What about summer shoes?

The second most hotly debated topic in regard to professional dress surrounds open-toed shoes in the spring and summer. (Check out the biggest debate.) For the most professional appearance, wear closed toed shoes. I can hear everyone groaning already, but there are a few reasons closed-toed shoes are more professional than open-toes or sandals.

First, skin is distracting, and wearing sandals exposes a lot of skin. To further that, toes are distracting. I know that sounds a little odd, but it’s true. Your feet are a long way from your face. Forgoing open-toed shoes will help keep attention at your face and to what you’re saying.

Another reason to avoid sandals in a professional setting is that they can convey leisure. If you’re doing business, it’s important to show you’re ready to do business.

All of that said, I know how irresistible it may be to lighten up your look for summer. Here are a few tips:

  • Always check your company dress code before you make any changes to your attire.
  • If you always wear pumps, a sling back, closed-toe pump can be a nice change.
  • The most professional open-toe shoe is a peep toe pump. The next contender would be an open-toe pump, where most of your foot is still covered. Both styles can be worn with hosiery as long as the toe is sheer and you keep the seam underneath your toes at all times.
  • Sling-backs, peep-toes and open-toed pumps will work with a business suit; however, sandals are not an option with a skirted suit. It drags the look of the suit into a more casual realm decreasing your credibility and authority.
  • If you choose to wear sandals, preferably in a business casual or casual setting, choose styles that have some substance to them, a.k.a. not super-strappy and bare. Go for a bit of a heel avoiding completely flat sandals.
  • Wearing hosiery with sandals just doesn’t work and can make you look out of touch and matronly. More than anything, it’s uncoordinated. Hosiery has a professional look to it, and sandals are meant to be summery and care-free—so there’s a discord.
  • Sandals for work are never the same casual sandals you wear on the weekends. Also avoid any shoes that make a slapping noise as you walk down the hall in the office.
  • No matter which style shoe you choose, your pedicure must be impeccable! Get rid of that dry, winter skin. Trim and shape the nails, and stick to business-like nail colors. (Save the blues and greens and little flowers for vacation.)
  • As with hosiery, when deciding which shoes to wear on a warm day, consider your company’s dress code, your environment, superiors/peers and your goals.

Do you wear sandals to work in the warm weather? As an employer, what issues are you having around summer footwear? I’d love to hear your comments!

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