Coffee Break: Dymark Kitten Heel

AK Anne Klein – Dymark (Black Synthetic Patent) – FootwearI have always considered the kitten heel a classic (after all, Audrey Hepburn wore it, ergo: classic) but it seems to be enjoying a resurgence right now — huzzah! I also like that kitten heels are low enough that I can wear them with pants that are hemmed for flats (or, ahem, flip-flops, for summer commuting months).

For today’s Coffee Break, I’m liking this synthetic patent shoe from AK Anne Klein. Love the cutouts, the cap toe, and the rubber sole.  They’re available in black, ivory and yellow at Zappos for $69, and in a metallic beige at Endlessfor $68.95. AK Anne Klein – Dymark (Black Synthetic Patent) – Footwear



  1. These are just ok. I refuse to spend that much for plastic shoes though.

    • I think they are cute, but refuse to buy plastic shoes. Unless jellies come back in fashion for the office (fingers crossed).

    • Agree. And there sure seems to be a lot of fake leather shoes out there lately! Especially boots this winter, argh. I will pay for real leather, shoe manufacturers!

      I was wondering, though, if improvements to fake leather technology have made modern versions of plastic shoes less, shall we say, rivers of sweat inducing? I remember wearing some fake leather shoes years ago in Michigan, in the winter, and my feet were still unbearably hot.

      • They’ve improved somewhat but plastic will never stretch to accommodate your foot.

      • And vegetarians and other animal lovers will appreciate non-leather options occassionaly, shoe manufacturers!

  2. These are similar to ones Kat recommended a while ago, which are now on deeper sale than they were when they were the Coffee Break.

    • Kat sure loves those side cut-outs/weaving!

  3. Just wanted thank everyone who weighed in on my wardrobe budgeting question last week and provide an update. Someone made the very good point that appropriate and well-fitting clothing for work is not discretionary and therefore shouldn’t have to come out of discretionary funds. Hubby and I talked about it and agreed that I need to have more money for clothes. We didn’t set a specific budget but we’re taking a “get what you need, within reason” approach. Also, I realized that I don’t need quite as much as I thought because some of my pre-pregnancy clothes fit again! Woohoo! I did a wardrobe audit over the weekend, trying on EVERYTHING I have, and from that I was able to come up with a very specific list of things to buy over the next month.

    • Oooo, a wardrobe audit. I seriously need to do that. I have a closet full of clothes but seem to wear the same five or six outfits all the time.

      • Me too. I can’t even find some things I know are in there. My closet is an out of control monster, filled with a bunch of things I need to get rid of.

      • Me too! My plan is to complete my closet audit by sorting everything by color and making a detailed “inventory” list of everything I have vs. things I think I need. I have already begun the process by purging my closet of things I will never wear again (donated or gave away to relatives) and tailoring all the things I bought that didn’t end up fitting well.

    • I think this will be my next rainy day project…

      I have SO much to get rid of (it’s such a good feeling!).

      Any suggestions, aside from Dress for Success and Salvation Army/Goodwill, for where clothes can go? My DFS is not accepting donations right now, and I’d love to find a place with a similar “mission:” putting good quality second hand clothes to work for other women.

      • Maybe a woman’s shelter?

      • recently preggers :

        We have a place called Bottomless Closet in Chicago that is similar to DFS. Maybe see if there is something similar where ever you are.

      • I take some of my non-suit things (sweater sets, slacks, shells and blouses) to the clothes closet at church. I think Google could help you find a local shelter or clothes closet that would love your gently used items.

    • *Formerly* Preggo Angie :

      I would love to do a wardrobe audit… but I’m not sure exactly where my body will be by the time I’m done nursing, so it will have to wait at least a year or so.

      • Definitely wait a year post pregnancy, or when you wean, whichever comes last. Your body will continue to fluctuate, and I was in a variety of clothes at a variety of times over the first year, so hang in there.

      • Anonymous :

        Yes, definitely wait – I went through two post-partum wardrobes in the first year and I’m just now getting back into some of my pre-pregnancy clothes. I was the one freak among my whole group of mama friends who didn’t lose tons of weight while breastfeeding. My son, who is fifteen months, starting sleeping through the night about two weeks ago, and as soon as he did, the weight started falling off, but not until then. He’s still nursing once or twice a day. YMMV but for me, sleep deprivation = extra weight.

        • There are actual a few studies on this — the gist of it being that if you’re not getting enough sleep, you are not going to lose a lot of weight.

          • Manoa Valley Girl :

            If you are not getting enough sleep, you are getting cranky, you are getting sick too often, and life just isn’t as grand as it should be. Also, as noted by AIMS, you will eat more to compensate for the lack of energy.

            Sleep is sweet.

          • Anonymous :

            It’s in Nurtureshock. It’s hormonal re: sleep– cortisol.

          • I vaguely remember some study where researchers sleep-deprived young male volunteers – they still got some sleep, they weren’t kept awake for days and days. Anyway, after awhile, they started to look almost pre-diabetic. I think there is definitely a linke between sleep, metabolism, weight gain or loss, etc. etc.

  4. “Wardrobe audit” – I like that! I have been planning on doing a keep/toss/donate sweep this month before I move out of my apartment, but I hadn’t specifically planned on trying things on and compiling a list at the same time. A specific list will help me keep my spending in check as I get ready to start a new job… thanks for the idea!

    • Original Lola :

      Ha! That’s a great term. Just the kind of thing that a corporette would think of. :)

    • It was especially helpful since what I thought I needed and what I actually need are quite different. For example, I thought I had more skirts, but since my pre-preggo wardrobe has been in storage for almost two years now, I forgot that I had gotten rid of a bunch before so I now only have one that works for spring. I also realized I had more black/grey/dark blazers than I thought, but I could really use a light one for summer. Totally changed my shopping plan.

    • Real Simple magazine’s May 2011 issue has a wardrobe audit entitled “Never Buy the Wrong Thing Again” on page 131. It basically goes through this type of exercise and I thought it was very useful.

      • Every once in awhile one of my friends will host a clothing swap. Lots of us have great gently worn clothes that, for whatever reason, we don’t wear anymore. Try it during fall/spring wardrobe cleaning. If you get a diverse enough group of gals, you can nab some great items.

  5. Diana Barry :

    2″ heels are kitten heels? Really? They’re about the extent of my comfort height unless they’re mary janes or some heel that covers more of my foot.

  6. Almost embarrassed to be asking, but what IS a kitten heel? Is it the height? The shape? Both?

    • According to wikipedia, both: “A kitten heel is a short, slender heel, usually from 3.5 centimeters (1.5 inches) to 5 centimeters (2 inches) high with a slight curve setting the heel in from the edge of the shoe”

      But I think that’s been debated before here and there was no real consensus. I always think of a shorter heel (like an inch, inch and a half) that is more centered on the shoe (not on the edge). So I guess I agree with wikipedia except I’m not sure I would count 2 inches as a kitten heel.

      • Anonymous :

        Yes, like a sawed-oof stiletto. Slim and shapeley and classically ‘heel’y– formal and elegant and soigne, but not as tall as a stiletto. ‘Kitten’ heel because it was a training heel for young teens at midcentury.

  7. Ann Klein shoes absolutely kill my feet. I think they put pressure on all the wrong points for my bony, high-arched feet. Which is too bad, because she has reasonably priced business-y footwear.

    • Me too. They are always too narrow in the toe box for me, and lack arch support. She has some cute shoes, though.

    • In terms of inexpensive shoe brands, I have had reasonably good luck with Enzo Angiolini shoes – not a sure thing, but much better imo than just about any other under $100 reg. price brand (e.g., Bandolino or Nine West, etc.)

      See e.g.,

    • Mountain Girl :

      One of my favorite pair of boots is from AK Anne Klein. It is a brown leather boot with a kitten heel – sort of a rare find. I fine them absolutely comfortable although I don’t think they will last through two seasons. I bought them on a clearance sale right after Christmas so I wore them for almost 3 months and only paid $40 or so for them so I totally got my wear out of them already.

      For reasonable priced shoes I actually think this brand fits me better than many others.

    • Same here – after buying several cute but hideously uncomfortable pair of Anne Klein shoes, I have now banned myself from buying anymore. The lasts just aren’t shaped right for my feet.

  8. Equity's Darling :

    Zappos no longer ships to Canada. Sigh.

  9. I have the same problem with a lot of kitten-heeled shoes as I do with some higher heels. Namely,that if the heel itself is really narrow, it still makes my feet more unsteady as I walk. Maybe it’s just my ankles?

    • I’m sure your ankles are fine – it’s the narrowness of the heels. The smaller cross-sectional area puts more pressure on your foot, especially your ankle, which has to stabilize your entire body’s weight on pencil tips, essentially. Wider heels decreases the pressure applied to your foot – spreads the weight out more. That’s why I wear chunky heels, mostly =).

      • Right. “Stacked” heels (which are wide) are the most comfortable for me.

        Kitten heels are like stilettos that are broken off, leaving a little nub. You have to use more muscles to balance in them.

  10. La Plus Ca Change :

    I had a pair of shoes exactly like this, also by Anne Klein, in bone leather, in college (1985). Is that possible? I used to wear them with my Guess ankle-zip paisley print jeans and a cream top from The Limited.

    • La Plus Ca Change-Your comment made me laugh out loud. I had a pair of paisley jeans which were purple and blue. They did not have a ankle-zip, so I used safety pins and rolled them up. I wanted everyone to see my slouchy tube socks.

      • You sound like the cool girls whose wardrobes I envied in high school and college. I did have a pretty rockin’ pair of baggy jeans stitched over in a grid-like pattern in pale pink and green threads, though. Yep, rockin’.

    • Ha – I work in higher ed and I would not be surprised to see the ankle-zip paisley print jeans on any of the fashionable girls here on campus today. The ’80s are totally back!

  11. I think kitten heels shorten your leg and don’t look particularly good. I’d either go for a “real” heel or flats. Also, for some reason, my ankles tend to bend sideways in kitten heels– I don’t think my balance is all that great.

    I would like these in leather flats.

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