TikTok's Wrong Shoe Theory

November 4, 2023

Are you stuck in a style rut, feeling uninspired by your fall wardrobe? Well, before you embark on a shopping spree, consider embracing the intriguing and fun world of unexpected footwear pairings, guided by what we like to call the "Wrong-Shoe Theory. It is well known that accessories can completely transform an outfit, and this unconventional styling approach promises to turn heads in your direction. TikTok sensation and stylist extraordinaire, Allison Bornstein, introduced this theory to the world, asserting that the more mismatched the shoes are with the rest of the outfit, the more right the entire look feels. Let me guide you through some boundary-pushing combinations that defy conventional pairings.

You may have already seen glimpses of the wrong shoe theory's magic on Instagram or Pinterest, but let's delve deeper into the essence of this style revolution.

Seasonal Contrast

Fall is the perfect season to experiment with the Wrong-Shoe Theory. As the weather still carries a hint of warmth but you yearn for the change and renewal that a new season brings, consider adding a twist to your outfits. Picture a feathery, light outfit paired with a closed shoe - think summery mini skirts with loafers and cozy socks, or biker shorts with tall leather boots. Alternatively, you can go all-in with a total fall look and disrupt the cohesion with an open-toe shoe; try tailored pants paired with stylish sandals for the ideal contrast.


Mango, Leather boots, $ 359.99


Adidas, Forum Bonega Platform Sneaker, $71.95

credits // Acielle StyleDuMonde

&OtherStories, Heeled Leather Penny Loafers, $129

Mix Aesthetics

You might have unknowingly dabbled in this fashion technique before, but now, armed with the knowledge, you can take it up a notch. Imagine a dreamy, flowing dress matched with chunky "ugly" shoes or weathered, vintage ankle boots that infuse a touch of edginess into your feminine demeanor. Similarly, combining a tailored suit with sneakers introduces a sporty, practical flair to your office attire, effortlessly blending comfort and style into one harmonious ensemble.


Jeffrey Campbell, Harness Moto Boot, $295.00


ACS PRO, Unisex Sportstyle Shoes, $285

credits // Edward Berthelot

Nike, SB Dunk Low Pro ISO "Court Purple" sneakers, $270

Right Shoe, Wrong Color

Sometimes, it's not about inconsistency with your outfit but a playful inconsistency with your own footwear. Have you ever considered rocking two different colored shoes simultaneously? It's a brilliant way to make the most of your shoe collection, alleviating those dilemmas about which color of heel pairs best with your favorite floral dress. Sarah Jessica Parker, famous for her role in "Sex and the City," has championed this unconventional footwear choice, both on-screen and in her personal appearances. So, it's safe to say that this unexpected shoe style carries a stamp of approval from the fashion elite. She just took the 'wrong shoe theory' to the next level, wearing a pair of mismatched heels paired with a massive hair bow for her night at the New York City Ballet Gala.


Maison Margiela, Mismatched Slingback Heels, $281.99

Camper, Twins Mismatched Penny Loafer, $199.00

By embracing the Wrong-Shoe Theory, you're opening the doors to a realm of unforgettable fashion moments. As Bornstein aptly points out, "it's about using what you have in your wardrobe in a new way." So go ahead and embark on a delightful journey of rediscovering your closet; it might just feel like a shopping spree right in the comfort of your own home.

We only include products that have been independently selected by Silk Pastelle's editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.

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