The Best Ways To Style Platform Heels

Platform shoes have a long history in fashion, with The Zoe Report tracing their trendiness as far back as the WWII-influenced fashion of the late 1930s. Chunky platform boots became a staple of disco wear in the '70s, notably in a culture similarly influenced by the Vietnam War, and reemerged in the '90s (per Elle).

Nowadays, platform shoes of all styles have become popular, with elevated heels, in particular, appearing in runway shows from Versace, Gucci, and Valentino (per Coveteur). Spotted on celebs like Dua Lipa, Zendaya, and Doja Cat, this shoe style is also popular among stars off the runways.

While the height of platform heels alone can be super intimidating, this footwear is actually surprisingly practical. Not only can they be used to avoid altering dress hems, but they are typically more comfortable than skinnier heels because of their solid base. On top of that, they can be styled and worn in many different ways, making them more versatile than they may first appear.

Party girl, elevated

One of the easiest ways to wear platform heels is by styling them as partywear, as they add a particularly fun twist to the familiar mini dress. As mentioned on Preview, thick platform heels have been revived alongside updated Y2K fashion staples, making this a great aesthetic to curate your own night-out look around.

For example, we love how the two-toned feather trim and sequin details of this Karen Millen dress modeled by @kiraatikova on Instagram work with shiny, silver heels. If you're wanting to create a similar look, we recommend playing around with the borderline kitschy detail work — think fuzzy fabric, gems, and sequins — characteristic of the early 2000s, per Who What Wear.

Preppy meets edgy

A really fun aspect of platform shoes is how well they can play into different aesthetics, working with anything from It-Girl to eGirl. One way to style this footwear is by playing around with the versatility of these shoes and combining elements of distinct styles to create something new. 

Try taking inspiration from Instagram user @juju.stylez by making preppy silhouettes edgy with a dark color scheme and alternative accessories, or you can try combining the body-hugging mini-dresses of the Baddie aesthetic with grunge-inspired platforms and flannels. Whichever styles you choose to combine, platforms can really add an edge to an outfit.

Patterned platforms

If wearing platform heels makes you feel particularly bold, then embrace this vibe by really letting them be the standout piece of your outfit. You can take a patterned or colorful heel and add them to a look to really make it shine. Animal print, like zebra and leopard, or bold colors, like bright red and yellow, would work great for this styling option. 

Instagram user @bymelissxo uses this method by pairing zebra-printed platform heels with leather shorts, a black blazer, and a green bandeau top. This look combines some unexpected pieces in a way that really works, but we particularly love how the zebra print stands out against the more subdued color combination of black and green. 

Printed pants

Another platform styling option is to keep your footwear simply-colored, but pair them with something fun and patterned. Instead of letting your platforms be the star of the show, use them to accentuate other vibrant, colorful pieces. 

TikTok user @poseandrepeat does this really well in a video styling different pairs of platforms. Pairing chunky heels with green zebra-printed flare pants works especially well here, and we love how partnering it with a corset top brings in another staple of '90s fashion (per No Kill Mag). 

Pure '90s nostalgia

Platforms were particularly popular in the '90s, so other popular looks from this decade are bound to provide great styling inspiration. Because of this, we recommend pulling inspo from your favorite revived '90s trends and elevating them (figuratively and literally) with platforms.

For example, styling a sheer fabric dress with Mary Jane platforms perfectly channels the '90s, as Instagram user @aishuadd shows in a frothy pink number styled with shiny platform heels. While Mary Janes date back to the turn of the twentieth century, Shoe Alcoholics Anonymous explains how they became popular footwear in '90s subcultures.

For your own look, try playing around with similarly popular shapes from this decade, like strappy heeled sandals and slip dresses. 

Pedestrian supermodel

Though your instinct might be to dress them up, platform heels can be worn casually if styled correctly. In fact, we love how great platform heels look in the blazer and jeans combo that is particularly reminiscent of the classic casual supermodel look mentioned by British Vogue and spotted on celebs like Kaia Gerber and Hailey Bieber.

The styled look from TikToker @anaalvarez is a great example of how you can achieve the pedestrian supermodel look on your own. Try pairing an oversized blazer with jeans, a simple tank top or t-shirt, and your favorite pair of platform heels.

Play with femininity

Another way to style platform heels is by using them to go for a more feminine look. As The Cool Hour mentions, pairing platform heels with a mini dress and socks can create a cutesy and sweet look. This is something that Instagram user achieves in a cottagecore ensemble that combines a lace dress with black Mary Janes and frilly white socks.

If you're interested in playing with both femininity and platforms, then try pairing traditionally girly textures, fabrics, and colors with your heels. And don't forget the frilly socks!