Are Louboutins Appropriate For the Office?

louboutins for workAre Louboutins appropriate for the office with those sexy red soles? Reader J wonders…

What do think about wearing Louboutins in the office? Is the red sole too sexy?? I have a pair of Simple 85s, which are not high at all. They’re conservative, black kid leather, round toe, surprisingly comfy, but they have this in-your-face scarlet sole. I’ll be working at a bank that has a reputation of being somewhat laidback, but I don’t want to make the wrong impression… Help please?

When I was a first year associate I was completely jealous of another first-year associate who had done some serious shopping during her bar trip — LV bags, Hermes scarves, and Louboutin shoes. She had a classic kitten heel Louboutin, with the trademark red sole. This was before Louboutins were quite as “big” as they are today, so the red sole really stood out, and I thought, looked fabulous. So for my $.02, yes, simple Louboutins are appropriate for the office.

Reader J has a slightly higher heel — the 85mm version, which is just over 3″. Even this I don’t have a problem with — it’s a classic, gorgeous shoe, and so what if there’s a red sole. (Pictured above: Simple 85 Pumps, available at Saks Fifth Avenue for $595.)

Update: I’m seeing a lot of chatter on Twitter and in comments about whether Louboutins are appropriate for assistants or interns.  Does it shout “I’m not here for the money” the same way a Birkin bag does?  To me, a $600 pair of shoes and a $10,000 bag are in entirely different leagues.  I suppose my rule would be that if you can buy it in one paycheck, it’s appropriate for any woman of any level.  My guess is that Reader J can swing a $600 pair of shoes in one paycheck given that she works at a bank — my answer might be different for the unpaid intern.  (But even then I see so many teenagers walking around with Louis Vuitton bags (which generally cost around $1000)…)

But this isn’t to say that ALL Louboutin shoes are appropriate for the office.  For example, I would say that any of the platform shoes pictured below are pushing it for most conservative offices — the office hallway, alas, is a far cry from the red carpet.  (Fun question: can you guess which pair below is the most expensive?)

louboutin 1 louboutin 2 louboutin 3 louboutin 4


Readers, what say you?  Is the Louboutin red sole appropriate for the office?


(Check out other comfortable, work-appropriate shoes in the Corporette Guide to Comfortable Heels!)


  1. Ballerina Girl :

    I’m going to guess that the ones on the right are the most expensive…because they’re the ugliest. :)

    I think red soles are fine…I do wonder if the “I spent a fortune on my shoes” look is office appropriate all the time. Depends on your office. Women at my firm often wore them, and unfairly or not, I often thought they had skewed priorities and spent more time on fashion than on work. I recognize that’s incredibly harsh but it’s a real reaction that some might have. Also, 3 inch heels always seem slightly more date appropriate than work appropriate if they’re 3 inches or more.

    • Good guess! I guessed the black ones because they were plainest… clearly I don’t know from pricey shoes.

    • Ballerina Girl :

      I should add that I don’t think they’re too sexy–I think they’re lovely. I just think that the red sole (which I think is pretty) just calls out “I spend a fortune on my shoes!” in the same way having a LV bag does. I am also just a cheapskate and find it kind of gross that some people spend so much money on shoes.

    • Tired Squared :

      Agree on the ugly … I wouldn’t wear those for $10.

    • “I often thought they had skewed priorities and spent more time on fashion than on work. ”

      Hilarious coming from someone commenting on a “fashion” blog.

      • Ballerina Girl :

        Perhaps, but that’s what I think when I see it. It’d take me quite a while to afford $700 shoes and I think that it can suggest that you’re more into form over substance. I don’t think it’s fair, but it’s my first reaction–and those matter at work.

        • Anonymous :

          Ballerina Girl,
          Perhaps a diffrent take on this is that becasue they prioritize work, they have the mony to spluge when they want!

          • At banks especially, you’re sort of expected to project a conservative, I-will-take-your-money-seriously attitude. And from what I know of the service industry (there are many services – wealth management, legal advice, whatever), it is bad form to flash your money around because it can make the clients feel like they are being overcharged and paying for those fancy shoes themselves.

      • found a peanut :


    • I would wear all but the red fire ones to the office (i wouldnt wear those anywhere though). The black ones have a tad too skinny a heal for my liking at work, and the animal print (or whatever) a bit too high an uncovered platform, but I would and do wear the red ones on a regular basis!

      • If they’re office appropriate, then it shouldn’t matter whether they’re Louboutins or from Payless. And honestly, unless they’re sky high (=not office appropriate), I’m not sure who would notice the red soles anyway!

        I don’t judge my office colleagues for wearing crappy (quality-wise) clothes/shoes (maybe they can’t afford better ones or have financial issues that I’m unaware of) and I’m certainly not going to judge them for wearing great quality Louboutins.

  2. Betty White :

    Anyone have any good recommendations for lotion/sunscreen for your face that doesn’t leave you looking shiny/greasy but has SPF protection of 30+?

    • Neutrogena Age Shield is the best I’ve ever used. No greasy residue at all, and I have an oily complexion.

    • I like this Eucerin lotion: It doesn’t leave my skin feeling greasy, but be sure to rub it in — it can leave the occasional white streak like sunscreen if you’re not careful.

    • Neutrogena Ultra-Sheer Dry Touch.

    • I like this one from Hydropeptide:

    • Anonymous :

      Olay makes one.

    • Kiehl’s Super Fluid UV Defense SPF 50+. It’s very lightweight.

    • My new favorite is Neutrogena ultra sheer daily sunblock liquid spf 70. Is not a sunscreen + lotion combo, but I find those don’t work as well (have to put on much more to get good coverage).

    • Kiehls Superfluid.

      It absorbs in about 3 minutes and makes my face actually feel good rather than greasy.

      And SPF 50

    • My dermatologist recently recommended Cerave. It’s a drug store brand, but so far I like it. They have one for day w/ sunscreen and one for night without.

      It’s 30 spf, but I’m pretty sure scientists have decided everything over 30 doesn’t really add much benefit.

    • Equity's Darling :

      The Aveeno skin brightening one, it’s SPF 30. I really like it and I’m prone to more oily looking skin.

    • Clinique City Block SPF 25. It’s also lightly tinted so it’s my sunscreen, moisturizer and foundation in one!

      • Catherine :

        I swear by nothing but Mario Badescu products; I promise you they’ll change your life!
        Oil free moisturizer – SPF 30

    • I just bought Exuviance Sheer Refining Fluid, SPF 35.

      It has a slight sunscreen smell when first applied, but I like the pump and it seems to keep the shine down during the day.

  3. phdknitter :

    I think Louboutins are perfectly fine for even the most conservative of offices as long as the shoe itself is appropriate. What’s more important in this case is the style and height of the shoe, not the color of the sole.

    • fwiw, I agree with you completely. But I think this is a topic with serious potential of turning into another Nuclear (Birkin Bag) $h!tstorm.

      • found a peanut :

        I will summarize how this will turn out:

        Several women will express disgust and distaste that other women spend so much on shoes. They will say that wearing such shoes to work is inappropriate.

        Other women will halfheartedly argue that wearing them is OK. These women are women who own expensive shoes. They will only argue halfheartedly because they will be afraid of being called out for their expensive footwear.

        See also: The Birkin discussion; the engagement ring discussion

        • Well, we can see what side of the equation you lie on. ;)

        • I must have missed the last firestorm, but what is to call about about owning expensive shoes? If you can afford it, by all means, buy yourself some fabulous shoes. And even if you cant afford it, who am I to judge?? I personally love me some Louboutins! (though fwiw, stuart weitzman are always the most bang for your buck!

        • Anonymous :

          You have a point; I see where this conversation has gone.

          It never dawned on me to really focus on how much anyone else spends on their purses, shoes, etc. It’s making a huge assumption about someone without any of the facts. Example, when my best friend bought her first pair of Manolos, she got them at a HUGE discount during a sale and they ended up being under $100. My sister is also a big fan of designer bags, and she skimped and saved and stopped eating out, etc., until she saved the $ for the LV bag that she wanted. I have a pair of Tory Birch shoes that I would have never purchased for myself, but a friend gave them to me after she decided that they didn’t fit comfortably.

          It’s not for anyone to judge why or how much someone else spends on their belongings because no one really knows the circumstances of any one else’s bank account/budget/family situation/etc.

        • PhDKnitter :

          You have a point; I see where this conversation has gone.

          It never dawned on me to really focus on how much anyone else spends on their purses, shoes, etc. It’s making a huge assumption about someone without any of the facts. Example, when my best friend bought her first pair of Manolos, she got them at a HUGE discount during a sale and they ended up being under $100. My sister is also a big fan of designer bags, and she skimped and saved and stopped eating out, etc., until she saved the $ for the LV bag that she wanted. I have a pair of Tory Birch shoes that I would have never purchased for myself, but a friend gave them to me after she decided that they didn’t fit comfortably.

          It’s not for anyone to judge why or how much someone else spends on their belongings because no one really knows the circumstances of any one else’s bank account/budget/family situation/etc.

      • I can’t/won’t afford them, but lust after them, and I think they’re okay for the office on an occasional basis. However, even the most neutral nude CL pump is not really meant to be worn day-in-and-day-out. One of my favorite fashion bloggers (who has a full-time corporate job) has nude CL pumps, plus Target knockoffs, and she wears the Target version most frequently. I work in a corporate environment where stilletos and platforms, strappy shoes, etc. are not only acceptable, but encouraged. But I think in a more “strict” corporate environment that they can work well in the more classic styles. If I saw CL’s on an exec in my office, I would 1) definitely notice and 2) be impressed and moderately jealous. I can’t imagine reaching a pay grade in which I would be comfortable spending that much on shoes personally though.

    • Diana Barry :


      • I wore my Simple 70s, i.e. the lowest-heeled Loubs, with a small internal platform, to the office a couple of years ago. The guys had no idea what they were. Nowadays, a little more visible, but still I would not object to seeing them on others in an office. And I’m very conservative. I wouldn’t mind it on a junior person either – so she saved up for a really nice pair of shoes. It is different then the Birkin, or even an LV purse covered in logos, to my way of thinking.

        My perspective is biased since I have found my Loubs to be among the best-made and most comfortable heels I own.

    • Here’s a question though – are they appropriate for non-conservative offices? I do quasi-public interest law but I like nice clothes. If I wore a pair, is it like John Edwards getting a $400 haircut?

      • If you wore Louboutins in my public interest office, many people would be gossiping about you and your spending habits. If you wore an equally pricey pair of non-recognizable designer shoes, no one would notice except the two or three other women who are also into fashion. It’s not fair, but it’s how things are and have been at every public sector place I’ve worked.

        I know because I carry very expensive handbags that no one can recognize unless they are also into handbags – the few times someone else has realized how nice my bag is, I’ve gotten disparaging remarks.

      • I work for a government agency and the Big Big Boss is known for her Loubs. I’m not sure we peons could get away with such things, though…

    • I agree— but in this case, I think a 4-inch heel is inappropriate for the office. I’d keep it to 3 or lower.

  4. Can’t tell which is more expensive, but I’m lusting after that patent red pair. Delicious!

  5. I think certain Louboutins are very classic and look great with a suit. I have a pair myself and wear them frequently. Even if women (because you know men don’t know the difference!) want to judge me for spending my hard-earned money on a pair of fabulous shoes, that still won’t stop me from wearing them!

  6. Corporate Tool :

    I would be wary of them if I were a new-hire. The red sole is attention-grabbing, sexy, and announces that you paid a lot for your shoes. Not necessarily the first impression you want to make.

  7. I think if the shoes are otherwise appropriate for the office, they can be worn. But I do agree with the above thought that some people may form an opinion (positive or negative) based on the fact that you are wearing an obviously expensive shoe.

  8. Shoe lust :

    I work in finance, and am the banker equivalent of a junior associate. I have admired this exact pair of low-heeled round toe pumps for a while. I never imagined wearing them to the office, though! While they are too high fashion for every day, I think they would be the perfect shoe for conferences. The red flash of the sole is a bit of a power play, and when I’m in a room of strangers at cocktail hour I want to look polished, successful and like I’m not afraid to show it.

  9. found a peanut :

    I sure hope so because I wear mine all the time. I have a pair of 70mm (sooooo comfy) and 100mm (not so much) simples that are my go-to shoes for work (they live in my desk drawer). I would tend to think that most men wouldn’t know what the red soles means, and if they do it’s because their wives/girlfriends wear Loubs, and if their wives/girlfriends are buying them, they are not going to look down on you for buying them. So really, the only people who care are women looking to be judgmental.

    • I agree. I think most men won’t have a clue and if they do, won’t care. Maybe they’ll garner an eye roll of “women and their shoes,” but that’s likely it. I think women will either be clueless, love them or be judgmental. Truthfully, it’s hard for me to imagine most professional women I know making a negative judgment about an employee or colleague based on expensive shoes or handbags. That’s a good thing!

      • Maybe its just me… but I work in a conservative office and its not just women who wear expensive shoes!!

  10. I’d guess the red one is most expensive. The other ones look expensive but also very hooch.

  11. I think that unfortunately, Louboutins have become such a “thing” that the red sole is akin to carrying an LV logo bag. There’s the risk of people thinking you’re a label snob/irresponsible with money/living off your parents, and the even worse risk of people thinking you bought a counterfeit. So for that reason I’d steer clear unless you’re pretty senior.

    I do think the classic Louboutin pumps are beautiful shoes, though, even though I never wear heels.

    • By the way, I say I’d steer clear unless you’re pretty senior because I think when you see a woman partner carrying a high-end bag or wearing expensive shoes, people assume she bought it as a present for herself. The same assumption isn’t usually made of junior professionals, in my experience.

      • found a peanut :

        I wear a wedding band to complement my red soles. Would you assume I married a sugar daddy or that I have some boyfriends on the side?

        • Yep, I too wear a wedding band to accompany my high end accessories. And my husband is a landscaper and will be our SAHD in a few years, so Mamma buys her own nice things! I am getting a little tired of the judging about how someone can afford a bag/shoes/jewelry/etc. Having expensive things doesn’t have to reflect poorly upon the wearer. How about assuming the best about the wearer instead of the worst? “Wow she must be great with budgeting her money” instead of assuming something sleazy or misogynistic.

          Duckie – I see now that you said “in my experience” and not “in my opinion” so I’m not saying that it’s your personal attitude, it’s just something I’m tired of in general.

          • I don’t assume someone else bought them, but I also think it’s fair to judge someone for how they value/spend money. I think that it’s kind of horrifying that people spend obscene amounts of money on things like shoes or purses when some people have so little. Yes, Pollyana, etc. but I think it’s fair to judge someone’s priorities (spending or what have you)–just not fair to assume someone else paid for them, etc, which I agree is sexist and comes up far too often on this blog.

          • But Sara, you’re just assuming that it’s a zero-sum game and because money was spent on shoes, ipso facto, that person did not spend an equal, or greater, amount on charity or helping out those who “have so little.” That’s immediately assuming the worst about someone and as far as you know, she could have recently donated money or time that far outvalues the cost of a pair of shoes.

          • Anonymous :

            @Sara: but what constitutes “obscene amounts of money”? Wouldn’t my $35 Nine West shoes be “obscene” to someone living in the slums of Rio?

          • Yes, it’s all relative. But I think that $700 for shoes is obscene in the relatively rich society we live in. No one else has to think so. I don’t think you’re a horrible person if you have $700 shoes. I just think we probably have different priorities. And that’s the message that conspicuous consumption can sometimes communicate.

            Imagine what $700 shoes look like in the slums of Rio. Where, interestingly enough, lots of people have DirecTV but dirt floors–true story. Lots of people have skewed priorities–doesn’t make it any smarter.

            As for whether they give money to charity, I’m sure that lots of people are very charitable–I just think that spending $700 on shoes is kind of crazy. We all justify our crazy purchases, but in my book, that’s crazy. And if you advertise your splurges, you’re opening yourself to peering eyes–sometimes we don’t like that in a work setting.

          • @Sara: Understood. But for every reaction of horror you or I have, and judgment that you or I pass, someone else is having the same reaction about us and our priorities. Which is why it’s good to temper our judgments about other people’s priorities. I don’t have $700 shoes. I don’t even have $200 shoes. But I don’t think all people buying $700 shoes are crazy.

        • Anonymous :

          Depend on your age. Young = Sugar Daddy/ Rich Daddy. Older = highly successful.

          • found a peanut :

            Ugh. I’m young(ish). I wish life imitated people’s misconceptions and I had a sugar daddy to buy me my nice things. Instead I just have my boring, same-age husband that I married for love.

        • Insecure much?

        • Are you young? Because yes if you are young and aren’t making a lot of money. either 1) you didn’t get those shoes, so yes your husband/bfs/parents did or 2) you are terrible with money. If you are in a position where you make a lot of money, wear them, if I’m in your office I know about how much you make, so I know you can afford them even though I personally wouldn’t pay that much for shoes.

      • The 1950s are back!

    • Betty White :

      See, I definitely don’t think women aren’t buying them for themselves (maybe because I don’t have others buying me fancy shoes) but I do think that if you’re older, it looks like you’re living within your means.

      • I know a fair number of young (student and intern) women whose parents buy them high-end presents, and some who get them from their boyfriends as well. Fair or not, this has created a perception that they’re not hard workers and I have heard people snark about their designer items behind their backs.

        I also have a friend who doesn’t live within her means at all and buys a lot of very high-end designer items, and she complains that her coworkers perceive her as an airhead and a ditz (she’s not). She’s a junior associate. It’d be different, I think, if she bought one pair of Loubies after receiving her first bonus, or something. But she wears fancy designer shoes and bags day in and day out, and people notice and snark.

    • If my husband bought me a pair of Louboutins (like the tan ones pictured–I love those!), I would wear them with pride to my office. Why should I be ashamed that he makes good money and buys me nice things? That’s not sleazy.

  12. Interested to see what people say. I generally only take issue with them because I know how much they cost and I am a judgmental b*tch when it comes to stuff like that. When I see a first year wearing $700 shoes (that are nearly impossible to find on sale), I really think that they should be spending their money in more productive ways.

    I hadn’t thought of the red sole as the problem, but I saw a woman the other day in all black, with the black pumps the reader mentioned, and the red sole was just so….sexy. It was a cool look, but not one I want to emulate when I am at work.

    • Agreed re your first paragraph. Maybe I am just getting curmudgeonly in my old age, but I think this is akin to the Hermes bag issue. If you have the money to buy $750 shoes, great, but don’t wear them to the office until you can wow people with your laser-sharp analytical skills and Denningesque writing abilities first.

      • Confessions :


        • I would hope that anyone I kept on my staff fit that bill:).

        • wow? what can a pair of shoes possibly have to do with your legal (or banking or whatever) abilities? If youre a first year working in biglaw, you can certainly afford these shoes and you are likely childless and unmarried at this point in your life, so quite frankly, i think this is a great way to spend some of your hard earned money.

          In full disclosure, I am a fan of expensive shoes and have many pairs (though often find them on sale). I am a senior associate in biglaw, but married with 2 kids. I was working in a significatly lower paying job right out of law school and did not buy many items like this until i felt i really could afford it.

          • Anonymous :

            I believe the point they;re making is that it’s better for a new hire to be noticed for her work before she’s noticed for anything else. If she’s perceived as showing off it may count against her.

          • In my mind, spending a lot of money on any single item displays a certain amount of risk-taking. When you spend, you’re making that judgement call that you won’t need that big was o’ cash anytime soon. In a profession where others pay you for your expertise and judgement, showing this attitude towards money/risk sows the seed in a client’s mind that you might have the same priorities and attitudes about risk when handling *their* money. In other professions, it’s probably different – boldness and risk taking are good things in other circles.

    • I think it would only bother me if my co-worker was both wearing designer clothes/shoes and complaining about money or her student loans to me. At least, I have several friends who do this and it drives me crazy. Really? You’re so tight on money that you can’t go to that professional development conference? But you can spend $100+ every weekend going out? I feel so sorry for you. Bonus angry points if the person is simultaneously complaining about money, spending money frivolously, and trying to convince me to spend my money frivolously.

  13. Do these Talbots’ platform slingbacks pass the Corporette test? I think they’re close to the line… but I luvs anyway!

    • Not ok in my office, due to the platform. You’d stick out in anything over a 3″ or so heel. Obviously ymmv.

    • I’d say it’s a know your office thing combined with how long you have been there (I wouldn’t wear those shoes to any law firm office if you’re new/an intern/a summer associate but if you have established credibility, you can push boundaries more easily). I get away with a lot in my office – branch office of an LA firm. We also have a partner in our office who pushes fashion boundaries. I would wear those shoes, though they are basically at the border of heel/platform height that I would wear.

    • Those would be perfectly appropriate in my business casual Biglaw firm office in Texas. In fact, I want a pair now.

    • Perfectly appropriate in PHX (for everything but court). Love the teal.

    • Former 3L :

      These are close to the line for me, given A) substantial platform; B) peep toe; and C) slingback. I think if it were just two out of three, I would have no problem with it.

      • Anonymous :

        Oh geez. They’re from grandma central Talbots. If they’re not office appropriate, then you probably should quit your job… it sounds like they’d be happiest if you dressed like a sister wife.

  14. While I think that they’re fine for associates who are obviously making a good salary, seeing them on law clerks (I’m currently a federal clerk) or interns strikes me as attracting attention in a bad way. (I see it as similar to the previous discussion on the intern with the Birkin.)

  15. I just cannot see calling the sole of a shoe sexy. It’s a color on the bottom of an otherwise very conservative shoe. I think saying a colored sole is too sexy is really treading the line of trying to be more like men as opposed to trying to be professional looking.

    That’s just my thought though and I guess that’s the point of these discussions. Some people will judge you for being too sexy, being too much like a man, spending too much, looking like you spent too little, too big of an engagement ring, too small…. it just never ends. I think a beautiful classic shoe is exactly that. If they’re comfortable too? Consider me envious!

  16. AnonInfinity :

    I clicked on the links to see which pair is most expensive and now I’m sitting here with my mouth open like this :O Ack!

    • somewherecold :

      Me, too! (Says the person that just “splurged” on a pair of Butter wedges from Gilt.)

    • Me too! Those shoes are a clear heel away from swinging around a pole!

    • I’m convinced designers sometimes design completely outlandish things to see if people will actually pay absurd prices for them just to see how much power they have as a designer. I first formed this opinion as a teenager when Abercrombie and Fitch was selling ripped, faded jeans for like $100. I believe those shoes are another example…

      • I love your theory! hahahaha. I was just always confused where the ugly came from wrt such items; figured they just can’t always get it right? This social experiment idea is way more fun though.

  17. Jean Auel :

    Anyone else think Laboutin’s red soles are a nod to Jean Auel’s “The Mammoth Hunters?”

  18. I see no real issue with wearing tasteful shoes. One thing I always take issue with is the assumption that all first-year associates are in their first real jobs. I started law school a bit later and had other classmates who had expensive bags and shoes because they had worked for several years before going back to school.

    • I completely agree. I am in law school now and I have worked (and am still working while in school) for over 15 years. I suppose that makes me “older” so I wouldn’t be judged so harshly. I don’t own any $600 shoes, but I certainly could without being “irresponsible” considering I only have a 2200 sq foot house and drive a Ford! Why can’t everyone just accept that each person has different financial priorities. I’ll take small house, cheap car, travelling and nice shoes and bags over million dollar home and 100K car any day of the week!

  19. I would try not to be judgemental… unless the shoe-wearer started complaining about student loans. Then I’d be judging.

  20. i think it comes down to how much you’re getting paid. your bosses know how much they pay you. if you’re making good money, wearing those shoes is like a power play. it shows that you value your appearance and reputation enough to wear an expensive, well-made shoe. if you’re not making very much, it tends to send the message that you’re irresponsible with money or that you come from a lot of money, neither of which is especially flattering.

    but i definitely dont think theyre too “sexy,” that seems pretty silly to me.

  21. Any thoughts on Latisse?

    • I did (used?) Latisse about a year or year and a half ago (pretty soon after it came out). I used mine exactly the way I was directed and I was really pleased with the results and definitely noticed a difference. My friends and boyfriend noticed as well without my mentioning it – so it wasn’t just a hopeful placebo effect. My sister did not use hers every night/follow other directions/etc. so she didn’t notice as big an effect.

      That being said, I received my prescription through my uncle who is a doctor and my parents paid for it. Not sure how much it is and if it’s worth the price – but in my experience it DOES work.

    • AccountingNerd :

      a family member did this and it looked a little unnatural. I wouldn’t recommend it

  22. Maddie Ross :

    I think the style of Loubs is totally office appropriate (they look reasonably the same as the nine west and charles david pairs I live in), but my concern with owning them in general is the fact that I cannot keep shoes like this looking nice for more than a couple weeks, tops. A few paychecks in to my job, I tried switching from the nine west shoes I bought as a clerk to stuart weitzman (sp?) and cole haan. I didn’t find the slight difference in comfort to be worth the price though b/c they didn’t last any longer than the cheapies. If I did own Loubs, I’m sure I’d be too scared to wear them.

    • Thats interesting. I cant speak for cole haan, but stuart weitzman are by far the most comfortable shoes Ive ever owned — i probably have 15 or 20 pairs, includ the 4 in pair im wearing now (platswoon — its awesome) — and well worth the price. Stuart Weitzman generally top out in the $400 range and you can usually find them for about 265-365, which is probably twice as expensive as the other brands you mention. Charles David isnt bad, but i think often tends to look a little cheaper and is not as comfy. Nine West does not, in my experience, hold up well and is only moderatly comfortable.

    • Mountain Girl :

      ditto on this…I have never understood how women wear shoes and don’t destroy them after a couple of seasons. I am wondering if how you commute has anything to do with it. I drive to work and walk in and out of the parking lot and all over town with my shoes. I only change shoes if there is a danger I might get stuck in show and have to walk somewhere and then I wear my big fuzzy Uggs. I would imagine that my running in and out of the parking lots, through the grocery store and then to the school program or game probably causes excessive wear that someone who rides the subway and changes shoes at work doesn’t experience.

  23. Two cents :

    I don’t think that the red sole is sexy, the bigger issue is that most professional women who see you wearing that shoe will know exactly how much you spent on those shoes and will form impressions about you, good or bad. In general, I hate wearing clothing where the brand is advertised so blatantly. I feel the same way about Coach and LV handbags where the brand is boldly printed on the bag.

  24. I’m wearing a pair right now, so I guess there’s my answer. I have the simple 70s, not too high of a heel, classic almond-toe pump. They are classic and nice, but I really wouldn’t call them sexy. The red sole is … the sole of a shoe. Nothing sexy about that, imho. And frankly, if some judgemental woman wants to think less of me because I have expensive shoes – she can go ahead with that. Couldn’t care less. I live within my means, but my personal finances are no one else’s business. Maybe that judgmental lady spends $400 at Costco every week to fill her suburban McMansion, while I keep a simple city apartment. Who cares. I love them, and my feet thank me.

    • This.

      And this is why these discussions are so crazy. No one knows what someone’s financial priorities are. That woman I see may be wearing Loubs (carrying an expensive bag/driving a nice car/wearing a big diamond), but unless she told me how and why she bought them, I don’t know how and why she spent that money. For example, she could often eat/drink at home instead of in restaurants and bars, not spend crazy amounts at Costco/Whole Foods, etc etc etc. If those shoes make some woman happy and she’s can arrange her finances accordingly, more power to her.

      • This is exactly the point I was trying to make above. Just because you can SEE that someone spent money on something doesn’t mean that the things you can’t see are all extravagant. It’s a CHOICE – just like all other financial choices. And since it’s a choice I don’t understand why it’s not okay for a woman to want a pair of Loubs, and cut back on, say everything else, just so she can afford them and still be making it financially. Maybe she said to herself, “I think I’ll eat Ramen and not go to the movies for a month and buy those shoes.” Who. Cares.

        • Anonymous :

          I care. It’s about the image I present to the people I interact with and how my choices affect my career.

    • Anonymous :


      Honestly, even if you don’t live within your means, I don’t see how that’s anyone else’s problem.

      Women really are each others’ worst enemies if so many of us sit around being so [bleep] judgy all the time. Do you think men spend time at the office thinking about how upset it makes them if their colleagues are wearing Hermes ties and Cartier watches?


      • Anonymous :

        I work with a whole lot of males, and I assure you that they do. Watches (Rolex and Breitling, not Cartier), pens, cufflinks, cars, you get the idea.

        Showing off is showing off.

      • This. I loved it!

  25. Connecticut Cowgirl :

    I had a pair of black Nine West slingbacks about 6 years ago that had a red sole. I thought nothing of it at first, but when I became conscious of it I thought it looked odd, bringing that much attention to the sole of a shoe. I also thought it was too dominant for some outfits, red doesn’t compliment everything. I found myself wearing them less and less. Of course, Nine West isn’t CL, so exceptions can be made. Too sexy wasn’t my concern with the sole though, just too much color.

  26. I also think you have to take into consideration not just what your coworkers think about the shoe, but the client. As a surgeon, I’m not comfortable letting my patients know how much I spent on my shoes, and Louboutins are designed to let you know exactly what someone spent on their footwear. I think wearing something that is clearly very expensive (giant diamonds also fall into this category for me) distances me from my patients in a way that I’m not professionally comfortable with.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love me some nice shoes, but I don’t feel comfortable advertising my spending priorities.

    • This. My father is a surgeon at a public university hospital, and when he and my mother were looking for new wedding bands a few years ago (literally, theirs were falling apart! – basketweave = coming un-woven), he specifically didn’t want anything flashy for that reason. She did… so they got different but complementary bands.

      I’m a law student heading into public interest law, so — in addition to a scary amount of loans! — am conscious of the same thing.

    • Yes! I think I mentioned this before on this blog, but I will never forget going to my doctor, a breast surgeon who had a waiting room full of ill women, and seeing her giant diamond rings and earrings. She might have been born into money, might have had a right husband or struck the lottery, but all I could think (as a scared 22 year old) was that her jewelry was courtesy of cancer.

      As a lawyer, I keep this in mind. I dress well, and professionally, but never in a way that a client or an opponent would think that my success is coming through someone else’s pain.

      • Anonymous :

        I’m a bit late to this thread, but her jewelry is NOT courtesy of cancer. It’s courtesy of her abilities to help people who are going through cancer.

    • My gynae wears the most incredible solitaires….just focussing on them tales my worries away:)

  27. I don’t think they’re a problem, but I’d also be careful about wearing them in front of clients. For example, you don’t want a client to think to themselves “I pay her too much money per hour, as evidenced by her shoes.” But that’s a different audience than just the workplace.

    • This. YMMV depending on the transference issues with your target population and/or the tenor of your profession. There’s truth (research supported) that people do form opinions about professionals based on appearance and office surroundings … and they won’t tell you what they are thinking. You can try to please all of the people some of the time but I’m happing with pleasing some of the people all of the time. Besides, I can’t justify those high end things – I’m too “hard” on them and really, I DO have to think about what people might assume. Thanks to EC MD for saying it more succinctly. I’ve been talking far too long today…

  28. My first professional job out of college (at a charitable foundation) involved working closely with one of the Board committees. I attended a working lunch with the committee members carrying a simple leather Dooney & Bourke purse I had received as a college graduation present. It wasn’t covered with “DB”s but was obviously a larger, signature Dooney piece.

    One of the older, more conservative committee members contacted my organization’s Executive Director to share her concerns about my salary and whether they might be paying me too much. For a purse that cost $400-500, tops – D&B purses are hardly exorbitant.

    I think the committee member overreacted, but I also learned a good lesson about anticipating the message my clothes and accessories send in every possible situation. Given that I still work in the non-profit sector, where there is an expectation of frugality, I always err on the side of understatement and save my higher-end, designer items for non-work use.

    • found a peanut :

      Wow. That woman was completely out of line. For all she knew that bag was a hand-me-down from a relative, a graduation present, a thrift-store find, etc. And even if it wasn’t, and put the whole purchase on a credit card that you intended to make the minimum payments on until it was all paid off, how is it any of her business?

      • Anonymous :

        Image / clients. The posted learned something from the experience and shared.

    • This. My parents own a jewelry store, and because of that, my husband’s been able give me several pieces over the years that would otherwise be way out of our means. At my last job with a non-profit political organization, however, I hardly ever wore anything aside from my wedding ring and simple studs because the executive director was the type to not give raises if he thought the person didn’t need it. The pieces are mostly classic styles and wouldn’t ever be considered over-the-top for someone in a higher position, but were enough to make me worry about the message they sent.

      On the flip side though, because of my experience, I don’t judge anyone who carries or wears designer items in the office.

    • Funny. Back in the day when I did IR, a (CRAZY) investor called the receptionist to try to find out what kind of car I drove. I would say that the problem was with the (CRAZY) committee member, not the purse.

  29. It seriously bums me out that our two concerns here are:
    Are they too “sexy” because they’re red?
    Should you wear things that are expensive?

    Both of which I feel are really unreasonable. First, I think it’s silly to say that the red color is too “sexy” or whatever, because it’s a shoe. If it’s a conservative shoe otherwise, I bet no one but fashionistas would notice, and they’d probably compliment them.

    As far as wearing expensive things, this bugs me. It bugs me to say that I, as an assistant, shouldn’t wear something expensive I bought myself, or that I was given as a gift. Should I have not worn the $400 earrings one of my bosses gifted me with, because it was more expensive than my gas bill? Should I not wear my wedding ring (which I wear on my pinky finger since it doesn’t fit) because it’s got a real sapphire and people might think I paid a lot for it?
    It’s just really judgmental, and I think it’s pretty unkind to assume that people didn’t earn it or don’t deserve to treat themselves if they’re being fiscally responsible. What if you saved up for multiple years for those shoes or bag, or if it was a graduation gift? Just because your parents have money doesn’t mean you do, and just because you HAVE money doesn’t mean you didn’t work for it or don’t want your job!!

    • It’s not just that they’re expensive. It’s that they’re designed so that everyone knows that you’re wearing Louboutins and that they cost $700. That sole is as unmistakable as an LV logo. And worse, as someone mentioned above, if the cost seems out of line with your means you could be suspected of wearing a counterfeit – not a big deal for many people, but a major faux pas for a lawyer, especially if your practice has anything to do with intellectual property.

      • barbribarbi :

        “especially if your practice has anything to do with intellectual property”

        so true!

  30. Threadjack – About a month ago, I posted that I was concerned that I may have an anxiety issue that warrants some sort of help. I received some really helpful, compassionate responses, which I appreciated immensely. I’ve made some needed changes, but I still feel like the underlying issue is there and just not going away. I am talking to my doctor tomorrow and hoping to get some guidance on what to do next — counseling, medication, or both.

    So, here’s my shameful confession: I haven’t told my husband and I’m not sure if I want to, especially if I decide on the medication route. I’m judging myself pretty harshly for needing help and I can’t bear the thought of anyone knowing I have a problem. Even my lovely husband, who is my best friend. He has many wonderful qualities but he’s very much in the “all you need is an attitude adjustment!” camp about most mental health issues, unless the person clearly poses a threat to herself or society, which I do not.
    I’m afraid he’d either a) try to reassure me that nothing is wrong or b) be completely freaked out that he may have a wife with a wee bit of a mental health issue. A year ago, I confessed to him that I thought I might have PPD — and it took all my strength to do it — and he didn’t have much of a reaction at all. I think he thought I was over-dramatizing it, honestly. Obviously, I wasn’t. I didn’t take care of myself a year ago, and now I’m probably in worse shape because of it.

    My more rational self tells me it’s a really bad idea to keep a secret this big from my husband. But I feel scared and vulnerable, and I’m afraid I’ll chicken out of getting help altogether if he responds the wrong way. What do I do? Keep it to myself for the time being and tell him when the time is right? This is not how we operate as a couple and I’m afraid of the damage this approach will cause … but I really need to take care of myself right now, and I don’t want to be talked out of it.

    I have no thoughts on the shoe issue, as I doubt 99% of the people in my city have a clue what a Louboutin is. :)

    • I think you should focus on staying calm and yes, tell your husband what’s going on. Emphasize (calmly) the same points you raised in your post, namely – you really need to take care of yourself and are not looking to be talked out of it; he’s your best friend, you don’t want to keep this from him; and while you’ve considered different options and been patient about waiting it out, you feel like there’s an underlying issue and you’re seeking help for it.

      I don’t think there’s any point in speculating about medicating vs. not medicating or what have you until you talk to a health professional and see what they say.

      And your husband FWIW sounds like a good guy who will be supportive and non judgmental.

      Best of luck to you.

    • Ballerina Girl :

      Please don’t feel like you’re the only one out there with mental health issues. They have such a bad stigma and it’s so unfair. I have suffered with anxiety and depression and medication has, occasionally, been a godsend. I too hate the stigma, but I try to fight it. I’m not going to tell you whether to tell your husband or not (it’s your relationship, what do I know?) but I can tell you that you shouldn’t be ashamed of trying to find a solution to your problems. Good luck!

    • The first goal should be get yourself to a good mental health place.

      Ideally, that would be with your husband’s support, but it doesn’t sound like you can trust that he will give it. That is an issue the two of you will need to deal with down the line, but IMHO, shouldn’t be the first issue. This is a “me first” issue. Try talking to a professional. They should give you some guidance on how to approach going on medication and dealing with your husband.

      Unfortunately, going on anti-anxiety meds isn’t a smooth process for everyone. It is good to have someone “in the know” in case you have a bad reaction (which you might not be able to determine for yourself).

      I don’t say this to scare you out of taking them. It is something I should have done decades before I finally did. I had an easy time with the meds, and only need a low dosage to get everything in line and have had no lasting side effect. My greatest fears were not realized. I don’t feel “different” or “not me.” I just don’t have the constant buzz of anxiety in the background draining my energy.

      Good luck!

    • Also Midwest :

      Is your husband my husband? My H just doesn’t deal well with high emotions and tends to take the same sort of position your H does. Honestly, I wouldn’t tell your H if you are worried that he will freak. He’s not in your body and everyone operates differently. If you need meds, take them. If H notices a change in your behavior and asks what the deal is, then you can decide whether or not to tell him.
      1) Take care of yourself first then 2) Tell your H how his reaction affected you after you’ve taken care of yourself, but only if you want to.

      • karenpadi :

        This reminds me of the “Modern Family” Episode where the blonde wife casually mentions having had therapy a few times over the years and her husband is like “what the heck? You had to go to therapy?! What was so wrong?”

    • Wanting to Move :

      Midwest, I cannot offer much advice, but I understand your situation. My husband is a lot like yours, and I was diagnosed with PPD last year after the birth of our first child. I started seeing a therapist, and my husband hated that I went. He also insisted that I not take medication, and that I was overreacting. I recently stopped going to therapy because work/life has just gotten too busy, but if I went back/decided to take medication, I probably would not tell me husband. If he cannot support my decision to take control of my life/get better, then it is just not positive for me to tell him. Is there someone else in your life that you may be able to tell? It’s really hard not having someone to talk to about these sorts of things.

    • Hi Midwest — I responded to you on your OP, and have been thinking of you, so I’m glad you posted today.

      I don’t know what the answer is, but I’m inclined to say “medicate first, tell husband later.” That way you are not “talked out” of something that — as I read your post — you have clearly decided to do, whether or not it’s actual medication or only counseling.

      A year ago I was in a very bad spot and when I told my husband who had been in the “you have a wonderful life, home, baby and husband–wtf?” camp, he was very understanding. He still wanted me to consider herbal/vitamin supplements/exercise as a first step, but I *knew* that I was well beyond that point.

      So, again, go to the appointment first. See what they suggest for you and also for dealing with Husband. Then evaluate what to do again. Keep us posted. Hugs.

      • Yes. I agree. Medicate first, tell later. like when he notices that you are better you can explain why. Good luck.

    • Is it Friday Yet :

      Midwest, I’m sorry you are going through this but commend you on how you are taking the necessary steps to take care of yourself. FWIW, my husband and I have an extremely close relationship and we have a policy of full disclosure. With that said, if I were you, I would go see your dr tomorrow and then tell your hubby tomorrow evening. It’ll give you a few hours (depending on when your dr appt is) to consider what the dr said and to evalute which options may work for you. By being able to recite what your dr says (assuming he/she gives you good advice) will help illustrate to your hubby that it’s not something you can just fix by telling yourself you will smile today and try to be happy and relaxed. It’s likely he still may not get it right away, or ever, but that is okay. You need to figure out what’s right for you, communicate it with him so he’s not left in the dark and then proceed with what you need. With that said, if he says things that aren’t supportive or rolls his eyes, I encourage you to, in a non-confrontational manner, remind him that you two are there to support each other and that you are simply asking him to listen to how you feel and support you as you try to fix whatever it is that’s wrong.

      Thank you for taking care of yourself. You deserve it.

    • AnonInDenver :

      Midwest – FWIW I think you should share all this with your husband now but be firm that you’re going to seek help. I doubt he’ll be able to talk you out of it and he may not even try. Men can rise to the occasion – but only if you let them know what’s really going on.

    • Anonymous :

      I definitely think you should tell him, but I see nothing wrong with doing it after you’ve spoken to your doctor, know your options, and perhaps even know how you want to proceed. He’s your husband, so it is fair and right to involve him in your medical/mental health decisions, but ultimately you need to do what is right for you. And, in my opinion, that entitles you to space to investigate/consider your options before you consult him.

    • Former 3L :

      Oh, honey. You’ve got to tell him. I don’t think it’s a good plan to go about regaining your equilibrium while keeping something large from your best friend and partner. What you should do is muster all your resoluteness. Do you feel okay about your decision to try meds? Work that out as hard and as detailedly as you can before you go to him. Get right with God about it yourself (so to speak). Then you can go to him with confidence in your decision. You can address the fact that he may not be on board, but reiterate that you want to maintain openness and you would really appreciate his support. If he goes for A) “You’re all right,” the answer is, ‘I thought so too, but I’m not. So.” and if he goes for B), well, this is one of those things and he has got to sack up. Best of luck to you.

    • *Hugs* In my opinion, you should keep your appointment with your doctor and find out what he or she recommends as the next step. I do not think this is something you need to tell your husband about beforehand – it’s only a doctor’s appointment – until your doctor gives you a recommendation. If your doctor recommends counseling/meds/both, I think you need to tell your husband. From his perspective, I’m sure he would feel terrible if he knew that you kept something of this significance from him.

      I also think you need to find ways to counter his “all you need is an attitude adjustment” arguments. For my two cents, here are a few: 1) I have tried adjusting my attitude and something still feels off. I want to try this for a little while and see if it works; 2) I know that you think that nothing is wrong, but I feel like something is wrong; 3) A lot of people suffer from anxiety, and I want to learn how to effectively manage it so I don’t have this problem going forward.

      Also, and I mean this in a non-snarky way, I think that you should consider counseling even if the doctor doesn’t recommend it. I think that from what you wrote about telling your husband that you might have PPD and his (lack of) reaction, you may just want to talk to someone. I think it would be very anxiety-inducing to feel like I couldn’t seek help because my husband didn’t really “believe” in treatment for everyday mental health issues. It would make me feel like there was something wrong with me that I wasn’t 100%.

      Keep us posted!

    • You’re probably worried that “keeping a secret” is bad for your marriage. It might be; I’m not judging that. But, even though you are married, your first responsibility it to yourself. Your marriage may end; your relationship with yourself never will. If, for now, to protect yourself, you feel you need to keep this private, then do.

      Later, for the sake of the marriage, you may have to come clean and explain why you “lied” (ommitted, whatever). Deal with that later. Deal with yourself first.

      Others will disagree. Just my two cents.

    • As a person who has been in your husband’s shoes (spouse of someone with anxiety), I think you need to tell him. Your anxiety will affect him (in a negative way), and your treatment will affect him too (in both positive and negative ways). He has a right to know this is coming, and be able to seek out resources to help him cope with your changes. For instance:

      Talk therapy will help you to communicate differently about your wants and needs, which will be confusing to him if he doesn’t know what’s causing the change. He may resist the change if you can’t articulate why it is happening. You need him to work with you, not against you.

      Anxiety medications have sexual, emotional and physical side effects that you will need to be open with him about. Changes in medication are often scary and you may need his support for your safety, as well as emotional comfort. He has a right to ask questions about your medications so he can help you plan around the side effects so he gets what he needs from the relationship too.

      One suggestion would be to approach your husband with a plan. For instance, “I have an anxiety problem, which is making it difficult for me to do [x, y and z things we enjoy]. I have done these things to help myself [list them] and I plan to do these things [list them].”

      Then tell him what it will mean for him and how he can support you. If you make this very concrete, it may help him feel like a partner in your recovery instead of a passive, scared bystander (been there, it sucked).

      For instance, ‘I need you to help me plan my medication schedule so I will still be in the mood x days per week. I need you to be able to leave social events quickly if I have a panic attack and need to take a rescue medication. I need you to take “night shift” with the baby on nights that I need to take a rescue medication, and I need you to help me watch for [x,y,z] signs that my medication dose is wrong.”

      Good luck. I really hope that you can make your husband a partner in your recovery- anxiety is so scary, and I really don’t think anyone can or should have to handle it alone. *hugs*

    • Would you be comfortable having your husband come to the doctor with you (might not be the appt tomorrow, obviously)? Maybe it would help you to discuss this situation with your doctor tomorrow and then let your husband know that he can come to an appointment if he has any questions/concerns. That way, you’re taking action and are inviting your husband to be a part of it, but you’ve started the ball rolling.

      Mental health issues in general are very stigmatized in our society. It’s getting better, but there’s still a difference in reaction between “my mom has cancer” and “my mom has severe depression.” Don’t let that keep you from doing what you need to do to take care of yourself.

    • I met my husband in AA and when we were both 12 years sober, I started having serious anger problems. I began attending meetings again, and considered that it might be early menopause. In any event, he was against medication of any kind but of course, it was my decision. I have now been taking He admits he was wrong about it. The Lexapro, combined with AA and meditation, has taken away the mean and bitter edge. So, educate him and tell him! Oh, my brother had a great comment on the idea that we, as a society, have become too dependant on medications. Well, it is not normal for us, as primates, to be living in this concrete and steel technological environment either. So what if we need meds to cope?

    • undergrad anon :

      I went through a similar conversation with my long-ish term boyfriend at some point…he was convinced for awhile that I didn’t really need any of the medication I was on for anxiety problems because I should just “get over it.” What really helped me when I was explaining it to him was to say “it’s not anything I’m doing, my body isn’t producing [x y and z] and it’s causing me an undue amount of stress.”

      This situation might not be the same as yours, but I found personally that telling him “this is what the doctor told me,” didn’t do a whole lot of good, because his attitude about mental health in general is over-medicated by American doctors. (He was brought up in a different culture.) Thus, saying that a doctor considered my situation and thought that medicine would be more effective than any sort of “attitude adjustment” didn’t carry a whole lot of weight. I don’t know how much of an issue this would be if he wasn’t born and raised outside of the USA.

      Hope this was helpful!

    • Ladies, thank you for taking the time to respond. I’m taking all of your ideas for talking points when I decide it’s time to tell DH. Maybe that’ll be tomorrow after the appointment, maybe it’ll be next week, who knows. I know I would not feel good about keeping this a secret forever.

      Anyway, thank you, thank you, for your support. It’s hard to discuss these issues with my family and friends. That’s more my issue than theirs, in most cases — but the fear of being judged or thought of as “broken” is really difficult. I also know that having a good support network is pretty key to fighting depression and keeping it at bay, so I need to become more comfortable with the idea of being seen as less than perfect.

    • One of the things that was helpful for me was using therapy to learn how to talk about emotions and my anxiety/depression. After having a few practice talks with my therapist I was better able to approach conversations about my anxiety with my husband and others. Talking about emotions isn’t a skill that I learned growing up so I needed a safe place to practice and learn it later in life.

    • Hi there!
      Hope you find relief from your symptoms, and hey, if it takes meds to do that, well why not?
      I think trying to get through a dosage schedule without letting your husband know may actually be a strain in itself.
      Would you be able to decide with your doc / therapist and then have an interview with your husband present?
      In my opinion, a lot of the stigma related to mental health is based on the fact that people carry various misconceptions and they may therefore change their opinions quite dramatically if exposed to more accurate information.
      Good luck!

  31. anonymous :

    I don’t think the issue is whether the shoes are expensive or sexy, it’s more that they are in-your-face expensive. I would avoid because it could seem obnoxious. Would you buy the exact same shoes if they had a normal sole?

    • Ballerina Girl :

      This! This is what I was trying to get at–it’s not just that it’s expensive, it’s that it’s it seems designed to show off how expensive it is.

      • its not though. the red sole has always been his signature. and when he first started designing, people didnt know who he was. moreover, there is no exact same shoe w/o the red sole — meaning, that you dont get the craftmanship and comfort if you buy something cheaper.

        • yes, exactly. I think the difference here is between people who look at it and think “expensive!” and people who look at it and think “ooh, pretty!” I fall into the latter camp. They are just gorgeous shoes. In fact, I wish they were not so expensive, so that I could buy more of them.

  32. job applicant :

    Can anyone think of a way to address an email that doesn’t involve using “Dear Sir or Madam”/”To Whom it May Concern?” I’m applying for a job with a company that projects itself as informal/laid-back, and those greetings sound a bit too stuffy for this place. I couldn’t find the name or title of the person who might be reading my application.

    • It’s kind of impersonal, but what about “Dear Hiring Manager”?

    • “Dear Hiring Manager:”?

    • How about simple “Hello,”. Sometimes we just overthink these things.

    • Dear Hiring Manager?

    • Dear Members of the Hiring Committee, Dear Hiring Manager, Dear Future Colleagues (that one is a bit presumptous but it may work in some fields), Dear Colleagues (if you’re already a professional in that field)

    • Since it’s an e-mail, I’d just send it without addressing it. This would be strange with a letter, but I feel like it’s more common in e-mail.

    • Consultant in NoVA :

      In the past, I’ve used “Dear Potential Employer.”

    • Somehow I always like emails that start, “Good morning” or “Good afternoon.” It sounds civilized.

    • job applicant :

      Thanks, all! I went with “Dear Hiring Committee.”

  33. Reading all the judgments people make based on the cost of your possessions, I have to ask – do you ladies feel that the same holds true for a watch? A nice watch (Cartier Rolex Omega Baume & Mercier whatever etc etc) can cost well into the 6, 7 and even 8 figures or more.

    Assuming that the watch isn’t excessive looking – e.g. studded with diamonds or channeling Liberace – and looks professional, does wearing an expensive watch elicit the same responses and judgments? If not, is that because watches are inherently more professional and practical (although, a $100 Timex will tell time just as well)? Does it depend on the watch? Or on the office and profession?

    Curious to hear your thoughts.

    • whoa! sorry, meant to say 4 and maybe 5 figures!! i am not talking about 1/2 million dollar watches – major typo.

      • I’m not super-judgmental, but I think there’s a definite difference in that watches appreciate with time. My mom gave a 20 year old Rolex as a graduation gift from college which was still in great shape and worth more than what they paid for it 20 years ago. Whereas you may only get a few seasons out of a pair of shoes, especially if you wear those shoes often (at least I kill my heels pretty quickly). Also, certain watch styles don’t change much over time — the classic silver and gold band on my Rolex was stylish 20 years ago and will probably still be 20 years from now. Whereas some of the Loubs Kat posted…

      • AnonInfinity :

        Hahaha! I was curious about this 8 figure watch. Since most people couldn’t put $10,000,000 on a credit card, I think I would just be jealous that I couldn’t also buy an island if I wanted to.

        I think that a not-too-blingy watch is perfectly fine, though it probably does depend upon the industry/area. I’m in a big (for my area) law firm, fwiw.

      • Anonymous :

        It absolutely does. More for alpha males flashing the latest creations, but it still does. Rolex-Cartier-Patek are at the top of the pile.

        IMHO it comes down to if showing off is appropriate in your office.

    • I think it is just a question of being in-your-face with the brand and price. Louboutins are unmistakeable, like a logo bag. If your watch is expensive but only a Rolex connoisseur would know it’s a Rolex, go for it. If it has a giant flashing red sign attached to it that says “Rolex!” then probably not appropriate for work :).

      • L from Oz :

        One day, when I’m rich, I will buy a Patek Phillipe. If this never happens, I may still buy one anyway, for a serious round birthday. I have no interest in fancy shoes or handbags, and this is my dream splurge. If I ever have such a watch, you bet I will wear it! (I’m also the sort of person who never leaves the house without a watch, so there’s no danger I wouldn’t get wear out of the thing.)

        Mind you, since I’m wearing a Swatch watch today, Patek seems rather far away ;)

    • To be honest, bag/watch = investment. Money = yours. Do as you wish and have no regrets later.

      Not that I’m judging the shoe-buyer OR Kat’s Monday splurge-buyers (there are enough women in this world to do that!).

      Full disclosure: I’m wearing a Franck Mueller men’s style watch and I also own an Omega (latter being hubs’ 30th b’day gift to me)

  34. Anonymous :


    Any suggestions for a fashionable rolling briefcase I can use on a daily basis? I’m unable to carry a heavy bag (aka, something with a laptop in it) until after I get surgery (which I’m putting off). Since I’ll be using it daily, I’d like something that is a bit stylish, but not showy, and is durable.

  35. I think Louboutins and similiar well-known, high-end luxury items are lazy ways to say to the world “I Have Money!” I feel the same way about LV bags, Cartier tank watches, and Tory Burch flats. They aren’t original. It’s kind of like the grown up, well-financed version of everyone in my 6th grade class wearing the same Umbro shorts and Adidas Sambas.

    I’m not necessarily opposed to wearing expensive shoes or jewelry, or carrying an expensive bag. I think that well-made clothes, particularly once they’ve been tailored, can make a world of difference. But it’s the obviousness of the red sole, the lack of originality in the same LV bag on every other woman in my office elevator, that seems silly. I want people to look at me and think “well dressed” rather than “well funded”.

    So my problem with Louboutins in the office is just that they seem a little silly and obvious.

    • How is it different than wearing, say, an Armani suit?

      • I guess the distinction in my mind is that an Armani suit doesn’t have “ARMANI” running down the arm or some other sort of obvious logo. It’s more subtle. I think I also associate Louboutins, LV bags, and the like, with cheesy celebs and rich NYC teenagers, but not so much with the Armani suit.

      • If someone is wearing an Armani suit, don’t you just think, nice suit, not Oh, $2,000 Armani suit? Or maybe you can tell it’s Armani by looking, I personally cannot.

  36. Anonymous :

    When a question like this is posed about something being “too sexy” (I’m ignoring the $$ issue for the most part here), I think first of my own opinion, and then of my mother’s. In this case, I think that the conservative shoe with a red heel is fine. But I also know that my mother would be absolutely aghast at these shoes – anywhere – let alone on a professional woman at work, otherwise professionally dressed. Now, admittedly, my mother is a complete prude and very quick to judge someone’s outfit as being too risque or sexy. She is also vocal about her opinions. I don’t think her judgment is fair at all, or reflective of today’s styles. But I also know that she is not alone, and perhaps is even a fair representative of a certain demographic. She is early 60s, a (non-militant) feminist educated at one of the Seven Sisters schools plus a masters degree from GW, and could theoretically be working in an office with a Corporette.
    As I said, I would not really blink if someone wore those shoes around my office. But I know that if my mother’s trusts and estates attorney came into a meeting with her wearing otherwise conservative, but red-soled shoes, my mother would absolutely judge her very harshly for them and decide this attorney is nothing but a floozy, even if she was also giving the best advice Louboutin-money could buy. I say this not because I think one should dress to the most conservative opinion, but just to say: 1) consider your audience and 2) it is worth noting that some people WILL think these are too sexy, and you should consider that even if you choose to wear them anyway.

    • Anonymous :

      Yep. It’s never just about you. Fly your freak flag proudly but remember that your choices are speaking volumes about you and you need to be aware of the message received.

      • freak flag??? by wearing nice shoes???? by all means, let us all wear payless and prove our frugality at the expense of our feet …

  37. I take life one mile at a time, and have run 35+ miles per week for 20 years. Any pair of shoes that doesn’t hurt and protects my poor pounded upon feet are OK with me. I don’t care if they cost $10 or $700, or the color of the sole. I would assume that anyone else wearing expensive shoes is also meeting a physical or psychic need, both of which hurt when they are not being met.

  38. Anonymous :

    Kat, this extended moderation thing is killing me slowly! It’s tough to discuss anything!

    • Agreed! What’s going ON?

    • it’s not on purpose — no idea what the problem is b/c i haven’t changed anything on the backend of the site. frustrating for me too — i go out for dinner and come back to 40 unmoderated comments!

      thank you guys for your patience…

  39. Blondie, Esq. :

    OF COURSE! Sheesh, what a silly question.

  40. I don’t think it is an issue as long as the shoes are tasteful and the outfit is polished. As far as admin/interns/youngens wearing such things…I would assume they have family help ($) or they have a fake. There are so many fake LVs out there that I almost always assume its fake if the girl is sub 30. This goes with jewelry, bags, shoes, etc. Let’s also not forget some gals buy second hand, some gals have fashionable moms/sisters who hand-down great bags/shoes/jewelry. We should all be so lucky! So long explanation longer, you can judge all you want but you probably don’t know the truth.

  41. lawtalkinggirl :

    If I wanted to spend $700+ for footwear I would get these: Don’t judge me because they’re sexy!!!

  42. OK, I’m naive, I recognize the red soles as Louboutins. But, how long does the red sole last, or does it scuff like normal shoes and then you’re wearing what looks like a worn shoe?

    I also can’t imagine calling 70mms “low heels”.

  43. Sharon TN :

    I am always surprised by some of the comments that post here. I see no correlation between liking and buying expensive shoes, handbags, clothing and any woman’s abilities or intellect. Owning certain things is a choice or preference…nothing more.

    Work is, and should be, about performance and results. And, if a woman achieves the expected outcome, why is so much time and energy expended on how much her shoes, clothing, handbags cost by *other* women?

    Sometimes, as I read the comments and opinions, I feel that women have made no “progress” at all.

    Personally, I would not wear most CL shoes to work but not because I object to the red soles or think red soles are too sexy and thus, inappropriate for work. For me, no shoe with a heel higher than 3″ is worth the aches and pains so, I will stick with the shoes I find most comfortable: Stuart Weitzman, Bally, Gucci and (only if I buy them one size larger) Ferragamos.

    Here’s an observation: women who prefer expensive shoes, clothing and handbags are often working beside and with women who proclaim to be more focused, more intelligent, more this, more that. One type loves expensive things and one type does not. So, how has such divergent types of women found themselves occupying the same work space and vying for the same positions?

  44. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone wearing Louboutins at work or court in my city, but after reading this post and all the comments, now I really want some. I would definitely wear them to work if I had them. I’m lusting after the Simple 70 pumps (I can’t really wear the higher heels).

  45. anonymous :

    Bob Marley says you can please some people some time, but you can’t please all the people all the time (don’t know if he originally said it though). For every person who judges you negatively for an expensive bag, there is another who won’t even notice, and still another who will judge you favorably. Your colleagues losing sweat over the bag/shoe/watch you wear are not your problem. Rather, focus on producing high quality work at the office, dress professionally to the tune of your pocket book, be genuinely friendly toward others, and call it a day. We need to be a little thick skinned about some of this female pettiness.

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  48. I personally love louboutins and find that they are the only heels that are truly comfortable. Most of my shoes are over 100mm and I can wear them all day at the office and my feet still feel good at the end of the day.

    I’m 22 and only started working full time as a lawyer this year, but I wear my louboutins to the office most days. They are comfortable and they make me feel incredibly confident. And if anyone asks, I wouldn’t hide the fact that I bought them on sale. But, as I am currently childless and mortgageless, this is, in my view, the time when I can most afford to buy beautiful shoes as before too long I will have less financial freedom than I do now. Other friends of mine saved and went to Europe, I saved and bought amazing shoes. Nothing wrong with showing them off.

  49. I work in an office with many girls. I love to wear my louboutin 120’s about 3 times a week. I have them in 3 colors. They have a very high heel and no platform. I am by far not the only one with louboutins from what I see during the day. I think the red sole is not such a big deal and I get more questions about how nice the are. Most men are not up on what a red sole means and never say anything. I along with alot of the people in my office make very good incomes so maybe they just see louboutins as the norm.. My largest problem is trying to wear flats. I find heels much more comfortable.

  50. Anony Mouse :

    Do you think men sit and dwell on other men’s shoes and what it says about their lifestyle/personality/morals? For goodness sake. I don’t wear heels in my job because it isn’t practical. I’m on my feet all day, up and down stairs and am generally a bit unstable on anything over 1″. BUT if someone decided to judge me on my shoes rather than my ability, I’d be bloody disappointed in them. So what if someone is irresponsible with money? Or allows their spouse to buy them expensive gifts? It’s no-one’s business but their own. They should be judged solely and objectively on their work, their attitude and how they fit with the organisation. Obviously if it’s a smart working environment, they should be smartly dressed. Or if you’re a nurse, wearing Louboutins isn’t going to do your feet many favours. But let’s stop judging others because of what they wear on their feet. I don’t earn megabucks but I received a small bonus and I chose to buy Louboutins. Do I find them sexy? Yes. Do they make me feel confident? Yes. But would I talk down another woman because she wore them to the office? No. Would I think she was being ‘too sexy’ and it was inappropriate? Of course not. That sort of labelling is ridiculous. If a man’s shoes had red soles would he been seen in the same way? Doubt it. I plan on wearing my Louboutins to an interview because they make me feel good and they look smart. I can walk in a straight line with them which is a rarity with heels. The interview is competency based, and that’s what I plan on being judged by. Not my bloody shoes.