Boots & Shoes
This might just be my favorite basics topic… boots and shoes!! The beautiful thing about shoes is… our size stays the same pretty much for life (except after babies. My feet grew 1/2 size). You don’t have to worry as much about shape and whether something works for your body… It’s just easier to find amazing shoes!
If you made your way here but missed Wardrobe Basics #1 and #2, make sure you head there first. If you still need to print out your wardrobe basics checklists, you can subscribe to my newsletter here and get them delivered to your inbox. If you go through the basics and still have styling questions, you might want to join our exciting new community…the Hive! You can find more information and how to sign up here.
Okay, we’ve covered the resources, now let’s dive into shoes!
The Must-Have Boots & Shoes
Your fall/winter boots and shoes are obviously very important and many of us value comfort above all else. I totally get that and it makes perfect sense especially for those of us with joint issues. But, I want to challenge you to take your shoe search one step further and look for both comfort and style. Or as I like to say, “the perfect marriage of fashion and function.” I know it may seem overwhelming and you are already pressed for time, but I promise I will make it simpler.
Pick a heel height that’s manageable for you. I personally wouldn’t go over 4 inches for these. If you’re going to wear them to work, don’t go over 2 or 3 inches. For those that really struggle with heels, try a kitten heel for maximum comfort OR flats. Flats are always an option too. If you look for heels that are pointed toe (even though it’s not the best for your feet) they will make you look longer and taller. BTW, one of my all-time most popular videos is “How to Look Slimmer” which includes tips like this one. You can watch that video here. Even if you live in a casual place you will still have occasions to wear lovely black pumps. Think dinner, date night, weddings, even funerals. (Morbid, I know, but we all have one from time to time.) My favorites designer pair of pumps are the Jimmy Choo Romy Pumps. A more affordable option that is especially great for narrow feet, the Sam Edelman Hazel Pumps. Vince Camuto and his wife, Louise et Cie also make amazing pumps. Cole Haan is another all-around favorite. The pumps that I think do the best job of that fashion and function combo are … (drumroll, please) Ann Taylor’s pumps!
Favorite Brands for Pumps
I remember when booties first came out more than 10 years ago people thought they wouldn’t stick around. Well, they sure did! If you are looking for one basic pair that you really can throw on and wear every day, I would opt for something that is black with a chunky (low) heel, preferably with a side zip. Whether the booties are suede, leather or vegan leather is totally up to you and your budget. What I will say about that is … if you are on a tight budget, suede and faux suede always look more luxe than vegan leather booties. Just be sure to spray them with suede protectant.
If you live in a climate as I do here in Colorado, you might want to look for booties that are waterproof. Blondo makes super stylish boots/booties that are waterproof. Aquatalia is a designer brand that makes beautiful waterproof options too.
In terms of toe shape, you really have options. You can go for a more classic, rounded toe. Or opt for a trendier square toe. I probably would avoid a super pointed-toe pair of booties since they won’t be the most comfortable or versatile. Although I do love the way they look and I own several pointed-toe pairs, but they are not the most basic. For more stability, again, look for a block heel. I typically recommend a Chelsea bootie as that perfect everyday bootie. Make sure your block heel is only 1 to 2 inches high.
Brands I like:
For those that want high-end, designer booties, take a look at Tamara Mellon booties and boots.
Find my complete guide to wearing boots with jeans here.
Black or Brown Knee High Boots
Knee-high boots should come up right below your kneecap. If you are building a capsule wardrobe based on brown tones, you may want to opt for a knee-high pair of boots that is tan (pictured above) or cognac brown. If you are building a black basics wardrobe, definitely grab knee-high boots that are black. Again the material is up to you, your preferences and budget.
Knee-High Boot Brands:
My designer favorites are always by Stuart Weitzman!
Your flats should be VERY comfortable for starters. If they are not, which for some reason many flats are not, then find a new pair. You can choose ballet flats, pointed toe flats, loafers, slip-on shoes. Whatever flats you prefer, just make sure they are comfortable and in a neutral color. I would choose black if you are building a basics wardrobe out of mostly black tones. If you are opting for browns or navy shades, I would choose metallic, or tan.
For ballet flats and loafers, look at AGL ballet flats. The Tory Burch ballet flats are a good dupe for those, but not quite as comfortable. After MANY of you suggested Rothy’s, I did buy a pair, but I find the fit to be quite narrow. I ordered the extra insoles and the support isn’t game-changing either, but they are comfy and cute. (I just did a video on the best flat shoes I love that you can watch here.)
Snow Boots (Climate Dependent)
If you live in a snowy climate, snow boots are a must. Find some with great treads that you can wear casually or dressed up. Sorel is my go-to brand for stylish snow boots.
This is another one of those basics that is guided mostly by you and your preferences. These could be over the knee boots, studded ankle booties, stiletto-heeled booties, printed or bold boots, or really anything! If you find some you love but aren’t sure about how to style them, make sure you post them in the Busbee Style Hive for feedback!
Metallic or Black Evening Shoes
By evening shoes, I mean some shoes that are a little dressier. They can be a sleek pump with a higher heel or a fun metallic heel. These are the shoes you’ll wear to dinner, date night, girls night out, parties, events, etc. If you want to save on your shoe budget, make your statement shoes also your evening shoes.
Any styling questions you have about these basics can be answered in the Hive. The Busbee Style team and a community of like-minded, positive women are there to answer your questions, give suggestions, and more. Find more information and how to sign up here.
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