I started cleaning out my closet well before the pandemic began. We were in the process of moving apartments and I needed to downsize my wardrobe to make packing easier. As you can imagine, the move is now on hold—but the closet clean-out is ongoing.

As a former accessories editor, shoes have always been my weakness. Looking across my shoe shelves, I can remember when and where I acquired nearly every pair I own. A glance at your shoe collection can map the story of your life—the black satin Gianvito Rossi stilettos I wore on the first date with my now-husband, the Manolo Blahnik white moiré sandal I wore to my Newport wedding, the Tabitha Simmons embellished mule I danced all night in at a friend’s restaurant opening, the Chanel ballet flat I wore every day of my maternity leave, and the trusty Jimmy Choo block heeled boot that gets me to and from the office every day. These are the wardrobe touchstones that have supported me—literally—on my walk through adult life.

But as I am tasked to downsize (mostly by my husband, who jokingly calls me Imelda Marcos), I think about the ones I actually wear—and the reality, as hard as it is to admit to myself, is that I wear the same ten pairs of shoes day in and day out. It turns out, despite my many pairs of jewel-encrusted kitten heels, I am a minimalist at heart.

Even with this downsized shoe closet, I realize I’ll still remember that perfect date night even after those fabulous mules leave my closet, and that I can live with fewer pairs as long as they are the right pairs. I also discovered closet cleaning as a powerful stress reliever during a time filled with so many unknowns and anxiety. Plus, my shoe closet lives on with two of my closest friends who luckily wear the same size and welcome the hand-me-downs. They’ll make their own memories wearing them!

1. The White Sneaker

2. The Black Leather Boot

3. The Classic Pump

4. The Printed Pump

5. The Classic Strappy Sandal

6. The Ballet Flat

Tabitha Simmons 15mm Hermione flats

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7. The Thong Sandal

8. The Satin Evening Shoe

Manolo Blahnik Lurum jewel-leaf mule

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9. The Naked Sandal

10. The Motorcycle Boot

Isabel Marant Crisi suede ankle boots

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