That said, everyone knows that old trope about how clueless men look into women's closets and ask why there are so many pairs of black shoes. For my own lifestyle, I've decided that it's actually optimal for me to have seven pairs of black shoes, and this is even with making some pairs do double duty. Plus, I am arrogant enough (I do have a blog, after all) to think that this might be an ok guideline for twenty-something professionals, though 'black' could probably be replaced with any kind of neutral.
Even a minimalist (http://www.missminimalist.com/2009/12/minimalist-wardrobe-how-many-shoes-are-enough/) wants at least six pairs of black shoes around for different occasions! So I feel somewhat vindicated. I will just tell myself that the, err, million other black shoes I own are, for you know, back-up. So I can rotate them, and they will last longer. ahem.
Besides, it's recommended to switch heel heights every day, because flats and heels and wedges are all bad for your feet in different ways, so we should be switching up the tortures. Isn't civilization fun?
--Black Shoes I Need For My Lifestyle--
I have black boots in three heights, but I suppose that one really just needs one pair...if that pair is comfortable, weather-proof, attractive, and wearable to work. If I had to cut down to one pair, it would be a fairly basic knee-high leather boot (best way to wear skirts in the winter) with a very low heel or wedge.
--Nice, Though Not Strictly Necessary--
I find wedges more comfortable (even though I know they're also called ankle-breakers). Also, I've always felt that shorter skirts look better on me when "grounded" by a pair of wedges. Then I read this at Wardrobe Oxygen: "The combination of short skirt and high heel is never stylish. Nothing taller than a 3” heel with a skirt above the knee, and consider a boot or wedge to balance out all that exposed leg. A basic pump with a short skirt is very ZZ Top and not a polished look for anyone." And felt so vindicated. And mature for my years. And ate gummy bears in celebration.
Closed-toe pairs are like Mastercard, accepted anywhere in the world, but sometimes, it is hot.
Yes, the party pair was discussed, but there are lovely formal parties like weddings and ballets, and sometimes there are, well, edgier occasions when one might want to reach for over-the-top damn-I'm-sexy shoes.
Did you notice? Over-the-top knows no season.
To add some--but not too much--drama to basic ensembles.
--Really, Really Unnecessary, By Any Standard--
I own these. I have worn them exactly once. They hit me at not the most flattering spot, but the high heel and platform mitigate that. The main problem is that because they are a smidgen too big, they are a little challenging to walk in. Still, never mind. When I wear them, I mince along on the arm of the man, and he likes it.