Skinnier, longer legs can pull off high-heel clogs and flat gladiator styles like these from Via Spiga. Credit: Viaspiga.com

Say the idea of shopping for a new swimsuit makes you break out in hives? And trying on shorts? You start to scratch just thinking about it. But when you just can't shake the itch to buy something new, you've always got shoes to fall back on: Your dress size doesn't matter, after all. But there are still shoe styles you should stay away from -- and others to embrace -- depending on your body type.

"Women sacrifice their body for trends all the time, whether it's in clothing or whether it's in shoes," says celebrity stylist and "My Body, My Style" host Sam Saboura. "At the end of the day you have to wear what you love and wear what you feel the best in. If you feel good about it, you're going to carry it well and it's going to look great."

Just like you seek clothing styles that minimize flaws and maximize assets, Saboura says, you can use shoes to correct things that may be flawed with your feet or legs.

"A woman with a fuller foot or a fuller ankle is going to benefit from shoes that are pointier or have a V-style at the vamp of the shoe -- the same way a V-neck minimizes a fuller bust and a fuller shoulder line," he tells StyleList.

Paola Venturi, creative director for Via Spiga, agrees, saying footwear can dramatically impact the proportions of your body and overall look.

"Fashionable women come in every shape and size," she tells StyleList. "When it comes to selecting your footwear, there are certain styles that can help accentuate your best assets so you can feel confident and look beautiful. You want to spend your time concentrating on the fun you'll have where your feet are going, not worrying about how they look while getting there."

A classic peep-toe pump or sling-back in a neutral color is flattering to most women. Credit: Viaspiga.com

Here are some tips on choosing the most flattering summer shoe styles for your feet and legs.

  • The Universally Sexy Shoe: "First and foremost, d'Orsay pumps should be in every woman's closet," Venturi says. "The clean lines and sleek shape flatter every leg type and it's a great basic for work or play. Neutral and black colors are easy to throw on for a last-minute client meeting, or a dinner date."
  • Thicker Legs and Ankles/Cankles: "Avoid shoes that have ankle straps or shoes that are boxy or have extra room at the ankle, like the little shoebootie," Saboura says. "You want to make sure women with short legs and thicker legs show a little more skin, because it's going to elongate their leg. Too much coverage on the foot is going to make the foot look heavier and bigger. A cutaway design, cutouts or strappy styles are going to look a little bit better."
  • Color Story: "Women with shorter legs are probably going to better served with colored shoes for the summer that are not high-contrast -- that will call attention to the lower half," Saboura says. "Try shoes that are a neutral color or a medium brown, that's better than black. Attention-getting colors or embellishment will draw the eye down to the foot."
  • Ankle Woes: "If you feel your ankles are a bit narrow, try more delicate styles, like a sexy pointed-toe pump or a kitten heel with thin straps that highlights your slender leg," Venturi says. "For a fuller ankle, try bright colors in stacked heels or wooden platforms. Structured shoes in bold colors lend the illusion of sleeker proportions. Shoes with ankle straps are ones to stay away from if you are at all ankle-conscious."
  • Curvy Calves: "For bigger calves, I think a pump is going to work well, a sling-back is going to work well," Saboura says. "Sling-backs elongate the foot, they show skin, but you're still getting support and coverage. Shoe styles that have a little bit of a platform, but not such a chunky heel are good. A woman with a very full leg is going to benefit from a shoe that fits her foot, but isn't so heavy that it's going to add volume to it and to her lower body. A wedge will add a lot of volume to her lower body, so choose a strappy style that has some height and has a platform, but a heel that's a little sexier and skinnier is going to be more flattering."
  • Long Legs: "Those with long legs can venture into the territories of ankle straps and bulkier designs," Venturi says. "There's just more leg to show. Go for a strappy lace-up gladiator sandal that flatters your length. If you are self-conscious about having larger feet, keep in mind a rounder toe will soften your silhouette, while pointed toe shoes will add length to your foot."
  • Short and Athletic Legs: "For ladies who are petite and those who prioritize staying fit, calves tend to be shorter or more muscular," Venturi say. "Sling-backs and mules have the ability slim and lengthen. The shape of the sling will create a more curved silhouette to accentuate your athletic legs. You worked hard for them – show them off."




  • Skinny Legs: "Add volume to skinny legs by choosing a little bit of a darker color shoe," Saboura says. "You can choose a platform, you can handle a little bit of a wedge, it's going to add a little volume to your lower half. Women with a skinnier calf should chose an ankle strap that's a little bit skinnier, too."
  • Foot Size: "Look for embellishment and detail with petite, small straps, small embellishments, things like that," Saboura says. "Keep your embellishment and your details on your shoes petite. There's nothing worse than a woman who has a tiny, narrow foot that has a giant embellishment or print shoe or super bright color shoe. Women with wider feet can look for straps that are thicker and embellishments that are more in line with the size of their foot. Like the thing where you consider prints and patterns for your upper body, you should consider embellishment and the width of the straps for your feet and your ankles."
  • Fabric Choices: "Women who are a little bigger should go for flatter styles, not patent leather," Saboura says. "Matte leathers are great, flat suedes are great, even for spring and summer. Those are going to be better for bigger feet, and smaller feet are going to benefit from a little shine, whether it's patent leather, satin, embellishment or metallic. ... Satin and shoes with a sheen to them are going to be better for a leaner woman, because satin and sheen call attention to a place, they reflect light, they make things look bigger. "
  • Facts on Flats: "A lot of the sandals for spring and summer are super flat and I think that works for some styles, but I always say a woman benefits from a little bit of height," Saboura says. "So, for women who are long and lean, the flat styles, like the Elizabeth and James gladiator and the lace-up spectator, are great. I just think you need a little bit of length in your leg to wear those styles. A woman with a fuller figure is always going to benefit from a touch of height. It's going to help thin out her leg line and elongate her leg line."
  • Clues for Clogs: "Clogs are great," Saboura says. "They're a big trend right now and there's a variety of clogs out there -- some have a super-thick wedge on the bottom. I think a fuller figure can use a little bit of a wedge to balance her frame -- it shouldn't be resting on a tiny skinny heel. But I think it will exaggerate the size of your lower half if you wear a giant platform, so I think a medium-size clog with a medium-size wedge is going to be the best balancing tool for that woman. A petite woman can wear a clog with a heel."
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