We have fashion amnesia when it comes to shoes and boots. This magical ability to highlight great gams or forget about chunky legs, thick ankles, bulky calves and wide feet is why we fall in love with shoes that don't love us back. Let's be honest: Being obsessed with shoes and looking your leggiest best often are two different things, especially when showing some leg in skirts and dresses. You can have both with 10 optical-illusion tricks for trends.
1. Color-matched skin tone and shoes makes longer, slimmer legs. A minimal color break between shoe and leg at the foot or ankle is the most magical maneuver of all. Get an authentic seamless effect with the shoes in an expanded palette of light to dark hues like blush, sand, camel, caramel, tan, mahogany, cognac, cappuccino and chocolate. Like the right shade of foundation, it's worth the hunt.
2. The wider your legs, the sturdier the shoe and heels. Swap spindly heels and narrow toes for substantial stacked and block heels in a low to medium height and fuller almond toes to balance solid leg and body proportions in style. Your bunions and hammertoes will thank you. Strong, muscular, athletic-looking legs are now cool, so stop calling them piano legs, drumsticks or tree trunks. Pump up in chunky velvet shoes like the French Sole Trance-X — go for the black or navy with gold heels! — and Walking Cradles Matisse styles. (Both available at zappos.com and elsewhere.) Yes, velvet shoes are 24/7 now.
3. The wider the hemline, the slimmer your legs look. Skirt proportions also make a difference. You may love pencil skirts and sheaths, but it's the volume of A-lines, wraps, pleats and fit and flare styles that make legs look slimmer by contrast.