Building A Shoe Wardrobe (You Probably Don't Need More Pairs) - Closet Cleanout Series
Or, how to know when you have enough shoes.
Last week, I did a major closet clean out. I edited out….ehhh at least half of my clothes and shoes, maybe even 65%. I was brutal in my edit - I started to feel like there was so much in there that I couldn’t see what I have. I was holding on to a lot of things from when I lived in New York, thinking that I’d need them when/if we moved back. It was a way of holding onto my “old” life, and going in to an office, etc etc, but it felt like time to shed it. The way I’m thinking about my wardrobe going forward, will be along the lines of what purpose does this thing serve, do I already have something that serves this purpose, will I wear this - realistically.
I took that ethos to all the categories in my closet, and came out with things that I know I will wear regularly, OR! Super classic pieces that I wear on special occasions but aren’t heavily trendy.
And so begins, my Closet Cleanout series. Lessons learned while getting rid of things, how I look at building my own wardrobe, and more practically - how I look at getting dressed. The entire premise behind this practice is to whittle down, not collect more (though I will link out to options), so it’s going to be behind ye olde paywall.
So first up: Shoes.
I realize I collect shoes. I also INVEST in shoes - it’s probably my most spendy category. I had a lot from my office days, a lot of boots from NY winters, etc, but I realized that I think of my shoes as fitting into one of three functional categories, rather than thinking of them by style type.
And by thinking of them this way, it makes my wardrobe feel almost infinite. Like, anything can be totally transformed with the shoe choice. One go-to outfit can present in three different ways, depending just on the chosen footwear. That said, I try to have no more than 5 options for each category. This isn’t to say that I only have 15 pairs of shoes, I have other functional shoes I didn’t include in this exercise (hiking boots, walking sneakers, getting wet Birkenstocks, etc), and a few other pairs of sandals that kind of cross categories, but this is the bulk of it. Here are the categories.
1: Dumb It All Down
These could be called “casual shoes” but the casual aspect isn’t really the point. The point is, these can make something feel a bit more grounded and practical. They dress down your clothes, sure, but without making you look sloppy. You can run around in anything in your wardrobe in this category of shoes, and look casual but thoughtful.