In a woman’s life, there are certain rites of passage that cement her status as a grown-up. Some of these milestones are necessary evils (ahem, doing taxes), while others, like cultivating an adult wardrobe, should be fun. Before you check off the latter, make sure you’ve got these ten essential shoes somewhere in your sartorial arsenal.
Be forewarned: These will probably become the hardest working shoes in your closet because, seriously, you can wear them with anything. From boyfriend jeans and overalls to minidresses and midi skirts, a crisp pair of white sneaks adds a touch of understated cool to just about anything. Justmake sure they’re crisp.
3-INCH PUMPS THAT YOU CAN ACTUALLY WALK IN
Sure, a 4- or 5-inch pump is going to do you all kinds of favors in the legs department…but not if you can’t make it down the street in them. Find a lower pair with a pointed toe and a slim heel–both of which will make the pair appear higher than it really is.
WEDGES (OR FLATFORMS) YOU CAN WEAR ALL NIGHT
The epitome of a summer staple, the platform wedge sandal is comfortable enough to wear (and walk in and dance in) for long periods of time, but it shouldn’t just be limited to the rope espadrille. Push trend boundaries with a funky new flatform (that still achieves the same look) or stick to the classics if you prefer. Either way, you’ll get miles out of them with floaty dresses in the summertime and leg-lengthening flare jeans in the fall.
FLAT SANDALS TO WEAR INSTEAD OF FLIP-FLOPS
Real talk: You’re a grown-ass woman, and it’s time to ditch the flip-flops. (Well, outside of the pool.) To ease the pain of letting go, might we suggest a pair of chic leather sandals? They’re just as easy to slide into but far more sophisticated and versatile. Pair your neutral or metallic ones with everything from casual shorts to a fancy lace dress.
BALLET FLATS YOU CAN SLIP INTO YOUR BAG
Being-a-woman survival rule #1: Always keep a pair of simple flats on hand. They’re both timeless and polished their own, but they’re also perfect for stashing in your purse to rescue you from the aforementioned party heels.
Borrow from the boys and look cool as hell. Loafers are a great way to instantly dress up any outfit without sacrificing comfort. They’re preppy without being in-your-face and come in a ton of colors, materials and varying levels of embellishment. (Though you kinda can’t go wrong with a classic black leather.)
RAIN BOOTS YOU’RE NOT EMBARRASSED TO BE SEEN IN
Rainy days are inherently a bummer, but that doesn’t mean your outfit has to be equally depressing. In fact, it should be the opposite. Invest in a pair of water-resistant boots that resemble everyday shoes. No need for polka dots and zebra stripes, ladies.
FLAT BOOTS YOU’LL WALK THE SOLES OFF
Boot trends come and go but a slim knee-high (or even a thigh-high) will never not be a staple of your fall and winter wardrobes. But steer clear of a heel here. Since you’re not likely to switch shoes on a frigid day, it’s best to stick to a flat, comfortable sole.
ANKLE BOOTS WITH A SHORT, STACKED HEEL
These little guys are the great season transcenders. Worn with skinny jeans in the fall, they’ll make your legs look longer, or paired with a swingy skirt in the spring, they’ll add just a touch of edge to an otherwise feminine silhouette.