Building a Professional Wardrobe – Shoe Edition

{growing out of your undergrad and law school shoes and moving on to professional footwear}

We have always had a fetish for shoes, but prior to joining the legal profession, our sole concern with a shoe purchase was whether the shoe would pair well with jeans.  Needless to say, things have changed.  While there are only so many suit retailers for the professional female, there are A TON of wonderful and office-appropriate shoes out there.  But, where do you start building your professional shoe collection?  In our opinion, as you first transition from law school into professional practice, there are four must-have shoes.  You need these four as a jumping off point, and from there, you can build and expand your shoe collection as you see fit.

One black pump

No matter who you are or what type of office you work in, you will need one straightforward black pump.  Something that is versatile and comfortable for everyday.  We love these black Pascha Pumps from Banana Republic.  They are sleek, affordable and comfortable.  It is okay to opt for something with a little more detail, however, so long as you are able to wear it with most of your black suits/dresses/pants, etc.  For another affordable shoe with classic details and a modest heel height, check out these Ann Taylor Valerie Patent Pumps.  As we’ve mentioned, splurging on a pair of black pumps is a worthwhile decision since you will be wearing these shoes so often.  For a slightly more expensive option, we are loving these black patent pumps from L.K. Bennett.  This British brand was popularized by Kate the Great, the Duchess of Cambridge.

Pascha Pump Ann Taylor pumps

One neutral pump

In addition to black, a neutral pump is a must.  You can wear this pump with all sorts of outfits, especially your navy, brown, and summer suits.  For straightforward and affordable options, check out Aldo or Nine West.  If you’re prepared to invest a little bit more, we love these nude stiletto pumps from Stuart Weitzman.  Otherwise, these L.K. Bennett pumps in Clay are a great neutral alternative to nude.

LK BennettStewart Weitzman

One sophisticated flat

Like most of us, you probably wear heels while in the office.  But, every now and then, a day will come that will be especially active and requires more functional footwear.  For those days, and for minor commutes in a professional setting, it’s important to have a pair of comfortable flats that are still sophisticated and chic.  We love these Astoria Leopard flats by Cole Haan.  With Nike Air outsoles they are functional for commuting and the leopard pattern means they coordinate with suits and dresses of all colors (think black, brown, gray, even navy).  If you’d prefer to stay simple (we know, Leopard can be a big commitment), these straightforward and sleek flats by Ivanka Trump are great.

ColeHaanFlat IvankaTrumpFlat

One statement pair

Finally, you should own at least one pair that’s fun and shows that you’re both professional and fashionable.  Bonus:  try for something that doubles as great weekend footwear.  Right now, we’re obsessed with these Oxford Tassel Pumps by Tommy Hilfiger. They are comfortable with the platform front and perfect for fall.  The oxford styling is preppy and professional while the serious heel and tassel ties make them a perfect statement shoe for the office.  Or, this Dolce Vita Flair Pump in Bordeaux is beautiful and perfect for fall.

tommy-hilfiger-taupe-oxford-tassel-pump-product-1-12491753-898304554_medium_flexDolce Vita Pump

Do you have a favorite go-to shoe for work?  Let us know in the comments below!

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2 Responses to Building a Professional Wardrobe – Shoe Edition

  1. Julie T September 26, 2013 at 11:36 am #

    I love my Tieks for the “sophisticated flat” category – I have them in black, red, camel, and my brand new leopard print. They are expensive, but they never wear out and look just as good today as when I bought them. They are also extremely comfortable. I also love Cole Haan black pumps – they can be resoled and you can usually find a pair at Nordstrom Rack or the Saks or Neiman outlets on the shoe rack, even in black.

    • marhouse September 26, 2013 at 2:52 pm #

      Great recommendations, Julie! So many of our friends are rocking Tieks, and we see why. And we agree- Cole Haan got it right with those Nike Air soles. Thanks for sharing!

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