with Susan Wagner
The Working Closet is your source for the best of what's hip and fresh in fashion and beauty. Susan Wagner keeps you up-to-date on trends and offers tips and tricks for making everything in your closet truly work for you.
You can also catch Susan over at Working Closet.
SoftwareMom has a question.
You’ve addressed open-toes shoes in the workplace, and we all know your position on flip-flops, but I’ve been wondering about slingbacks and mules. Are they ok in a casual, jeans-wearing office? If so, how dressy can you go before they become a no-no? What if the mules are worn with socks?
Oooh good question!
Caligarius Durante slingbacks, Zappos, $208.75
Let’s start with mules. Mules come in two basic styles: flat slip-on shoes that often resemble loafers from the front, and slip on shoes with a little heel, which often also have a pointy toe. Either is appropriate for the office UNLESS you have a corporate rule about wearing stockings or tights with skirts. Mules are not meant to be worn with hosiery, for a couple of reasons. One is that no one wants to see the heel of your tights, which is usually the first place to show wear and tear; the other is that it’s just unsafe and impractical to wear mules (which have no BACK) over slippery hosiery, because your shoe can go flying off without any warning, which is totally not professional. And also very dangerous.
The exception is that with flat mules, the kind that are more like driving mocs than dress shoes, you can get away with a sock, as long as it is either the same color as your trousers OR the same color as your shoe. But that’s it.
If you want to wear a casual mule to the office, choose one that is in keeping with the rest of your outfit. A simple, soft leather mule is perfect with tailored, dark-rinse jeans or clean lined wool pants and a sweater or jacket. With a skirt, though, you really want a shoe with a back on it for the office.
Which brings us to slingbacks! I love a slingback; the look is both sexy and contained. A peep toe slingback is perfect for the office with trousers or a skirt; keep the rest of your outfit fairly conservative and classic, to offset the singback’s inherent sex appeal. A closed-toed sling back is also appropriate, and slightly more business like (and thus better for more conservative offices).
If possible, wear slingbacks without hosiery; like a mule, they are really designed to be worn with bare feet. But if the weather is chilly or you’re not keen on going to the office bare legged, look for sheer stockings that MATCH your skin tone. I love the look of dark tights with peep toes, but with a slingback, which is more elegant and refined, stick with a sheer stocking, not something heavy, as it will overwhelm the shoe.
A lower heel and a rounded toe are always more casual than a pointy stiletto. The slingbacks pictured here are dressy but not TOO dressy; they could go to the casual office with wide-legged chinos or an A-line skirt. Add a blouse to dress the outfit up, or a tee and jean jacket to dress it down. A cute pair of slingback flats can go either way.
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