Ask Belle: Work Shoes for Interns

Mar 20, 2013

Hi Belle!

I just found your blog and I am so glad I did. I’m starting my internship in the Senate soon and your blog has been a lifesaver.  I don’t own any dressy work shoes and I need to know which ones you think are must haves. I found another post you did on spring shoes but there were too many pairs. Could you whittle down the list to just what I need?

Thx! Kailey

Oh, I remember when I was just starting my internship…I rode a Brontosaurus to my interview and faxed over my resume…only one of those things is true.  But I digress…

Screen Shot 2013-03-19 at 11.32.07 PM

From Left, MK Flex Mid Pump ($99), Rockport Lendra Black Pump ($100), Rockport Ashika Flat ($90), Acorn Ballet Flat ($78)

The truth is that an intern could easily get by with two pairs of shoes, one structured flat and one heel.  Take a look at your wardrobe, what color appears most?  If you’re wearing a lot of black, then you need black to carry you through.  If it’s navy and fun colors, you need nude or grey or snakeskin.  But for a shoe stash with just enough versatility that you won’t get bored, I think four pairs should do the trick.  And since they’re for interns, all of the shoes referenced in this post are under-$100.

Nude-to-You. If you’re going to be wearing a lot of skirts and dresses this spring/summer, then you need a pair of flesh-toned pumps or flats.  Make sure to buy a comfortable pair and take care of them (new heel caps, cleaning, re-soling, etc.).  And if the patent gets scuffed, a Q-tip and some acetone will take that right off.

Other options include these Ellen Tracy pumps with a small platform, these kitten heel slingbacks and these Nine West pumps that come in a light and somewhat darker shade.  Prefer a round toe?  Try these Corso Como pumps or this inexpensive pair from Famous Footwear.

Black Pumps are an absolute essential.  I used to own a pair of Rockport pumps and they were amazingly comfortable.  Their styling is occasionally hit or miss, but this simple pair are perfect for the office (and this pair is pretty chic too, I think I need them).

Not crazy about this pair?  I like the dramatic vamp on this pair.  This almond toe Nine West pump is nice.  And, of course, we have a low-heeled Ivanka Trump shoe as well.

Colored flats.  I think a pair of colored flats can really jazz up a business suit or a pair of jeans.  I also like this suede pair with the open side and this pair with a little embellishment on the front.  I chose red because it goes well with navy, but you could easily choose another color to suit your taste and the colors in your closet. Some options include: cobalt, mint, emerald, coral and yellow.  Or you could go with a metallic, either silver or gold.

Walk-Around Flats.  As an intern, you’ll be giving a lot of tours.  This task requires a lot of walking.  You may also be living walking to and from work, or at least, walking significant distances to the Metro.  This will take a serious toll on your feet, so you need a pair of foldable ballet flats that you can commute in, give tours in and just throw in your bag.

I’ve heard good things about these Acorn ballet flats.  I also recommend the Yosi Samra flats (love the two-tone cap toes, the metallics and the snakeskin).

I’ve also known interns who liked to use driving mocs or Sperry’s as walking around shoes.  I’m not the biggest fan of the Sperry option (unless they’re their new flats), but as long as their not Crocs, $4 flip-flop sandals or athletic shoes, I consider it a victory.

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  1. Yes, Yes, Yes! A nude heel one can walk in all day.

  2. Em says:

    Any recommendations on buying a nude-to-me heel? Having issues finding one, especially with my color fluctuating with recent tanning sessions for an upcoming friends’ wedding.

    Do I need more than one pair, or is there a way to figure out if its too light/too dark?

  3. Anon says:

    Acetone can be a bit hard on the finish of leather (and really bad news on other surfaces). A little bit of eucalyptus oil will take out scuffs, dark marks, and many other nuisances. It is also excellent at removing the residue from sticky labels on all sorts of things…

  4. Short & Sweet says:

    Honestly, I think the nude heel and the black heel are all you need if you get good-quality comfortable pairs. I walk 2.5 miles in mine each day.

  5. Emily says:

    I used to get agitated with interns who wore excessively high heels or otherwise unmanageable shoes. We used to literally run after our Member to keep up, and walked so much. Biggest tip is to break the shoes in well and make sure they’re not unmanageable.

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