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Selecting right wedding shoes

Color, fabric, style are among brides’ choices

– No offense to Cinderella, but she sort of had it backward. The shoe should be at the end of the to-do list for a wedding fairy tale.

After the engagement, first consider the venue, then the dress – then the shoes and other accessories, experts say. Collectively, they should have a complementary vibe.

“It’s all a picture that comes together,” gown designer Reem Acra says.

No flip-flops for a formal setting and dress, and satin pumps would be silly on the beach.

Tanya Dukes, accessories editor at Brides magazine, suggests these questions:

•How high for the heel? Think of the proportions of the dress, how tall you’ll stand and if you are used to wearing heels at all, she says.

•Is the wedding outside? A lawn wedding, for example, could be trouble for a spiky heel. A wedge would fare better.

•How formal is the occasion? Fabric matters here. “Satin is the traditional choice, and it’s a safe bet,” Dukes says.

And then there’s deciding whether you ever want to wear the shoes again.

“Most women don’t wear their bridal shoes again not because they’re not wearable, but because they’re a memento,” says footwear designer Stuart Weitzman, who got his start in business in bridal more than 25 years ago. “I make every bridal shoe in dyeable satin, so you could wear them again, but you’d lose the memento, and then you’d wear those dyed shoes once and ruin those ‘bridal shoes.’ Most women never throw them out.”

Weitzman says his success in this market is based partly to an observation by Judith Leiber, founder of the famous beaded bag collection, who noted an “ugly bluish tone” to most wedding shoes. He created a pair out of Swiss lace, won a design award for them and the rest is history.

He sees as much variety in wedding-shoe styles as he does on the street: Women want sandals, stilettos, platforms and lace booties, but the traditional pump is the most popular.

Crafting a head-to-toe mood is a delicate balancing act between modernity and timelessness, she explains. Now, the shoe? That’s a place to have a little fun.

“If I have a bride in the showroom, I might say, ‘Why not an orange shoe?’ ” Acra says. “It’s fun to have something different. I love playing with shoes. I really prefer colored shoes or something with bling or fun.”

Metallics are a good middle-of-the-road option, as is blush pink, and even black is doable, especially if you add a black ribbon sash around the waist of the dress.

“I do think more out-of-the-box choices will be revisited and worn again,” Brides’ Dukes says. “Maybe something with a lot of color, you’re more likely to wear that again, like a red shoe, or cowboy boots or sneakers.”

She adds, however: “If you want the memento, your Cinderella slipper, and you want to keep them pristine, then white is a valid choice.”

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