I'm a Shoe Expert—5 Classic Pairs That Belong in Every Capsule Wardrobe

When you read the words "capsule wardrobe", images of certain items will probably appear in your mind's eye. A crisp white shirt, perhaps, or a boxy black blazer. The cornerstones of a curated closet are mostly instinctive; think about those pieces you rely on day-to-day, then invest in high-quality iterations. 

Shoes are another story, though. With so many tempting flats, boots and stilettos landing each season, this particular category can be difficult to streamline. The overwhelming choice means it's tricky to pinpoint the truly timeless styles. Are ballet flats a transient trend or a love-forever buy? Is it worth splurging on heels you'll only wear on the odd night out? 

Well, Team Who What Wear has rallied together to identify five shoes that are worthy of every capsule wardrobe. From understated ankle boots to wear-with-everything trainers, we suggest you add the following pairs to your wish list ASAP. 

1. Classic Loafers


(Image credit: @nlmarilyn)

Sleek black loafers will serve you year-round, working with everything from office attire to a simple jeans-and-jumper outfit.

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2. Black Ankle Boots


(Image credit: @lindseyholland_)

Come autumn, there's no finer shoe option than an ankle boot. Play it safe with a pair of flat Chelsea boots or elevate your ensemble (visually and literally) with a heeled silhouette.

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3. Smart Flats


(Image credit: @anoukyve)

2023 has been the year of flat, but this timeless shoe deserves a place in your long-term capsule wardrobe.

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4. White Trainers


(Image credit: @_jessicaskye)

Complete your downtime looks with some bright white sneakers. Fresh and modern, the right pair is the key to always looking cool.

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5. Low Heels


(Image credit: @symphonyofsilk)

Evening plans? Show up in elegant heels that don't demand you hand over your comfort in return for style.

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Next Up: Every Fashion Person's Favourite Black Boots Are Finally Back in Stock

Freelance Fashion Editor

Bébhinn Campbell is an Edinburgh-based fashion and lifestyle writer and editor. She started her first blog at age 14 and went on to intern at print and digital publications in Berlin and London, including Dazed & Confused and Indie magazine.

A job at a fashion startup took Bébhinn from Ireland to Scotland in 2019, where she now works as a freelance journalist and copywriter covering everything from travel and interiors to styling advice. As a contributor to Who What Wear, Bébhinn always keeps her eyes peeled for emerging trends and looks worth writing about. She prides herself on her ability to cut through the noise and identify solid investment buys, exciting new brands and fresh takes on classic design.

In her spare time, Bébhinn enjoys perusing Edinburgh’s best vintage shops, working through her out-of-control book collection and watching dog reels on Instagram.