So I got to thinking, how can we mix things up a bit? How can we make that same pair of shoes look a bit different? These are the ideas I brainstormed. You will find they are of varying levels of difficulty, but there should be something here that any of my readers can try for themselves.
Change the laces- If your shoes feature laces then the easiest way to change things up is to swap the laces out. You could go for another colour that appears in your outfit. Another option is to experiment with various trims. Ribbon is a simple option and there are so many different types to choose from. If you were feeling a bit braver, perhaps a more risky trim could work? How about trying lace, for example?
Change the straps or add extra ribbons for straps- Sometimes you will find that you can remove certain straps and then you can replace them, just like you would with laces. Alternatively, if your shoes did not feature any ankle straps, you could glue a length of ribbon to the inner back of the shoe lining and add your own set of criss-crossed straps. If you go for a longer length that goes up your legs, just remember to consider how you will keep the ribbons in place (like maybe using sock glue).
Shoe Clips- Another simple option is to buy some shoe clips. There are loads of different designs to choose from, which can totally change the appearance of your shoes. I made a small collage to show just a few examples.
Use alternating colours- I have noticed that sometimes lolita like to wear different coloured shoes on each foot, which can be quite bold and striking. If you own 2 pairs of shoes in the same style and different colours, see if you are able to pair those colours together in an outfit and use one shoe from each pair. This can be a bit challenging and it is important to balance the colours right. But if you are a confident co-ordinator, it may be worth giving it a go.
Stick on additional decorations- If you wanted something a little more permanent than shoe clips, perhaps you could attempt to glue on some additional decorations. Things like pearls can look cute going along the curves of a shoe, or you could go for an all-over look like with the shoes below.
Add a ruffle or pleat- I added a photo below to demonstrate what I mean. These shoes feature a pleat going along the edge of the insides of the shoe. If you know how to do pleats it should not be too hard to make a pleat for shoes. They don't even have to be positioned in this exact way. Frustratingly, I found the perfect picture on Lolita Updates of these shoes with pleated ruffles on the toes, but I can no longer find it! But hopefully the picture below gives a rough idea of what I am trying to suggest.
Change the colour of your shoes- If you have a pair of shoes that are looking a bit tired or that you don't really wear, perhaps changing the colour can give them a fresh new look. Make sure that you get appropriate paint/dye for the material your shoes are made of. Also be careful to make sure the colour is 'sealed' properly. You don't want the paint rubbing off on to other things.
Those are the ideas I managed to come up with. I am not sure if this has helped with my outfit dilemma, but I am a frequent user of shoe clips anyway, so perhaps I will find a way around my issue if I use another pair of shoes and decorate them. As somebody who usually ends up being one size too big for Taobao shoes (most go up to 40 and I usually take a 41!), or who is the biggest size in some shoes but finds that size sells out super quickly, I understand how frustrating shoes can be in lolita fashion sometimes. It doesn't help that I have wide feet too, so I have to go a size up! So I am always open to new ideas when it comes to shoes. If you can think of any ideas which I haven't mentioned above, feel free to share them. Your advice will be greatly appreciated!