Forget the chunky boots or the caged gladiators. Women really don’t need that many shoes (gasp!). Chances are good you’ll wear the same few pairs repeatedly. Rather than invest in a wealth of different shoe styles, make your purchases more significant and invest in quality soles that will take you anywhere from the office to date night in style.

Nude ballet flats- We vote nude for ballet flats because we already know a flat sole is the least flattering on the leg, and nude shoes naturally elongate the leg. A nude flat will blend into your skin tone and look beautiful whether you’re wearing black jeans or a pretty dress. If you’re a sucker for heels, keep wearing them, but be smart enough to pack a flat for emergencies or those long days when you end up trucking up three flights of stairs, inevitably carrying all the groceries. Flats are trusty. Invest well in a pair made for walking.

Black pumps- Every woman needs a pair of black pumps. You’ll wear them everywhere from job interviews to dates. Because heel and vamp styles change every season, you should look for clean and timeless lines that flatter your foot. In addition, make sure you can walk in them. There’s nothing worse than being all dressed up and having nowhere you could feasibly go, wearing those inches. Be practical and opt for a 2-inch heel with a pointed toe that shows off a little toe cleavage. Always sexy, always in style. And perfect for cocktails after work!

Colored heels- Colored heels will add that extra oomph to your outfits. You don’t need to subscribe to the idea that you must match your shoes to your belt or your handbag. A pair of red, pink, or blue shoes are extremely versatile, and you’ll learn to love that punch of color with everything. You’ll look artsy, eclectic, and Oh-so Carrie Bradshaw.

Animal print- Whether it’s leopard or snakeskin, you need a little texture in your shoe wardrobe for those simple black dresses and tailored pants. Animal prints can steal the show and camouflage themselves in. They look smart and fashionable and daring at that. So, show the world your wild side and put that roar in your step.

Athletic shoes- Whether you wear traditional white canvas shoes or a comfortable pull-on style, you need a pair of rubber soles that can take you down trails, sidewalks, and flea markets with ease. If you choose a classic like white Converse, you can wear them with dresses and jeans.

Espadrilles- For everything else, there are espadrilles. These summer favorite sandals are a staple amongst French women, who wear them with skinny jeans and their sundresses. Espadrilles usually have a straw or cork sole and wrap around the ankle. For the most flattering style, opt for a neutral hue.

Flip flops- Here’s where we argue with French women. We do wear flip flops. We wear them to the beach. We wear them when we wash the car, and we wear them in the middle of the freaking summer when heels and sweaty soles are just not an option. Don’t spend much on these- they only look tacky when they’re ready for the trash. Buy several pairs each year, and toss them when summer comes to an end. You’ve got plenty of other options to wear year-round. (And the boots are entirely your choice.)


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