibrancy into your look. For example, pairing a yellow handbag with blue sneakers creates a playful and eye-catching combination.

Mixing textures for visual interest

Casual outfits allow you to mix different textures for visual interest in your matching choices. Consider pairing a canvas handbag with suede shoes or a straw tote with leather sandals. Mixing textures creates a dynamic and layered look that adds depth to your outfit. Don’t be afraid to experiment and combine materials that naturally complement each other for a fashionable and unique ensemble.

Opting for casual and comfortable styles

When it comes to casual outfits, comfort is often a priority. Matching handbags and shoes that are both stylish and comfortable is the ideal choice. Opt for casual styles like sneakers, ballet flats, or ankle boots, and pair them with a practical and functional handbag, such as a crossbody or backpack. Choosing matching accessories that prioritize comfort allows you to effortlessly transition from a day of errands to a casual lunch with friends.

Breaking the Matching Rules

Embracing contrast and asymmetry

Breaking the traditional matching rules allows you to embrace contrast and asymmetry in your outfit. Instead of coordinating accessories, deliberately choose items that create a visually striking contrast. For example, pair a structured black handbag with bright red stiletto heels for an unexpected combination. Embracing contrast and asymmetry adds an element of surprise and individuality to your look.

Creating focal points

Matching handbags and shoes doesn’t always have to mean achieving complete coordination. Instead, you can use accessories to create focal points in your outfit. Choose a statement handbag or a pair of eye-catching shoes and build your outfit around them. This approach allows you to showcase a standout piece while keeping the rest of your outfit more subtle and complementary.

Using accessories for coordination

If matching handbags and shoes feels too restrictive, consider using other accessories to achieve coordination. For example, you can match your handbag with a belt or a piece of jewelry, such as a necklace or earrings. This approach allows you to incorporate matching elements while still maintaining flexibility and experimentation in your overall outfit. Using accessories for coordination can help achieve a cohesive and well-thought-out look without sticking to strict rules.


Matching handbags and shoes is a fashion practice that can help create a cohesive and polished look, reflect personal style and taste, and enhance overall outfit coordination. The traditional approach favors matching accessories in the same color or similar shades, while the mix-and-match trend encourages experimenting with contrasting or complementary colors. Factors to consider when matching handbags and shoes include color coordination, material and texture choices, and the formality of the occasion. The influence of fashion and trends plays a significant role, with iconic fashion duos inspiring matching choices, fashion-forward statements challenging traditional norms, and breaking the rules becoming a means of personal expression. Practicality versus fashion involves considering versatility and convenience, experimenting with different combinations, and budget considerations. Tips for matching handbags and shoes include starting with basic neutral tones, utilizing color accents, focusing on complementary styles, and experimenting with pattern play. Matching handbags and shoes for formal occasions often involves classic and elegant combinations, monochromatic schemes, and accessorizing with metallics. Casual outfits provide the opportunity to play with vibrant colors, mix textures for visual interest, and opt for casual and comfortable styles. Breaking the matching rules allows for embracing contrast and asymmetry, creating focal points, and using accessories for coordination. In the end, the choice of matching handbags and shoes is a personal one, influenced by individual style, preferences, and the desired fashion statement. So go ahead, unleash your creativity, and have fun expressing yourself through your matching choices.


Mila Brooks

My goal for Go Girl Bags is to provide all of my site visitors with a trusted quality experience. Going down the rabbit hole of frustration trying to find the perfect bag for all you needs is not any fun. My researched information not only about bag looks, but also quality of materials and other aesthetics you may not have thought about will help you make a better informed decision. Thank you.

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