The Only 12 Pairs of Shoes You Need to Have a Perfect Shoe Wardrobe!

By: Nada Manly, BeautyMommy.com

A flawless pair of shoes can turn basics into an outfit, and with a well-edited shoe wardrobe, your style is unstoppable. But what does a basic shoe wardrobe look like? And what is the minimum number of shoes that a woman can own and still cover all her bases fashion-wise? In my opinion, 12 is the magic number. At a dozen pairs of shoes, you’ve covered everything from dressing up to chilling out. So here are the 12 shoes every woman should own. (Not that I’m suggesting you stop with these…) 🙂

The 12 Pairs of Shoes Every Woman Should Own

1. Black Pumps

So important, I did a whole post on picking the perfect classic pair. Once you have that covered, though, go crazy and make your second pair drop-dead glamorous.

Nine West Tornaydo pump, $44.50, Amazon

Nine West Tornaydo pump, $44.50, Amazon

2. Ankle Strap Sandals

Possibly the hottest thing you can put on your feet. If you are petite, or have short legs, stick to a nude or neutral pair to avoid making your legs look shorter.

Bandolino "Magei" sandal, starting at $24.94, Amazon

Bandolino “Magei” sandal, starting at $24.94, Amazon

3. Black Ankle Boots

These are my winter go-tos. Try them with anything that’s too prissy, proper or dull, and they add instant edge.

Michael Antonio "Marlie" boot, starting at $17, Amazon

Michael Antonio “Marlie” boot, starting at $17, Amazon

4. Cool Sneakers

I have spent my entire life shunning sneakers and all that they imply (i.e. movement), but their current trendiness, and the way stylish women are pulling them off, has made me reconsider.

Converse Chuck Taylors All Star, starting at $41, Amazon

Converse Chuck Taylors All Star, starting at $41, Amazon

When styled properly, the right trainers can be worn with all of your weekend essentials, from shorts and jeans to maxi dresses.

5. Ballet Flats

The quintessential casual flat, ballets are so feminine and stylish and timeless. My favorites are by French label Repetto (the Cendrillon is timeless) and Bloch.

Jessica Simpson "Mandalaye", starting at $50, Amazon

Jessica Simpson “Mandalaye”, starting at $50, Amazon

6. Stacked Heel Sandals

A stacked heel sandal is a great compromise. Dressier than a flat sandal, but comfortable enough to wear all day.

MIA "Sade" sandal, starting at $17, Amazon

MIA “Sade” sandal, starting at $17, Amazon

7. Leopard Pumps

My love of leopard has been well documented, and no shoe list is complete without it, in my opinion. It’s the instant transformer. Pair your leopard pumps with any solid color outfit and you’re instantly chic; mix it up with other prints and you’re a trendsetter.

Sam Edelman "Dea" dress pump, starting at $41, Amazon

Sam Edelman “Dea” dress pump, starting at $41, Amazon

8. Metallic Pumps

Forget nude pumps (theoretically, of course – don’t toss them or anything). These are the true neutrals, and when I have to narrow shoes down for a trip (the tragedy!), I always take a metallic, because they are more versatile than black, and often much more stylish.

Dolce Vita "Porsha" pump, starting at $30, Amazon

Dolce Vita “Porsha” pump, starting at $30, Amazon

9. Boldly Colored Pumps

I am so obsessed with my new-ish SJP red satin “Lady” pumps. They are so flawless they nearly bring tears to my eyes. (What? You don’t cry over beautiful shoes?) Anyway, the right pair of colored pumps takes your neutrals to the next level, and are often the single most impactful purchase you can make to instantly, easily upgrade your style. Here’s a great pair in yellow.

Jessica Simpson "Claudette" D'Orsay pumps, starting at $30, Amazon

Jessica Simpson “Claudette” D’Orsay pumps, starting at $30, Amazon

10. Rain Boots

Living in Florida, where torrential downpours are a regular occurrence, I have learned the hard way to find cute shoes that can withstand the rain, hence my collection of shiny footwear. I love my Melissa pumps and my Kate Spade flats and my Burberry boots. A sleek pair of rain boots holds up in snow as well, and whether you opt for one of Hunter‘s stylishly glossy styles, or this preppy pair from Ralph Lauren, they are an essential classic you’ll wear for years!

Joules pink rain boot, starting at $45, Amazon

Joules pink rain boot, starting at $45, Amazon

11. Flat Tall Boots

Riding boots are comfortable enough to wear all day, with virtually everything, and cute enough to look like you haven’t given up. They are also the perfect foil for a dress that is too dressy or too predictable.

Bandolino "Cranne" boot, $47.68, Amazon

Bandolino “Cranne” boot, $47.68, Amazon

12. Flat Sandals

In Florida, the quintessential flat sandal is by Jack Rogers, but if they’re not your thing, there are zillions of others to choose from, including fashion insider brands like Ancient Greek and K. Jacques. They’re a warm-weather essential!

Steve Madden "Daryyn" flat sandal, $58.95, Amazon

Steve Madden “Daryyn” flat sandal, $58.95, Amazon

I hope I’ve inspired you try a style you’ve never considered before. Which of these essentials is missing from your shoe wardrobe?

perfect shoe wardrobe

Nada Manley

About Nada Manley

BeautyMommy Nada Manley is a Stylist to the Moms. Nada is a wife, a mom of two daughters (Lola and Eva), a stylist with The Stylist Online, a style journalist and fashion columnist (GateHouse Media, My Coast Magazine, NailPro), a published author (Secrets of the Beauty Insiders), a Christian, a closet consultant, a professional shopper and an obsessive tea drinker. BeautyMommy offers style solutions, beauty tips and shopping advice for busy moms, all delivered with a sense of humor.

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