How to Build a Minimalist Shoe Wardrobe (and Why You Should Strive For One), According to a Stylist

Recently, I got a pair of shoes — the Bared Sanderlings, $149, in black — that I wore every day for nearly a week straight. They worked for my morning coffee shop outing, errand running throughout the week and visiting bars and restaurants after work. They were that versatile.

But it got me thinking — if one pair of shoes alone could get me through my week (and sure, it was a week with no special occasions that needed heels or coastal walks that needed trainers), how many pairs of shoes do we really need?

And while I’ve long been striving for a capsule wardrobe in terms of clothes, I decided to turn my attention to the shoe element of it, enlisting the help of Nicole Adolphe, THE ICONIC’s Head of Style. But before we get into how to create the perfect shoe edit, it’s first important to understand what a capsule wardrobe actually is.

“A capsule wardrobe is a curated selection of clothing, accessories and shoes that focus on bringing together a selection of pieces that work well together,” says Adolphe. “Think complementary tones, versatile style finds and staple pieces that will offer longevity in your wardrobe.”

Adolphe says the major benefit to creating a capsule wardrobe is to help simplify your wardrobe and to make the process of curating effortless on-trend looks easy. “It’s a particularly good process for anyone who finds themselves with an overflowing wardrobe and still nothing to wear,” she says.

As for how to create a capsule wardrobe, Adolphe advises you to first start by defining your ideal style. Do you love neutrals and minimalism or are fashion patterns and bold tones your thing?

“Once you’ve landed on an overarching theme you now have a vision to work towards, which offers a criteria to help make the process of shortlisting much easier,” she says.

Next, you’ll want to cull. With your end goal in mind, overhaul your wardrobe, keeping the pieces that work into your capsule-style vibe and saying good-bye to those that don’t, she explains.

“For those undergoing a wardrobe edit, you can give pre-loved items you no longer want to wear a new life by using THE ICONIC Giving May Easy service. This Salvos Stores and Australia Post partnership service helps make donating your preloved style easier than ever.”

And finally, once you’ve defined your ideal style and culled your closet, you’ll want to fill in the gaps. What are the missing pieces? “Is it a statement blazer, an everyday boot or some neutral basis? From there, you can set yourself a budget to add a selection of complementary pieces to help complete your capsule,” she says.

As for the exact shoes you should have your capsule wardrobe, Adolphe suggests the following as a rough guide:

Black Heel

“A basic black heel can take you from the office to drinks with the girls. It’s a versatile shoe that can dress up any look. Try the Tyra Billini heel, $89.95.”

Nude Sandals, High or Low

“Strappy sandals are great if you’re going out for brunch and want to combine comfort and casual style. Try the Porsha Billini sandal, $89.95.”

Flat Sandals or Quilted Slides

“If you’re headed to the beach and need a quick shoe to slip on and off give the AERE Leather Fisherman Sandals, $150, or Maya Neoprene ATMOS&HERE sandals, $119.95.”

Loafers

“In recent years loafers have made a return as an easy way to dress up an outfit without the pain of heels, try the Jo Mercer Ignis Loafers, $199.95. The current trend is to wear your loafer with a pair of socks.”

Party Pumps

“With COVID-19 restrictions easing, we have an excuse to purchase a new pair of pumps, adding a bit of fun and perfect for a night out. Try the Dazie Agnes Stilettos, $79.95.”

Boot

“Heeled ankle boot or Chunky Boot depending on your style. A staple for your winter wardrobe, a heeled ankle boot is a versatile shoe. Try the Tony Bianco Westley boot, $219.95, or Albie Tony Bianco boot, $269.95.”

Sneakers

“You’ll need two pairs or three if you love wearing sneakers. The white sneaker, the training sneaker and the fashion sneaker. White sneakers have become the go-to office shoe as workplaces become more casual over the years. I’m currently loving the 2843 Club S Comfort Leather Superga, $139.95, Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38, $180, and 574 New Balance Classics, $150.”