I’m in My Elegant Era: 6 Shoes I’ve Abandoned and 6 I Wear Exclusively Now

detail image of two women wearing black ballet flats and pant suits

(Image credit: @amaliemoosgaard)

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: 2024 is the year I’m stepping into my elegant style era. I think it’s partly due to a desire for a more “grown up” wardrobe as I age out of my 20s, but it’s also a response to where fashion is at in general these days. Right now, we’re seeing a major uptick in sophisticated fashion with the influence of swan style as shown in FX’s Capote Vs. The Swans and the return of ’60s staples like polished east-west handbags and shift dresses. But regardless of why, I’ve suddenly hit a wall when it comes to wearing anything that feels overly trendy. Now, the only things I’m craving are ones that feel sophisticated and contribute to an overall elevated mood.

I’ve shared before about some of the wardrobe items that I’m prioritizing in this new chapter of my personal style, but today, I want to focus on what this shift has meant for my shoe rack. After all, shoes have the power to change the whole mood of an outfit. For instance, opting for ballet flats with jeans and a T-shirt makes for a completely different outfit vibe than wearing that same combo with, say, chunky sneakers. So below, I’m discussing several of the shoe swaps I’ve made to move my style in a more elegant and less trend-driven direction that will (hopefully) withstand the test of time.

Abandoned: “Dad” Sneakers

Wear Exclusively: Soccer-Inspired Sneakers

woman wearing jeans and adidas sneakers

Sneakers are rarely associated with terms like sophisticated and polished, but I say it’s all in the styling. To contribute to an overall sleek silhouette, I’ve been exclusively wearing soccer-inspired sneakers like Sambas, of which I now own three pairs, because I like the way their flat soles and slim profile make it easy to dress them “up” more than you can other styles that lean more athletic, like chunky “dad” sneakers.

Abandoned: Tall Platforms

Wear Exclusively: Kitten Heels

woman wearing a white blouse with black trousers and Manolo Blahnik mules

I’m not here to bash on platform heels—I get that their comfort and height generosity are big draws—but I’ve rid my shoe rack of my platforms recently since I was consistently reaching for point-toe kitten-heel styles far more often. Now, my most-worn mules, sling backs, and sandals all feature a discreet and walkable kitten heel.

Abandoned: Chunky Loafers

Wear Exclusively: Sophisticated Flats

two women sitting on a bench wearing black ballet flats and pantsuits

In my mission to curate a more sophisticated closet, I’ve been cutting anything that feels too trendy to make room for timeless pieces, and chunky loafers definitely felt like one shoe trend that had its moment but now that moment has passed. I used to wear them a lot during the workweek as a cool finish to my office outfits but these days, flats have assumed that position. Sure, ballet flats might be considered a trend right now, but the more minimal styles are ultimately classics.

Abandoned: Velcro Sandals

Wear Exclusively: Thong Sandals

woman wearing a black skirt, white T-shirt, and simple thong sandals

(Image credit: @neelam.ahooja)

Once warm weather hits, I’ll be prioritizing minimalist thong sandals to wear with everything from a swimsuit while on vacation to a pantsuit (I love the idea of contrasting the summery sandals with workwear) and I have my eye on a pair of The Row’s City sandals.

Abandoned: Square-Toe Pumps

Wear Exclusively: Almond Pumps

detail image of woman wearing Loro Piana flats

(Image credit: @jastookes)

There’s a time and a place for square-toe shoes, for instance, I’m into a square-toe sandal, but for classic pumps, I’m infatuated with court shoes at the moment. Seen in The Row and Altuzarra’s runways, the glove-like pumps feel classic and ultra-sophisticated and remind me of 1950s styles.