Dyeable shoes can be a godsend if you want your bridesmaids to wear shoes and dresses that match. Once upon a time, dyeable shoes all came in a basic style, mid-heel pumps that were practical and fairly plain, so that the only embellishment was the color. These days, there are literally hundreds of styles in dyeable shoes. For this reason, you can choose shoes that are as fancy or as plain as you like, in just about any heel height or style that suits your fancy.
There are, however, a few drawbacks to ordering dyeable shoes. The biggest of these is the difficulty, or near impossibility, of getting an exact color match. The fact is that you will not get an exact match no matter what you do. That’s partly because the shoes and dress are made in different fabrics, and partly because it’s nearly impossible to get the exact same color from one dye lot to another.
One thing that is important to keep in mind when approving the color of your shoes is that lighting can affect the dyed color. Natural, outdoor lighting is full-spectrum light with ultra-violet light ranges that will affect the color that you see. Natural sunlight will add pink tones to the color of your shoes, and your handbag if you choose to carry a dyeable purse as well. You may even see a difference in color between direct sunlight and shaded light outdoors.
Make a point to always compare fabric swatches for your shoe color in an environment that is close to the environment of your wedding day. A similar environment is important because the lighting should be similar in both areas. In other words, if your wedding will be mostly outdoors, you should check the color of your shoes and how they match to your dress in natural daylight. If the event is indoors, try to find out what kind of light the hall uses. Fluorescent lights are different from others, and some halls may be using full-spectrum lighting. Check the match for your shoes and dress under that light.
Other things to keep in mind when ordering dyeable shoes include these tips:
1. Most online shoe shops will sell dyeable shoes, but you’ll need to find someone local to actually do the dye job for you.
2. Some online bridal shops allow you to select dyeable shoes online, but many only sell dyeable shoes through offline outlets so that they can control the dyeing properly.
3. The style of the shoe that you choose can minimize any color match problems. For instance, a strappy sandal with rhinestone trim won’t show a color difference anywhere near as clearly as a shoe with more fabric surface.
4. If you’re planning to dye your shoes, choose a shoe that starts out in ecru or off-white rather than one in pure white. Pure white has a blue undertone that will change the color of the final dyed shoe by adding a hint of blue to it. Ecru fabric tends to dye more true to color.
5. Dyed shoes will not be waterproof. In order to prevent staining or running, it’s important that you spray your shoes with a water repellent spray. Be sure to check an inconspicuous area of the shoe to be sure that it won’t change the shoe color.
6. Avoid the problems with dyeable shoes by buying factory-dyed shoes made by manufacturers that tie their shoe colors to colors being used each season in the bridal and prom industry. If you shop at a wedding site online, you’ll often find shoes and gowns in the same color name; especially popular this season are colors like “Watermelon” and “Truffle”. These shoes have been dyed to match colors in the fashion industry as closely as possible, more closely than most custom dyers will be able to match. In fact, many custom dyers recommend that option if you’re choosing shoes that come in a pre-dyed option.
7. If all of your bridesmaids are wearing the same color dyeable shoes, try to have them all dyed at the same time to get the best possible match. Even the most skilled dyer may not be able to exactly duplicate the color from one shoe to the next if they are dyed at different times.
8. If your dress is a print, choose one color to match. An inexact color match won’t be as obvious when you dye shoes to match a single color in a print fabric.