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You can wear open-toed shoes in an office, but the question of whether you should remains. There's still something slightly taboo about showing off your piggies in a conservative setting. In most cases, it isn't necessary. You have plenty of other office options apart from open-toed sandals or pumps.
Check it Out
Just about every office has a dress code. And there are plenty of places that will allow an open-toed pump or even a dressy summer sandal. As long as your feet aren't dangling out of a flip-flop and the shoes are well-maintained, many businesses give the green light to this kind of shoe. Still others are vague about the subject or just flat out ban them. Business casual means different things to different offices (and different cultures). Ask your boss or your HR person about your company's policy, and if you're headed out on a business trip or an interview, ask about the dress code at the office you're going to as well. Look around any office you wander into. Notice whether other women are wearing open-toed shoes -- if they are, it's probably OK to slide on your own pair to test the waters.
Pump It Up
If you do plan to let your feet fly, a pair of pumps is the most classic, ultra-feminine shoe to choose. Think they have to be low-heeled and dowdy? Wrong. You can keep it office appropriate by wearing an almond-toed pump or one that shows a little toe. An almond toe is a rounded-off point, like the round end of an almond. Wear platforms and go as high as you like as long as the heel isn't a skinny stiletto. Make your legs look a mile long in summer with a pair of nude pumps. Do the same in winter by wearing black tights and black pumps. Keep the colors of your heels conservative -- that is, in the brown, black and nude family. Avoid shoes adorned with bright colors and patterns.
To Sandal or Not
Can you wear sandals in the summer if your office allows open-toed shoes? The answer is yes, right? Well, sort of. There are still some guidelines you should follow if you're going the sandal route. For instance, delicate, strappy sandals or gladiator flats are not appropriate. One is too dressy and the other isn't professional enough. In general, wear sandals with moderately high heels, straps that are on the wide side and sandals that are conservatively colored. And above all, leave sandals with rhinestones, sequins, feathers and beads at home. Even if you think they're pretty, they're not right for the office.
Aside from official office dress codes, certain scenarios might call for different shoes. For example, a pair of Birkenstocks on a hike at your company retreat might be totally appropriate. A black satin shoe with a heel and a bow works at the holiday party, but not necessarily at the office. Even if your boss lets certain rules slide, you should always be your most conservative when you're meeting executives of the company. Whether it's a board meeting or they're in town visiting and there's a chance you'll see one at the water cooler, dress in closed-toed shoes and a conservative outfit.