After years of following fashion and trends, I am convinced that there are truly 9 pairs of shoes every woman should own–specifically every professional woman. 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.
(Quick caveat: as one reader pointed out to be, this list does not account for specific shoes you might need for any individual personal hobbies. For those, you’re the expect in what you need!)
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 Pairs of Shoes Every Woman Should Own
Sturdy Neutral Flats
Looks great with: Jeans, Ankle Trousers, Casual Dresses and Skirts
Best Brand for Neutral Flats: 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, on 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”.
Best for: Any Corporate Setting, Professional Events, Dressy but Conservative Occasions
Best Brand for Classic Pumps: Nine West
You’ve seen me in these a few times. In my opinion, there is no shoe more classic or versatile than this one. They’ll take you through any professional event, but also work for church, weddings, and any other occasion that requires a dressed-up look.
Best for: Professional events, casual nights out
Best Brand for Ankle Boots: 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.
Shop Ankle Boots
Versatile Casual Sneakers
Best for: Just about anything!
Best Brand for Casual Sneakers: 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).
Short Rain Boots
Wear with: Rain Coats and Wet Weather
Best Brand for Short Rain Boots: 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 wet weather. I actually wear these boots all the time, even when it’s not raining. They look so chic.
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Flat Leather Sandals
Wear with: Shorts, Jeans, Casual Dresses, Skirts
Best Brand for Leather Sandals: 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.
Shop Leather Sandals
Wear with: Anything when the temperature is below freezing
Best Brand for Winter Boots: L. L. Bean
If you’re from Western, PA. like I am then 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.
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Looks great with: Denim, trousers, dresses and skirts of all kinds
Best Brand for Leopard Heels: 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 a 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, a classic white blouse, and a blazer for the office. I cannot express how versatile these can be.
Shop Leopard-Print Heels
Wear with: Formal Looks or Fancy Nights Out
Best Brand for Strappy Heels: Sam Edelmen
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!