Re-introducing the capsule wardrobe – part ten: shoes and boots

Having the right shoes for your capsule wardrobe is vital to looking and feeling confident and successful. The first reason for this is at the other end of your body.  It’s rightly said that the comfort of your feet shows on your face – so uncomfortable shoes will affect the glamour of your outfit.

And the second reason to take care in your choice of shoes is that the wrong height or thickness of heel can turn an otherwise modern, edgy outfit into something frumpy. 

So it’s important to have shoes in your wardrobe that complement the pieces that you’ve bought for your capsule. That’s why I have always believed that shops which sell clothes should also sell shoes.

Your capsule should have at least one heel for more special or sedentary situations and something flatter for when you’re going to be walking a lot.

For your capsule, though, you might not want to buy a totally flat shoe as you want both shoes to be wearable with your trousers.  If there is too much difference between the heel and the flat shoe, it is very difficult to get the trouser length right for both.   If you finish the hems to be worn with a heel, the trouser is too long when you want to wear a flat shoe.

So instead of buying a totally flat shoe, think instead about a wedge or a very thick heel which is as comfy as a flat shoe.

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When it comes to shoes for dresses and skirt suits, I find that a flat pump which will be lower cut in the front than a trouser flat shoe; or a heel of around 5-6 cms is a comfortable working height and you can walk easily in and still look stylish.


It’s worth investing in a pair of evening court shoes, perhaps with a small open toe so that they can be used for summer or winter – either in suede or patent leather.  These last for years and can turn a little black dress into something more formal.

If you’re on a budget, stick to black or dark brown shoes for your capsule as they always last longer. However, if as now it is quite a monochrome season, a dark green or dark red can look very elegant.

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In winter, boot are a great standby particularly in the comfort stakes as they give good support to the ankle and flatter most legs.  If you are “blessed” with thicker calves, you might want to seek out boots made of elasticated suede or leather which, although they are expensive, means that you are not excluded from boots with zips.


For those not so “blessed”, short ankle boots look good with skirts, dresses or trousers.

Keep the boots as simple as possible as they can detract from the outfit if too fussy.

Brands which provide quality, styling and comfort in my opinion include Unützer, Santoni, Walter Steiger and Tod’s.  Watch out for manufacturers who have been recently bought out – in my experience they often find it hard to sustain the quality.


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