10 Essential Shoes Every Woman Should Have
Monday June 24, 2013

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Over two years ago I created the original list of 10 Essential Shoes Every Woman Should Have, and it has continued to be one of the top style posts from the archives here on The Simply Luxurious Life. Knowing this, I wanted to take some time to update the links, do some more shopping for you no matter what your budget and share even more of my successful shoes and lessons since the original post went live. So, here it goes . . .
The right pair of shoes can make all the difference when it comes to completing a look. Candace Bergen has said that no matter what one’s wardrobe costs, if paired with quality shoes, everything looks high quality.  She makes a very sound point. As long as the clothes fit well and hair and make-up is done, the shoes can really take the entire look to the next level.

With all of that in mind, here are my ten essential shoes every woman should have in order to be stylishly pulled together no matter what the occasion. Feel free to share what your essentials are as well. I’m always looking for new ideas.

1. Ballet flats or loafers/slippers (nude, black, bright color or print)

Once I finally realized how versatile ballet flats were for my lifestyle (work, play, errands, weekend, casual, travel), I quickly convinced myself to by a few quality pairs of them.  Here are a few styles from Tory Burch that I live in (Reva and Eddie ballet flats) and a few I dream to wear (Lanvin).  In all honesty, the price is worth it because they will last.  Remember cost per wear.

While still feminine and slim-fitting, the slipper (often called a loafer without the tassels) is also a wonderful flat style to choose as it is available in many styles, colors and textures. I currently have Sam Edelman’s ‘Alvin’ in leopard and love pairing it with dark denim and black jeans as well as black trouser shorts in the summer.

2. Brown hue thong sandal (a few details or embellishments)

Perfect for summer to wear with ankle jeans, a skirt or a dress. One that I have been wearing the last few summers is a pair of Tory Burch’s Miller sandals. And for a frugal, yet wonderful sandals for classic style, Sam Edelman always offers wonderful styles. Here, the Sabrina sandal is currently catching my eye.

3. Classic black pump (pointed or round toe)

A black pump is perfect for work with a wrap dress, sheath, suit or trousers. Pointed toes tend to elongate your leg and work ideally with cropped pants, but either will do depending upon your outfit. Nine West offers classic styles at very reasonable prices, but if you’re able to invest in a pair of Christian Louboutins or Manolo Blahniks, you must add them to your wardrobe. One of my favorite pair of black pumps is a pointed toe Manolo pair that I found at a consignment shop. I’ve simply re-heeled them once ($10), and they look and function fabulously, all while containing a touch of history.

4. Nude heels

A treasure to be had.  Whether with jeans, a dress of any color, or an outfit of any color, this is the pump you want to make sure you have in your closet.  Choose a round toe or peep-toe, either way, I have a feeling you will fall in love.  My most recent pair is from Diane von Furstenberg – Anette nude patent leather 4” pointed toe pumps, and what I love most about them is that I can wear them with nearly everything. My dream pair is one from Jimmy Choo.

5. Tall Boot (black & brown/tan)

Boots for fall and winter are a style must as we want to stay warm, but still want to look stylish and pulled together.  Ideally, have a pair of stiletto boots as well as flat bottom ones as well. There are many ways to wear a pair of stiletto boots – with a dress/skirt, tuck a pair of skinny jeans inside (perfect day or evening) or wear with a pair of boot cut jeans (a dream pair by Stuart Weitzman and a more feasible, yet still quite stylish pair from Via Spiga).  And, as mentioned, doesn’t hurt to have a pair or two of flat boots for traveling and for those days when wearing heels just doesn’t suit your mood. But don’t forget the option of a wedge heel either which is easier to wear than a stiletto but still offers a bit of height that helps elongate. I purchased a pair of wedge boots last year for a great price ($99), and they were exactly what I wanted (similar here).

6. Espadrilles

Another shoe that is fun for summer, adds height without the wobble and is capable of being paired with capris, shorts or a dress is the espadrille.  Tory Burch has a long list of espadrilles (flat & wedges) and Clarks has a classic pair as well that would work very well with just about any wardrobe choice.

7. Kitten Heels

The height these shoes provide is perfect for those days when you know and want to look feminine, yet have tired feet from wearing sky-high heels all week.  A brand that I’ve tried on and been impressed with while shopping at Nordstrom was Ivanka Trump’s.  A very well-priced line of kitten heels in classic colors and leopard print as well ($119-$150). A dream pair would be Valentino’s rockstud patent leather sandal modeled in the above image (click here to shop).

8. Evening Heels (sandals or peep-toe, fun)

Going out is the opportunity to be exactly who you are without any rules, so let your shoes begin the fun.  Choose a designer classic black sandal or a more conversational sandal or pump .

9. Wellies and/or Uggs (an all-weather boot)

I tend to live in my Hunter wellies during the spring as I’m out in the garden or visiting local nurseries picking out my annual plants for the yard.  And the choices that are available make it all the more fun.  Currently, I love my yellow boots, and am now saving for a navy pair.

10. Booties, Ankle Boots or Shoe/Boots

The shoe that I have fallen in love with recently has been the bootie. In black or nude (and so many other options – try leopard), this is a fun alternative for the fall and winter when you want to cover more of your foot, but have the feel of a fabulous heel. Sticking to a budget? Choose Sam Edelman’sor Calvin Klein’s. The sky’s the limit? Have a look at Lanvin’s.

Now that we know what shoes we will need, below are a few other style posts you might be interested in:

~Why Not . . . Create Your Own Style Commandments?~

~Why Not . . . Build a Capsule Wardrobe on a Budget?~




13 thoughts on “10 Essential Shoes Every Woman Should Have

  1. I have a very high arch so cannot wear ballet flats — I walk straight out of them — but I definitely need that sort of shoe, it’s always been a hole in my wardrobe. Do you have a suggestion? (Likewise with pumps but I can work around that.)

  2. Rose – I have two styles for you to check out. The first style is an ankle strap ballet flat. Choose a style with a fuller toe coverage, and even if you are wearing pants or jeans it will appear as though you are wearing flats without the strap.

    A second option is to wear loafer/slippers – they are very on trend right now and feminine rather than boxy. They would eliminate the foot from coming out of the shoe as there is more arch coverage. I love these (http://bit.ly/10UbTe2) from Sam Edelman and wear them quite frequently for day and evening.

  3. Great post! I need/have all except the rain boots. Never really had a reason for them, in winter a good leather boot will do the trick, in summer a closed toe shoe/sneaker. Until recently, I also never liked kitten heels, they look good only on a small foot (7 and smaller). But then I tried the Valentinos in your picture and I think those are the one exception that proves the rule. Love them! 🙂

  4. Thank you for your suggestions Shannon, I appreciate that. I’ll look at those online and then check out Australian sources.

  5. I cannot navigate in heels well. I am fine with small 1 1/2 or perhaps 2” heels. I’m just too old! I love style and fashion but my feet can’t do it. I love good low-heeled black and cordovan boots as well as booties…

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