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What to Wear IV: Shoes for a Navy Bridesmaid Dress?

By Amalah

Dear Amy –

I have a shoe problem! It begins with this bridesmaid dress. WTF, yes? But wait, there’s more! It’s in NAVY and pink. Ugh. NAVY!! The real problem is what sort of shoe do I wear with a chiffony navy dress, complete with pink piping? The thing is I would really hate to buy navy heels. Because when would I ever wear navy party shoes again? There’s no way I could ever wear the dress again and I’ll be damned if I shell out money for a pair of shoes that I will only wear once! The thought of buying shoes KNOWING that I will probably never wear them again just breaks my soul!

I love me some high heels and my boyfriend is tall, so no parameters on heel height. And the bride has been gracious enough to let us choose our own shoes. I am willing to invest in a lovely pair of cross-occasion-functioning party shoes. And a pretty pair of shoes can keep me in happy spirits until I can at least get to the champagne at the reception!

What’s a girl to do?? I appreciate your help, fashion master Amy…

Navy Know Nothing


Ugh, yeah. Navy. It’s stymied the best of us, my friend. You have to get the shade *just so* or it looks wrong and random OR overly matchy-match-matched, which is its own form of wrong. And that’s way too much stress for a bridal shoe that you know you will never wear again.

And pink shoes would be entirely too precious. Preshus! Moving on.

So, I would look beyond the colors of the dress for a pairing.Think jewelry, flowers, your handbag? Any silver going on there? Silver is a great match for blue, and high-heeled silver sandals will go with plenty of other party outfits. I’m not a fan of super-shiny metallic shoes, so I’m picturing something fairly simple — maybe strappy like this to continue with the piping detail, or something understated like this or this.

Your other option (and I cannot believe I’m about to suggest this) is…well. Dyeable shoes. Shut up! I know! But listen. Some of them are not completely hideous, AND you can re-dye them. So you get a cute pair in a style you like, get them dyed navy, wear them once and then get them re-dyed black. Plenty of bridal shops can do this for you, or you can do it through a variety of websites, or even do it yourself with some satin shoe dye to save some money. (Every website I found recommended Dylon dye, but I think its only sold in the UK.)

The bridal shop is your best bet, since they can tell you what fabrics can be re-dyed (silk, I believe, can only be dyed once, but I could be making this completely up) and what shade of navy will best be covered up with black dye later. I’m not sure this will necessarily save you money in the long run — you can get the shoes for under $100 usually, and the dying will cost $12 to $25. A great pair of silver shoes would still be my top pick, but if those won’t work for whatever reason (or there’s another bridesmaid out there who was NOT given such nice freedom re: footwear and is stuck with a hideous pair of custom-dyed teal pumps), check out the bridal section for something you’d ultimately like to have in black.

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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  • deanna

    December 12, 2007 at 12:24 pm

    If you go to David’s Bridal there are around twenty different styles of dyeable shoes, most of which run under $50. They dye them for free, and it usually takes around three days, but it can be done in less if necessary. Satin shoes are the only ones that can be redyed in a different color. Just make sure you check for streaks or if the color has bled onto anything that shouldn’t be dyed. (ex: the sole of the shoe, the inside of the shoe…especially the inside it will dye your foot) They might have to dye a new pair if they aren’t careful getting the dye off…dyed shoes bleed if they get wet.
    I can’t believe I just recommended David’s Bridal. Banging head repeatedly on wall.

  • Kathryn

    December 12, 2007 at 12:56 pm

    Try Blue Tux Shoes–they have a site online, and then they’re located in various bridal shops, too. They’ve got goooorgeous, reasonably-priced shoes in either metallics (loving the new dark gray–kind of a pewter–I see on the site) or dyeable satin. The dyeables don’t look like those “stuck in the 80s Payless monstrosities” I always think of when someone says dyeable.

  • linda

    December 12, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    I love Annie shoes for dressy occasions. They’re not super expensive, so I can justify not wearing them frequently. The ones I have are relatively comfortable. There seems to be a bit more cushioning in the sole than is typical. There are lots of silver, champange, pewter choices in a variety of styles:
    Good luck!

  • BridehoodRevisited

    December 12, 2007 at 1:25 pm

    oh hon, I’ve seen this dress in action. I’m so sorry.
    The best part about the dress is that people will be focused on the WTF factor of the pink edging on the blue chiffon instead of on your shoes. It’s… odd.
    So, my advice is to buy comfortable shoes that you really enjoy. To be very honest, there’s not a shoe out there that will really go with the dress. I would recommend something open, but not too ornate. Don’t get anything with things that might catch on the chiffon layers of your dress when you sit down or try to bust a move.
    Some ideas below and I fully admit that I just picked shoes that I liked.
    These in silver or gold, also, please buy me a pair.’K?
    I will also say about the dyed shoes: Don’t do it if the bride hasn’t told you to. I’m serious. It’s a big hassle for a pair of shoes that you might only moderately like. Plus, since they’re billed as bridal shoes, you’ll find that you can get a better quality of shoe anywhere else for the same price.

  • margot

    December 12, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that I don’t think navy shoes aren’t awful. I wore a navy bridesmaids dress from J. Crew last year with navy patent leather w/ suede trim peep-toe pumps from Franco Sarto and it looked fine. I’ve found the shoes will match with a dark rinse denim for going out. They look darker honestly. People think they’re black. Sure they’re less versatile, but they won’t necessarily be dust-catchers on the floor of the closet either.

  • BaltimoreGal

    December 12, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    I have to say a big no to the dyeable shoes for one reason- they HURT. I could barely walk the last time I had to wear a pair, and I was much younger then. NOT good.

  • mdvelazquez

    December 12, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    I was in my cousins wedding recently and I went the dyable shoe route. Lovely strappy sexxy heels that I could wear again and again.

  • jmylaw

    December 12, 2007 at 3:04 pm

    I usually think you’re dead-on with fashion choices, Amy, but I really don’t think silver is going to work with that dress. Especially not silver shoes that are noticeably silver. If they are very, very strappy with very little silver material, they might work. And then the poor bridesmaid might also trip very easily either down the aisle or during pictures. Navy! Pink! Silver! It’s just too much.
    If you can find dyeable shoes that fit, you should be fine. The suggestion to dye them black after the wedding is a good one, too. And if you end up not being able to dye them afterward…well, I think you’re more likely to be able to wear navy heels again than you are to be able to wear that *interesting* dress again.

  • Suzy Q

    December 12, 2007 at 3:38 pm

    Ugh. What an incredibly ugly dress. WTF is the bride thinking? I’m so sorry you have to go through this, and I hope she’s at least a relative you like or a very good friend.
    Before I read Amalah’s response, I had thought that pink shoes might be a good choice. Apparently not. I am no fashion maven, what can I say?
    I’ve worn the dyeable shoes before, just basic pumps, and they weren’t so bad. I even had mine re-dyed successfully, from an ivory to lavender. (Shut. Up. It was a long time ago.)
    Yeah, I got nuthin’.

  • ethansmomma

    December 12, 2007 at 5:31 pm

    I know you don’t care for navy but these pumps are really cute . Good luck. That is a tough color scheme to work with. My bridesmaids all wore silver high heeled sandles but I doubt many people paid much attention to their shoes.

  • Margaret

    December 12, 2007 at 7:54 pm

    I had to find navy heels for homecoming (the dress was so pretty I didn’t even notice the navy factor… navy silk with a lace skirt and bronze beading, it was totally worth the shoe hassle). I eventually totally lucked out with these in navy- except I paid 15 dollars for them at Nordstrom Rack. Hell yeah, I got lucky. Actually that might qualify as a miracle, I’m not sure :). Anyway, don’t give up on the navy shoes. You might find them where you least expect, or you might end up with cute pewter or silver shoes instead. Either way, you win.
    (BTW, you can search by color at Nordstrom’s website! How cool is that?)

  • DiWriter

    December 12, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    Ugh…I just want to sympathize with this poor thing. I had to wear this very dress (the one in the picture, black with lilac trim.) Eeew. And I’m busty.
    I was just thinking about it today, since I found the dress in my closet. Still not entirely sure why I’m keeping it.

  • Dashrashi

    December 13, 2007 at 10:49 am

    Silver! Silver silver silver! Or pewter! Go strappy and no one will notice them anyway. Navy and pink together are cool colors, and silver is the go-to cool neutral for shoes (because metallic shoes are the new neutral, which is so totally true). I happen to like the Calvin Klein ones. I don’t think you should go for navy shoes, although navy shoes can be super cute, because A) best case scenario, you’re matchy-matchy, which, ew, and B) more likely, it will be a slightly off shade of navy, and then you’ll be matchy-matchy without even actually matching!
    If you think silver is too bright, or the dress is so short that the shoes are really noticeable, go for a pewter color.
    If you want to be loud with the shoes, though, I actually think a dark rose-pink would look sort of hot here. Not a matchy-pink, but a contrast-y pink.

  • Dashrashi

    December 13, 2007 at 11:01 am
  • Suzy Q

    December 13, 2007 at 6:23 pm

    Hey, I DO have some input! After reading Margaret’s comment, I remembered seeing a fancy navy dress with bronze beading at Nordstrom’s that was, unfortunately, too small for me, but the color combo was GORGEOUS. Go bronze! With the shoes, I mean. Is anyone even going to look at your feet?

  • JennyM

    December 14, 2007 at 12:48 pm

    What about a skin-tone-ish shoe? Not knowing N-K-N’s skin tone, it’s hard to say whether or not that would be hard to find, but it might be worth a shot, right? Then it would be sort of unobtrusive and hopefully neutral?
    Or is that just wrong? I don’t know…