I have always loved shoes since I remember myself. First, I was experimenting with my mother’s high heels. She was a teacher and had a classic dressing style, often wearing dresses and skirts, pairing most of the time with some lovely pointed-toe pumps. I think I took the visual interest in shoe design thanks to her. Afterward, growing up as a teenager in high school, I was searching for “comfortable” high heels. In the nineties, there was such an option: chunky plats sandals like the Spice Girls were wearing, and strappy sandals, that had a massive comeback in these last years.
But only years later, when I graduated the university, and I came to Italy, the country of design and fashion, that I have discovered the real passion for unique styles and designer shoes! Here I started to experiment with different styles, shapes, designs, finishes, materials, and colors.
Over ten years later, and over hundreds of shoes wearing, now I can express my opinion on which models are universally a must-have, which are worth having, what designs are best, in what materials and for what occasions. I want to share some pieces of advice with you so that you could learn from my experience and mistakes, and hopefully save money where needed and invest in pieces that will honestly give you the maximum utility and satisfaction.
HOW TO CHOOSE WHAT TYPE OF SHOES ARE BEST FOR YOU? To find the answer, think of these:
- What is your main activity, what type of work do you do? Because that will define 80% of your time and dress-code. Are you an office manager, a doctor, an advocate, a babysitter?
- In what weather conditions do you live? Are you living in a country like Italy, where eight months a year is warm, and only four is cold; or are you living in the northern parts of Canada where is the other way around? Because that will have a significant impact.
- What hobbies do you have? Love the beach life? Like hiking?
- What is your current status: single, married, kids, or no kids?
- Do you find your personal style in dressing?
WORK will define the most significant part of your wardrobe, shoes, and accessories included. Why? Because you go out to work early in the morning and you come home in the evening, and that is at least five days a week. Most of our time we spend it working. That is why you must select more shoes that will suit your working activity.
How many pairs and what type? Let us see some examples here:
- Advocate – for this profession, I would suggest having two good quality pairs of classic pointed-toe pumps, not necessary designer shoes, but of good quality! You may choose one in black and another in beige, or terracotta red, or chocolate brown, all these colors will go great with most of your classical outfits and will always look on point. I would also recommend preferring in suede leather because these will appeal richer, interesting, and will look great in wintertime too (wearing with a pair of opaque tights). Also, I would recommend having a couple of ballerinas or loafers, whatever you love more, for those days when you need to run from one place to another, and the priority must be comfortability.
- Office Manager – I would suggest the same list as for the advocate, with the exception that here you can choose colorful models and experiment with geometry, for example, unusual heel shapes. Also, you may wear slingbacks and peep toes; most offices accept these shoe attire.
- In the production sectors – as a worker, where you need to stay on your feet for long hours, I would highly recommend models with the ergonomic and comfortable sole. Today you can find many beautiful high-quality loafers, moccasins, espadrilles, sneakers, and slip-on. Select quality over quantity: better having one or two that are comfortable and durable than five of poor quality.
WEATHER will define upon how many pairs you should own for the hot season, and how many for the cold season. For example, in Italy, it is mostly warm, so I have many different shoes for the summertime, including for the beachside and walking in nature, and only a few winter boots. Think about your place, what is mostly required? Another example is England, where the climate is humid, and all the year-round are having rainy days, so a must-have would be to have at least one pair of rubber boots (that in Italy, for example, I would not think of buying ever).
HOBBIES are another essential aspect of your life, and you need to be thoughtful and dedicate the maximum you can allow yourself. If you like hiking, then you need at least one pair of good quality hiking boots. And sometimes these may cost like a pair of luxe designer shoes, I know! But it is worth every penny because of the satisfaction you will have by doing what you love and feeling good.
STATUS is important! I remember myself being twenty years old in search of love and friends. You feel the need to experiment and feel sexy and accomplished. Nothing helps better than a good pair (or more than one pair) of high heels and strappy sandals. While, when you are married and settles, you get to enjoy spending time walking in the park and along the sea, so comfortable shoes become a better choice. New moms can confirm that having a baby requires lots of energy all the time, so you will need to feel comfortable and at ease; that is, why go for sneakers, loafers, and slip-ons. But also, consider your social engagement activities and the society you’re living in, so you’ll have at least one or two pairs adequate for those occasions only.
PERSONAL STYLE will define what you will and what you will not put on. For example, I am still experimenting with style, as I do in interior design. I love to try different things and mix different styles. However, what I know for sure, is that I would never wear (so I will not buy) a pair of ballerinas or monks, simply because I don’t like the shape it gives to my feet. I prefer better loafers and moccasins which I have. Your style will define your wardrobe, so you should complete it with shoes that suit that style.
To make it complete, I would also like to emphasize the importance of care. Remember that taking care of your goods is as important as the decision to buy good quality goods. Keep your shoes in good condition. This way, it will serve you for many seasons. For that, remember to clean them, moisture (apply with cream if made in natural leather), and when you’ll store them for the next season, dry clean first and select a container that is made of natural breathable materials (like cartoon or cotton). These are simple rules to follow but often forgotten.
Remember, details make all the difference! In shoes too.
With my best wishes,