The Budget Fashionista’s Guide to Office Shoes

You already know great shoes, and when it comes to your job, you’ve got that down, too. But great shoes for your job? That part gets a little tricky. Succeeding in the workforce is all about collaboration, so allow us to lend a hand. Here are the shoes you’ll want for your work wardrobe… and the shoes you don’t.

1. The goes-with-everything shoe
The basic black pump is known as the work-horse of office shoes, and for good reason, but we’d suggest an even more versatile heel: the nude pump. We dare you to find an outfit in your professional wardrobe that doesn’t go with any of these three heels. If you only buy one pair of shoes this year (or even this decade) buy a pair of these.

3 shoes The Budget Fashionista’s Guide to Office Shoes

1. Nine West The Budget Fashionista’s Guide to Office Shoes Bofire, $49.99 at Piperlime The Budget Fashionista’s Guide to Office Shoes

2. Depalma, $49.98 at Aldo

3. Pocket Court Shoe, $41.98 at Asos

2. The lady-like flat
You can’t wear heels every day, but that doesn’t mean you should show up to work in flip flops or Crocs. Even some flats are unacceptable, so when you shop, make sure you select a pair that’s right for your workplace. A good question to ask yourself: Would Audrey Hepburn wear these? The iconic actress loved flats, but hers were lady-like, not child-like. Select a pair with minimal embellishment, quality construction and no crazy colors or designs.

beauty shoes The Budget Fashionista’s Guide to Office Shoes

1. Steve Madden The Budget Fashionista’s Guide to Office Shoes P-Lovely, $34.99 at Famous Footwear

2. Heaven Patent Flat, $39.95 at DSW

3. The Midas Tip Flat, $29.99 at Modcloth The Budget Fashionista’s Guide to Office Shoes

3. The Collegiate-Cool Shoe
They may not look fashion-forward, but oxford shoes are a hot trend right now. As flats, stilletos or wedges, they make any outfit look chic and are the perfect compliment to a pencil skirt, a sheath dress or a pair of slacks.

cool shoes The Budget Fashionista’s Guide to Office Shoes

1. Deperro, $44.98 at Aldo (Not Available)

2. Candyce, $39.99 at Nine West The Budget Fashionista’s Guide to Office Shoes

3. Not Rated Executive Oxford Pump, $39.99 at DSW

4. The shoe with personality
It is totally possible to look professional while showing off your signature style, but when it comes to office fashion, a little goes a long way. Find a shoe in a classic, classy shape that comes in a bold color or print. Animal skin or print, red or cobalt blue hues, or demure ribbons and bows are all perfectly acceptable accents to your footwear. Just remember, you can have too much of a good thing.

nice shoes The Budget Fashionista’s Guide to Office Shoes

1. Leopard-Print Leather Peep-Toe Pumps, $39 at Spiegel

2. bebe “Marsha” Pump, $44.90 at Nordstrom The Budget Fashionista’s Guide to Office Shoes

3. Ribbon-Trim Sueded Cut-Out Pumps, $39.99 at Newport News

What’s NOT Office Appropriate

1. Platforms

These plaform heels, $70 at Baker’s, are cute, but not for the office. Keep your heels under 4 inches tall. Not only do they look more professional, but they’ll be easier on your feet.

2. Sandals

The fact that these heels ($26 at Forever 21) are beige doesn’t mean they’re okay for work. The only strappy shoes we’d recommend for the office are a classic pair of mary janes.

3. Party Heels

Not all pumps are created equal. Steer clear of lace, like these heels, ($44.95 at DSW), heels with rhinestones, glitter and/or an over-abundance of bows, ruffles or flowers. If you’d wear them to a nightclub, don’t wear them to work.