Friday, August 04, 2006

What Shoes to Wear to Work

Mandy writes in with a question about shoes:

Hi SheSheMe,
I'm happy to see you have a blog online now! I have a shoe question.
I walk a lot to get to work, so wearing high heels is out of the question. I've been wearing flats, but sometimes they don't look very professional. I still like a little height and support when I'm running across the street and down the stairs to catch the train. What kind of shoes do you suggest? Thanks!

Hi Mandy!

This seems to be a problem that a lot of us working girls have. Personally, I have a difficult time with the whole wear-trainers-to-work-carry-pretty-shoes-in-a-tote thing. It's hard to take a girl seriously when you see her on the street in Armani and New Balance.

What you should look for in a good corporate/professional shoe: First, look for a shoe with a stacked heel, no higher than 2 to 2 1/2 inches, 3 inches max. Any higher than that and you tend to teeter. Stay away from stiletto or kitten heels. Stilettos are a bit too sexy for corporate wear and it's hard to take anyone seriously in kitten heels. Open toes, peep toes and sandals are usually a no-no in the general business world. Nothing metallic or flashy. Shoes should complement your outfit, but not overpower it.

Depending on your industry, your shoe choices vary. Advertising and fashion tend to allow for a bit more personality and sense of style. Banking, investments, or the corporate world tends to be more conservative. You'll never go wrong with a basic pump.

Here are my suggestions for fashionable footwear that can get you out the door, to the bus/train/cab and into the office in style and comfort.

This is a great shoe to wear with opaque tights and a skirt, or with pant suits.

The V-shaped cutout and leather strap give this basic pump an elegant line. Great height for all-day wear.

Another option is a wedge. Wedges are a bit more informal, but give great support because there is no balancing on tiny heels. Stick with leather—stay away from canvas or anything with a rope, cork or jute covered heel.

For a change from typical basic black. Great heel height and comfort.

T-straps are also a good choice, and a change-up from basic pumps. They offer great support, and if you go with a platform you can also go a little higher in the heel.

While flip-flops are an absolute no-no and sandals are still frowned upon in the business world, it seems that slingbacks have received the nod as appropriate corporate footwear. Just watch the heel height, and the toe box - slingbacks tend to be pointy, and that totally defeats the purpose in comfort.

If you want to push the envelope just a bit, these Mary Janes would do the trick. They would look fabulous with a sleek, black pantsuit.

Hopefully, this will give you a head start on finding the perfect shoes! Best of luck


She She Me


Milana said...

I love wearing heels to work. It makes me feel more like a salary earning grown-up and less like a fresh-from-college girl. The problem is that most of my heels are totally fresh-from-college. I have lots of sandals, wedges and espadrilles, one pair of slingbacks and a really ratty pair of knee boots that I just can't part with. Your advice awhile back was to dress for the job I aspire to. Well, the woman who has the job I aspire to (I work at a consulting firm) dresses like she just got off the frump bus, complete with orthopedic shoes. Help!

She She Me said...

Luckily, there are so many styles to choose from, and they won't cripple you (literally or monetarily)! Platform pumps or wedges will give you height and add padding under your feet for comfort. Many designers are making use of new technology in their soles and paddings. From shock absorbant soles to fiber padded platforms it all makes for a more comfortable higher heel. Check out Kate Spade's "Karolina", Cole Haan's "Tivona", Rafe's "Oxford Barton" and Banana Republic's "Kiera" for some very stylish heels that can be worn for hours and hours and hours.