The Hunt: Black Pumps

comfortable heels for workSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

Wow – I don’t think we’ve done a Hunt on basic black pumps in a LONG, long while.  Which are your favorite black pumps right now, ladies? Do you prefer a more modern style like the popular Vince heels or Steve Madden heels featured below — or are you classic all the way, like one of our more traditional Hall of Famers? Do you personally prefer pointier toes or more almond toes (there are a ton of both on the market right now!) If you were looking for a new pump for an interview outfit, what would you buy? It’s great to see so many options in low heels, high heels, and strappy pumps.

(Curious for our previous roundups of black pumps? In addition to the several specific shoes mentioned in our Guide to Comfortable Heels, we also did a 2013 guide to interview pumps and to low heels, a 2012 guide to black pumps under $250, 2008 guide to basic black pumps.

Today’s featured shoes include:

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Three Work Outfits with Nude Flats

work outfits with nude flatsWhile I have a tendency to feature workwear with interesting details for our main TPS reports, I’ve always thought that the Hunt features were great ways to feature some of the more basic items of clothing that truly make up the workhorses of a businesswoman’s wardrobe. So today I thought I’d try out a new idea, and feature three work outfits using the item from our last Hunt: nude-for-you flats. You can see the full roundup of nude flats here, or nude heels here. (Beige flats are a neutral whether they’re nude-for-you or not, but to match your skin shade to find a nude-for-you flat, see the full Hunt for several options in darker shades. Pictured below are the six shoes we featured, but we rounded up a lot of others in specialty categories like comfort, affordable, wide widths and more!)

nude flats for work

Pictured above: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6

Below, our three work outfits using nude flats:

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The Hunt: Nude Flats

nude flatsSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

Almost since this blog was born, we’ve done roundups of nude-for-you heels — beige heels, brown heels, pink heels and more. But I don’t think we’ve ever done a roundup of nude flats — so I thought we’d do one today. Ladies, do you wear nude-for-you flats as often as you wear nude-for-you heels? Which outfits are your favorite to pair with nude-for-you flats? Any favorite brands of flats, either for comfort or the perfect match to your skin?  

Update: Check out three work outfit ideas with nude flats

(Psst: check out our recent roundup of comfortable ballet flats, and of course our recently updated guide to comfortable heels.)

First up, some of our “Workwear Hall of Fame” styles — these are the best sellers and classics that have been around for years:

nude flats - classic styles

Pictured: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 

 

Before we get into today’s recommendations, some specialty categories:

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Summer Foot Care: 10 Products To Help with Blisters, Sweat, and More

summer foot careWhile we may be happy to welcome the warmer weather, our feet might not be. To help you tackle cracked, rough heels that remain after winter; painful blisters from shoes you haven’t worn in months; sore feet from high heels; and sweaty feet, we’ve rounded up several foot care products that can help with summer foot care.

FootGloss All-Natural Foot PrepThis balm stick made from all-natural ingredients (and also made in the U.S.) is designed to prevent blisters. Just apply it to your foot where your shoes rub them, and it’ll reduce the friction that leads to blisters forming under those tight spots. FootGloss is free of fragrances, petroleum, and parabens; instead it does the job with castor seed oil, olive fruit oil, beeswax, and more. It’s available for $21.95 (for two tubes) at The Grommet and for $12 (for one o.5-oz. stick) directly from FootGloss.com. Psst: If you’re plagued with blisters from stiff, unforgiving shoes, check out our Guide to Comfortable Heels.

Band-Aid Friction Block StickHere’s another foot care product that prevents parts of your shoes from chafing and irritating your feet and creating blisters. (This one has a slightly lower price.) The main ingredient is an oil, like FootGloss — hydrogenated vegetable oil in this case — but unlike FootGloss, it’s not fragrance-free. Still, reviewers seem to like how it smells. The stick is still listed on Band-Aid’s site but is now sold out at most online sources, so you may want to buy right away — I have a feeling it’s discontinued. You can buy what looks like an older version of the product at Amazon (free shipping; not Amazon Prime) for $9.99 (.34 oz. stick), Walmart has a couple 2-packs left for $16.20, and some Target and CVS locations still have it in stock. Foot Glide and its predecessor Body Glide are similar products that are also available at Amazon.

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The Hunt: Comfortable Ballet Flats

comfortable ballet flats for work roundupSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

We’ve talked a lot about flats over the years, but I don’t think we’ve ever done a major roundup of the most comfortable ballet flats for work.  So ladies, let’s hear it — which are your favorites? What are your favorite ways to break in a new pair of flats, or make them more comfortable for your feet? (As someone with narrow heels I’m always adding these heel pads.) Although rounded toes have come really far for work, I still think the best flat for work is one that has a bit of a point to it, in a durable leather, preferably with a rubber sole or rubber heel for comfort and grip. I know some people hate the look of patent leather flats, but I don’t mind them, particularly in a tumbled patent leather (like the Calvin Klein flat pictured below) or a color other than black, like a nice gray. We’ve rounded up some of the best-selling, highest rated styles below — which brands and styles are your favorite?

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Stylish Work Sneakers For Women and Other Casual Professional Shoes

work sneakers and other casual shoes for womenWe recently got this question from a reader who’s running for judge (woot, you go!), and it raises an interesting issue of what is casual but professional footwear for women — for weekends and other outings outside the office. Can you be professional in sneakers? What are some other options besides work sneakers? We tried to talk about the casual-but-professional-uniform a few years ago, but I still feel like it’s an issue. Reader K asks:

Kat, I am a 42-year-old lawyer, mother of two, and am running for judge [locale redacted, but suffice it to say somewhere hot]. I made it through the primary and am in a runoff on May 24. There are occasions (like when I’m working the polls) that I wear my campaign t-shirt and a pair of jeans. I have worn boots with my jeans (in February), but now that it’s getting warmer, I think I need a pair of sneakers. The problem is I have running shoes, boots, flip flops, or dress shoes. Do you have any suggestions for stylish, comfy sneakers?

Congratulations, and good luck!  As to the question: very interesting.  Comfortable, stylish, but vaguely professional sneakers: I’m curious to see what readers say here. I’m a diehard Chucks girl myself — they’re classics! But aside from off-white Converse, I would worry that they show a bit too much personality — I associate black ones as being an outsider/artist/comedian kind of shoe, for some reason, and colorful ones being too young/wacky. (I currently wear gray ones on weekends, which perhaps is my way of saying “I used to feel like an outsider but now I’m a mom and have no feelings of my own.”) Instead, I might steer you toward a few other options for work sneakers and other casual-but-stylish shoes:

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