Chiu on This: To Peep or Not to Peep?
With hints of summer peeking through the San Francisco clouds, I begin to yearn for my neglected (but never forgotten) open-toed shoes. If you are also feeling that yearning to let your toes see the light of day (please, first, get yourself a much-deserved pedicure or DIY one yourself!), you should ask yourself - Are these strappy pumps/peep toe heels/wedges/cork platforms/sandals/fill-in-the-blanks work appropriate? Let’s break it down. (Note to readers, if you work in a very casual office (read: almost any company in SF, a startup, or maybe a tech company), this post may not apply as stringently to your toes. BUT I encourage everyone to step up their fashion game when it comes to office attire and dress to impress always - summer included!).
How much toe is too much?
Unless your office is uber conservative (you know who you are NYC and DC associates), peep toes are generally OK for the office during warmer months. In my personal opinion, truly strappy heels are never office appropriate. If shoes were beds and you were Goldilocks, strappy is too much toe but peep toes are juuuuust right.
Every woman should have a good standard pair of black peep toes and why not these Cole Haan’s with Nike Air Technology (but if you go for a pair in patent leather, like the Cole Haan's above, avoid any overly noticeable platform to keep it classy for work)! If you’re looking for a bit more fun this summer, consider adding a pop of color with these cerulean green peeps or a pair of red peeps that you’ll be able to wear day to night. But if you really just want a basic pair that you can wear with almost anything, you can’t go wrong with a pair of nude peeps.
Summer Variations - Cork, Hemp and other fun summer shoes
Although the right wedges can be worn all year long, I felt now would be an appropriate time to address what wedges are welcome in the office. Cork wedges MIGHT be okay on a casual Friday during the summer in a relatively laid back office. But generally speaking, I say NO to cork wedges in the office. Likewise, any sort of hemp or rope covered wedge heel should be saved for the weekend. If you need a little memory tool to remember these two guidelines, think about where you see these materials - cork is for wine bottles (and drinking while IN your office is usually discouraged) and hemp is made from... In contrast, wood wedge heels are usually work appropriate. Along the same line of thinking above, if the wood on your wedges has a finished look like the wood floors in your office, that pair is okay to wear in the office.
Sandals - save them for your summer vacation (both the shoes and the resort)!
Whether they are flats, low heels or wedges, sandals are simply not for the office. That’s the bottom line. Now, if your firm has a summer barbecue on the weekend, grab your sandals and sundress!
Nicole Chiu-Wang is a trademark attorney learning to code and design user experiences for startups in San Francisco. In her spare time, she has a weekly segment on a national syndicated talk radio show, teaches The Bar Method, checks items off her Bucket List, and enjoys life as a newly wed. Listen to Nicole every Thursday on The Block Radio or follow her @The_Nicole_Chiu.