Essential Shoe Wardrobe


Reader Question from the Lovely La Belette Rouge who recently lost almost her entire shoe wardrobe : What shoes do I need when you are rebuilding a shoe wardrobe? I am thinking of starting with black riding boots, animal print flats, plain black pumps and a loafer. I have ballet flats(5 pairs), black high oxfords, black sexy knee length boots, black and red sling pumps, gold strappy sandals, brown suede high heeled penny loafers and sneakers, uggs, MBTs, and flip-flops( thongs).

Essential Shoe Wardrobe by imogenl

Start off with a shoe and a sandal in your hair colour – these can be worn with lots of things as they create what we call Visual Grouping, they lead your eyes back to your face.

Nude shoes are also great – choose a shoe that blends well with your skin and they elongate your legs and can also be worn with lots of different outfits.

A dark pump in something like black or brown (depending on your favoured dark neutral), and if you wear black pants, black shoes will blend well. A selection of great comfortable flats such as ballet flats are great – choose a few colours that work back with your wardrobe. (see my How to Wear Red post to give you ideas of how to work coloured shoes into your wardrobe – they don’t just have to be red!)

Oxfords and Loafers are great to wear with trousers.

If you need to walk to work and change your shoes there – look for a black or darker sneaker type shoe that is comfortable, but discreet.

Boots are great – if you wear trousers go more for short boots, if you wear skirts go for knee length boots to elongate and slim your legs. Riding boots in brown or black, plus boots with heels.

A red boot is also a great staple. Some dressier shoes such as peep toes are essential. Sandals are also a must if you live in a warmer climate, both strappy and high, plus flat sandals and flip flops – preferably with a little feminine detail or interest.

A pair of wedges are also great – they provide stability with a bit of extra height (if you want or need it). They’re a good choice to wear with cropped pants/clam diggers especially in a skin colour.

There are so many shoes that you could choose – and it’s good for your feet not to wear the same shoes day after day, so you don’t grow corns and bunions and so you shoes have a chance to dry out properly.

What shoes couldn’t you live without?


I'm not sure if it's for you but how would you feel if you learned all about the colours and styles of clothing that suit your individual personality, shape and style? Just imagine what it would be like when you can open your wardrobe and pull together fabulous outfits that make you look and feel amazing every day? If you'd like to stop wasting money on the wrong clothes and accessories plus join an amazing bunch of very special women also on their style journey - then my 7 Steps to Style program is right for you. Find out more here.

More from Imogen Lamport

Ideas Worth Spreading – My Stroke of Insight

  Jill Bolte Taylor got a research opportunity few brain scientists would...
Read More


  • What shoes couldn’t I live without…hmmm. The high-heeled clogs I always wear to go through the airport (easy to slip out of) and the cork platform wedges I wear all summer.

  • I LOVE this post. You are such a sweetheart. I am printing this post and adding it to my style wardrobe. Thank you, Imogen!!

    I cannot live without the beautiful leopard ballet flats I loved with all my heart and they are gone. I must replace them.

    I do have red shoes. I wonder if I need shoes that are reddish brown that are a closer match to my hair.

    I so want the zebra flats, and those GORGEOUS sequined flats that you featured. And, yes, my lovely nude shoes,black pumps, and black wedges are gone.I must replace. I have most of my summer shoes, so I have lots of sandals.

    I am going to get the riding boots for Christmas and my leopard boots.:-) I must get black pumps ASAP. I cannot live without them.

    Thank you again, Imogen. So nice of you to answer my question.

  • So True Wendy – I went through the airport earlier this year with boots on – no where to sit down to take them off, falling over trying to pull the darn things off me! Not in the least bit sophisticated.

    La Belette – If you love leopard you shall have leopard.

    By the way – what is your Style Wardrobe that you mention?

    A reddish brown shoe that matches your hair is essential – we all need a hair coloured shoe for those odd occassion when no other shoe works – it’s your fallback position.

    Jane – birkenstocks – you surprise me for a woman with so much taste!

  • Okay, I really want you to see the red shooties at Tracy Go on there and look. They are so gorgeous, but how to wear them? Have no clue. I covet them.

  • I love black peep toe heels (patent leather). I will definitely have to show this post to my husband (who thinks only 3-4 pairs of shoes are a necessity). Wonderful post and very helpful blog 🙂

  • Red boots as a staple? Did my hubby pay you to write this? 🙂

    Actually, I love wearing boots in winter so a second, colored pair might be a nice addition to my black.

  • Hi Imogen!

    I’m an 8 shape and find it challenging to find clothes to fit my shape and curvy derriere. When I do find something that fits, I buy it in multiples. I always dread summertime as my complexion is very fair, especially my legs (in my opinion self tanner smells bad and turns me orange so I don’t bother with it). I finally found and purchased 7 pairs of denim bermuda shorts, and 5 pairs of denim capri pants (all are the same style, different colors) that fit my shape perfectly. I have a long body with short legs and don’t want to draw attention to my short legs with the wrong color sandals. Do I match my sandals to my hair color like you suggested in your blog post and go with with chocolate brown sandals or will the darker sandals draw attention to my short legs? Do you have any suggestions for flat shoes style and colors that will look great with my classic, casual style that won’t end up looking frumpy and draw attention to my short legs ?

    • With pants – match to pant colour. with skirts and dresses you can either match to hair or a version of your ‘nude’ Have a look at the post I did on how to fake a low vamp shoe for tips on shoe styles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *