Style + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle: Flats to Heels Transition


Can we please chat about wearing flats for commuting and heels in the office? 

Most of my heels add about three inches–these are my most recent obsession. I own pants for flats and longer ones fit for heels.  But, it’s just about impossible to wear my heels outside of the level floors of an office building.  The cobblestone and poorly done sidewalks are rough for heel walking.  I’ll wear flats, but then my pants are too long–I don’t want to ruin my pants!  

What is the best way to deal with pants when making the “flats” to “heel” transition? I’ve seen people artificially crop their pants with the use of rubber-bands to hold them up, but it looks terrible.  Is my only option to switch out my shoes and pants when arriving at work?  

— Kay

I don’t really have this problem, because I only wear skirts and dresses.  But I know that it’s an issue for a lot of women, and there are a lot of products on the market to help you deal with the flats to heels transition.  

The most popular product to help you re-hem your pants is Style Snaps.  You affix the snaps to the inside of your trousers wherever you want the new hem to be, and since the snaps aren’t permanent, you can change them as needed.  You can also reuse the snaps easily with different pairs of pants.  Not bad for $10 plus shipping.

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  1. Belle says:

    BLM: I own one pair of trousers. I wear them once every five weeks. I just don't like pants, and I think skirts are more comfortable.

    November 30, -0001/Reply
  2. Erin says:

    I am a huge fan of these A little more expensive than the ones Belle mentioned but they have worked great and I don't mind having them on my pants.

    October 17, 2012/Reply
  3. LL says:

    You might also try finding a pair of commuter heels. They're not going to be your most beautiful shoe, but heels by comfort brands that you can wear with your longer pants and be stable and warm on your commute may be a good option. Think Sofft, Born, Ecco, etc. Corporette featured a pair recently for this purpose. Here's a couple examples:

    October 17, 2012/Reply
  4. Meagan says:

    I have had terrible luck with those snap things, I may have to try the ones Erin makes reference to. The ones I have tried have always lee me (my hemlines) down.

    October 17, 2012/Reply
  5. r says:

    I've swapped out my commuting flat for a wedge shoe with a rubber sole. It gives me the height I need for the pants, but is nearly as comfortable as a flat.

    October 17, 2012/Reply
  6. Megan says:

    I had a horrible experience with style snaps– definitely would NOT recommend them to anyone. Wear different shoes for the commute– plus it extends the life of your heels.

    October 17, 2012/Reply
  7. carrie says:

    iron-on velcro strips! place them on the inside of your pants and you're good to go

    October 17, 2012/Reply
  8. Stefanie R. says:

    I've used zakkerz and have had no problems. They're not the most stylish solution, but they get the job done without tearing the hems out of my pants.

    October 17, 2012/Reply
  9. MA says:

    On that note, does anyone have recommendations for comfortable yet stylish (oxymoron, I realize) commuter shoes? I'm getting desperate, especially as the ground gets colder and my little toesies start to freeze

    October 17, 2012/Reply
  10. KateW says:

    MA – I swear by these Aerosoles:,100006&isBrand=y&categoryName=women

    They certainly aren't fashion forward, but they aren't hideous either. Each pair has lasted me at least two years and are super comfortable.

    October 17, 2012/Reply
  11. Rachel says:

    I heard a good tip about commuting in wedges when you need to keep your longer pant hems off the ground. Wedges tend to be significantly more comfortable, and you can find pairs which are still acceptable-looking enough with your dress pants for a metro ride. I'm not a huge fan of wedges (except for their comfort) so I would switch to pumps once in the office.

    October 17, 2012/Reply
  12. Ann says:

    MA – I love my Geox flats. I have had a pair similiar to these for my commuter shoes for about a year and they are super comfortable and not bad looking.

    October 17, 2012/Reply
  13. BLM says:

    Belle – you never wear pants to work? Ever? Why?

    October 17, 2012/Reply
  14. tiaracara says:

    The best thing about this post was that the link in the letter opened in a NEW window — Belle, please please consider doing this with all of your links. I know this is stupid and petty and silly- however, its my own personal pet peeve that I have to keep going back and forth to click on the links and read an entire post. It makes it a tiny bit more difficult to follow along with your posts when you cant easily reference your suggestions and selections in a separate window and then keep reading. Thanks for all your great work- and thanks for your consideration of my request!

    October 19, 2012/Reply
  15. sbd says:

    One of my best friends who worked in fashion in NYC (high up in a luxury brand conglomerate) just clipped her pants up with binder clips when she commuted in flats. Not the chicest of solutions but I have tried it and it works fine without looking too stupid.

    October 21, 2012/Reply
  16. Caroline says:

    I'm like Belle and almost exclusively wear skirts and dresses. When you're petite it's hard to find trousers that are flattering and fit properly. I lost 5 pounds over the past year, and when you're as small as I am these minor weight fluctuations mean the pants that were inappropriately tight a year ago are falling off me now.

    When I do wear pants I just wear the heels to work. Half the time I bike there anyway, and I wear pants so infrequently that when I do walk it's not going to totally ruin the heels. But if I were wearing pants every day I would use wedge heels for the walk. They do look a little odd with pants but it's much better than most of the footwear I see women sporting during their commutes.

    October 22, 2012/Reply
  17. Holly says:

    I don’t really want to buy something, especially if I have to permanently attach it to my pants. What other things do you ladies do to hold your pant hems up?

    February 26, 2014/Reply