As fun as these sandals are, gladiators are definitely a big trend this season. These stylish pieces have been around for a few years now, and they undoubtedly continue to be worn for a while yet as they are comfortable, versatile and look good. Traditionally known for their flat soles and thin straps that wrap around the foot and often the leg, today’s gladiator sandals come in many different styles and materials, absolutely the perfect ones for your wardrobe.

However, although their versatility could take them from casual to elegant in just the change of an outfit or sandal finish, especially for women these fashion staples will mostly look best when paired with a long leg and reasonably feminine fashions. Larger women sometimes have difficulty pulling this fashion off, especially if they have short legs. Of course, in this case, there is certainly no reason for plus-sized women not to wear gladiator sandals.

Gladiator sandals for plus size women fashion look
plus size women fashion look

Learning how to wear gladiator pieces perfect for any women’s figure isn’t that difficult, but obviously there are some rules to follow.

Here are some ideas for wearing gladiator sandals successfully, and find out more about these stylish shoes.

The Basic Rule of Gladiator Sandals

First of all, it can make your feet look wide and your legs look short if they have too many straps. When paired with more masculine apparel, it can tend to create a mannish appearance, which some women find unsuitable or undesirable.

Secondly, consider your leg and foot shape when purchasing a pair, and also consider your own shape when wearing them. For example, avoid swamping short, chubby legs in heavy, knee-high gladiator sandals and wear chunkier styles with pants, rather than skirts or dresses. To create the ultimate leg and foot elongating visually, you can try a gladiator style with a solid strip that bisects the foot in the center to enhance a vertical line on your frame and to create a long and lean silhouette.

Thirdly, know the types of gladiator sandals based on its height, which divided into three styles including ankle-high, mid-calf, and knee-high.

Ankle-high gladiator sandals for woman
Ankle-high for woman

For the ankle-high, which are flats with no heels, unfortunately, these strappy sandals are leg length suicide that can be very risky for muscular and short legs or thick ankles. So select the most flattering style suitable for your foot shape. Flat gladiators that stop just before the ankle or wrap around just above it look good on most women.

If you have full or wide legs, choose ankle gladiators in nude colors that are similar to your skin tone to make your legs look slimmer and longer. Heels are also slimming on women with thicker calves and ankles, because they draw the eye upward instead of to the straps around the foot. So if you insist on wearing flats, just select styles with a T-strap or 2-3″ heel to counter the shortening effect.

Knee-high and mid-calf gladiator shoes for women
Knee-high and mid-calf gladiator shoes for women

When wearing medium (mid-calf) to knee-high length, always think about balance of the entire look. These call for being the whole point of attention of your outfit, so don’t overdo the clothing and accessories, and just focus on the sandal.

Bright colors and eye-catching styles will swamp the outfit and draw all the attention to your feet, which may not be ideal if they’re not your best assets and you feel self-conscious about it. And if you are trying to brighten up your outfit, then this is good, but watch out if your sandals are just a part of the overall look.

To achieve the elegance with high gladiators, let the sandal be the focus. Pair them with wardrobe that sits above the knee, such as mini-skirts, mini-dresses, or short shorts that allow the length of the sandal to shine. Also pair these sandals with pieces that have simple colors such as black, white, or other single color outfit with minimum details, so that the eye-attention will focus more on yours.

Pick the Right Material, Colors, and Details

Just like any other fashion rules, you will want to emphasize what best in you and disguise what is not. Materials, colors, and details of yours can also do something to achieve what you want depending on your foot shape and length, as well as on what fashion styles you want to present. Unless you want to make a fashion statement and make your feet look smaller, make sure to select details that are scaled to the size of your feet, ankles and calves.

For instance, if you have slim and short legs, select the simplest gladiator sandals possible to avoid overwhelming them, and if your legs are very thin, opt for sandals with details and bright colors to visually add more width to them.

As for the strappy details, straps that go straight across the foot can made the foot appear wider than it is, this is great if you have long thin feet, but if your feet are wide you would look better with diagonal straps that will make the foot appear slimmer. Moreover, if you have slim ankles and feet opt for thinner straps and less details in general – wearing large straps will only make them look smaller in comparison and overpower your legs, and make you look shorter. The same rule applies if you have thicker ankles and feet, go for wider straps and not least a sturdier heel.

Depending on styles you want to pull off, a simple gold gladiator can take a gold shimmer evening dress from ultra-formal to ultra-fabulous. If your wardrobe contains mostly casual, light clothing, the traditional leather gladiators are probably best for you. These classic styles are perfect for running around on a hot summer day, looking great with a white cotton summer dress, as well as with any colorful sundresses, shift dresses and sheaths to create the “bohemian meets roman goddess” look.

On the other hand, if you like to dress up perfect for casual chic days, or casual fridays at work, or if you want to add glamour to a cocktail dress or fancy jeans, the snakeskin gladiator is another style that we love. You might also want to look for heels or flats with gold or silver fabric or grommets and studs.

Undoubtedly, a more sophisticated colorful gladiator can dress up a sundress or white jeans, tailored trousers or shorts, and of course, gladiators add a bit more style and sophistication than flip flops and beach slides do. During this summer season you’ll see gladiator sandals in all hues and finishes, from crocodile skin to leather, neon to metallic, all this makes them extremely versatile to dress up in on a Friday night.

basic designs and neutral shades for a safety style
basic designs and neutral shades for a safety style

Gladiator Styles for All Foot Shapes

Choosing gladiator sandals for women in basic designs and colors – especially black – can never go wrong with any wardrobe and with any color combinations. Then, after you feel comfortable with the basic ones, you might want to build your look with more interesting details such as studs, buckles, and beads, or with shiny texture, statement straps, heels and platforms designs and so on.

Not to mention, you can also try more experiments with bright hues like purple, red, blue, yellow and green, or even with metallic like gold or silver to complement the look. Once you’ve discovered which type of gladiator sandal suits you best you can pretty much wear them with anything. One more thing, just make sure your feet are in tip top condition with perfectly painted toenails and no cracked heels.

Gladiator sandals with heels or flats paired with mini, midi, or maxi dresses
heels or flats paired with mini, midi, or maxi dresses

Gladiator with a dress

You may try channeling the Roman vibe by pairing your gladiators with a long tunic dress or maxi-style halter dress. Most they are versatile, and look good with either plain or trendy dresses, mini or maxi. As for printed and colorful dresses, then again you still have to think about balance. If you’re wearing a print dress, make sure the color of sandals is solid-colored and the design is simple. However, if you want to make a bolder style impact, find a pair of sandals in one of the colors on the print – or in a color that complements the colors on the print.

Gladiator sandals with denim, chino, and tailored pants
With denim, chino, and tailored pants

Gladiator with pants and trousers

Not only that gladiator will look fabulous with mini outfit, these pieces will also look great with trousers that fit close to the ankle, such as cropped pants, chinos, or harem pants. For a sophisticated yet chic office outfit, choose a pair with heels, while for an effortless and timeless, casual look, grab a pair of wide legged jersey or linen trousers, roll up the pants a little for a laid-back vibe, and show off your gladiator sandals. And, if you want to look super slender and tall, you can combine the colors of your sandals, hosiery, and pants in skin tones or neutral shades.

Gladiator with heels or flats paired with skinny pants and leggings
With heels or flats paired with skinny pants and leggings

Gladiator with leggings and skinny pants

Sporting leggings or skinny pants with gladiator can be super flexible that you are free to choose what style you desire to compose. The simplest way to wear gladiator sandals is to pair them with your favorite pair of jeans to hide your ankle and calf at the same time showing off your pretty pedicure and fun, strappy sandal.

However, you may as well enhance your glam vibe by pairing your leather skinny pants and sheer blouse with flattering gladiator sandals. For a dressy look, wear a chic tee and cardigan, or choose a colorful T-shirt and layers for a simpler, fashionable outfit.

Gladiator with denim shorts, mini shorts, and Bermuda
With denim shorts, mini shorts, and Bermuda

Gladiator Sandals for Women with Shorts

As mentioned before, it will look fabulous and extremely flattering to be worn with outfits that sit above the knee or at the ankle. Mid-calf or knee-high gladiators look better with short or mini outfits, while ankle-high gladiators are perfect with outfits in any length, as they look great with Bermudas and even mini shorts.

Try to fashion any designs of shorts when you pair yours, including tailored dress shorts to up the chic-factor of the look, or ripped denim shorts for a more casual and urban look. You can also opt for cropped pants or mid-thigh styles to achieve the classic look – although you still need to consider your feet and body shape when wearing these pieces.

Gladiator sandals with mini skirt, pencil skirt, or A-line skirt
With mini skirt, pencil skirt, or A-line skirt

Gladiator with a skirt

When pairing gladiator sandals with a skirt, especially maxi skirts or dresses, the bohemian vibe will mostly come to mind. A ruffled Bohemian skirt or loose A-line skirt and lots of jewelries look fabulous with either flat or heel. As for mini-skirts, if you’ve got short and petite legs then flaunt them in mini-skirts to make them look longer with them.

Making your legs longer and slimmer visually, heels are one of the best options to choose, while to decide whether heels are best with skirt, look at the hem of the skirt. Longer skirts that reach to at least mid-calf look better with flats, while knee-length and shorter skirts are best complemented by heels. Additionally, flats look super cute with a full circle skirt, while heels make a pencil skirt-outfit look trendy. You can also match a pair of taller gladiator sandals that wrap around the ankle and the calf with skirts, but avoid these, if you have curvy calves because they will fit too tightly.

Gladiator sandals fashion look with Little Black Dress
Fashion look with Little Black Dress
Knee-high Gladiator Sandals for Plus Size Women
Knee-high for Plus Size Women
question by Melissa Penman

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