Footwear for the workplace

Appropriate shoes put a final bit of polish to the workaday outfit. So once you've made sure your shoes are comfortable, be sure to consider whether they're appropriate for the occasion and whether they blend with the rest of your ensemble. Nothing wrecks the effect of a suit quicker than an overly dressy pair of shoes. If you're in the business world, consider stocking your closet with pumps -- over a period of time, of course, because good ones can be expensive. Keep to basic shades of brown, gray, black, taupe, burgundy, and navy. No circus colors, please. The classic pump stays in style, so don't worry about being behind the times next year.

The most conservative pump style is the closed toe and heel. But sling-backs are acceptable, and so are pumps with a slightly open toe. The high ultra-skinny heel is usually a no-no. Few women can walk in these, anyway, without wobbling or pitching forward. And stay away from a heel that's very low; these give a flat-foot look. The moderate heel of about two inches works well for most women.

The beauty of pumps is that they can be dressed up for after-office wear by simply adding a sleek-lined buckle in gold, silver, or a matching color.

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