We Explain TikTok’s ‘Wrong Shoe Theory’ Trend

Fashion
By Astrid Carter | 9th August 2023
wrong shoe trend

TikTok and Instagram have fast become the new ways for finding a quick fashion fix. We take a look at the latest “wrong shoe theory” for some inspiration. Here’s everything you need to know about social media’s latest unlikely offering…

‌Sure to divide the camps, the wrong shoe theory is all about pairing a look with a pair of shoes that shouldn’t, on paper, work. But looking at these Insta stars’ feeds, it does. The trend was recently coined by fashion stylist Allison Bornstein (who works with private clients as well as some A list stars like Katie Holmes) who encourages piecing outfits together that don’t sound right but make you feel great.

‌It all comes down to the shoes. Take a pair of baggy 90s cargo pants and pair them with a dainty ballet slipper, or a floaty floral dress partnered with a retro, boyish Gazelle. Speaking recently to Vogue magazine, she said, “In working with clients, I realised what makes a look feel interesting and personal is the addition of accessories that feel slightly ‘off’ or mismatched with the vibe of the rest of the look.”

Why does it work? Well, isn’t fashion and personal style all about finding your niche, your sweet spot of feeling comfortable and confident? And, heck, if people don’t get it, surely that just makes it cooler?

‌So, we’ve trawled the socials of some of our favourite style mavens to rework some of the looks that play into this divisive trend. From Aimee Song to Emili Sindlev, here’s how to get the ‘wrong shoe theory’ right.

Ballet Flats & Baggy Jeans

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A post shared by Aimee Song (@aimeesong)

Ballet style meets Y2K must-haves here in Aimee Song’s unexpected combo. We love the extra girly feel of ballet flats – which have had their own SS23 renaissance moment – paired with super relaxed, tomboy-inspired cargo jeans.

‌SHOP THE LOOK BELOW…

Flip Flops & Pencil Skirts

Designer and Insta star Loulou de Saison rarely gets it wrong and here she breathes new life into the humble pencil skirt by pairing it with a pair of nonchalant flip flops. The perfect high/low, smart-casual approach for warm weather city dressing.

SHOP THE LOOK BELOW…

Long Skirts & Retro Trainers

 

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A post shared by MARILYN (@nlmarilyn)

 

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A post shared by Olivia (@livpurvis)

The colourful trainer trend has been all over socials this year, from retro Gazelles to the now cult hero Samba. We love them paired with a pretty long skirt, whether that’s a prairie style maxi à la Liv Purvis or juxtaposed with a classic striped shirt and slinky slip skirt combo.

SHOP THE LOOKS BELOW…

Sporty Meets Smart

 

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A post shared by Louise Verneuil (@iamlouiseverneuil)

Bringing a smorgasbord of trends together here is Parisian cool girl and singer/songwriter Louise Vernneiul. Part sporty, part heritage, part hipster, there’s a lot going on but it works. We love the loafers and socks duo paired against a slim pair of denim cut-offs or cycling shorts and an oversized classic check blazer.

SHOP THE LOOK BELOW…

Tea Dresses & Chunky Loafers

 

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A post shared by Rabea Schif (@rabeaschif)

We have nothing short of a style crush on Rabea Schiff and this look perfectly nails ‘the wrong shoe theory.’ Taking an ultra feminine, pretty tea dress and pairing it with chunky monochrome loafers brings a rock ‘n’ roll edge to the look.

SHOP THE LOOK BELOW…

Track Pants & Kitten Heels

 

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A post shared by Emili Sindlev (@emilisindlev)

 

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A post shared by Emili Sindlev (@emilisindlev)

Taking athleisure to new heights is Emili Sindlev’s ‘90s track pants paired with Gucci’s tangerine dream kitten heels. The headscarf is definitely giving Y2K J-Lo vibes, but for a more realistic way to work the trend, pair the heels and Adidas Original trackies with a classic white oversized shirt and simple gold hoops instead.

SHOP THE LOOK BELOW…

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