The idea of capsule collections and wardrobe staples is always at the forefront of our minds. The Who What Wear team is constantly calling into question how we shop and why we buy the things we do in order to reconcile our love of style with concerns over sustainability.
One of the main ways we have been doing this is by taking a serious look at the pieces that work the hardest in our wardrobes. While I am notorious for being a jacket hoarder, for some reason, I’ve never really caught the shoe bug (I’ll leave that to our Editor in Chief Hannah Almassi), and this has meant that my specifications have been primarily practical. I’ve always needed every pair to be all of the following: comfortable, low-maintenance, versatile and, of course, stylish.
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, this isn’t always an easy criterion to fulfil, but over the years, I’ve whittled my edit down to a handful of winning pairs that I turn to day in and day out for every occasion. So forget transient trends and fashion fads—here are my five failsafe shoe styles that have passed the test and made it onto my must-have lineup.
Style Notes: Last summer, I literally lived in a cream pair of H&M heeled mules. I’m not usually a “heels in the daytime” person, but this style is so damn comfortable and instantly elevates any outfit—be it a midi dress or jeans, any time of the year.
As always, & Other Stories offers up a sleek, minimalist option that will stand the test of time.
A new classic.
A low enough heel to allow for all night dancing.
Style Notes: Every wardrobe deserves a pair of simple ballet flats. Pair with jeans, trousers, dresses and more.
The ultimate pair of ballet flats.
Nude shoes to let the rest of your outfit do the talking.
Barbiecore is a trend that is going nowhere.
Style Notes: Okay, I admit it took me a little while to get on board with trainers outside the context of the gym, but I find that they’re just what I need to dress down my generally smart wardrobe. Suits suddenly look ten times cooler and floaty dresses take on an It-girl edginess.
550s are always a favourite amongst celebrities and influencers.
The exact pair I own.
THE Adidas sambas in stock. Yes, really!
Style Notes: As someone who’s owned many loafers and brogues (the “old faithfuls” in my wardrobe), it’s safe to say I’ve consistently relied on them. It’s a timeless shoe style that’s both polished and comfortable, and you know that if you buy a pair now, it’ll look just as good in five years time.
A pair to treasure forever.
The buckle detailing adds to the elevated feel of this pair.
This minimal pair will no doubt stand the test of time.
Style Notes: If heeled mules were my go-to in the summer months, heeled boots would have to be my shoe staple in autumn/winter—and living in the UK, I tend to reach for them year-round. My favourite pair is from Mango, and despite featuring a reasonable heel, I could walk in them for hours (which I have done). They’re also the perfect partner for a midi dress or flared jeans.
Right now, I’m styling these with a denim midi just like Gia.
I’ve dreamt about this chocolate brown pair.
These look so much more expensive than they are.
This story was published at an earlier time and has since been updated.