Matching Shoes and Handbag: Fashion Forward or Faux Pas?

Fifty years ago, all well dressed ladies wore perfectly matched shoes and handbags. It was unthinkable that a stylish woman would not have these perfectly aligned, incorporating a matching belt too if one was worn. If one’s shoes were black patent leather, so was one’s handbag. Blue matte handbag? Then blue matte shoes were a given.

Times have changed.

The jury is somewhat out as to whether matching one’s shoes and handbag today is fashion forward or a big faux pas. In recent years, it has been deemed by many to be more stylish to intentionally not have these accessories match, though recent runways have seen a resurgence in matching accessories.

According to French fashion lore, wearing a matching bag and shoes is actually very aging. But it can work.

Capsule Handbags

Ideally, one’s handbag should be of good quality and suit your lifestyle and personality. A woman with great fashion sense will select a genuine leather handbag and shoe combination that is complimentary, not necessarily “matchy”. Matching pieces can work, but it depends on the overall ensemble.

Here are some tips, looking at your overall outfit:

  • If wearing a patterned shoe, chose a color intrinsic to the pattern and have a solid bag in that hue. Same philosophy applies vice versa.


  • If your handbag has hardware (gold, silver, bopper, bronze) in the form of studs, buckles, zippers or buttons, make sure other metals worn complement these. For example, if the hardware on your handbag is silver, choose silver jewellery and silver accents on your shoes or clothing.


  • If your outfit is comprised of solid colors (especially neutrals), choose a handbag with color and texture.


  • Mix colors in your ensemble, but make sure there is one neutral piece to tie it all together. Pair black shoes with a vibrant handbag. A bright floral dress will look wonderful with a muted neutral handbag.


  • If wearing a very casual outfit, choose a less structured handbag.


  • No matter whether you’re going formal or casual, quality speaks. Don’t bother with the cheap vinyl handbag; it will look tacky and bring down your entire look. Choose genuine leather handbags every time.