Select the shoes

No outfit is complete without matching shoes.

Shoes are just as important as the tops and bottoms in your wardrobe, and the way you select them is the same as any other item of clothing.

Apart from being stylish, your shoes should also be comfortable, match your lifestyle, your outfits and the occasion. Make sure your shoes fit into your colour palette so they are colour-coordinated with the rest of your wardrobe. The more timeless and classic shoes you choose, the more versatile they will be.

On the following pages, you will find an overview of what kind of shoes are available and when to wear them. Select what you like and add them to your workbook.

How to select the right shoes

At this point, you should have put together a list of basics and extras you need in your concept wardrobe. This will help you selecting the right kind of shoes.But first, let's look at what shoes are appropriate where. Different occasions call for different kinds of shoes.

Types of shoes

I. Flats

Oxfords Shoes Flats - the concept wardrobe

Flats are extremely versatile shoes and no matter what occasion you are dressing for, there is definitely a type of flat that will fit.

But no matter the style of the flats, they will always be comfy and easy to walk in even for prolonged periods of time.

Appropriate for:

  • Everyday casual
  • Smart-casual
  • Dressy
  • Office wear
  • Party & evening wear


  • Trainers, slip-ons, canvas shoes
  • Boat shoes, loafers, brogues
  • Oxfords, monks, derby shoes
  • Ballerinas
  • Ballerinas, D'Orsay flats

II. Heels

Kitten Heels Shoes - the concept wardrobe

No matter the style, heels instantly make an outfit look smarter or more dramatic than flats.

The downside of heels though is that your feet might get sore after wearing them for prolonged periods of time - depending on the heel height and type of heel. Thicker heels are easier to walk in and wear for longer as they distribute the weight of the foot more evenly.

Appropriate for:

  • Semi-casual
  • Smart-casual
  • Dressy
  • Office wear
  • Party & evening wear


  • Wedges, T-Straps
  • Mary Janes
  • Court shoes, D'Orsay heels
  • D'Orsay heels, cone heels
  • Slingbacks, peep toes, stilettos

III. Boots

Boots are great when it's chilly outside - whether slightly cold or sub-zero degrees. Not only practical, boots are also quite versatile and available in a wide variety of designs.

You will find boots in all sorts of different shaft heights: ankle height, mid-calf, knee height, over the knee, and even thigh high. Multiply this by the array of heel types (from none to stiletto) available, and you will know why boots are so versatile.

Appropriate for:

  • Everyday casual
  • Smart-casual
  • Party & evening wear
  • Weather-appropriate


  • Combat boots, biker boots
  • Knee high boots, ankle boots
  • Ankle boots, sock boots
  • Wellington boots, snow boots

IV. Summer Shoes

Summer shoes are open, breathable shoes for the hottest days of the year. They are mainly designed for casual outfits or for heading out to the beach or pool. But you will also find styles that are slightly smarter.

Appropriate for:

  • Everyday casual
  • Smart-casual
  • Party & evening wear
  • Weather-appropriate


  • Espadrilles
  • Heeled sandals, mules,
  • Heeled sandals, espadrille wedges
  • Sandals, flip flops, sliders

Toe styles

I. Round toe

Round Toe Shoe - the concept wardrobe

As the name suggests, a round toe shoe has a round shoe cap.

Out of all the different types of toe shape, this one is arguably the most comfortable as it easily accommodates all the toes.

Round toe shoes are generally quite girly and feminine. They can be found on ballerinas, as well as heels such as Mary Janes.

II. Almond / Oval toe

Almond Toe Oval Toe Shoe - the concept wardrobe

An almond toe is a more elongated version of the round toe, shaped like an almond or a tapered oval.

The almond toe is the most popular toe for shoes. It is neither too pointed, rounded or square. It creates a softer, more tapered rounded point to its toe; and as such is a more neutral shape.

The almond toe can be found on pretty much any type of shoe - from flats over heels to boots.

III. Pointed toe

Pointed Toe Shoe - the concept wardrobe

As the name implies, pointed-toe shoes end in a pointed shape.

The pointed toe has a bad reputation for two reasons. The first is a medical reason: because of its shape, the pointed toe crams all the toes into a very narrow space. Not only does this become uncomfortable after a while, but it also risks deformities of the feet if worn for excessive amounts of time.

The second reason is an aesthetic one: because the pointed toe pushes the toes to the end of the shoe, it tends to shorten the length of the foot.

Nevertheless, you can find this style on almost any type of shoe - though it is more common in flats and heels.

Professional or party settings are best suited for a pointed toe. The slim, severe silhouette lends a more authoritative air and is far more powerful than it is delicate.

IV. Square toe

Square Toe Shoe - the concept wardrobe

Square toe shoes have a square toe cap.A square shape gives the shoe quite a masculine appearance.This style is most often found in sandals and loafers.

V. Peep / Open toe

Peep Toe Open Toe Shoe - the concept wardrobe

A peep-toe is a shoe with an opening at the toe-box which allows the toes to show. While a peep-toe shows only the big toe, an open-toe exposes all the toes.Vintage and retro, this style is typically found on heeled shoes and sandals.

Things to consider when selecting shoes

Dress for the occasion and environment

Don't wear shoes simply because they are pretty or comfortable. You should always be conscious of the explicit or assumed dress code. Flip flops are not an acceptable sight in a corporate office and trainers are frowned upon in fancy restaurants. In most cases it will be obvious which shoes are the right choice but what do you do when you're not sure of the dress code?

When in doubt, go for smart and classic shoe styles such as court shoes or ballerinas. They are smart and dressy but not over-the-top formal.

Another thing to bear in mind is the environment in which you will be wearing those shoes. Stilettos won't do you any favours at garden barbecues or outdoor festivals - regardless of how great they look. Always factor in the practicality of the shoe into the selection process.

Keep the season in mind

Similar to the environment, take the temperature and weather into account (especially for outdoor activities). An obvious example, but a pair of strappy sandals won't keep you warm whilst trudging through the snow.

Usually when you're putting together outfits for a particular season, certain types of shoes will offer themselves and match well with your outfits anyway - such as a fluffy jumper and boots.Some shoe styles actually work well all year round (depending on the type of activity) -court shoes or Mary Janes are common examples.

Think about compatibility

Your shoes should complement your outfit, not compete with it. As a general guideline, it is better to wear simple outfits with detailed or statement shoes and to pair simple shoes with clothes that feature a lot of patterns, prints, embellishments or stand-out accessories.

Select the right colour

Generally, it is advisable to work with your personal colour palette when choosing items for your wardrobe. This will ensure your items go well together.

There is, however, one exception to this general rule - the further away from your face an item is, the less important it becomes that it suits your complexion. That means, when it comes to shoes you can choose colours that you wouldn't dream of wearing near your face.

The downside of picking a colour outside your colour palette is, though, that the number of outfits you can wear the shoe with will be limited.

Incorporate the shoes into outfits

Before you invest in a shoe, make sure you actually have clothes to wear it with.

There is no point spending money on a shoe that will catch dust in the back of your wardrobe because it doesn’t go with your clothes. If you can’t incorporate the shoe into at the very least one outfit, consider leaving it behind.

Selecting shoes for your body shape(s)

Like clothing, shoes can enhance certain features of your body or play them down

Rectangle body shape

Since the goal for the rectangle body shape is to create shapes and curves, round or oval toed shoes are a much better fit than square shoes.

Ballerinas, clogs, and flat sandals are great choices when it's warm outside. Tennis shoes, loafers and moccasins work as well. Mary Janes are a good option for heels. Boots with straps are excellent as well as Ugg boots because of their roundness.

Pear body shape

For pear shaped bodies, pointed toed shoes are an excellent choice since they elongate the legs and make them look slimmer. Square toed shoes also work well.

Heels are great for this body shape since they optically stretch the legs. Medium to chunky heels, platforms or wedges are best. When it's cold outside, long boots are a great choice (such as over the knee boots). Avoid ankle straps since they would break up the optically elongated leg line. When it's hot outside, sandals are fine as long as the straps are below the ankle bone.

Inverted triangle body shape

The inverted triangle body shape needs more volume around the lower body to balance out the wide shoulders. Shoes are a great way to draw attention to your lower half. So don't reach for simple styles, go for stand-out detailed footwear - colour, embellishments and patterns are your friends. "Big" shoes such as wedges, platforms, and heels with a medium to chunky heel are great. Ankle straps for when its hot outside, and ankle boots, Ugg boots, and cowboy boots work well when it's a bit chillier.

Hourglass body shape

With the hourglass body shape, it's important to retain the balanced silhouette. So your shoe choice will depend on what you wear on top. If your outfit is top-heavy, opt for chunkier shoe styles with plenty of colour and details - such as medium to chunky heel, platforms, and wedges. If your outfit is balanced, opt for classic, more neutral shoes like court shoes with medium heels or kitten heels.

Apple body shape

When selecting shoes for an apple body shape, opt for shoe styles that will balance out the top half. Chunky shoe styles with colour and details are great to draw the eye downwards. Heels should be medium to high; block, wedges or platforms work well. When it's warm outside, reach for strappy sandals and ballet flats, especially those with rounded toes. For colder days, calf-length boots are a great choice.


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