Weekend Open Thread

Steven – MelaneeSomething on your mind? Chat about it here.

Admittedly, I am late to the brogue/oxford party — they’ve been in stores for more than a year and a half, and so many chic New Yorkers wear them all the time with skirts and dresses. Yet I’m still hesitant about them for a conservative office — hence my weekend recommendation. I like that they have a higher vamp than flats, making them easier to walk in, and I think they can look amazing with tights. This pair from Steven is on sale today at Zappos — was $99, now $68.77 (available in black, brown, and olive leather).  Steven – Melanee (Black Leather) – Footwear


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  1. Ugh. I cannot get into this look at all.

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Given this shoe suggestion, I’m really looking forward to next Friday’s TPS and Open Thread suggestions! They should be awesome :).

      • Praxidike :

        I can’t get into this look, either. I love the high-heel oxford look and finally bought a pair of those (which I guess I can wear for another month, and then I’ll put them in storage for the winter), but the brogues are just too masculine for me.

      • LOL, SFBayAssoc

    • I hate ’em too. And I don’t like the heeled ones either!
      Didn’t like them in the 80s/90s with the acid-washed, pegged, trouser-pleated jeans with off-the-shoulder distressed pastel sweatshirts and bleachfried over-gelled standup hair…and I don’t like them now!

      • I have seen some cute flat oxfords. These are not them!

        I actually thought Kat was making a “buy this for the man in your life” suggestion (for some reason).

        I get that this style is not going to be for everyone, but it *can* be cute — just not in that particular pair!

        • I just got some!


          I like them a lot. Very cute!!!

      • Kanye East :

        In the 80s and early 90s it was Capezios, not proper oxfords (although this probably varied by region. NYC was all about Capezios).

        • I grew up in SF Bay area–we wore capezios too! (Of course it was probably easier than NY because we got less weather–oh those thin soles!)

    • I didn’t think I liked the look until I saw a girl yesterday wearing a nude, sleeker version.

      • I want to do the slightly full skirt + oxford look – I think it looks sort of alternative in a way that is appealing to me. But I agree that a sleeker version probably would look better. I like J Crew’s Camden Leather Brogues, but I do not like the $250 price. I wonder if they still make jazz oxfords for dance classess….

      • More like these: http://www.dsw.com/shoe/sm+women%27s+oxford+flat?prodId=213669&productRef=SEARCH
        The featured black ones look too much like my husband’s shoes.

      • I, too, thought that these were for men. I am curious as to what this looks like styled. Maybe better in lighter color.

        • They are great in a lighter color – I just bought a pair of laceless oxfords from Nordstrom, they are so comfortable and perfect with a pants suit.

    • I get menswear-inspired items, but these look like they ARE men’s shoes. Not cute.

  2. People wear these with a skirt? Really?

    • Elaine Benes (Seinfeld) used to …

      • My point exactly.

      • Lawyering Mom :

        LOL, I thought of Elaine…but not in a good way.

        • Oh, I wasn’t intending it to be a good thing! There’s one episode in particular I remember where she wore a red calico dress and oxfords – I still have the visual stuck in my brain oh so many years later.

      • Anonymous :

        Elaine’s look is very fashionable with young women. You have to be a bit breezey about it, and life. If we rule out things we remember the first time around, we rule ourselves into the ‘older woman’ camp before our time. The longer we live, the more things from our yout will come aorund againa and again… we are too young to be old. Let’s smile and enjoy.

        E;aine in fashion…

        • I’m 27 which is fairly young and think these look like ‘for the man in your life’ as well. Or at least to be worn with trousers.

        • Lawyering Mom :

          I am in my 30s and I remember disliking the Elaine Benes look in high school. At that time, I wore heeled penny loafers, but never Oxfords. I think they look like my husband’s shoes. The posted oxfords are particularly bad. I have no problem re-embracing old fashions, but not the ones I thought were ugly the first time around! I don’t mind some of the high heeled Oxfords however, though I wouldn’t buy them myself!

    • Taylor Swift does this all the time! You can Google image search Taylor Swift + Oxfords.

      I think it takes a very special person to pull it off, and I am not one of those people…

  3. Anonymous :

    I have been on the feminine oxf0rd-crossover bandwagon for a long time. (Probably a leftover from seeing my IBM-employee father wear nothing but suits and oxfords to work my whole life.) So I have many, many iterations in my shoe wardrobe. But these look very masculine to me, and I can’t see wearing them with a skirt at all. At the same time, I don’t live in NY and would never be mistaken for a “chic New Yorker.” I am sure I could be persuaded if I saw the whole look on the right, fashionable woman.

    • I live in NY and I have never seen that shoe or anything similar on anyone in danger of ever being called chic . . . Aside from maybe Miyam Bialik on Blossom, way back in the day . . . :)

      • Miyam Bialik was recently on a What Not to Wear episode. I believe Stacy & Clinton would have something to say about this shoe.

        • Haha, I saw it! (So was one of the girls from the Facts of Life)…

          In defense of my comment, I only said she was cute on Blossom — as a 12 year old. Not that she should have stuck to that wardrobe ;)

      • I am going to be vain and say that I am in NY, and I wear these and I look chic. :-). Also, I have really missed this site this week.

        • I’m also in NYC. I have numerous pairs of similar oxfords and I receive compliments every time I wear them.

    • I have some Frye oxfords, believe it or not (I never considered their boots very ‘feminine’ looking so it was something of a surprise to me) that fit my foot very well and look feminine. They were pricey, but I absolutely love them, and I’ve gotten TONS of wear out of them.

      Ooops, just realized capitalizing a whole word makes me veer into Ellen/Alan territory. I miss those two crazy kids.

  4. I wear these with pant suits at least once a week and usually more. Love love love. Warmer than flats and more comfortable too but narrow and feminine just because of their smallness, no heel/health issues, perfectly appropriate IMO and super cute.

  5. found a peanut :

    i wear a pair of oxfords (gray) to work with skirts and dresses all the time. I think the look is really cute. Granted, I wouldn’t pay $200 for a pair of oxfords because they are clearly a trend. But for under $100 they were worth it for me.

    I don’t understand why these would not be considered office appropriate. Men wear oxfords so shouldn’t women be allowed to?

    • Obviously plenty of women do wear them to work (or they wouldn’t be such a big trend right now) but to me it is akin to a woman wearing a tie or a man wearing a skirt suit.

      • Anonymous Poser :

        I think a woman wearing a tie and a man wearing a skirt suit are completely different things. Ties on (and sometimes made for) women have been viewed as trendy, at times, though often in a sexy sort of way (blouse unbuttoned, etc.). It’s a woman wearing an accessory usually meant for men.

        I’m not googling it, but I’ve never heard of a skirt suit for a man. It would be, arguably, a man wearing an entire outfit meant for a woman.

        Oxfords are just shoes. So long as they’re of a quality that’s appropriate for your office, and not inappropriate for your office culture, I don’t see the problem. I consider it a matter of people having different tastes.

        • skirt suit on man :

          A skirt suit designed for a man does in fact exist: Thom Browne (high-end suits for men, known more for the almost cropped-leg men’s suits that were briefly popular over the last few years) made one in 2009 that was later spotted on the street. Thought of it immediately when I saw this!


          To be honest, there is at least a precedent: formal kilt regalia with jacket is a skirt suit for a man as well. But I definitely haven’t spotted Thom Browne’s version taking off.

          • Yeah I’ve seen these on the runway (and on Marc Jacobs, haha), but I can’t imagine anyone outside fashion circles–and especially any man working in a corporate environment–wearing them. I would absolutely welcome it, but I don’t think it would ever take off, because it’s not “masculine” enough. :-/

  6. I was in a (completely unscheduled) semi-marathon working session with two partners yesterday that totally made me think of our discussion a few weeks ago on what to eat/drink during long meetings.

    FWIW, this was only about 8 hours long, but they took a 20 minute lunch-break, and both stepped out to take calls from clients (I got a client call later in the day and did the same as it was a semi-urgent matter). The 20 minute break would have been enough except that just as soon as I stepped out of the conference room to get my lunch out of my office, I got pulled into a third partner’s office for 15 minutes. So I gulped down some of my lunch but not much. A couple of hours later, as I was starting to get hungry, one of the partners fortunately demanded a break, so I ate one of my emergency Lara bars which I keep in my desk walking down the hall to find my green smoothie in the fridge (I bring one most days, and eat it around 11am, but by then I had been pulled into the conference room for this session). I poured most of it in a large, opaque coffee cup (all I could find fast in our pantry) and brought it back into the conference room with me. I kept it behind my laptop, so really, I don’t think either ever noticed what I was drinking, and it just about saved me for the last few hours.

    I did get the sense that it was understood that there were things that required us to step out at times (ie urgent client calls, bathroom breaks) and that it was not a big deal to do so. I did not feel comfortable eating in the room because both made a point to take a lunch break, but had they brought their lunches in and worked through lunch, I would have had no problem.

    It helps I have worked here over two years at this point too, and that I have a ton of food with me every day. This would have seriously sucked were I not one of those who brings lunch and snacks every day, and has a couple of emergency Lara bars in her desk.

    • I should add this started at 10ish am, and the lunch break was early, so by 3.30pm I was glad for the second break (and had put the lara bar in my pocket already)

      • I feel badly that anyone works in an environment where you cannot say to your coworkers (partner or not), “I have to step out to get something to eat, or I won’t be able to function.” A twenty minute break for food is going to reflect badly on you? That’s unfortunate.

        • Agreed. I’m in BigLaw, and I can’t think of a single partner in our office that I wouldn’t feel comfortable saying “I need to run out to get something to eat” to. Or order something online and have it delivered to the lobby.

          • I also would have little respect for a partner who doesn’t take time to FEED the people they’re working with if they work through lunch or dinner. At my big law firm, they throw food at us like candy. And if a team is working late, the partners often are the ones who say “lets get dinner, what does everyone want.”

            Maybe its just because I lack social skills, but I’d always say “feed me” (not to start THAT fight again).

          • ElevenElle :

            I completely agree, but I’ve worked with these ultra-efficient types and there seems to be an unwritten policy of bringing a lunch on those busy days. Valerie said this was unscheduled, which I’ve had happen as well. I tried to have a lean cuisine stashed for those days but I did end up eating a fiber one bar for lunch more than once anyway.

  7. Oh, you chic New Yorkers. In my neck of the woods, these would just look like I was wearing men’s shoes. Perfectly acceptable for the office, in my opinion, but not my style. I do like pumps with an oxford-inspired style, though.

    • I’m in NY and I think these are mannish and ugly, to be honest.

    • no, I think even in NYC this would look like men’s shoes.

      I agree, I do like the pumps that are oxford-inspired (not so much on me, but I think they look great on the right people. like those more stylish than me). I think the key is “inspired,” not actual oxfords.

      • I’m a little confused by the mannish comments, I mean yes they are men’s shoes but they fit really close to the foot and thus make women’s feet look slim and tiny, how is that mannish? I always think of delicate as being the opposite of mannish. Certainly they don’t make anyone look like a man.

        It just makes me sad that anything really comfortable is for some reason a no go for women. I’m guilty of it too – I think 99.99% of all loafers are hideous. And of course some women wear loafers and some wear brogues and there’s no law against it but a lot more people disapprove than on pumps. But surely it can’t be right that everything good for our feet is ugly?

        • At least from my point of view, I don’t think the issue with these shoes is that they’re oxfords and t/f mannish. I think (at least for me) it’s that they’re mannish (at least from the picture), which does not mean that other oxfords — that are cute more close to the foot, as you describe — are a problem.

          Same with loafers. Some are terrible looking, some are really cute. Not all pumps are cute, either. This particular shoe, based on the way it is pictured, strikes me as a bit too big and bulky for its purpose. Maybe it looks different in person. Certainly, I know there are lots of really cute versions of it out there!

        • I think it’s something about this particular pair I’m objecting to. Maybe the color? or the shape? I kind of like the creamish/pinkish pair someone posted a link to above. But I thought these were guy’s shoes until I read Kat’s description.

          As for comfortable shoes, I think there are plenty that work for women, especially recently. “Comfort” shoe lines have gotten way cuter recently, imo, both flats and pumps.

        • Ballerina girl :

          Yeah I am a big fan of comfy shoes–including oxfords. It’s just that this particular pair look like men’s shoes. When I saw them, I thought to myself: wow, Corporette is doing a piece on men’s shoes?

  8. Completely office-appropriate – just very man-ish and unattractive.

  9. I would love to get the Corporettes’ views on wearing suit jackets as blazers. I like the look of gray slacks, a colorful top and a black blazer, (a little less formal than a suit for my sort of biz casual office, but still professional I think) but can I sub a black suit jacket for the blazer? Are there some fabrics that are just “suit” and some that are more flexible? I also like blazers for dressing up jeans on the weekend, can I reach into my suit repertoire for this?

    • I think the answer to the question above (Are there some fabrics that are just “suit” and some that are more flexible?) is “yes.” But fabric is not the only factor that distinguishes a suit jacket that can be mixed and matched successfully. Fabric is part of it, but cut/style seem more important to me.

      Kat’s Wednesday suit posts are explicitly NOT interview suits but I think the jacket of any suit that fits her description of an interview suit would not work as a separate. But many of the jackets that go with her Wednesday suit posts could be used as a separate.

    • I’d like to hear thoughts on this too. Good question.

    • Basically you’re asking whether you can wear a suit jacket as a separate. If it was sold as a separate, it probably can be mixed and matched with different pants and skirts. If the suit was sold as a 2-piece and the fabric and trim are distinctively matched, then the jacket may not be well- (er) suited to wear as a separate. The best way to decide is to try on an outfit and see how it looks. The only thing I would caution against a priori is wearing a suit jacket with a non-matching skirt/pants of the same color (but different material). That combination would give the impression you dressed in the dark.

  10. The only reason I don’t rock these is that my legs are short and on the thicker side. I would love a pair, but even with pants they just cut me off in a very unflattering manner. I either need a heel, or the vamp needs to be down by my toes (a la ballet flats).

    • Yes indeed, these foot-devouring styles don’t work for us petite ladies. And when you have small feet too like I do…even worse!

      • Who knew? I wear an 8 1/2 shoe, which on my frame looks almost disproportionate, and I always thought if my feet were smaller that might take care of the problem. Guess not! Good to know.

  11. I think the right oxfords can look really cute, but I think they have to be thin-soled and a tad “dainty,” for lack of a better word:



    • definitely agree! i also like black oxfords better with darker tights , and think i need some lighter (grey or beige?) ones to go with bare legs – i am of fair/med complexion though so ymmv

    • Anonymous Poser :

      Oh! I get it! They fit more like jazz shoes…

    • I’ve been lusting after these gray ones for a while — I think they’d look super sharp with just a black pencil skirt and a silky gray top. Alas, outside my shoe budget:


  12. Love oxfords, esp. since I like supportive shoes and those ballerina flats kill my feet.

    For weekends only — any thoughts on the “Zoe Beige”? Not for the office, clearly.


    • Anonymous :

      I like these. I have some similar in light gray that I wear with pants and shorts all summer long. They take me back to high school/college, when as a complete prepster I owned Bass bucks in just about every color/material available. These are the 2K10 version.

  13. Yay! Whatever Kat fixed to banish the 403/404 errors has also stopped my work software blocker (aka the thought police) from banning the site. So now instead of copying posts/comments from the previous day into a Word doc to email to myself, I can actually read posts in real time. It’s a happy day!

    • I love that you email comments to yourself! Kat, that is a real compliment that people would go to such extremes to read your site. :)

      • Unfortunately, I have a lot of down time at work, and it a) keeps me sane and b) makes me look productive to be paying attention to a bland-seeming Word doc. ;-) But hopefully I will not have to do it anymore!

  14. I was a little late with this on the TPS report comments, so in case you missed it:

    Shopping PSA: Ideeli has the Tahari grey dress from Wednesday’s TPS report on sale for $59 today.

  15. Thanks to the recently re-posted recommendation/review for L’oreal Infallible Lip Color, I picked up a few at the drugstore — I dig the colors (and was surprised they all worked for me, given that it’s hard to tell what the colors are really like and my South Asian skin tone means a lot of mass-market lip products are just off).

    BUT – I’m not sure how to best remove it — suggestions?

    I had tested/compared colors on my hand, it stayed on there over night (tried soap, lotion) — a minute and a half with my Clarisonic (which I love) FINALLY did the trick.


    • Makeup remover, mineral oil, olive oil, or really any oil-based product should work.

      • Agree, I’ve done repeated use of Pond’s cold cream to take off tougher makeup.

    • Oooh, what colors did you get? I hate buying lip colors also – at least half the time the colors are SO WRONG for me.

    • I’ve heard using a toothbrush on your lips is best!

    • The super-stay formulas are oil solvent, usually, so I’d just rub olive oil on my lips, it’s good for them anyway!

  16. marketing advice? :

    I recently transitioned from family law to liability defense/workers’ compensation defense. I love the work, but I feel my old networking strategies (to gain family law clients) won’t be effective for gaining clients in my new field. Any advice/suggestions?

    • Polka dotted :

      If you will be getting your work from insurance companies, I would suggest joining professional associations or at least attending their free events.

      I find PLUS has good events for professional liability. http://plusweb.org/

      I’m open to marketing ideas as well!

      • I just started taking work in family law and would love to hear your old networking strategies…


  17. http://www.toryburch.com/ROSS-LACE-UP-FLAT/21108652,default,pd.html?dwvar_21108652_color=415&start=19&cgid=privatesale-shoes

    I just picked these up at the tory burch online private sale today (just type in your e-mail addy for access). any thoughts? i plan on wearing them with jeans and cords on the weekends, but maybe once in awhile with a skirt?

    • Cute! I like them, and I think they would look especially cute with a more girly skirt (e.g. with flowers and flowy, knee length or shorter)…like in the pics someone posted above.

  18. Alias Terry :

    The connectivity problems with this site are insane.

    If anyone has responded to anything I have commented on and wanted an answer, I am not ignoring you. I just have now become one of the group having extreme difficulties accesses the site.

    I was not having problems for the longest time and now I get “server can not be found” and 403 and 404 errors every day. I am surprised that I can log on now.

  19. Lawyering Mom :

    With all of the cute shoes in the world, I couldn’t imagine wasting closet space on those. Ugh.

    • For real. These are hideous, and I don’t like any of the others that have been linked to. I’ll take the high heeled pink ones over these any day!

  20. New Meadowlands Stadium? :

    I am heading there this weekend to watch a game, but I don’t know anything about the area. Does anyone have any suggestions for nearby bars/restaurants that would be appropriate for before/after the game? Given that the weather this weekend is going to be TERRIBLE, I’m thinking that tailgating is out.

  21. I saw these online the other day at JCrew and think they are darling ..


    • Anonymous :

      Really like these! Unfortunately, every pair of flats I’ve ordered from JCrew has gone back to JCrew – they never fit right (too wide, strange toe box, I can feel the texture of my carpet through the paper-thin sole, etc. etc)

    • soulfusion :


    • I love those!

  22. Sigh. I just lost my temper and snapped at my boss (deserved, I think, but still). Now I’m half mad at myself because I lost control, and I’m half mad at myself because I got my control back before I got it all out there and I really want to finish my tirade. There are some things that need to be said to the partners here that I’ve tried to bring up in diplomatic ways to no avail, and I need to be more direct in the future, but yelling at them isn’t going to help anything.

    • What was the nature of the snap? I know folks will probably heartily disagree with me, but I have actually found that with *some* managers, and *some* situations, saying something rather sharply when all other options are exhausted can actually be productive. I’m almost always working with all men, and I actually think I’ve earned respect this way–and also solved some problems that otherwise weren’t going anywhere. Obviously no raised voice, no personal attacks, no blanket statements like “this sucks” or “I’m angry” or “I hate working with you.” Come to think of it, no show of emotion. Just a contained, blunt statement addressing a specific issue.

      • The gist was that we need more help and my coming in on weekends isn’t going to do it. And I said that it was bs that our paralegal hasn’t had a lunch break in months PLUS works even longer hours than I do and that she needs help even more than me. If nothing else, maybe she’ll get a lunch out of the deal. Sometimes I feel like you need to whomp them in the head with a 2X4 to get them to wake up and pay attention.

        • No advice… but I did the same thing this week. I’m waiting to hear from several interviews (as you girls now because I’ve been whining non-stop) and so ready to give notice that I just found myself talking without thining first. Can’t hurt to have them know that you’re unhappy though…

        • I have to say, Anon, it sounds like your snap was the kind I was talking about. I.e., might not have been a mistake at all. Feel good about having taken the risk on behalf of someone junior to you, too. If something ugly comes of it, then lesson learned–but otherwise it sounds ok.

          • Thanks for the reassurance. If I’d continued, it probably wouldn’t have been the right kind. Oh well, I am trying to get out of here, anyway. Like Hopeful, I’m so ready to give notice. Just need to find another position first.

        • Beginning to think maybe I need to have a similar snap…

      • I agree with Monday that sometimes that works. Also, from discussions with my husband (who works as a manager in a mostly male retail store), I think that that is particularly true for men, even if they don’t realize it at the time, they hear it and remember it later.

      • I agree that sometimes the best way to get respect is to lose our temper. Men get that, for some reason. On the other hand, when it happens monthly due to hormones, it is not so good at all!

    • I started a new job 6 weeks ago and had a similar heated discussion with my new boss last week. I knew I hadn’t handled the discussion well, but I knew I was too upset to address it that day. Late that night, I asked him to have lunch with me the next day and was better able to articulate my frustrations after a good night’s sleep. It actually worked out great. Cleared the air, set us on a good path, and he now understands that I will be blunt (not rude) and expect the same in return.

  23. When is it okay to start wearing white pants and skirts to the office? Do I really have to wait until after Memorial Day or are those rules outdated?

    • Corporate Tool :

      It depends on your office culture, and how conservative it is. But the current trend is wearing white as soon as it is warm enough to warrant it.

    • I have some coworkers who will go on about how horrible it is, but for the most part people think it’s fine to wear white as long as it’s warm enough to do so. My thoughts are that it’s already almost 90 out so I should be able to wear white if I want to.

    • Anon in TX :

      In Texas, it is certianly warm enough. My rule is that when the highs end up hitting 80 all summer wardrobe is acceptable.

  24. I have been wearing oxfords with my suits for about 5 years now after I discovered my first pair at Fratelli-Rossetti in Chicago. I love the freedom of being able to walk anywhere without changing from uncomfortable heels to tennis shoes (ugh). I must own 15 pairs now!

    • Anonymous :

      I think FR make the cutest oxford-inspired shoes out there. I am incredibly jealous that you have 15 pairs. They are generally out of my price comfort zone, but a girl can dream.

  25. Hi ladies:

    Someone posted yesterday (I think) about Re-Mix shoes and having to size down. I am currently salivating over a couple of pairs of their shoes but don’t have a source near me so will have to order online. What is your experience generally with their sizing? Are they pretty much TTS? I am usually a size 7. Thanks!

    • Nonny –where is that original thread? I’m super interested in reading it, but I can’t find it….

      • Can’t recall exactly, I’m afraid – it wasn’t a complete thread, just one person who mentioned they bought (I think) a size 6.5 and had to size down….?

        • Ugh. I’ve searched all of the last week’s comments and can’t find it anywhere. From what I see on their website, they are now supposed to be more ‘true to size’ than what their sizing was in the past. I am lusting over the hand-tooled leather wedges myself.

          • Nonny — was it someone else looking for a smaller shoe??? Because I think we read the same other blogs!

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