Shoes have always been tricky for me. Since I was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome, I have the unfortunate plight of having one foot that is a size smaller than the other. In short, shoes don't often fit. As a result, I have a small but carefully crafted shoe collection. Here are my must have shoes and sandals (boots to come in a separate post) for building a wardrobe.
1. The Black Pump : This is a must have for any wardrobe. Choose one that is simple and classically shaped. Leather is always a great choice since it is durable and stretches to fit your foot over time. Patent leather pumps are also a nice option if you want a little more shine. Be careful with suede, which always lures me in with its soft, pretty outside only to be destroyed the first time it rains. Remember - there is nothing less attractive than a woman who isn't comfortable in her clothing. If the heel is too high for you to walk in, then don't buy the shoe. Wear With: Dresses, pants or mid-length skirts. Recommended : Junction by Ecco (find it here - above). I have this shoe and it is classic, comfortable and cute!
2. The Ballet Flat : Ballet flats are easy to wear and extremely versatile, making them a great choice for most outfits. Rounded toes help make your feet appear smaller, while pointed toes tend to be dressier, especially in a nice patent finish. Make sure that you choose a model with adequate arch support so that you avoid the lower back burn that so often comes with flats. You can always buy inserts at your local pharmacy to add support to a flimsy pair. Ballet flats are all about the details so look for interesting stitching, flowers, bows, buckles and colours. Wear With: Ballet flats go with almost everything. Try pairing them with opaque tights, skinny jeans or shorts. Recommended: Keystone by Ecco (find it here - a patent version of the ones above). For a more affordable option check out this shoe from Payless (find it here).
3. The Sneaker : Sneakers are a great wardrobe staple and they can add a casual edge to any outfit. Choose a light, breathable pair in an interesting colour. Canvas sneakers are a great option since you can wear them in the summer, fall and spring (and winter if you live somewhere warmer than me!) Like with ballet flats, sneakers can be a little hard on the back, so pop in some support inserts to protect your feet. Wear With: Try pairing with cuffed, dark-wash skinny jeans. Recommended: Fashion Color Plimsoll Sneaker from Urban Outfitters (find it here - above).
4. The Nude Pump : Nude pumps are great for all the same reasons as black pumps. Look out for a comfortable fit, classic shape and good material when you are finding the perfect pair. Together nude and black pumps will cover all your high heel needs. The colour also elongates your legs which is nice for dresses and skirts with longer hemlines. Nude can be a refreshing break from the typical black on black outfit. Wear With: Same guidelines as the black pump, especially pretty with white summer dresses. Recommended: Lomack by Aldo (find it here - similar to the ones above).
5. The Leather Sandal : No wardrobe would be complete without a great pair of sandals. Choose something in a neutral colour - simple brown leather is always a good option. For natural leather sandals use olive oil or leave them in the sun to darken the leather to a golden brown. Pick a style that suits your feet. If toe thongs irritate your feet than pick a cross-foot pattern. Watch out for thick ankle straps that might create the illusion of a shorter leg. For a unique style cruise local markets and leather shops for handmade gems. Side note: Excuse the poor quality picture, my good camera died mid-post. Wear With: sandals are perfect for any summer outfit, but can also be paired with jeans. Recommended: Sanie by Aldo (find it here - similar style as the ones above).
Remember, take your time and don't settle for a shoe that isn't perfect. Fit, shape, comfort and details should all factor into your choice. If you struggle to find shoes that fit, then don't hesitate to take them to a cobbler and have them adjusted to your foot. Most places can adjust straps, stretch toes and fix broken heels in a matter of hours. So go out and begin to build your perfect wardrobe.