Style + Ask The Edit

Ask Belle: Shoes for Summer Recess

Hi Belle,

Do you have any suggestions for casual but still office appropriate clothing for summer recess? To narrow it down a little bit, I’m specifically wondering about shoes – is there a happy medium between my usual patent leather pumps and a pair of casual sandals? I relish the opportunity to dress down, but I don’t want to look like I’m headed to the beach. Any advice?


The first thing you need to decide is: Do I want to wear heels or do I want to wear flats?  Personally, my summer shoe wardrobe is all about the flats.


Loeffler Randall Luella Flat ($206)

D’Orsay Flats are a great alternative to ballet flats.  They show a bit of the foot, but they’re not a sandal.  The Loeffler pair above are fantastic–pretty, versatile, stylish–but if they’re a bit out of your price range, there are many other options available.

These open-toed D’Orsay flats from Nine West come in several great colors including a versatile snakeskin.  These Forever 21 peep toes come in beige and black.  I also like these Cole Haan-knock offs from Call It Spring.

Want something more fashion forward?  All the bloggers seem to be wearing the pointy-toed D’Orsay flats this season.  I like these ones from Report, they’re stylish but not too expensive and the graphic print is really fun.  This Steve Madden chambray pair are also nice, very summery.

Ankle Strap Flats are also on trend this summer.  If you prefer to keep your toes hidden at the office, Anthropologie has these studded flats and these brightly colored patent ones. I also like these flame-colored flats from Modcloth.

If a round toe is more to your liking, I like these sheer toed flats in black.  These studded flats from Delia’s are kind of great.  And if you want something that has a bit more of  a sandal look to it, try these cage front t-straps.  I owned a similar pair last summer and wore them to death.

Slingback Flats are a good way to bring in a hint of skin while keeping the shoe professional.  I love these dainty flats from J.Crew.  Nine West also has a classic pointed toe sling and this pair with a structured bow on the front.  And these neon flats would be really cute for a striped dress or navy shorts on the weekends.

Is a high heel more up your alley?

Kitten Heels are always worth a try.  Some women find them tough to walk in, but I’ve always liked a 2″ heel for walkability and comfort.  This pair from Forever 21 are simple and stylish, and this grey pair have a vintage vibe to them.  If you have a bit more money to spend, these Michael Kors pumps are so cool and these Loeffler pumps have been on my wish list for awhile.

What’s your “go to” summer shoe?  Leave your thoughts in the comments.



  1. Andrea says:

    LOVE the Nine West slingbacks with the bow. Too cute! My new go-to spring/summer shoe has been this Arturo Chiang wedge: I bought a pair in nude after Christmas and wore them constantly during the last couple months of my spring Hill internship. They’re comfortable and are dressy enough for work, but they also take casual outfits up a notch.

    June 4, 2013/Reply
  2. Nellie says:

    Belle, I feel like I should know this, but do you have a position on open-toed shoes at the office? You did a great post in 2011 ( on summer sandals in general, but I’m not sure where to draw the line for work. Recess vs. session distinctions would also be helpful.

    June 4, 2013/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I think a little toe is okay as long as you take care of your feet. That being said some law offices, congressional offices and financial institutions insist on closed toe. If it’s not spelled out in your employee guidelines, then a peep toe (not the whole front of your foot), is probably okay.

      June 4, 2013/Reply
  3. m says:

    Belle — I remember you have many times recommended pointy-toe flats as looking a bit more dressy than rounded-toe. It took me a while to find a pair that accommodated my wide feet, but I found some lovely ones from Kate Spade. On sale, to boot!

    June 4, 2013/Reply
    • J says:

      ooohh… PRETTY!! the color is beautiful and I love the detail!

      June 4, 2013/Reply
    • Belle says:

      IT’s really more about the structure of the shoe than pointy vs. round, but pointy flats usually have more structure. Those are cute. Hope you get lots of wear out of them.

      June 4, 2013/Reply
      • m says:

        Thanks for the tip, Belle.

        I forgot to mention my other summer go-to shoe is perforated flats. I have some leather from Talbots last year. It’s a good compromise between a flat and a sandal: they keep the toes covered up but still allow your foot to breathe.

        June 4, 2013/Reply
  4. Joules says:

    Wow, I’m pretty sure I’ve never liked a pair of shoes from Forever 21 before, but those kitten heel pumps are pretty adorable!

    Style by Joules

    June 4, 2013/Reply