open-side shoes -- appropriate for work?
July 27, 2006 3:55 PM   Subscribe

I've heard that both shoes with open toes and shoes with open heels are considered too casual for some professional environments. But what about shoes with open sides, like this?

I'm considering getting something like this, but they are expensive, so I don't want to get something that I can't wear on job interviews (I'm mainly looking at postdocs, but I may interview for industry positions.)
posted by transona5 to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (21 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
What industry, exactly?

It really depends on the environment, and with the rest of your attire. I would look twice at a person who was smartly dressed and had on those shoes - however, I'm in the technology industry, so take this with a grain of salt.
posted by Vantech at 4:10 PM on July 27, 2006


I would say those wouldn't be appropriate at the kind of workplace where everyone wears a suit every day, but they'd be fine in a place where it's business-casual or anywhere below that level of formality.
posted by hazelshade at 4:15 PM on July 27, 2006


unless your field is something really really really conservative, i can't see those shoes being all that off-the-charts. they're a little casual but i don't think i'd eliminate them for having open sides. to me, it's more the molded heel that makes them a little more casual. like Vantech says, it depends on the rest of your attire. and how you rock the shoes.

dansko makes nice shoes and they'll last a long long time. worth the investment, assuming they are appropriate.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 4:17 PM on July 27, 2006


I believe the technical name for a shoe like that is a "two-part."

As for what shoes you can wear where, I think it's pretty workplace-specific. I've never heard of a workplace that forbids mules or slingbacks as long as the toes are closed, the heel is reasonably low (less than 2") and you wear appropriate hosiery. A bit of Googling suggests that with a formal suit, however, a closed-heel pump is best.
posted by anjamu at 4:19 PM on July 27, 2006


I wouldn't say that those are inappropriate for some offices because they're open on the sides, but because they're kinda "chunky" (they have a big heel and a heavy rubber sole). I have a pair of Hush Puppies that are the exact same shape (buckle across the ankle, closed toe and open at the sides) but they have a small high heel, thin sole, a little bit of leatherwork, and are a conservative shade of navy. I wear them with a suit and get lots of compliments, but I wouldn't wear the shoes in question with a suit.
posted by chickletworks at 4:21 PM on July 27, 2006


I definitely wouldn't wear those to a job interview -- some people might think that they're too casual. If you're going to interview at pretty conservative places and you'll be wearing a skirt or pant suit, I'd recommend investing in a cute pair of black pumps -- trust me they will come in VERY handy in the future. I have a pair of these, for example. If you're worried about comfort -- both aerosoles and naturalizer have surprisingly cute professional looking shoes. Or if you still want the open side look -- these are definitely more interview-like. And if you're interested in seeing more options...here's the career/business section at zappos.

p.s. zappos will be my downfall
posted by echo0720 at 5:44 PM on July 27, 2006


Two other brands that make comfortable shoes are Rockport, Sudini, and Franco Sarto.

I agree with those who said err on the conventional, conservative side when going to job interviews.
posted by wryly at 6:28 PM on July 27, 2006


I can't count.
posted by wryly at 6:29 PM on July 27, 2006


In the hospital where I worked we had a very formal dress code: black suits only, and no open-toed, open-heeled shoes. We wore that style of shoe often and no one thought it was unprofessional.
posted by Ugh at 7:01 PM on July 27, 2006


If you're interviewing for a postdoc in the sciences, they are totally appropriate - and very cool shoes. We (interviewers) laugh at people who show up in a suit.

For an industrial position, I think they are fine as long as you're interviewing for a science-type position. If you're interviewing for something else, I would play it safe and wear something slightly more conservative.

This from a guy...
posted by underdetermined at 7:02 PM on July 27, 2006


This shoe is safer. Admittedly it's not quite as much fun as the one you linked to, but this one will be no problem at all on job interviews, and it's still kind of funky too. The additional plus here is that since it's more closed in, it will look better worn with hose. And, yes, for the interview at least you're going to want to go with hose. (Bare legs in summer will be OK in most offices, but that's after you're hired.

Best bet, I would say, is a plain pump with a medium or medium-low heel. Find a pair that fit comfortably and treat them as an investment. Plain pumps will not go out of style for, oh, a decade or so, so amortize the cost of good pumps across ten years.

It's not so hard to find less expensive fun shoes; you just have to be absolutely firm about throwing them out as soon as they show the first sign of shabbiness.
posted by La Cieca at 7:06 PM on July 27, 2006


Response by poster: Thanks, everyone. I do want comfortable shoes, and I love Danskos. I like to have at least a 1 1/2-inch heel/sole, but it gets uncomfortable unless it's kind of a thick heel. What does everyone think of these? They still have the chunky heel.

Yes, it'll mainly be postdocs in the sciences I'm looking at.
posted by transona5 at 8:11 PM on July 27, 2006


Response by poster: Oh, and anything I buy will be in plain black leather.
posted by transona5 at 8:11 PM on July 27, 2006


I think that shoe is pretty cute, and would be appropriate for daily wear in a business casual environment, and maybe in some with slightly more professional dress than business casual. However, I would not wear them on an interview - they are too casual & too "young" looking.

I recommend either a basic, comfortable pump (like this one or this one or, hey, this one), or you could even go for a nice mid or high heeled dress loafer. I think that high heeled Mary Janes with closed sides are sort of on the borderline, but I admit I wore them to my last interview and I got the job.

Just remember that a good basic pair of pumps will never go out of style and will be appropriate for tons of situations outside of work & interviews.
posted by tastybrains at 8:23 PM on July 27, 2006


transona5 - I think the Remy shoe is definitely a better choice for interviewing. The heel is still a bit chunky, but if you feel you need that for comfort, then go for it.
posted by tastybrains at 8:24 PM on July 27, 2006


I think the Remy in plain black leather would be excellent for interviewing for a post-doc position. It's a more traditional shape, so I think the large heel is less conspicuous.
posted by chickletworks at 9:05 PM on July 27, 2006


The first shoe is fine for an academic interview.
posted by fshgrl at 9:37 PM on July 27, 2006


Response by poster: Maybe I'll just get something like the first shoe for everyday wear and a less expensive pair of dressier shoes for more formal occasions.
posted by transona5 at 10:29 PM on July 27, 2006


"I believe the technical name for a shoe like that is a "two-part."

I think the two-parters are actually called D'Orsay shoes. I love the two part kind so I spent some time trying to figure out what they were called.

Back on-topic though, the Remy's might be slightly safer but I think they're kind of ugly and orthopedic looking and not any more "profesional" looking due again, to the molded rubber soles.

For a post-doc position in the sciences, your orignal choice is much better. I work in a university that's focused in life sciences and research (though I'm not an academic) and can't see any reason not to wear your first choice. But I'm in San Francisco, so anything goes.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:35 AM on July 28, 2006



W/re: Aerosoles: My experience is that they are comfy as all git-out but that they fall apart a lot faster than Danskos and other comparable shoes. I don't think I'll ever buy another pair.

As far as comfy-yet-professional shoes go, I've had super good luck with Espace, which is Robert Clergerie's "affordable" line. The things often look like total blister-kits, but the folks in Studio Robert Clergerie really understand feet, so they are insanely comfortable. Also, John Fluevog has some super cute ones that in my opinion are serious enough for the business world but nifty enough for everyday life. Cordiani is another sharp-yet-comfy brand. One of the (young, underpaid) attorneys at my office just splashed out on a pair with ankle straps and platform soles. She was reeling from the price for days, but she's really getting her money's worth and she's even been known to wear them to court.

And finally, if you want to make sure they remember you forever, you can get a pair of these. It's a super-conservative fifties shape atop a postively David Lynchian heel. Again, this is a shoe that looks like blister-on-a-stick, but it really isn't, and the cantilevered heel makes for a lot of give. When I wear mine, I feel like the Queen of May. I would totally wear them to an interview, but then, at this late and fussy phase in my life, I wouldn't want to work with people who couldn't appreciate the overwhelming and convulsive beauty embodied by those shoes.
posted by palmcorder_yajna at 11:15 AM on July 28, 2006


Wow, so many opinions! I own the Dansko Briana in red and have recently worn them to interviews. I even landed a job. I wouldn't worry about it. I think they are perfectly fine shoes to wear with most any professional attire.

A note about the Briana, buy one size smaller than you're used to wearing. I do a 37 in most every other Dansko, but the Briana needed to be a 36 to keep the blisters and slipping at bay.
posted by cior at 2:02 PM on July 28, 2006


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