If the thought of balancing on miniature stilts all night doesn’t appeal to you, you’ve come to the right place. I’ve always been on the tall side, so to avoid towering above all other women (and select dudes) in my vicinity, I usually opt for flats. Sometimes, though, combat boots and loafers don’t cut it. For such events, heels cannot be avoided.

So, here we are, stuck buying heels. What’s a flat-lover to do? To avoid buyer’s remorse, adhere to a strategic buying process. We’re looking for a few factors that will make purchasing heels less of a chore and more of a treat (even if you’re only gonna wear them twice a year). These are them.

Don’t buy a pair of patterned heels just to match the (ugly) bridesmaid dress. Don’t buy a pair of heels that match one outfit in particular. Instead, opt for a versatile colour scheme that will look cute with your favourite jeans and sundress alike. This could be a neutral or a bold solid. Whatever it is, it’s got to be versatile.

When clogs came back (it happened), I jumped on the wagon for reasons only known to the lady up in the sky. I bought a pair of black suede, studded clogs with a five inch heel. Let that visual sink in for a minute. Guess what? The clog comeback didn’t last.

I know those wedge sneaker monstrosities look really good on fashion bloggers, but for a heel-averse girl, this is a horrible style investment. You’re never going to get enough wear out of those puppies before the trend expires. So, don’t buy a devastatingly trendy shoe. Instead, opt for a classic style, like a stiletto or Mary Jane.

You hate high heels, so don’t fool yourself into thinking you can dance the night away in that risky pair of 6-inchers. You can’t.  Can you drunkenly scale a flight of stairs in this shoe? Can you walk on a lawn at an outdoor wedding? Can you not be that girl who abandons her shoes one hour into the charity gala? The answer to all of the above questions is yes, if you shop smart—go for a pair with structure, meaning strap support, a wide heel or a slight platform.

After years of bad shoe investments, I finally have a few pairs that I can wear with almost anything. And, since I don’t waste money on barely-worn heels, so I have more money for that (third) pair of leather loafers. Old habits die hard.