The five pairs of shoes you need in your wardrobe

No outfit is complete without the right shoes. And to help ensure you always have an appropriate pair to hand, here are the five types you need in your wardrobe.

As Carrie Bradshaw once so wisely noted: “There are two things you can never have too many of; good friends and good shoes.” And she’s got a point.

Okay, so shoes aren’t going to solve all of life’s problems. But the right pair can give you a lift, transform an outfit, help you feel more like ‘you’, and even make you smile.

The five pairs of shoes you need in your wardrobe

But while you may, like Carrie, have a thing for shoes, your budget may not stretch quite as far as hers. So, to help make sure you always have the right pair for every occasion, here are the five pairs of shoes you need in your wardrobe.

By the time you finish this article, you will know what you need to look for in reviews — such as Shoe Adviser‘s — and stores to filter and select the designs that best fit with your personality, interests, and lifestyle.

1) A pair of ballet flats

The ballet flat is a timeless shoe staple adored by everyone from Audrey Hepburn to Alexa Chung. It’s a simple, classic way to finish pretty much every outfit, and easy to throw on if you’re running late for work or the school run. Plus they’re comfortable (and you can actually run in them if you’re that late).

They’ll also see you around the year – teamed with bare legs in summer, and tights or jeans the rest of the year. And don’t just feel you need to stick to classic black ballet flats – we love a bright coloured or leopard print pair.  

2) A pair of trainers

Hands up who doesn’t have a pair of trainers in their wardrobe? (A pair you actually wear for some kind of sporting activity doesn’t count here.)

Personally, Converse are our go-to trainer. We love them not just because they’re comfortable, but because (like ballet flats) they’re a timeless classic that go with virtually everything.

Skirt? Tick. Jeans? Tick. Evening dress? Tick. Pinstripe trousers? Tick. In fact there’s no outfit we’ve yet found that you can’t team a pair of Converse with. (We’d even wear them on our wedding day given half the chance.) And when they get old, they can be relegated to traipsing through muddy fields and chasing toddlers around the garden.

Of course Converse aren’t the only trainer that’s acceptable to wear for anything other than exercise. So whether you’re a Vans, Puma, Adidas or Nike woman, we recommend adding a pair of trainers to your wardrobe.

3) A pair of sandals

If the sun’s out, and it’s warm enough, then the chances are you’re in sandals. We’re pretty sure there’s a style of sandal for everyone – from vintage-inspired leather sandals, to work-smart sling backs. Even flip flops (or thongs) count as a sandal here. 

If you’re in the UK, or Northern Europe, you may not get the chance to wear sandals as often as you’d like, but it’s worth having a pair handy for when the sun does make a surprise appearance. (Just make sure your feet are ready to be bared to the outside world!)

4) A pair of ankle boots

In the last couple of years, the ankle boot has established itself as a fashion staple. Flat, heeled, biker, Western, Chelsea… it almost doesn’t matter what style your boot is, as long as it’s short.

Like trainers, the ankle boot can (of late) be acceptably teamed with virtually everything, from the expected pair of jeans, to skirts, shorts and dresses. So if you don’t already own a pair, we recommend buying one.

5) A pair of heels

As easy as it is to dress up or down a comfortable pair of boots or ballet flats, there comes a time when only a pair of heels will do.

Nothing makes you feel sexier or more special than sashaying around in a pair of heels (or in our case, stumbling, which isn’t such a good look…). Just like trainers can transform an evening outfit by giving it a more ‘street’ edge, heels will add instant glamour and sex appeal to any look – even ripped jeans. 

So find a pair of heels you feel good in (and can walk in) and add them to your wardrobe. And any time you want to feel less like ‘mum’ and more like the hot, girl about town you may have once been, throw them on.

Do you have these five pairs of shoes in your wardrobe?

In our opinion, these five pairs of shoes can see you through virtually every day-to-day activity – from the school run or a job interview, to drinks with friends and a night out with your partner.

So if you don’t have the full set, you now have the perfect excuse to shop for new shoes. And let’s face it, even if you do have the full set, why not add to them? Just channel your inner Carrie Bradshaw…

Photo by Camila Damásio.