Kick-start your wardrobe with one investment piece


So… when do we get to go shopping?

In the first few posts I’ve outlined all sorts of work for you and demands on our clothing. My guess is, if you’re visiting a fashion blog it’s because you need some help in refreshing / creating your wardrobe.


And while, yes, creating effortless style is going to take time and thought, I totally get that a woman still has to get dressed every morning on her journey to looking great everyday.

To start this journey, I’d like you to begin with one investment that will inspire you every day along the way.

Please invest your money, and buy one pair of high quality, everyday boots.

Anywhere, any time
Anywhere, any time

I’m not talking about modestly-priced, partially-leather, almost-right, on-sale-at-DSW boots. I want you to buy that good pair of Fryes, or whatever you’ve had your eye on.

Why boots?

They are natural for a woman celebrating the fact that she’d got a little mud in her life. You can actually wear them in the mud. But beyond that, a stylish, well-made pair of boots can take you almost anywhere. I can put mine on in the morning for farm chores, wear them all day as I teach, then go to dinner and the theater in them. I have worn them to church, to meetings, out on girls’ night. There is no other shoe that works as hard as I do, and is as versatile.

You can wear them with anything, from skinny jeans to a summer sun dress. They are classic and just a little bit funky, which makes you feel cool every time you slip them on.

There is also something in the confidence a well-made pair of boots brings to your day. Since there is literally nothing you can’t do in these shoes, you feel ready for anything. And in my experience, that’s generally what I get.

What holds most women back from a well-made pair of boots is the price. We will buy cheap, ill-fitting shoe after shoe, spending far more money than we would on a few good pairs that will last. If you calculate the price per wear, these boots are a bargain.

Good shoes are the Mud and Grace equivalent of the Fly Lady’s clean sink (see link below.) If boots honestly aren’t your thing, buy a high quality pair of shoes that work for your day-to-day life. My nursing friends swear by Danskos. A nice pair of driving shoes can get you a lot of mileage. Even cute (but clean, well made and stylish) tennis shoes can do the trick.

I bought my first pair of high quality boots several years ago. In 2009 I was in the midst of a very difficult (and very expensive) divorce, and was weathering the economic downturn with everyone else. I had two jobs, wore exclusively 2nd hand clothing, and had only few pairs of shoes, all of which were very cheap.

I was chaperoning a group of students at the Shakespeare festival in Ashland, Oregon, and we had some down time wandering around the quaint little town.

There they were; Eric Michael boots from Spain. I don’t know what possessed me to walk in the store and try them on. They were the first pair of really good shoes I had ever worn. The leather was strong and supple, the stitching precise. Walking a few paces in the boutique shoe store, I knew that the woman who bought these boots was a discerning shopper, one who knew quality and invested in herself.

And there was no reason that woman couldn’t be me.

I pulled out my debit card, and committed myself to making the economic sacrifice the boots would require. Then I wore those boots 2-5 times a week for the next five years. I got compliments every single time I wore them. If getting compliments 2-5 times a week for 5 years isn’t a reason to buy shoes then I don’t know what is. I bought a pair of Fryes a few years ago and they have largely surpassed my old Spanish friends, but I still wear them.

I love you, old boots.
I love you, old boots.

Every time I look at them in my closet I remember the moment I chose to be worth good shoes. There’s been no looking back.

P.S. Allow the Fly Lady to tell you to clean your sink:

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