[Greatest Hits 2010: Each day this week, I will be reposting a popular post from the past. This was first published September 1, 2010. See original post and comments here.]
My work heels
Heels can do wonders for your calves, snap your spine straight (helllooo balance), and create a sexy strut. But is there such as thing as a heel too high for the office. In short: yes. But it's not always that easy.
I think we can all agree that an over-the-top shoe like this one is not office appropriate. But what about something with a smaller platform that's closed-toe? Or if the heel is chunky or a wedge, does that affect how high your heels can be?
While most office dress codes don't specify a min/max height, tradition states that a lower heel (<3") usually translates as more professional than one that's higher. But in most business casual offices, there is quite a bit more leeway.
So how do you figure out if your heels are appropriate? Start with these questions:
- What is on my agenda today? Will I have to walk? There is nothing pretty or professional about limping around in heels when you know you have a lot of walking to do during the day. Practicality first (sometimes).
- Who will I be seeing or meeting with? Do they have any preconceived notions of propriety? This goes for clothes, as well. If you know an old-fashioned good ol' boy bigwig is coming in, you may want to play it safe for the day.
- Would I wear these shoes to a club? If so, you may want to think twice (unless they're more office appropriate shoes you just happen to wear to a club, like me, who wears knee-length dresses, long coats, and closed-toed pumps).
- How high is the platform? Steer clear of anything higher than about 3/4", and try to keep the rest of the shoe a little conservative.
- How skinny is the heel? Especially for heels higher than about 4", spiky stilettos can look inappropriate or dangerous. If you're going to do a taller heel, try a stacked or chunky heel (plus it helps with balance). A wedge can also look polished, especially with heels 3" or lower.
- What does the rest of the heel look like? If you're wearing something especially high, it helps if the rest of the heel is a little less attention-getting. Details like ruffles, buckles, straps, neon, and shiny patent only call more attention to your feet. A classic almond-toe pump in a matte leather and 4.5" heel is less likely to raise eyebrows than a platform pink strappy shoes at 3".
- What else am I wearing? If you're wearing trousers, the rules can be a little looser, since the bulk of your shoe will be covered by the pant leg. If you're wearing a skirt, consider the fact that people can get a 360 degree view of your shoe.
How high do you think is too high of a heel for the office? Do you have any personal rules for work footwear?