14 March 2007

How to wear a showpiece shoe without getting fired

I just bought these great round toed pumps, and I want to wear them to work this Friday. Problem is, I'm a lawyer in a pretty buttoned-up Connecticut Avenue firm. We're allowed to partake in casual Friday, but the kind of casual you're allowed to indulge in (from what I gather on your blog) is way more casual than what's allowed at my place of work. How can I wear my bright red shoes to the office without getting reprimanded?

If it helps, I'm a size 4-6, 5'8" in flats and have absolutely NO HIPS. Very "boy" shaped.

First, I want to thank you several times over for including your size, height and shape. It makes all the difference in the world to know with what I'm working when recommending an ensemble.

Second, love love LOVE the shoes. Nice choice. Rocket Dog, correct? I recognize their trademark fat spiked heel and heart-emblazoned lining.

Third, since you are a lawyer working in a conservative firm, you were smart to choose a showpiece shoe whose only showpiece quality is its bright punch of color. While I might go for the bright punch plus the peep toe plus the super high four-inch skinny heel, you did yourself the biggest favor you could by sticking to a closed-toed, not-too-high pump with a classic, elegant silhouette.

I'm so glad you didn't describe yourself as "curvaceous," because the moment I saw these shoes, my immediate instinct was to recommend a stovepipe-legged trouser like these 'Grace' skinny trousers from Alvin Valley ($270 at shopbop.com). Before anyone opens their mouth to object, I want to preemptively address the concern that a stovepiped silhouette is tantamount to a tapered one. Not true. There is a big difference between tapered and stovepiped, primarily that the former starts baggy at the waist, fits more snugly through the thigh and then cinches abruptly at the ankle creating a pair of Mischa Barton sugar-cone legs. A stovepipe-legged trouser, however, starts fitted at the waist, remains fitted throughout the entire leg, and fits just tightly enough over the ankle to cover the backmost part of a pump. This look, unfortunately, is for thin-legged women only. No exceptions.

Ask anyone close to me and they'll tell you right away one of my most reliable, go-to color combinations - in addition to black/black, black/ivory and black/metallic - is black/red/ivory. That being so, I'd like to place atop the black skinny trouser this Alice + Olivia 'Puff Blouse' ($198 at saks.com); the sleeves add volume to the straight-up-and-down line of the trousers and the subtle tuxedo-bib and Peter Pan collar add a nice feminine texturing that inform your audience you're not just a lawyer but a sexy lady lawyer.

Because the blouse is fairly long and the trousers have conspicuous loops, you'll need to tuck-in and you'll need to wear a belt. The instinct to want to match your shoes to your belt to your handbag is the result of an idea - in my opinion, a fashion relic - from your Mother's Mother's era. The trick is to complement, not match. As such, I've chosen this simple, sophisticated black patent-leather cinch from Lauren by Ralph Lauren ($36 at nordstrom.com). You want to define a boundary between your lower and upper halves, and this is why I've chosen a shiny leather belt - one that isn't capable of getting lost in the fabric of the trousers - over a matte leather one.

As for accessories, I'd go with large pearl studs, a nice ring and/or set of bangles, and a large black croc-embossed handbag such as this Elliott Lucca 'Sophie' satchel ($181.95 at zappos.com).

Since this is a casual Friday look and the temperatures are on the rise, I'm going to nudge you in the direction of going jacket-free. As long as you throw on a fitted khaki trench and a face-ful of meticulously-applied makeup, you should be all set to keep your job at the firm and earn your place as the second best-dressed chick on ConnAve.


dc girl said...

Those are killer pants.

Anonymous said...

The whole outfit is killer, if you ask me, but law firm appropriate? Not sure...

Anonymous said...

I would say, it depends if she's seeing clients that day, if not go for it!

jessica said...

I agree with the last comment. As long as there aren't meetings where she'll need to impress anyone, it's perfectly appropriate. And what a great outfit for transitioning to all the post-work happy hours!

I LOVE your sense of style. Very conservative and very sexy and very young all at the same time.

Anonymous said...

Love that blouse. Why is everything so cute so expensive? Story of my life.