2011 was the year that in a modest manner managed to put the spotlight back on the controversial transparent shoes. What started off as a micro trend, with few chances to actually see the inside of stores and consequently hit the streets, took an unexpected ampleness during the spring of 2012 when designers like Philip Lim, Dolce & Gabbana, Erdem and Marc Jacobs among others, filled the runways with new and exciting takes on Vinyl and PVC, marking the debut of one of the biggest shoe trends of the year.

For spring 2013, the see-through trend evolved into a delicate embodiment of transparency and lightness, appearing rather polished and extremely feminine. In anticipation of the warm and whimsical days of summer it’s high time you leave any sign of misconception behind and dismiss the unfortunate association with jelly shoes or exotic dancers, because the focus this season – just as it does for clear plastic clothing – falls on luxury and minimalism.

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Transparent shoes on the runway at Givenchy S/S ’13

Transparent shoes for spring 2013 – clues from the runway

Before beginning the hunt for the perfect pair of transparent shoes it’s important to keep a few things in mind:

  • If you’re not 100% sure about the trend, opt for shoes that mix sheer plastic straps, heels or block inserts with more traditional materials like leather or patent leather
  • For a subtle and feminine take on the trend, complement the clear vinyl and clear PVC elements with soft neutrals and pastel colors
  • Less is more, so focus on clean, smart cuts with minimum embellishments
  • Try to completely avoid the cheap-looking versions that will only bring down your overall look


Transparent shoes on the runway at Michael Kors S/S ’13 and Nina Ricci S/S ’13

Clear plastic shoes – complementary styles

For a classic take on the trend go for pointed pumps and chic peep-toe sandals with subtle clear plastic ankle straps.They will assure a flawless transition between day and night.

If you’re style is rather edgy and unconventional choose sandals featuring large blocks of clear plastic, balanced by cool, almost sculptural heels with the same alluring transparent quality.


Transparent shoes on the runway at Chanel S/S ’13 and Givenchy S/S ’13

To match the casual-chic aesthetic appropriate for the long and busy summer days switch the focus on comfy sandals, still very much on trend due to the transparent low block heel element.

For a sportier approach touched by a futuristic twist, perfect for shorts, jeans and camo prints, try a pair of ankle strap wedges featuring a transparent heel-platform.


Transparent shoes on the runway at Michael Kors S/S ’13 and Stella McCartney S/S ’13

Famous for their manifestation of all things romantic and utterly feminine, the house of Valentino paired the timeless sense of elegance with the cutting-edge influence of the clear plastic trend for results that feel like a modern take on the fairytale-like Cinderella shoe. From day to night, from casual to luxurious, these shoes are able to perfectly complement any style, effortlessly enriching their essence.


Transparent shoes on the runway at Valentino S/S ’13

Transparent shoes: what to wear them with this season

Either you opt for shoes that look like you’re wearing nothing at all, or you find the plastic heels to be most tempting, don’t be afraid to embrace this trend once the temperatures will finally allow it. There’s no better way to pay tribute to spring and summer and to infuse your outfits with lightness and ease. Wear the shoes with impeccable pant suits for the ultimate androgynous effect, throw on a colorful leather coat to highlight your indisputable elegance, or choose a delicate lace dress to celebrate your femininity.

For work, pair the clear plastic heels with a sleek tailored suit, or a pencil skirt topped by a chic button down; for cocktail hours bet on a classy flirty dress and gold accessories, and for your off-duty hours select a pair of boyfriend jeans, a loose top and put on your transparent pointy pumps.


Transparent shoes on the runway at Nina Ricci S/S ’13

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