Should your shoes match your bags? This is the million-dollar question and all the fashion-conscious women in the world would like a definitive answer to it, but it’s not as simple. How could it be? This is fashion, after all, and there are so many nuances it’s hard to keep track what’s cool and what is so last year. Then, it’s also a question of personal style and you get the last say.

However, here are a few basic rules you need to keep in mind when selecting an outfit.

Match or matchy-matchy?

The idea that your shoes should match your bag perfectly, the so-called matchy-matchy style, has been long buried by an army of women rebelling against its terrible constraints. Good riddance!

Today it’s no longer considered a fashion faux-pas if your shoes and bag are not of the exact same color.

Matching color schemes

And yet, you don’t always get to do what you want. Accessories are there to complete an outfit and you do want an elegant signature, don’t you?

If you want to have a polished look make sure your shoes and bag are different shades of the same color. The bag can be several tones lighter or darker than the shoes, but they should be of the same color. Or at least close. For instance, if you want to wear a white handbag, you can match it with light beige or ivory shoes. Nude shoes go well with a cognac bag.

Black is the exception to the rule and, in most cases, you’ll want to match a pair of black high-heels with a trendy black bag.

Be bold with earrings and bracelets

Sometimes you just want to wear your brand new red handbag even if you don’t have matching shoes for the occasion. There’s nothing wrong with it, you want people to see that fabulous bag. Still, you don’t want it to stick out and clash with the rest of the outfit so you can match it with large red earrings, to create some sort of balance.

If you have a colorful summery canvas bag you can go with shoes in a neutral color and complete your look with a trendy bracelet in green or yellow.

Speaking of jewelry, if your handbag has a brass logo or chain on it you should not accessorize it with silver earrings. Gold goes with gold and silver with silver, that’s one of the unbending rules of fashion.

Matching materials

Always try to match the fabrics of your shoes with your bag. You cannot wear leather shoes with a canvas bag! There’s a bit of room for negotiation when we’re talking about suede. If you’re wearing a pair of understated suede shoes or sandals with barely two straps of suede you might get away with matching them with a leather bag in the same color.

If you’re worried your shoes don’t go perfectly with your bag, you can always draw attention elsewhere, by matching a pair of earrings with a gorgeous blue stone to your dress. Who’ going to notice the shoes then?