conservative office style Jun 15, 2015

Summer Sandals?

rebecca taylor die cut ivory pencil skirt maze jacquard jacket silk fringe toprebecca taylor die cut ivory pencil skirt maze jacquard jacket silk fringe toprebecca taylor fringe silk top die cut ivory skirtrebecca taylor die cut ivory pencil skirt maze jacquard jacket silk fringe top san franciscorebecca taylor die cut ivory pencil skirt maze jacquard jacket silk fringe top work wear style blog rebecca taylor die cut ivory pencil skirt maze jacquard jacketwork wear style blog for professional women SKIRT: Rebecca Taylor (25% off here! also available here and here; love the matching crop top too; similar skirts here and here)   |  JACKET: Rebecca Taylor  |  TOP: Rebecca Taylor (black version here; also love the dress version in ivory here and in black here)  |  SHOES: c/o White House Black Market (more conservative option here)

I think I’ve done a bad job in the past few posts of making a clear delineation in the work-appropriate footwear department, which is a tricky subject especially in the summer months.  Some followers have brought this to my attention, and I’m really grateful that you’re keeping me on my toes (no pun intended)!

As always, it’s important to critically analyze what’s appropriate for your own workplace, because there’s absolutely no universal rule governing all professional environments.    I’ve talked a lot about appropriate footwear in the past here on Memorandum, but it’s important to keep the conversation alive, especially for those of you who are new readers!

Now that I live in California and work in a slightly less conservative environment, I’ve learned that dressy sandals (like the ones depicted today and in recent posts here and here) are appropriate for my professional life.  This is why I was sporting these brown leather ankle strap sandals when wearing the all-ivory monochromatic ensemble to the office recently (that’s pictured today).

However, when I worked for an investment bank in NYC, sandals were definitely not an appropriate option.  From female friends and family in other business formal professions, I’ve learned that this also rings true for lots of law offices and government jobs (among many others that fall into the “conservative” category).  However, for those of you in more creative or casual environments—especially those in warmer climates—dressy sandals like these might just be a go.

If you’re starting a new job and not sure where your office lands on the spectrum, my advice is always to stick with conservative options until you are sure.  Nothing is worse than overstepping and having to be chastised by superiors.  Actually, maybe there is something worse—not being chastised by superiors because they’re too awkward to tell you that you’ve gotta cover up your bunions, being left out of meetings because of aforementioned bunion exposure, and before you know it, you’re relegated to tasks that only require you to see the inside of a copy room.  I once found a label maker in a copy room that changed my life, but other than that, there are not a ton of awesome things happening in copy rooms.

So listen, if you can’t wear sandals to work… well that kind of sucks.  BUT, there’s a definite bright side.  Consider that extra flap of leather (or some variation of polyvinyl chloride, as it may be) an extra line of defense against the underside of your desk when you’re getting your fitness on at the office and becoming a bit over-zealous in testing the waters of Leandra Medine’s deskercises—most notably the under-desk leg lift.  It can be a highly perilous situation for exposed toes.  Best to cover ’em up.

Ok yeah, I had to dig deep to find that bright side.  But whatevs, just cling to that supremely comfy pair of commuter sandals and hold on tight ’til temps start to drop in September.

So what’s your deal?  Can you wear sandals to the office in the summer or is your office more formal?  Are you self-sabotaging in hopes of one day also discovering the mystical label maker?  Give me your sitch in the comments…

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25 Responses to Summer Sandals?

  1. Paola says:

    I wear sandals at office and this pair is so chic

  2. Natali says:

    This is one of the most interesting and elegant outfits I’ve seen in a while!

  3. I love those shoes on you! They go great with all-white!

    Her Heartland Soul

  4. Kathy says:

    I think a problem bigger than sandals is when women wear sky high stilettos or platforms to work. Too much risk of injury. I worked for a government office in the Midwest and it was pretty much anything goes among the clerical staff. The other employees did dress more conservatively and the thong type (between the toe) sandals were pretty much non-existent.

  5. I could see how the pair you are wearing today could be a tad over exposed (does that adjective work for shoes?). But many of the peep toe, or open toed mules could be more covered and work for the conservative offices. Back in my office, OSHA frowned on open toed shoes, but I still donned a pair here and there—a girl’s got to show off her painted tootsies once in a while, right?
    This white ensemble is beautiful…interesting with the asymmetry, yet very professional! jodie

  6. A says:

    Yes, you must know your office? What kind of work are you doing in SF now? I would be interested to know if it is still investment banking just in a less conservative city or if you changed jobs completely. I always find it’s really helpful to know what kind of work bloggers do because it helps put their outfits and their suggestions in context, if that makes sense?

  7. Love the white outfit! I can wear sandals in the office, but usually opt for my Franco Sarto wedges, which don’t scream sandal. They’re comfy enough to walk in all day and they work with dresses and pants.

  8. Christine says:

    I work in a pretty relaxed office, but I would not wear those sandals.They are tall (3″?), open toed, and you’re wearing a skirt. I would pick one of the attributes, but not all three.

    Also, you’re talking about sandals, and only 2 out 7 photos have the sandals pictured…

  9. Heather says:

    I am a college professor, so there is a lot of flexibility in wardrobe, although I don’t wear strappy sandals to work. I do wear sandals, just ones that have more coverage. I am also on my feet A LOT teaching, so could not survive 5 minutes in the shoes pictured in this post, lovely as they may be. I’d love to see more foot-friendly options that take comfort more into account for those of us in jobs that require us to be on our feet much of the day, but aren’t necessarily flats (I am short enough already, thanks). These are my current favorites, as they offer serious cushioning with a rolling toe and arch support that I can survive in all day, teaching and dashing around campus:
    Thanks, Mary, for all of the fantastic options. My job is an interesting mix of casual and conservative. On regular teaching days, I can dress more casually, but on days when I am chairing a meeting, giving a presentation, or conducting interviews, I dress conservatively.

  10. al says:

    in my investment advisory firm office in the midwest, i would stick to peep toes if i were going the summer shoe route. because my shoe budget isn’t what i’d like it to be, i do the commuter sandal/flipflop/all purpose ballet flat route and switch to my heels @ my office. (and then barefoot the moment i sit down to work at my desk 😉

  11. Jessica says:

    Those shoes are amazing! I am a true sucker for shoes 🙂

    xo, Jessica || The Petite Diaries

  12. miri says:

    Love the skirt and the jacket!

  13. Kelly says:

    I love these shoes and agree, it really depends on your office!

    xx Kelly
    Sparkles and Shoes

  14. Georgen says:

    Beneficial info. Lucky I discovered your web site by mistake, but i’m so glad I did and have bookmarked!

  15. Kate says:

    Ok- first of all this outfit is killer. The texture play is amazing and that fringe is sensational. Also, I would love to see some flat sandal options that are equally dressy!


  16. Netty says:

    I love reading the comments on your blog! I could not, and would not, wear sandals on the job, but I’m an attorney who goes to court. I agree with you, that it really does depend on the professional environment. Understanding the boundaries and restrictions of professional office attire is such an issue for so many people, and when it goes wrong, it goes really wrong. You would not believe what I see on a daily basis. Yikes!!!

    The Fashionable ESQ

  17. Melissa says:

    Wow I love this look! Very chic!

  18. Melissa says:

    Wow I love this look! Very chic!


  19. Ann says:

    I might be old school, but I don’t think open-toed shoes are ever appropriate in any office environment. They’re for nights and weekends — period.

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  21. Tylor says:

    The top and jacket are perfect. My wife also purchases a jacket and I found it so beautiful.

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