This past Friday, I attended a career fair in New York City. It was an amazing event, filled with the best companies in the communications field and many eager and talented Penn State students, who spent the day networking and elevator pitching their little butts off. Mid-afternoon I was walking through the Time Warner center, when a girl passed in front of me and caught my eye. She did the unthinkable and probably the most unprofessional thing you could do in a professional setting: homegirl was wearing shoes that literally looked like this.
I mean they are cute, and I would definitely wear them…to a frat party. I couldn’t believe my eyes and then I started wondering, did this girl actually think that her shoes were appropriate for a career fair and networking with some of the best companies in New York City? And also how the hell was she keeping her composure and not screaming in pain from walking around on a six inch platform heel for five hours?
I know that you all would probably never dare to do something like this, but it does beg the question, where do we draw the line when it comes to dressing professionally and choosing the best footwear for the job? Thank your lucky stars you have me, because I’m giving you a guide on the good, the bad, and the “oh hell no”s of the perfect looks to rock any professional environment, without falling flat (quite literally.)
When it comes to flats, sticking with simplicity and comfort is always best. Probably the reason why you chose flats with your outfit is because you would be on your feet for a longer period of time and heels are not practical, so make sure that you are wearing shoes that aren’t going to blister and beat the crap out of your feet. As you’re picking styles, follow these simple guidelines:
- Nothing too crazy on the toe, like huge glittery bows or cat heads.
- Stick to leather, patent leather, and suede materials. Satin or cotton-based ones will look cheap and probably are cheap.
- Always assume strappy sandals are a NOT appropriate. The majority of your foot should be covered. If you have a pair of flats with one strap in the back, use your best judgment but still try to avoid unless specified by your employer that sandals are okay for a Casual Friday.
- Don’t be afraid of colors or patterns! Flats are simplistic in their nature, so don’t be afraid to have your outfit’s statement color as your shoe.
- NO. FLIP. FLOPS…EVER.
- And no Crocs, because lets be honest even nurses shouldn’t be touching those with a ten-foot pole.
Now heels seem like the trickiest shoe to master but believe me, there is one simple rule that will help you identify if your heels are appropriate or not: NO exposed platform heels. Adding a platform on a shoe almost automatically makes it a nighttime look, and are not appropriate in a professional settings. You can sometimes get away with this if you already have an established career in fashion or other chic industries, but for interviews, career fairs/networking events, or situations in which you are new to, avoid platform heels at all costs. Here are some other tips to consider when dressing in the morning:
- When choosing a heel height, it is best to stay under a 3.75″ heel. Anything above will most likely have a platform or will just be plain painful if worn to work or a professional event.
- Peep toes ARE okay in heels. As long as the majority of your foot is covered, a peep toe is a nice alternative to a classic pump.
- If it looks like you could have worn the shoes to prom: don’t even take them out of your closet. Glitter, satin, sparkles, and straps scream 16-year-old girl and are not appropriate.
- Avoid heels that have an ankle strap, lots of straps, or are sandal-esque. Save it for church and Sunday brunch.
- Anti-gravity heels are meant for Victoria Beckham. Don’t break them out into daytime wear.
- If you opt for a colored heel, make sure that the heel height is lower than you would normally wear. Colorful heels make a large statement on their own, so try to downsize on the heel height to not give off too loud of a message.
The world of shoes is yours to conquer ladies. Go get ’em, land that dream job, and look chic while doing it.
xo Head to Toe Love