Items you "should" own but never actually wear

Sometimes I'm a bit trapped by outdated ideas of what my wardrobe should contain. Do you ever do this?

For instance, I just saw a nice Theory cotton shirt in light gray, a duplicate of one I have in white, and thought I must need something like that. But really, no. It's not my style (too structured and fitted). I don't work in an office. On the occasions when I do need professional clothing, I'm more likely to turn to a fluid silk shirt or an oversized white men's shirt.

But in my head, I want to have an adult wardrobe, and adults must own professional shirts to wear with suits. Business-like flats have also been in this category for me. I can spend a lot of time searching for something very specific like that only because my brain has ordained that I should own one, no matter whether I actually want, need, or would use it.

And yet, erring in the opposite direction, sometimes I can't make myself choose something practical if it doesn't have that extra something.

Which brings me to today's dilemma: these Born shoes. They might take the place of the walking sandals I've been searching for, perfect for travel. They are exactly the shape of my feet. They are amazingly comfortable and leather-lined. They stay on my feet, unlike every pair of flats without straps I've attempted to wear over the years. They even have a removable insole and might fit my orthotics, which I usually can only wear in sneakers. And yet they're also not quite my style in a way that I can't define (perhaps they border on too boho?). They're maybe not edgy nor minimal enough -- or maybe they are. What would you do? Keep or return?

If you struggle with this yourself, do you find that the "shoulds" become wardrobe orphans? Or do they become practical workhorses?

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • UmmLila replied 3 years ago

    I don't care for them. A little too bulbous looking, and I associate you with either sleeker or pointier looks.

    And FWIW I know white cotton button down and tan classic trench are on all the must have lists. Neither suits me or my daily activities so I say "pass."

  • Aida replied 3 years ago

    Hmm in this case, if it's something you need right now (and the price isn't exorbitant) I would keep, wear for a while, then reflect on whether you need something different (either in fashion style or function style). With these types of practical pieces, I often find that what I envision for them ends up being far different than how I actually use them. So these days if there's a hole, I will fill it with the best option I can find and then re-evaluate after using it for a while.

  • Deborah replied 3 years ago

    Yes the 'shoulds' often become wardrobe orphan for me too.  Interesting post Greyscale because I have been thinking a lot about what a 'grown up' wardrobe means to me.  And what it looks like.

    With respect to the footwear, I like these a lot.  I think we share similar style elements and preferences and I think I might struggle with this shoe style wise.  I really like the tread and the ankle straps but I think the almond closed in toe takes to ballet flat land for me which doesn't work for me.  Thinking of your wardrobe however, I think you could work it quite nicely, but I suspect you might be able to find something 'better' for you.???

  • carter replied 3 years ago

    Oh yes. My "should have but rarely/never wear" items are pencil skirts, dresses, blazers, and trench coats. I have them all. Rarely wear a dress or a blazer. Never wear the others.

    Regarding the shoes, if they are primarily for travel, and you love everything about them except the question about whether they fit your style...I would keep. I find that I want to love the look of my clothes when traveling, but having happy feet far outweighs "stylish" shoes on vacation.

    That being said, I think they could fit your style. I'm trying to picture them on, but I think I'm going to like them.

  • always trying replied 3 years ago

    One should ask "should haves for who?  Most items do not fit my lifestyle or climate.  I used to have items from a should have list when I was working but some like skirts seldom got worn.

    I find the shoes much better looking in colors other than the black. 

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    First, let me respond to the shoes. I TOTALLY hear you. They are "almost but not quite" your style...and in some ways that is worse than something that you buy for practicality's sake, knowing it doesn't really fit your style profile. I think it is the bulbous toes...a bit too boho, yes, and a bit too "troll" like. 

    Having said you foresee a bit of similar travel in the future? If so, and if these are truly comfortable, I might buy them anyway. Because they are attractive in their way, and versatile, and sometimes close enough is perfect. 

    I did this with a pair of Ecco Mary Janes 4 years ago. They were like these shoes in that they had lots of practicality, they stayed on my feet, they did not look too bad with shorts or skirts or pants, and they were not so far off my style that they made me gag (although I would never wear them at home when given a choice of other footwear.) 

    BUT -- they have turned out to be the perfect travel shoe. They've walked me over the Great Wall and the dog paths of Calgary and the streets of Banff and Shanghai. They've walked me through the hills of Israel. I would be taking them on my upcoming trip but the weather is going to be so hot that I decided to treat myself (after four years, mind) to a new pair of summer sneakers -- also by Ecco, also not "exactly" my style, but pretty close and will work with what I am taking in the capsule. 

    Okay. I have written a lot here. I will come back with an answer to your more general question later. 

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    On the "shoulds." 

    For my first few years on YLF I was caught up in those ideas. I "should" have pencil skirts, shirts, etc. (basically, business wear—but I work from home.)

    But it wasn't all "should." Some was want. I wanted the blazers. Even if I could barely find occasions to wear them. 

    I still have a hard time walking past extremely high quality well made items in some categories without at minimum trying them on -- even if I know I won't wear them much. 

    But as my closet has filled out, it's not as bad. I kept track last winter of what I really wore and that has helped curb my tendencies to buy stuff that doesn't get used enough. 

    Then again, some "shoulds" really are workhorses for my life: jeans, booties, turtlenecks, a summer dress. 

  • Gaylene replied 3 years ago

    I think it depends on the kind of "should". I personally think every woman needs a pair of super comfortable shoes that look decent enough to wear in public. If these shoes tick all the boxes so your only hesitation is whether or not the style is truly "you", I'd vote keep--you never know when your need for comfort may supercede your need for style. And you have lots of other opportunities to add a pair of shoes that sacrifice a bit of comfort for style if you've got these as a backup.

    Other wardrobe "shoulds" can fall into a totally different realm. For example, I always thought I "should" have a few woven shirts in my work wardrobe along with a classic navy blazer. Problem was I never felt as comfortable in either of those two items as I did in knits and shorter bomber/moto jackets. Once I realized that I'd wear shirts and blazers only in rare instances, I culled my wardrobe down to one of each--and quit buying them.

  • Laurinda replied 3 years ago

    There is an unrefined quip reminding a person not to 'should' on themself...

    but yes, the essential Tan Trench coat never worked for me.
    1) Tan is always soul-sucking for my color,
    2) Trench coats are seasonally appropriate for around ten minutes in the fall and five minutes in the spring here on the Wisconsin tundra.

  • Diana replied 3 years ago

    Ha, every so often I think I should get a pencil skirt, like a classic woven black one to go with my suit. I'll go as far as to try some on sometimes, and even if they fit and objectively even look nice, I have never actually purchased one. They just bore me to tears, and they're not even comfortable. And I can't say I have ever felt the lack of one. For really business or interview things I can always wear my pants suit, and for everything else I have other types of black skirts that I like much better.

    Also, classic pumps (uncomfortable, and not my style) and crisp white buttondowns (ditto).

    As for your question about the shoes, I think they look too *round* for your style. Not just the toe, but also the sole and the vamp. You need something with sharper angles.

  • Diana replied 3 years ago

    To gaylene's point though: are these the most comfortable shoes you've put on in a while? Are there other shoes that you like more that are equally comfortable? Because she's right and sometimes you just need a really comfortable shoe, and these, even being a little "off", are still loads more your style than, say, running shoes.

  • tulle replied 3 years ago

    Oh yes, I've bought the "shoulds" and left them unworn in the closet. And I've never regretted the times I passed up a "should" in favor of a "yummy--I want it!"  One day in the early '80s, shopping in Filene's for the interview suit every young woman was required to own,  I looked at the dreary racks of identical blue & gray jackets, went straight across the store to the Norma Kamali boutique, and spent the money on an amazing berry red, football-shouldered sweatshirting coat with a diagonal line of silver snaps from hood to hem.  I never needed the suit, but that coat went to New York with me and made me feel fabulous every time I wore it, over everything from jeans & hightops to evening dresses.

    Now the Born shoes in black look fairly edgy to me--at least the double straps do (the round toes maybe not so much, but comfort is important!)  Have you tried them on with some of your favorite outfits?  That may be the only way to know for sure.

  • catgirl replied 3 years ago

    These shoes look like they are Dr. Marten's earthy little sister - they would fit a sort of Prairie Underground or punk boho style to my eye but they are not quiiiiiite edgy with the rolling soles and soft curves. 

    I do know exactly what you mean, and it's what I was getting at with Suz's skirt of controversy.  Sometimes my workhorses are not things I adore in a heart-pounding way, but they get me through the day reliably and functionally.  *insert bad analogy about love and relationships here*

  • abc replied 3 years ago

    Lol AG

  • Echo replied 3 years ago

    I absolutely hear you about "shoulds". There are scores of them for me: pencil skirts, sensible pumps (or pumps in general), white button down shirts (or white in general), blazers - I LOVE blazers and have absolutely no occasion to wear them, dress slacks. I own all of these things and never, ever wear any of them. I hang my head in fashion shame.

    Regarding the shoes, I don't know you as well as I should because I would have guessed these flats would be great for you. I picture you in boots and stompy shoes in general, and these flats have that same vibe without being boots. They would seem to be the ideal solution. However, I understand if the toe shape isn't you. Now that I think of it, you commonly don't wear overly rounded toes, and as I imagine these shoes with your WIWs, I don't seem them meshing well. 

    Do NOT keep things that don't feel right. If you struggle to think of ways to wear them when they are new, they simply will never become a well loved part of your wardrobe. You should be making excuses to wear them with everything when they are new, and if you aren't feeling that way, then there is a better pair waiting. They may be hard to find, but you will be glad you didn't waste the space on things you don't reach for in the meantime.

  • Greyscale replied 3 years ago

    Thank you all for your insightful and wise comments!

    To Diana and Gaylene - these might be the most comfortable shoes I've tried in years. More than just "pretty good," they are uniquely comfortable. I don't have much actual foot pain but they're an unusual shape that's hard to accommodate.

    To Carter, Suz and various similar comments - I am considering whether $70 shoes are worth it just for the specific case of travel, and the answer might be yes, given how much I travel.

    But to various other comments - it's true that if I don't love them I might never wear them. I can be rather stubborn, and just because something would be a good idea doesn't mean I'll do it! Many of you did a better job than I could at defining how these aren't quite perfect for me.

    Una, I love your "earthy little sister of Dr Martens" analogy! Perfect.

    Suz, interesting point also about the "wants" that don't fit our actual lifestyles. I certainly have problems in that direction too!

  • Greyscale replied 3 years ago

    By the way, I also saw this related Born shoe at the Rack. They won't stay on as well so they're not as good a choice. But it's funny -  the tiny subtle differences end up making them infinitely more my style. The less-bulbous toe, the lug sole... Too bad I can't find a hybrid of the two! For $35 maybe I should just buy them anyway, but they wouldn't get worn. The straps are really key to the comfort of the others.

  • Jessica replied 3 years ago

    I find "shoulds" very boring. I don't have the problem (anymore) of purchasing them and then realizing I don't want or really need them because I have become extremely careful and deliberate about my purchases, but I used to do it sometimes and after a while the garment would just make me angry. Always ended up in the donate pile. If it was something I actually needed, it's practical value would be more than enough for me to be happy with it, though I wouldn't settle for something I didn't like the look of if I didn't have to.

    I do like the shoes alright aesthetically, but doing those straps would get annoying. And I agree with Deborah about how they look like ballet flats thanks to the almond toe, which isn't my preference. I would probably return them and search for a different practical shoe.

  • annagybe replied 3 years ago

    Honestly when It comes to travel, I sacrifice all sorts of fashion aspirations. 

    I would rather be able to go everywhere I want to go.
    When I did my grand drunk tour of Europe with a friend, a pair of shoes absolutely tore up my feet. I had to buy an emergency replacement. 
    I travelled the length of Russia once. I had a last minute opportunity to go to Olkhon Island on Lake Baikal. My entire wardrobe for the Russia trip was boring practical, but I was able to take advantage of the side trip. And frankly that place is most amazing place I've been, ever.
    I mean do you want to be fixated on your memories of what you wore, or what you experienced or saw.

    Off my soap box.

    And there is no universal essential list, even Angie has addressed this in the past.

  • SarahTheWhite replied 3 years ago

    I am totally on the same page with the "shoulds". I get a bad case once in a while and buy something that I never wear because I should like/have/wear it...

    As for these shoes, I have a crazy idea that you may hate and I won't be offended... I would be tempted to say forget trying to get something that is almost but not quite you and go all the way away from your norm and buy these shoes in the brown/cogniac-ish color. They would virtually disappear and let your feet be happy and your clothes take center stage and do all of the talking. They would also bookend your hair. You strike me as a think outside of the box kind of girl, so why not flip the box over and sit on top of it? :-)

  • SarahTheWhite replied 3 years ago

    So I just saw your other post about the shoes you are looking for and saw "must be black". I get it. It is actually hard for me to picture you in shoes that aren't black. But still... I wonder what would happen? I almost wonder if the effect would be more "you" than a black shoe that is almost but not quite right. Sometimes things are SO wrong that they can be right. Right?

  • Firecracker replied 3 years ago

    Una hit the nail on the head about these shoes. I thought at first they were Doc Martens, but on closer look and on reading your post, I saw they weren't. I could see you in Docs, but these seem a little less you. Still, they could be close enough to work, if you do decide you like them.
    I have several white shirts in my closet. Never wear them. I am reluctant to purge them, though, for the same reason I bought them: who doesn't love a nice white shirt? I guess I like to look at them, just not wear them!

  • Maneera replied 3 years ago

    I'm with annagybe here. When I travel, I want shoes that walk me to places and never let me down. Ask yourself this --- what would you regret more? Not being able to check out that great local attraction that everyone is raving about because your feet were killing you? Or being photographed in shoes that were comfortable but not 100% your style?

    Sometimes balancing aesthetics and comfort doesn't work. In my opinion, traveling is one place where the comfort factor trumps over everything else. If you're so conscious that these shoes are too round, too troll like and too boho, I would keep a soft pair of flats in my bag at all times and change into them if I walked into a restaurant and felt frumpy in the shoes. But that's just me.

    As for 'should haves' - they always become wardrobe orphans in my closet. And I always regret them. White button downs or even t-shirts, denim shirts, beige pants and trench coats are just a few examples. For years I also made myself believe that it's because I haven't quite found the 'right' piece for me and continued to waste money on these. Now I just have made peace with the fact that I don't need these so-called essentials at all. After all, even when I do have them in my closet, they do nothing but sit there and I don't miss not having them.

  • Astrid replied 3 years ago

    I agree with the others who voted pro comfortable travel shoe. I think happy feet are more important than style. My travel looks are always more casual sporty than what I'd prefer. I think you're going to get over the look of the shoes the first time you wear them on a trip, if they are truly as comfortable as you said.

  • Greyscale replied 3 years ago

    Astrid, Maneera, Anna - you have an important point about travel adventures and footwear. I'm definitely bringing my Converse with my orthotics, which have worked well for European adventures over the years. These Born shoes might be a good alternative that's a bit dressier -- my travel is all for work, so I'll be squeezing some city exploring between conference sessions.

    My favorite travel shoes ever were a pair of Skechers fancied-up leather sneakers. They had a strong shank that let me walk on cobblestones all day without feeling a thing. I miss those shoes.

    Sarah - interesting idea about the color. I do want brown shoes at some point. I'm not sure these are the right ones, but I'll think about it. It would also be interesting if they came in a nude/blush color.

  • Staysfit replied 3 years ago

    I think my biggest should item is a blazer. I think I should own them and wear them. I even purchased three of them. So far I have created one outfit where I felt the need to wear one. They languish in my closet, definitely becoming orphans. I can imagine wearing them and then when the occasion arises I have enough variety in my wardrobe that I pick something else! :-).

    I suppose I could wear them and should wear them. This is my long winded way of saying I advise against purchasing the shoes. Wait for something more in keeping with your style, it will happen. There is always the next new item, and the fun is in the hunt.

  • Jeweled replied 3 years ago

    I've gotten to the point where I don't buy "shoulds" for myself anymore.

    The problem is when a well-meaning relative gives me "shoulds" as a gift.  Oy.  Wear it once for the giver to see, and then donate?  Or just quietly donate as soon as possible?

  • replied 3 years ago

    I relate totally! Did the exact same thing with a pair of Borns last year when I wanted a pair of menswear-look loafers but didn't wish to pay $400+ for the styles I liked most. Each time I paired the Borns with items, I felt they dragged the whole look down from edgy menswear to frump schoolmarm. Worn twice, lesson (hopefully) learned.

    Borns are probably great for feet that need a little TLC, but so far I dont have fussy feet and will reach out for chic-er styles until I do (which may be fuzzy logic since wearing comfy shoes occasionally will probably delay inevitable foot problems).

    If you have fussy feet, I say keep for travel. If not, hold out for something else. FWIW, despite the lug sole on the other pair, they still have that Born identity to me.

  • Sterling replied 3 years ago

    I want so much to comment on this post (items you "should" own, but never wear).  It is such a frustrating concept which I have fallen victim to many times.  The whole idea leaves me a bit speechless.  

  • gryffin replied 3 years ago

    Greyscale - shoulds were my bane for a long time.  I would get sucked into the perfect white shirt, denim button down, pencil skirt and I never wore them.  I ignore shoulds now and try not to get tempted by others that rock them so amazingly.  OTOH, when I broke my toe 2 yrs ago and developed seural neuritis this year I've been wearing my gentle soul bay uniques.  I love boots/booties, I typically hate shoes esp flats, but these called to my inner ballerina and they are insanely comfortable.  At the time, all I could wear were merrel mocs and the gs.  the merrel mocs have gone but these little flats, well I've come to adore them.  Some things we love at first and somethings we come to love at last.  That being said, I would not buy something that did not speak to me unless I was desperate (the merrel mocs leather - love the breeze but not for work).  Excruciating foot pain trumps style any day.  That being said, born crown makes a fabulously comfortable shoe/boot.  Would you consider something like this...   Looks like the comfort version of the JC everly but if the soul is similiar to the other pair they might be very comfy.  Just thought I'd mention.  But bottom line is if you can't walk without pain you will be miserable and not enjoy your trip.  Happy feet above all!!

  • Janet replied 3 years ago

    I understand the "shoulds" and I've gotten a lot better at anticipating what is actually going to get used in my wardrobe vs. ticking off a box of "what most women should have in their closet."

    But on to travel wardrobes, specifically shoes. I'm with Anna. My travel choices always err on the side of practicality, unless I am factoring in some romantic or special occasion with hubs (i.e., when we went to Europe and were planning on a splurgey date night in Paris).

    I bought these Sketchers (from my Finds) right before I went to Cuba because I wanted a spare pair of closed-toe shoes that could withstand full days of walking in a hot, rugged, climate that would include city walking, as well as the possibility of some more rural "hiking." Boy, am I glad I did. I had taken my snake print slip-on sneakers, which are typically really comfortable, but I neglected to factor in the fact that it was March, and I had not worn that kind of shoe without socks in months, so I had my tender winter feet still on. The first day in Miami, before even boarding the flight for Havana, I had blisters. I ended up wearing the Sketchers every day for the following 10 days (along with some moleskin!). I also had a pair of flat sandals with me that looked OK with the occasional jersey dress I wore out for dinner.

    Are those Sketchers the most fab thing ever? No. But they work with my decidedly gear-ish casual travel wardrobe and kept my feet comfortable so that I could enjoy tons of walking and photographing without giving my feet a second thought. So if you find the holy grail of comfort for a travel shoe and it's good enough, I wouldn't worry about it being the ultimate in fashion.

  • Author Linda replied 3 years ago

    On the matter of shoes, I'll join the chorus for comfy. If the shoe is comfortable, you will be comfortable and confident, and how you feel in your shoes affects how you will project every other aspect of your style. I think you could make those shoes work in every way if you are confident wearing them. If you have serious doubts about how you look in them, though, maybe you should pass on them. But only for that reason. I think they could be winners.

    As for shoulds... I've had to accept that while blazers are shoulds for the many, I am one of the few. I don't feel myself in them. I used to wear blazers all the time when I was working (because "should"), and so I know how to wear them and even for a while had quite a collection of designer blazers that were lovely. But rather than me wearing them, they were wearing me. I'd take them off at every opportunity and felt much more like myself. So now that I don't have to wear them, I am a much happier person. 

    Another should that has never really worked for me is... the ubiquitous white shirt. I love the look, just not on me. It's not the white, it's the style of the shirt. Something about that style and my breasts, or shoulders, or, well, it just doesn't look good. If I can't wear a buttoned shirt open over a tank or something else, I can't pull it off. :(

  • Suz replied 3 years ago

    Chiming back in here since this is an issue near and dear to my heart. 

    On a vacation like the ones that Janet describes -- well, the answer is obvious. You find something like the Sketchers and go with it. (Those look like great summer sneakers, Janet, and so glad they saved your feet and your trip!)

    The real trouble comes when a person is trying to do what you are trying to do (and what I am usually also trying to do) -- combine a more work-or-dressy look with footwear that can also go the distance.

    It's a whole heck of a lot easier for both of us in temperate/cool weather. Boots and booties all the way! Those work for comfort (usually) and they also work just fine with our (quite different but equally slightly androgynous and modern) styles. Problem solved.

    It's the mixed warmer temps that provide the difficulty. Times when you might want to wear a skirt or dress or shorts as well as full length pants.

    I'm still in favour of buying any shoe that is "insanely" comfortable and considering it a travel investment. Unless another equally comfy and versatile shoe comes along, go for it and put it away when you aren't travelling. That is basically what I have done with my old Ecco Mary Janes -- and believe me, they have earned their CPW and then some. 

  • jackiec replied 3 years ago

    Totally hear you. For me it's crisp white shirts.

    Fwiw, those shoes seem to me like they might work with your style. Heck, if they are comfy....

  • Michelle replied 3 years ago

    My two cents:
    If these shoes were just comfortable with a small c, I'd likely say hold off until you find something more suited to your aesthetic preferences. But these particular ones sound like they're well above that average comfort bar and uniquely suited to your specific footwear challenges. Considering that you've found something elusive at what I would consider to be quite a reasonable pricepoint, I wouldn't hesitate to keep them and lean heavily on them during times when comfort is paramount. Because I couldn't agree more with Anna - fashion should complement your experiences, not dictate them.

    As to the classic should haves...I'm another one who struggles with the white shirt to a degree, but more for fit reasons than because they don't suit my style. I flat out refuse to purchase a tan trench coat, as I think it sounds like the most deadly dull incarnation possible. Any other shade and I'll try them on all day, but tan is simply not happening. I'm far, far happier in my bright blue trench purchased this spring than I ever could be in even the most impeccably-made garment in such a lifeless shade. My third contrarian position has to do with...bootcut jeans. For years I subscribed to the notion that they were universally flattering, but these days nothing makes me feel less fab than this old standby. I bought a pair during my fall style refresher. While every other item I purchased that day saw regular service for months, the bootcuts got worn exactly once. I think I'm done with that silhouette.

  • Alassë replied 3 years ago

    I'm in the comfort camp - these shoes sound so comfortable for your unique foot shape that I would buy them for your sight-seeing niche.

  • replied 3 years ago

    I used to buy the "shoulds," but they didn't get worn. Now I buy for my present lifestyle and needs. This month, the focus has been on finding shoes for my fussy feet - pain from osteoarthritis. I don't particularly care what people think I should wear.

  • Elle replied 3 years ago

    I vote to keep the comfy shoes - regardless of style..  When you travel, happy feet are key.  Style is a distinct third.

    On the topic of "should,"  I've bought office clothes, including a blazer, that never get worn since I dont' work in an office.  It's a maddening habit of mine that I'm trying to break. 

  • smittie replied 3 years ago

    The only thing I can suggest is to not spend too much money on something you only sort-of like, even if it's useful to you.

    I find it very hard to buy 'should' items, and often will be inappropriately dressed because of it.

    I can't seem to bring myself to buy a sensible walking shoe. I have a hard time buying  'event' clothing (think dress pants, dress shirts, suiting, and day dresses). These things involve crisp lines and (typically) polyester/nylon which I don't like. 

  • catgirl replied 3 years ago

    Just to add, I was chiming in on the "should" issue rather than the travel issue. :). My travel shoes are a pair of Jambu Mary Janes. They are comfortable to walk for days, and I've hiked in them and worn them to dinner. When I travel I bring as few shoes as possible unless it's a dress-up eventfest like a film festival or wedding. Otherwise I'm all about function.

  • Marlene replied 3 years ago

    One the topic of travel shoes:  as a person that now must negotiate orthotics, I have come to the realization that style and function will never-ever-ever meet 100%.  You can get one or the other 100% and then hope that the other will be somewhat close.  Actually, this is pretty much my whole shoe-life now whether I am travelling or not.  So I have decided that I would rather have a comfortable experience than to miss the experience/suffer.  Its just shoes.  (sorry, did I say that out loud????)

    On the topic of "must haves"...well I think there is some wisdom to these lists.  However, I use them as a guide.  For example, on the beige trench.  I have chosen a black version with a moto-style opening.  So fills the FUNCTION but the style is more Marlene.  I like blazers...but not traditional corporate styles.  I choose versions that suit my style better than the classic/conservative style that is shown in the lists.  But I have discovered that when I have my version of the items on the "must have" lists, my wardrobe functions better.  

  • Greyscale replied 3 years ago

    Slight update - my orthotics don't fit perfectly. Possibly close enough, once the vamp stretches a bit. They're still very comfortable with the insoles they came with, which are more padded and perhaps nicer for long walks.

    I only wear my orthotics a few days a week. They're more for long-term foot health than fixing any immediate pain, now that the injury healed. But it would be nice to own a few more shoes that can accommodate them.

  • replied 3 years ago

    To answer your question about certain "must haves" that I don't have:

    A pencil skirt doesn't suit my body type

    suit doesn't fit my lifestyle, so I don't own one. I do have blazers, but they aren't "suit" blazers.

    white button-down shirt doesn't flatter my personal coloring, so my "white" button-down shirt is cream.

    Because of pain from osteoarthritis, I can't wear pumps or pointy-toed shoes or heels over 1.5 inches. There are other shoe types I can't wear, but these are the real killers, and they seem to be on every "must have" list I see.

  • Astrid replied 3 years ago

    I tortured myself with ballet flats for years before it finally was brought home to me that they are just a bad idea. I've only ever worn flats and ballet flats seemed like the perfect option for summer, but they just won't stay on my feet.

  • DonnaF replied 3 years ago

    I would have a hard time turning down an insanely comfy shoe that's not gear. . . .But do those have sufficient arch support?

    As to *should owns*:  I once had a LBD that I never wore.  My dressier black pants and white shirts don't see much action, and I don't wear them together because I don't want to take anyone's order.  I never wore my denim jacket until I performed surgery on it, and now I wear it as a vest quite a lot.  A few years back, I bought two pairs of black pumps, patent and regular leather.  I have a tough time keeping them on my feet and only wear the patent ones.  I will probably keep the other pair until they go severely out of style and/or I retire, whichever comes first. 

  • DonnaF replied 3 years ago


  • replied 3 years ago

    I'm glad I don't work in an office where I'm expected to wear suits, pumps, etc. I used to wear that stuff, but didn't like it, and I always wore athletic shoes to walk from my car to the bldg. Now I can wear pretty much anything that's not strictly casual. There are people (including my boss) who wear strictly casual clothing to work because of the nature of the work they do. I don't do that, though, because I want to present a more professional image. I also don't like dressing down like that. It's just not my style. I like adding dressy touches to my outfits without going OTT for the occasion.

  • Style Fan replied 3 years ago

    I like AG's analogy.  The shoes are Doc Martens little cousins.  How adorable.  If I could find shoes that looked close to my style and were comfortable to walk in I would buy them.  Okay that would be Trippen.

    I am not sure if I ever bought should items.  I did buy a white button down shirt that was impossible to wear.  Also not my style.  So I guess I did.  Never again.

  • MsMaven replied 3 years ago

    I bought a pair of Sketchers like Janet's. My DIL buys this brand and loves them. They are incredibly comfy--for about two hours on my feet. I wore them one morning to the grocery store to get a few things and by the time I got home--ouch. These are not shoes for those of us prone to plantar fasciitis. Even though I have tender feet, I need a hard soled and well-cushioned footbed. So sad--maybe I can wear them around the house later when I get my feet back in shape.

    I've never had a trench coat I've loved. I kept trying to find one, but most belted coats/jackets are belted too high for my long torso. Also, now I have the Apple Belly thing--and it doesn't come from Steve Jobs. 

    I have a hard time wearing white, and I hate to iron. Off white yes, but that white shirt/blouse is something that is harder and harder to wear. 

    I don't wear dresses much, so I'd prefer one in a pretty color. Way back when I was fairly newly-wed, the wife of the leader of our church group invited all the young marrieds to an evening at her fabulous home in the Hollywood Hills. Of 25 or so of us, more than 15 were wearing LBDs, and I did count but can't remember exactly. Maybe it was 20. That kind of turned me off to the concept. Yes, I was there in my LBD that I had carefully sewed from a Vogue pattern. 

    Our lives have changed a lot since those early days when the first must-have lists came out. Maybe if you live in a big city you need the items. My must have list today is much different.

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