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For when France seems too far away. Shop for inspiring images of France and discover travel tips, packing advice, recipes, book reviews and more.

Shoes – A Style Superhero

It's all about the shoes. Wear your ballet flats and bring a little French style to your day

You all knew that, one day, I’d return to the topic of shoes. It simply had to happen. In fact, it honestly surprises me that it has taken me so long to get around to writing about footwear again. Why? Because shoes are hands down my style superhero.

The right shoes have saved me from potential style disasters way more times than Superman ever saved Lois Lane.

Now, I know I’m not the only woman on the planet who is a fan of great shoes. But what is it about the right footwear that can lift your style game from so-so to sensational?

Three Reasons To Adore Shoes

  1. Shoes can make a statement. A statement shoe can take something as simple as jeans and a t-shirt to the next level. And for me, there has been a many an uninspired workday outfit that has been elevated by a brightly coloured, elegant or off-beat pair of shoes.
  2. Shoes are faithful. They don’t let you down when your weight is fluctuating. They are trans-seasonal. And they are slower than average to go out of fashion. But you need to love them back. If you want your shoes to last, you need to take care of them. Cleaning, polishing, reheeling. All of these actions are important if you want get value from your shoes. Making friends with the local shoe repair person is well and truly worth the effort, in my opinion.
  3. Shoes can be versatile style work-horses. Unlike some wardrobe items that can only be worn with limited pieces, most pairs of shoes can complement multiple outfits, clever little things that they are.

Parisians And Shoes

French women seem to understand the power of fantastic shoes. A while back, I had the pleasure of spending a magical day with three gorgeous Parisian women. I learned so much about what Parisians like and don’t like that day – and my education naturally included footwear. Here’s some of what I gleaned from our conversations.

  1. Flat shoes are very popular in Paris.
  2. When it comes to styles, flat shoes can take a variety of forms – whatever takes your fancy really. Depending on the time of year, you see riding boots, flat ankle boots, ballet flats and sandals everywhere.
  3. It’s ok to wear sneakers. This is despite the continual warnings that, other than Converse sneakers, French women don’t wear running shoes. Not true – I’ve now had it confirmed that they certainly do. I have to point out that they are cool sneakers though – nothing overly large or overly white.
  4. Heels aren’t worn as much as you might think. While you do see some heels – often combined with a suit – heels are usually only worn from the car to the restaurant or for very special occasions. This one doesn’t particularly surprise me…the cobblestones can be a nightmare when you are in heels.

How To Curate A Shoe Wardrobe

Despite what you might have been led to believe, you don’t need hundreds of pairs of shoes to make it in life. But from a style perspective, it is helpful to have at least a small range of options. While your exact shoe wardrobe would depend on your lifestyle, here is what I’d recommend as a starting point:

  1. A pair of ballet flats, in a colour to complement your wardrobe colour palette.
  2. A pair of summer sandals – personally, I like metallic shades or tan.
  3. A pair of ankle boots, in a versatile shade.
  4. A pair of knee-high boots, for the dead of winter. They look great with skirts or jeans.
  5. At least one pair of stunning heels. But if you work in a corporate career, I’d suggest at least two pairs. I know some women who tend to wear the same pair of heels day in, day out (if I’m being completely transparent, I went through a stage where I did this). If you are working in an environment where heels are expected, it makes sense to own more than one pair so you can give your feet a rest and change up your look. A good starting point is one black pair and a statement pair.
  6. Exercise shoes, for – well, exercising. If you think you’d like to try the sneaker trend in line with the Parisians, I’d suggest you select a separate pair especially for your casual outfits.

One Final Thought

For me, shoes – even some of my favourite French varieties – are consumables. You can read more about why I think this way right here. While I still can’t bring myself to consider a pair of shoes an investment piece, I am happy to invest in quality, comfortable and stylish shoes. This is mainly due to the fact that while I’ll never give up on style, I’ve long since passed the age where I can endure sore feet for even the shortest period of time. Therefore my true superhero shoes look fabulous and are comfortable at the same time. And yes, you can find them, if you are prepared to do your research, which basically means being on the lookout for new styles, and always trying footwear on before you hand over your cash.

Your turn now. Are shoes a style superhero in your wardrobe? Do you have a go-to pair of shoes? As always, I’d love for you to share your thoughts in the comments section below.

And until next time – au revoir.

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