Three Ways: Open Toe Black Flats

Jun 28, 2011

There’s a cold war raging in D.C. between the women who wear flats and those who wear heels.  A friend of mine who works for a defense contractor, and likes her heels skinny and tall, once asked me when I was going to stop “pussing out” and switch back to heels.  And another friend who works for a House Committee gives me endless guff about promoting the wearing of heels on this blog but only indulging in vertical addition two or three days per week.

The bottom line is, I’m more comfortable wearing flats but I’d rather wear heels.  However, conditions for heels are not at their best here in D.C.  I don’t drive.  I walk on hard marble floors.  And cobblestones, don’t even get me started about how cobblestones are not a valid pavement choice. But there are a lot of stylish flats out there, so it cushions the blow of giving up my beloved stilettos.

Polyvore Set Here.

Occasionally, I hear from readers who work in more conservative environs (law firms, Senate offices with STRICT dress codes) that my sets are too casual for their offices.  As you know, my first rule is that you have to dress appropriately for your office and your field because not every office is the same.  Here, I did a black suit outfit because the shoes are black.  But if you wanted to brighten or lighten it up you could also do light grey with these shoes.

I love this jacket.  If you want to do something a little different from a basic blazer, consider a longer, tie waist jacket.  However, if you’re apple shaped (thicker or straighter through the middle), this tie belt probably isn’t enough structure.  If you’re looking to emphasize the waist, you need a leather or otherwise strong belt.  Cloth belts usually aren’t enough.

Also, I paired the jacket with a draped, v-neck blouse because I like when necklines compliment each other.  This way, you’ll get just a hint of skin and a nice, textured, layered look.  Just add some simple, but striking, earrings and a great bag (I know this one is crazy expensive, but a girl can dream.) and you’re all set.

Polyvore Set Here.

Chambray has been on my fashion radar for about a year now, but I’ve been struggling to figure out how to wear this light denim fabric in a professional setting.  But I think this outfit pulls it off.

By adding a multi-chain necklace with texture and color it pulls the look together without making it too dressy or minimizing the professional appeal of the pencil skirt.  Also, I chose a bag with less structure than I usually like and some fun details. 

If the pencil skirt isn’t your thing, you could also pair the chambray shirt with white trousers and nude shoes.  Or you could wear it as a swimsuit cover, which would be cute and on trend.

Polyvore Set Here.

When you wear flats with cocktail attire, you want to channel Audrey Hepburn.  This look works best when the flats are simple and classic with a well-tailored, feminine dress.  Here, I pulled an old-ish Milly dress that I’m still crushing on because it really fit the modern, ladylike look that I wanted.

Pearl earrings are a classic and really lift your look when wearing white for evening.  Add a simple clutch and a sweet, twisted or braided updo (no tendrils, please), and you’ll have a look that’s perfectly suited for a quaint cocktail party. 

Three Ways

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  1. i wear heels everyday at work – but i travel to work in either flops, rainboots or uggs. every now and then i will wear flats, but for some reason i don't feel professional wearing flats. fashionable – yes, but not without the scrutiny of feds that surround me.

    cheryl denise (fellow washingtonian)
    https://peekofchic.blogspot.com

  2. i wear heels everyday at work – but i travel to work in either flops, rainboots or uggs. every now and then i will wear flats, but for some reason i don't feel professional wearing flats. fashionable – yes, but not without the scrutiny of feds that surround me.

    cheryl denise (fellow washingtonian)
    https://peekofchic.blogspot.com

  3. Dr. Jean Grey says:

    Honestly, I don't think it matters if you wear flats or heels as long as you can WALK in them. I see so many women teetering around on heels it's ridiculous. You don't look professional when you can't put one foot in front of the other! Thanks. Rant over. (And, FWIW, I wear study heels with a solid rubber sole or flats with a flat rubber sole. I have to keep up w/ the boss! Teeny, tiny, tall heels=Crash. Bang. Boom.

  4. Katie says:

    I'm in love with the first outfit! With regards to the top, what do you wear under it? A cami?

  5. Belle says:

    Katie-It should cover you. No need for a cami.

  6. Sophiegoose says:

    Agreed with the first outfit – a total winner! “Suites” can totally be put together in a more interesting and fashionable way.

  7. Amy says:

    According to Net-a-Porter the Milly dress is sold out. Any cocktail-time alternatives you would suggest, Belle?

  8. eva says:

    following your twitter.. just wanted to say if it was law school you're deciding on, don't go!! 🙂

  9. annie says:

    absolutely adore the first set! it can be so tough to be in conservative environments without falling prey to life in a rut. suits get boring so quickly, but i LOVE the look of the first outfit. it still would be too casual in my office (cotton blazer = no dice), but it's a great idea. thank you. 🙂

  10. i wear heels everyday at work – but i travel to work in either flops, rainboots or uggs. every now and then i will wear flats, but for some reason i don't feel professional wearing flats. fashionable – yes, but not without the scrutiny of feds that surround me.

    cheryl denise (fellow washingtonian)
    https://peekofchic.blogspot.com

  11. DHL says:

    Dillards has some similar white dresses (albeit sleeveless) in the Antonio Melani collection. On sale right now too. I think the question regarding the first top might be in reference to the bottom half of the shirt–I think it is open below the cross-drapes and would expose some midriff. As for law school, I thought law school was fun. But it is a huge time suck if it isn't what you want to do with your life.

  12. Molly says:

    Love the first set. Keep the more formal outfits coming!

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