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

Shoes capsule wardrobe: @nlmarilyn wears a pair of classic loafers



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

Shop loafers:

These fuss-free loafers will go with all the outfits in your repertoire.

If you're wondering whether these are worth the investment, they've been around since the '50s and still show no signs of dating.

These also come in black, if that's more your vibe.

2. Black Ankle Boots

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.

Shop boots:

The perfect heel height for everyday wear.

This influencer-favourite boot is trending once again.

An affordable take on a classic.

3. Smart Flats

Shoes capsule wardrobe: @anoukyve's Chanel flat shoes



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

Shop flats:

A comfier alternative to heels, but just as smart.

This shade is perfect for the season ahead.

Massimo Dutti has so many great flats to choose from.

These flexible ballet pumps come in seven colours (including a fun leopard print pair!).

4. White Trainers

Shoes capsule wardrobe: @_jessicaskye wears a pair of white and grey trainers



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

Shop trainers:

One of the fashion world's most-loved trainer brands, and for good reason.

If you prefer a luxe sneaker, consider this embellished pair.

Slot these into a retro-inspired outfit.

5. Low Heels

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

Inspired by an archival 1960s design, this high-shine pair is just as easy to incorporate into a modern wardrobe.

Can't decide between black and nude heels? Problem solved.

Speaking of—I've heard only good things about this high street pair.