Cinderella understood–a pair of shoes really can transform a girl’s life. Maybe not in a find-true-love-and-live-in-a-castle sense, but it can take you from feeling “blah” to feeling confident and ready to take on the world! There’s a reason why shoes are most girls’ favorite thing to shop for. They come at every price point, and in SO many colors, materials and styles.
This list was more difficult to put together than other “essential” lists I’ve posted, just because there really are so many different styles needed for varying occasions. After much thought and consideration, I’ve finally come up with an encompassing collection. Read on to find out the 17 pairs of shoes you must have in your closet.
Sensible Black Pumps
The perfect addition to your Little Black Dress are your Little Black Heels! Much like its counterpart, these can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion. Make sure to buy a pair that are low enough to work in an office setting, but high enough to look sexy on a night out (I HATE kitten heels!)
A pair of pretty ballet flats are my go-to shoe for class, errands, and even dressy events. I own several different colors, and you can buy then at any price point. Have a few casual pairs for work and class, and a black leather pair that will work for dressier events.
Motorcycle or Riding Boots
A pair of motorcycle boots are essential to a well rounded shoe collection. They’re just as warm as a pair of Uggs but look much nicer. They go with skirts, pants, and leggings, and are super comfortable. Look for a pair that’s relatively basic–a low heel (if any), and not too many buckles or embellishments. This will ensure that they’re as timeless and versatile as possible.
A light and girly pair of espadrilles are a summertime staple. They look great with dresses and shorts alike. The wedge heel keeps them comfortable and easy to walk in. Don’t spend too much money on these–they wear out quickly, so you might as well pick up a new inexpensive pairs each Spring.
Lace Up Boots
These might not strike you as essential, but I’ve been shocked to find out how versatile and comfortable these babies are! There’s 2 ways you can go with this look–Victorian, or 90’s style. Lace-up oxford heels are really popular, and look ladylike with a pair of tights and a frilly dress. 90’s style Dr. Martens (or these Jeffrey Campbell Lita boots) are a style-blogger staple, and look awesome and edgy with everything from dresses to pants.
There’s nothing sexier than a sleek pair of ankle boots with tights and a mini skirt for a night on the town. They have a badass feel to them, so don’t be afraid of studs and embellishments. If you’re self-conscious about your calves, look for low-cut pairs that reveal your ankles. If you have skinny legs, don’t be afraid to try out pairs that stop a couple inches above your ankles.
Since I don’t participate in a lot of physical exertion, my athletic shoes are more about fashion than function–precisely why I own a pair of high top Nike dunks. If you need a pair that will more both at the gym and on the street, there’s plenty are really cute and colorful options that fulfill both needs.
The recent cold weather might have made you forget about this summertime staple, but dust them off this April because gladiators are here to stay. There’s not one summer outfit that gladiator sandals won’t go with, and they look so much more stylish than a bland pair of flip flops.
I can probably guess what you’re thinking–cute, but do they really qualify as an essential? I wasn’t sold on these until I saw how many different ways that various style bloggers wore them. The wedge style is much easier to balance in, so your feet aren’t completely destroyed by the end of the night. Since they aren’t as delicate, they can be worn through all seasons, and with tights or knee-high socks when it’s chilly. They look more urban and edgy than stilettos do, and can be dressed down easily as well.
Over The Knee Boots
Sure, they might be a passing fad for some, but if you pick up a pair that can be scrunched down or folded and buttoned for a shorter look, you’ll get the most bang for your buck. They look great with tights and a dress, a pair of jeans, or with a pair of dressy shorts if you really want to flex some sartorial muscle. A pair with no heel and few to no embellishments will be the most versatile.
Pair them with a LBD for a formal occasion, or use them to dress up a pair of jeans and a frilly top. In my experience, the most comfortable pairs have adjustable straps so you can make them stay super tight on your feet. Be sure your toe nails are painted before leaving the house in a pair of these though–nothing ruins a look faster than scrubby toenails in a pair of fabulous shoes.
In Norman, when it rains, it pours. Flooding comes without warning, and undoubtedly you’ll have to trudge across half of campus to get to your next class. A pair of rain boots are absolutely necessary, and can be picked up anywhere from Target to huge design houses like Burberry.
Boots for the Snow
Here in Oklahoma, we’re bound to get at least 2 or 3 big ice storms that’s sure to leave snow on the ground for days. Uggs are great for when it gets REALLY cold outside, but even better than traditional ones are styles with leather on the outside. These are waterproof and still have the fuzzy warm lining! If you have Uggs with a suede exterior, be sure to purchase protective spray to keep them from staining.
Glitzy sandals can be picked up anywhere they sell shoes, and brighten up the most casual warm-weather outfits. Perfect for a summertime dates like concerts, strolls through the park, or anything that requires you to be on your feet for a long time. I’m not a big fan of plain flip flips (unless they’re Havaianas) so these are the perfect step up.
Casual Shoes for Everyday
For OU students, this means Sperry Topsiders. Models off duty prefer Converse All-Stars, and hipsters reach for their Vans. I won’t insult your intelligence by explaining why an easy pair of shoes to throw on with your jeans and t-shirt are completely essential.
Maybe not across all regions, but here at OU and all across Texas and much of the south, everyone has a trusty pair of cowboy boots perfect for gamedays and concerts. Pair them with skinny jeans and a blouse, or a casual dress. I’m not sure how well these translate to real life outside of “fratty” Soonerville, so there’s no need to spend a ton of money on these.
A Trendy Pair You Love
Every girl needs a one-of-a-kind pair of shoes that they love, and that none of their friends have. Clogs go in and out of style every year, and I always thought that slip on sneakers were kind of cool too! I own a pair of pointy leopard pumps, and another pair of bunchy leather ankle boots. Both are pretty out there, but they make great statement pieces that are fun to wear for a night on the town.
For more on all things trendy, check out the OU Daily