Have you ever felt like the more pairs of shoes you buy, the more you need in order to keep up with the trend? Or do you find yourself in front of a closet full of shoes with nothing that actually works for what you’ve decided to wear?
Over the past few years, I’ve seen trends come and go but there are shoes every woman should invest in that are timeless and can create a fresh look over and over again.
You must be thinking “Only 10? No way!” Lol. Well I’m sure I could’ve easily stretched this number but this post specifically reaches out to all the women out there who wants to have a selection that will keep them stylish irrespective of the season or trend. If you’re not necessarily a shoe-aholic and definitely do not have a monthly budget to buy each latest trend on the market, these are our top 10 basics that could get you through years of changing trends without compromising on style.
Here, the focus is versatility. Every shoe in this list can be dressed up or down, are timeless options and matches at least 2 or 3 of the dress categories namely casual, smart casual, semi-formal, corporate wear, cocktail and black-tie.
1. STYLISH COURTS
A court shoe or pointed pump can be worn as smart casual, corporate or cocktail and it’s the no 1 on our list of must haves. For maximum versatility go for a solid neutral colour e.g. black, grey, nude, tan, beige, navy or white.
Style Tips: Casual – pair with jeans; Cocktail – pair with jumpsuit/playsuit/midi or mini skirt/dress. Corporate – pair with pants suit/skirt suit/bodycon dress.
2. BARELY THERE ANKLE STRAP HEELS
I am yet to find a spring/summer look that can not be successfully finished off with a barely there ankle strap sandal. My motto: “If you’re not sure if the shoe works, slip on a barely there and off you go”. This, is in my opinion the most versatile spring/summer wardrobe item and it can be worn with anything, except gym wear of course 🙂 It’s my personal go to for those busy mornings when there’s little time to plan an outfit. Bonus points if you can buy them in more than one colour but if you’re getting your first pair, rather stick to a neutral colour. Black is quite versatile.
Style Tips: Casual – pair with jeans or stylish jogger pants; Cocktail – pair with jumpsuit/playsuit/maxi, midi or mini skirt/dress. They also work well with high/low cut dresses/skirts, asymmetrical cuts and wrap slit dresses. Corporate – pair with pants suit/skirt suit/bodycon dress. Evening – if your dress requires a plain simple but elegant sandal, a barely there will do the trick just fine.
3. CASUAL SNEAKERS
Every woman needs a comfy pair of sneakers. Whether you’re off to watch the game or pulling of a 3 hour hike or whatever off-duty look you’re going for. There are so many options nowadays; colours, brands and patterns to choose from. It really comes down to preference so feel free to explore! There aren’t too many rules with this one. Sneakers such as Converse Chuck Tailors, Addidas Superstars, Nike Airmax, Stan Smiths to name but a few are the more timeless options and have been around since the 80/90s. They make their way back into fashion year after year.
Style Tips: Casual – pair with jeans, shorts, casual dresses works well with chucks and slip-on sneakers, joggers, sportswear, tights or leggings. Depending on the style of your sneaker, you could also pair them with chinos or leather leggings for a smarter casual look.
Inspired by menswear I think, loafers or “pumps” as we refer to it here in South Africa has thankfully replaced the ballet flat as the quintessential run-around shoe. I say “thankfully” because I’ve never been a fan of ballet pumps I must admit. There are so many stylish options and patterns to choose from. If you’re buying your first pair you may want to keep it simple by choosing a solid colour. They are great for those shopping sprees where you can simply slip them on or off and can be worn right throughout the year. Sometimes brand new loafers need time to walk-in though so slip in an extra pair of flats into your handbag, just in case.
Style Tips: Casual – pair with jeans, denim shorts, casual dresses or leggings. Smart Casual – pair with chino pants, skinny pants, leather leggings, formal/chino shorts, short skirts, pants suits or smart jeans.
5. FLAT SANDALS
As with loafers, pretty much the same goes for flat sandals in that it’s a comfortable run-around shoe. The obvious difference being that it’s a spring/summer wardrobe item.
Style Tips: Casual – pair with any summer wardrobe item. Be careful when wearing gladiators though. Lace up gladiator flats are better worn with either maxi skirts or short bottoms like shorts or mini dresses (at least a few cm above the knee).
6. RIDER BOOTS
Long boots are a timeless autumn/winter wardrobe item and can be worn with skinny jeans, winter leggings, tunics, or mini skirts. Match the colour of your boots with your handbag, hat or winter scarf.
7. POP OF COLOUR OR PATTERN SHOE
Bright coloured or patterned shoes adds a fresh, interesting touch to your look. Keep in mind what colour accessories you already have that will best compliment your shoes e.g. if you have a cobalt handbag, or cobalt in pretty costume jewellery then a cobalt shoe would be perfect. The same applies to patterns. E.g matching a pink bag to a floral heel that has pink flowers in the print. Just a tip: try not to match your patterned shoe with a patterned top etc. For e.g. animal print shoe with an animal print blouse. I’ve seen this go wrong 1 too many times.
Style Tips: Keep your outfit neutral if you’re going for the “pop of colour” look. Remember, its not a “pop” of colour if the colour doesn’t pop.
8. ANKLE BOOTS (HEELS)
These are a must have closet item during the fall/winter season and may even be worn on those wet or cool spring/summer days. Choose a pair that’s suitable for the office as well as cocktails with the girls whether you’re wearing leggings, jeans or a cute dress to get the most wear out of your shoe.
Style Tip: If you’re wearing ankle boots with jeans be sure to cuff (roll up the hem) them just above the top of your boot and you’re good to go. Jeggings or really tight skinny jeans may not require cuffing.
9. ANKLE BOOTS (FLAT)
Another winter/autumn run-around must have is a comfy flat ankle boot and they compliment pretty much any casual winter outfit.
Your evening heels could be anything from an elegant strappy sandals, plain or embellished to a pretty metallic heel. Once again, keep in mind what your choice of evening jewellery usually is e.g. silver or gold. If you prefer silver then choose a silver metallic, instead of gold etc.
Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and tips. All the advice in this post are my personal opinion shared from experience over the years and I’d love to hear yours too!
Images were obtained from various search engines and social media platforms and are not my own.