After years of following fashion and trends, I am convinced that there are truly only 9 pairs of must-have shoes for modern women. That’s it. Really. I promise. If you’ve got these nine pairs of shoes in your closet, there is no event that you will not be prepared for.
Every time I think of purchasing shoes, I’m reminded of this quote from the movie In Her Shoes, which couldn’t be more accurate:
When I feel bad I like to treat myself. Clothes never look any good… food just makes me fatter… shoes always fit.
It’s true. Shoes are one of those accessories that can instantly make us feel better and we never have to worry about whether or not they’re going to flatter our curves or hug in the wrong places.
9 Must-Have Shoes for Modern Women
Neutral Pointed Toe Flats
Looks great with: Jeans, Ankle Trousers, Casual Dresses and Skirts
Best Place to Buy: Rothy’s (Click here for $20 Off)
Pointed-toe flats create the illusion of longer legs, similar to heels. They are great for those situations where heels are not practical. Rounded-toe, not the other hand, have a tendency to make legs look shorter and more stout. Almond toes are a nice compromise for something in the middle but, as someone who is only 5’2″, I prefer the pointed-toe. Rothy’s has been my favorite retailer for shoes since I purchased my first pair. All of their shoes are made from recycled plastics, require literally zero wear-in time, and can be thrown in the washing machine when they get a little too fresh.
Leopard Block Heels
Looks great with: Denim, trousers, dresses and skirts of all kinds
Favorite Brand: J.Crew
Block heels are a great option for occasions where you want to be dressed up but not too formal. A leopard version is the perfect option that can seamlessly transition from formal to casual outfits. For example, wear these with a leather jacket, pair of jeans, and graphic t-shirt for an edgy night out look. Or, wear them with a pair of trousers, classic white blouse, and a blazer for the office. I cannot express how versatile these can be.
Wear with: Anything when the temperature is below freezing
Favorite Brand: L. L. Bean
If you’re from Western, PA., you know there’s no question that winter boots are a must. I’m not above wearing these with my work clothes when commuting to and from work. I would rather save my good shoes and be prepared for the elements. (I was always taught to dress as if your car might break down on your way home in bad weather, so that’s what I do!). Finding a pair that is waterproof and lined with a warm fabric, like shearling, is recommended.
Short Rain Boots
Wear with: Rain Coats and Wet Weather
Favorite Brand: Alice + Whittle
Rain boots are a must-have for those rainy days. No one likes to be sloshing around in wet sneakers or sliding out of sandals when the rain hits. I specifically recommend a shorter pair because tall boots can be difficult to wear with professional trousers, which is important for commuting in all sorts of weather. Tucking trousers into tall boots is not a good look, and neither are rain-splattered work pants. The shorter style covers your ankles and protects feet from the wet weather. I actually wear these boots all the time, even when it’s not raining. They are so chic.
Strappy Heeled Sandal
Wear with: Formal Looks or Fancy Nights Out
Favorite Brand: Steve Madden
A simple heeled sandal is all that you need for formal events. I like this one in a neutral because it can be worn with anything. Ideally, you want to find a pair that blends in with the color of your skin so that your legs look very sleek and long. In a nude color, a pair of strappy heeled sandals will look incredibly chic. Don’t be afraid to wear these with skinny jeans, either. They can really dress up your look!
Leather Flat Sandal
Wear with: Shorts, Jeans, Casual Dresses, Skirts
Favorite Brand: Madewell
A simple pair of leather flat sandals is a more put-together option than rubber flip-flops for days when you really just need something low-key and casual. I love a pair that can slide on without any fussing over buckles or straps.
All-White Casual Sneakers
Best for: Just about anything!
Favorite Brand: Converse or Rothy’s (Click here for $20 Off)
In the summertime I live in sneakers. I prefer an all-white pair for two reasons: (1) they go with everything, and (2) they are classic. A sleek pair of all-white casual sneakers, like Rothys or Converse, will never go out of style. I like the higher top versions but I’m also a big fan of the low ones for easy slipping on and off in a hurry (usually the case when I’m running after a toddler).
Casual/Dressy Ankle Boot
Best for: Professional events, casual nights out
Favorite Brand: J.Crew
J.Crew has truly perfected a casual/dressy ankle boot in their Sadie ankle boot. The almond toe and block heel are both timeless, and the lack of detailing keeps the whole style looking crisp and classic. If I’m being honest, I own this particular boot in the leopard and the suede brown because I think it’s that good. The sleek silhouette always leaves me feeling totally chic and put-together. I really love them in the snake print, but I’m going to reign myself in on getting a third pair.
Best for: Any Corporate Setting, Professional Events, Dressy but Conservative Occasions
Favorite Brand: Kate Spade
You’ve seen me in these a few times (see here, here and here). In my opinion, there is no shoe more classic or versatile than this one. It is an absolutely beautiful shoe. I even had a cobbler comment on how well-made they are!
Phew! That’s a lot of information! What are your must-have shoe picks?