Workwear Hall of Fame: Karolina Strawberry Patent Heels

Kate Spade New York – Karolina (Strawberry Patent, Multi Stripe Stack Heel) – FootwearOK. Pink patent heels can be a bit much, even for me — but do you see the heels on these, ladies? Love the striped, stacked heels so much that I’d find a way to make pink work. They would be lovely with otherwise sedate colors — gray, navy, black, possibly even brown — and just think of the fun you’d have pairing these shoes with something like a simple black sheath dress. The shoe comes in two other colors, as well: a linen patent (with black and white stripes), as well as a navy patent (with navy and cream stripes). Love love love. It’s $298 at Zappos Couture. Kate Spade New York – Karolina

2017 Update: These shoes are still around! They’re almost always available in neutral colors, but they also often come out in fun new colors almost every season. it’s available in narrow and wide sizes.  You can sometimes find it on sale (as low as $135) at 6pm or Amazon.

comfortable heel for work



  1. My head says that these shoes scream “Lawyer Barbie!” but my heart loves them and would find a way to make them work…

    • I had that thought as well, but I think if the rest of the outfit was very toned down they could work. I’m thinkin of them with navy wide-leg pants and a cream shell – they would be just a lovely pop of color! They might be a little much with a skirt, however.

  2. I hate to rain on the parade, but I wouldn’t dare wear these, however styled, to the office unless I was The Rainmaker. I know women can dress professionally with style, femininity and personality, but I think these cross the line to the point where some would not take you seriously. That said, I would wear these to a spring or summer party, and maybe my bridal shower. They are gorgeous.

    • Agreed. Love, but to me these are the ultimate in “you know what? I am NOT going to be professional today!” Due to the price, though, I’d be more likely to stick with my wild nail polish or eye shadow color to make that point.

    • I agree completely.

    • I think it depends greatly on geography. These would be totally fine and professional at the Biglaw San Francisco office where I worked–women (including top performing senior associates) often wore fun shoes with slacks and nice top. But then again, many wore jeans, so this would be seen as more dressy/stylish than usual.

  3. These are cute, but they make me think of a cross between Barbie and Rainbow Brite.

  4. I think they’re pretty great, but a lot of money to spend for shoes that could be worn to work 1-2x a year at most, likely on a Friday in the late spring/summer.

    Of course, now that I think about it, I’m not sure I’d buy them even if they were less money. So maybe it’s a theoretical “great” for me.

  5. Alias Terry :

    Yes, I like pink shoes.
    No. I can not see a way to make these work for me.
    They are just too conspicuous and say, “I am girly and have not grown up and never will.”

  6. I just got these last week and love them! If you wear them with an otherwise “plain” pant suit, it is not all that “shocking” as the length of the pant legs cover the majority of the shoe – leaving just a peek of fun. I got a lot of compliments on them.

  7. Tired Squared :

    I would love to see a heel like that on a BLACK shoe … add in some fun and brighten my outfit that day. With the pink it’s just a little too much.

    • I completely agree with this. The pink plus the colorful heel is too much for me but I would do one or the other.

    • Website weirdness? :

      Agreed completely. Love the heel, think it would be neat with an otherwise sedate shoe, but with the pink patent shoe, it just doesn’t work for me in the office. Or anywhere, really. I think the pink patent is tacky.

    • The shoe comes in a navy and a linen with striped heels. The navy especially looks nice and more interesting than a plain navy shoe.

  8. Sorry – but this looks like something right out of Legally Blonde…

  9. Anonymous :

    Watch for Lohan to wear them to court.

  10. The color may be more red than pink (see – and the name of the color is ‘strawberry’). Funny but I think that you could do red in an office environment though not pink.

    • Hmm – those heels look like Dymondwood (what some knitting needles, crochet hooks, wooden spoons are made from – a plastic-infused wood laminate).

      And know what, I much prefer the neutral/nude versions. Actually pretty cool.

    • They really are pink, more similar to the Zappos photo, despite the name and appearance on some other sites. I originally thought they were more reddish, and was surprised by how pink they really are when they arrived…but love them all the same :)

  11. I love these shoes. I think they are just fabulous and would wear them with confidence.

    I’m a lawyer in a non-traditional office. I would absolutely wear these to a deposition with the hopes that my opponents would look at them and underestimate me. Plus, I find wearing edgier things to situations like that often makes my female adversaries a little jealous that they don’t have the freedom in their firms to express themselves. It’s a great power move.

    • Me too. I actually already have a pair of pink patent leather shoes, and am kind of wishing that I didn’t because I love these so much. But alas, there is no way I can justify owning TWO pairs of pink patent leather shoes. I do wear mine with otherwise fairly conservative outfits, and have always worn them with pants, not skirts.

  12. I’d wear these with a black pant suit with a dark green undershirt. I’d wear them with wider pants so only an inch of the toe and the heel would stick out.

  13. I want those shoes. Badly. I would have no problem wearing them to work. I don’t think 90% of men notice shoes, and the 10% that might would likely just be jealous that their shoes aren’t this “fun.” And I can’t see the women I work with being anything but complimentary. Would I wear them to court or for a client meeting? No. But for a regular spring/summer day with an otherwise conservative outfit? Yes!
    The comments saying that they wouldn’t take someone wearing these seriously make me sad. Why can’t pretty also be professional? I like to have fun with clothing, and I think mixing one “fun” piece into an otherwise very conservative look is not out of place.

    • I am completely with you. I think some of the comments in this thread prove that women can be their own worst enemies.

      We’re all on a fashion website during the work day. Get over yourselves!

      • LOL! I like these and would wear them on a day I was just going to be in the office. But, I have to say if I saw a clerk in them I’d probably think Legally Blonde. (I’m at 12+ years practicing). I would not wear them as a summer law clerk because you don’t want to be “that one with the pink rainbow shoes.”

        • I was thinking something along these lines, too. I wouldn’t try these if I were under, say, 35. But as a woman of a certain age, I think I could get away with these when worn with a conservative pantsuit. I love them and wish I could justify the expense!

    • Three cheers! These would be a great conversation starter, IMO.

    • I agree, but I have to say that my shoes today are also pink and only slightly less conspicuous. I have gotten a lot of compliments on the shoes.

    • Agreed!

  14. Makeup question — I am new to the world of eyelash curling. I picked up the great trick to heat up the curler with a hair dryer from you ladies, but I am concerned the curl + heat may be causing some (currently unseen) damage. Should I be using some kind of moisturizer for my lashes? Also, does anyone have any tips for helping the curl to last all day, or do you just re-curl as needed? TIA!

    • in the office :

      I don’t generally curl, but when I do it looks great. I did just get some mascara from bare escentuals – they put aloe and good minerals, etc. in the mascara so it helps condition the lashes without needing a separate lash conditioner. they do make those these days, but some of them have warnings that it might change your eye color (like latisse), and I have light blue eyes that i wouldn’t ever want to change, but, back to the point – my mascara has aloe and I love it!

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Yes, of course heat/hot tools causes damage to hair, whether it’s eyelashes and curlers, or head hair and a flat iron. Doesn’t necessarily stop us from using a flat iron, but we can’t pretend it isn’t harmful. What kind of curler are you using? I use Shu Uemura and it lasts all day – maybe you just need a higher quality curler?

    • I think the hot eyelash curler is a horrible idea just an FYI. Just get a better quality curler or leave it on longer. To heat metal close to your eye is awful. To have your eyelashes break off from heat damage is awful. Why??

  15. Magdeline :

    I like these better, maybe because I really don’t care for rainbow-y items:

    I would wear them with an otherwise-conservative black pant suit. I agree with the above poster that said wearing fun items like pink shoes can be a great “power move.” As with everything though, whether it comes off as a power move depends on who is wearing them.

  16. I am completely in love with the “linen” color and black and white striped heel. Has anyone seen these in a store (in NYC)? I don’t own any Kate Spade shoes and am hoping I can go and try them on in person. I checked online at Bloomie’s and Saks, and haven’t found them. Hope they’re out there somewhere.

    • Zappos is free shipping and returns. No harm in ordering, trying on and returning if it doesn’t work out. I’ve found they are amazingly fast in shipping and very timely with credits.

    • I also love love love the linen color. I wish I could buy these

    • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

      There are some pictures of these in the linen (or as this blogger calls “Biscuit”) here: Hope that helps.

      • Ms. Basil E. Frankweiler :

        Oops. Didn’t realize the Biscuit was actually a separate color. But they are gorgeous! If I wasn’t a student…

  17. spacegeek :

    Love these, would wear them with a wide trouser. BUT they are tooo high for me. So sad.

    • This is me exactly! I love, love, love them. I would like to own them just so I could look at them every day. But due to an old injury, I can’t wear anything higher than 2″, and 2″ really rarely. If these were a kitten heel I would cough up the $300.

  18. Related threadjack. My boyfriend and I had this debate last night, actually — are leopard print shoes appropriate for work? My idea was that with a very conservative outfit, a low heel, closed toe, more subtle pattern, etc. etc. it could work. Sort of like the suggestion some are recommending for these — wide leg pant, so only the tip of the toe shows.

    His idea was absolutely not, never, no way. I’m just curious about what people think!

    • I have leopard print peep toes- get rave reviews every time I wear them. I live in Florida, so YMMV.

      • Same here–subtle leopard print peep toe shoes which I wear with all black (not to client meetings or court). Get lots of compliments–but am in San Francisco and can also wear pink shoes without apology.

    • Yes, definitely! I think of most animal print as basically a neutral. But my hubby and I were talking last night about some new leopard print flip flops I just got…and he kept calling them ugly (but I’m keeping them!).

      • Guess I am on the side of your best friend is a lawyer in BigLaw and has a cute pair of Tory Burch leopard print ballerina flats. She wore them to work and I said I was surprised she did…Guess it kinda depends on your office and what people wear…

    • Lawyering Mom :

      I think they’re work approrpiate! I’d totally wear them – in fact I’ve been searching for a pair of leopard or zebra heels for a while. I want a peep toe pair, preferably 2 to 2.5 inches. I’d wear them with pants and keep the rest of the outfit toned down. I think animal print shoes are an excellent statement peice!

    • I wear leopard print heels to work. Just go for a conservative styled shoe: no huge heel and platform.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Prompted by this threadjack, I browsed for work appropriate leopard pumps. Now I have to have these, and I am blaming all of you :).

        • Oh, I love those! I’ve actually liked all of Ivanka Trump’s shoes that I’ve seen. I haven’t tried them on, but those are a great shape and just the right height for me. I want them too! :)

      • I have a pair of leopard-print pony hair wedges (about 1 1/2 inches) that I always get a ton of compliments on at work. I wouldn’t wear them to court or to meet clients, but they definitely make an otherwise boring outfit much more interesting.

    • I got a pair of leopard print low heels (calfhair) with a closed toe from Ann Taylor – they would be very conservative little shoes if it weren’t for the leopard print. I wore them with a black suit, cream shell, and necklace with copper and gold tones in it, and felt like a million bucks – only one person noticed the shoes, and he loved them. I think they’re appropriate as long as it’s the only “wild” element of the outfit, and the rest is classic and conservative.

      Oh, and I probably wouldn’t wear them to court but I would certainly wear them to a client meeting.

  19. fashiongirl :

    Amazon has the same shoe in a beige color with the rainbow heel. FYI:

  20. Threadjack –

    Is it acceptable to wear a black blazer with different colored bottoms, such as gray pants or a white pencil skirt? I think these would be cute looks but I’m worried that it would look like I’m just wearing a mis-matched suit. Help!

    For the record I work for an accounting firm with a business casual dress code, so we’re not required to wear suits unless there’s an important event or occasion.

    • Another Sarah :

      Perfectly acceptable. The only problem I can foresee is that the gray is dark enough that it looks like you mismatched your blacks. But if the gray is obviously gray, then cool.

    • I frequently wear a black blazer with medium gray pants in my business casual law office, usually with a gray silk blouse that is just about the same color as the pants. I get tired of wearing suits all the time, and like black and gray together. I also have a charcoal gray blazer I wear with black pants and a burgundy or purple blouse.

    • I have issues in my head about feeling like I’m wearing a mis-matched suit. So I always make sure to wear a conspicuously different fabric on the bottom as well as a different color. I have seen women pull it off fabulously without resorting to that trick, but it helps me feel more put-together.

  21. PSA. In the milling ab0ut period before a technical conference started on an unrelated matter, I overheard a lawyer from another firm attempting to throw one of my firm’s clients under the bus with the staff of a federal agency today. Not smart – think before you pull shady stuff in public!

    • Hmmm … am wondering if this was at my agency by any chance. But all we had today was a settlement conference before an ALJ, no staff-led tech conferences.

  22. I love the heels and might wear them to work under the right circumstances/right outfit and would not judge someone else at all for wearing them, except for judging them as awesome.

    However, I really don’t think getting a lot of compliments is proof or even support that an item is work appropriate. (I don’t mean to call out the commentators on this particular thread – I see this in many threads.) I compliment people when they wear something really noticable/bright and look good – that doesn’t mean I think they are dressed appropriately, sometime I think they are dressed not at all appropriately for work – they still look great.

    • This reminds me of something Stacy and Clinton say a lot (I’m outing myself as a What Not to Wear watcher, I guess). People on the show always protest when S&C want to throw something away and say “Everyone always says that’s interesting!” or “People always tell me I look interesting in that!” Stacy and Clinton always respond with “What else could they say about it?!”

      The more I thought about it, the more I realized that I’ve done something like that when someone wears something that leaves me speechless. I’ll say “Oh, how interesting!”

      • But I think it is clear that “interesting” is NOT a compliment when used in that manner – As opposed to, “I love those shoes” or “those shoes look great with that suit.”

        • If something is truly awful/inappropriate it’s also likely that you can’t help but stare at it; in so doing, the person wearing it is likely to catch you, and in those situations I usually say “Great X” — just so it won’t be awkward. In those moments, I don’t have it in me to say, “interesting shoes” or “that’s some dress.”

          I hate to say this, but I have complimented dozens of hideous and/or inappropriate items over the past few years at work and in law school (a satin pastel yellow suit comes to mind, but there have been so many others. . . . )

          It’s actually gotten to the point that if *I* am complemented at work on something that is less-than-sedate, I can’t help but feel a twitch of suspicion! Sad, but totally true. FYI.

          • ditto to this. I sometimes feel like I have been caught staring and have to say… something! So, when I wear something a little “out there” and get lots of compliments on it, I feel self concious that it was obvious that it was outside my comfort zone or otherwise a bit too …interesting. lol.

          • Corporate Tool :

            It’s actually my bellwether. If I wear something bright, trendy, or noticeable, and I get more than 3 comments, I know that it’s probably not office appropriate.

  23. 403 errors are getting worse; I can’t log on from home on my Mac anymore.

    Also, these shoes are hids.

  24. I don’t want to start a crazy discussion, but I do have a question. A few times I have seen a response written here along the lines of “Ask yourself if a man would do that” for instance, I think one poster was writing about offering to pay back a firm, and it was accepted as good advice to ask herself if a man would do that. I notice no one ever suggests taking that advice for fashion however. No one suggests asking if a man would wear pink shoes (or even, to make it more traditional, would a man wear royal blue shoes to work? or even red?). Is this because color is inherently a feminine thing? I’m wondering because here, a lot of women emphasize wanting to retain their style, (i.e. “I don’t have to dress like a man to be taken seriously) but at my work the men dress exactly the same, suit everyday and that’s it. Why do men accept that they will suppress all individuality for the uniform of a suit, but many women cling to the idea that being able to dress feminine and stylishly (and by style I’m talking about true style, not just well tailored) is necessary to hold on to? Would love to hear everyones thoughts

    I am not a stylish person, so it was not a big deal for me to make my own uniform of a suit everyday, heels under 2 inches, and try to look polished within those parameters.

    • I think female identity is more tied to clothes than male identity. Women are more encouraged to express themselves through clothing, so I think when many (including me) hear “dress so that your clothes match everyone else’s” we hear “supress your individuality”. To use a highly stereotypical example, it would be like men being discouraged from discussing sports at work, because it’s not professional to show interest in something so trivial.

      I don’t think it’s unrelated that women are judged more harshly for clothing choices, either. I’ve never heard the word “dowdy” applied to a man, but I suspect a women who dressed every day in a dark suit + plain collared shirt and no jewellery or accessories would be called that.

      • Praxidike :

        “I’ve never heard the word “dowdy” applied to a man . . .”

        Me neither, but there are a few attorneys that the male partners in my firm refer to as “middle-aged man” because they wear suspenders and/or shirts with contrast collars.

    • Great question, and I’d love to hear other people’s answers to this!

      I think part of the reason is that professional women are expected to play two (somewhat stereotypical) roles: (1) authoritative, serious, conservative, and (kind of) masculine while at the office; (2) feminine, fun, and flirty while out. I think this explains the popularity of “day-to-night” dresses or looks.

      Men, on the other hand, look “sexy”–by societal standards–in standard businesswear. They can wear a well-cut suit all day at the office, go to dinner or a bar in the same suit, and fit right in. They aren’t pressured like women are to play two different roles while inside and outside the office.

      Also, women’s suits are a recent phenomenon. I believe they were first designed by YSL in the 60’s, but the modern women’s business suit didn’t really become a thing until the late 70’s/80’s. As I understand it, these women in the 80’s were thinking, “If I have to act more masculine to break the glass ceiling, then I’ll put on a pantsuit with shoulder pads and a button-down underneath.” Before wearing something questionable at the office, many of these women were thinking in the back of their minds, “Would a man do that?” I think a lot of this was because, until fairly recently in our history, masculinity was associated with professional success.

      Obviously, that isn’t (entirely) true, today. A lot of women younger than the baby boomers feel that they can show off a bit of their feminine side in the office–after all, if members of the male gender can dress as they were conditioned to (since men’s suits have a longgg tradition), why can’t women dress like we were brought up? They think, “why can’t we wear patent pink shoes with rainbow heels?” Which describes the “I don’t have to dress like a man to be taken seriously” line of thought. I think this is generally true, but we should still tread carefully, ladies!

      Disclosure: I’m in my early-to-mid twenties. Also I am not a fan of those pink heels, but I do love the linen!

    • Anonymous :

      FWIW, I actually do think this – business attire is business attire, and shouldn’t be vastly different for the sexes. A man can’t wear a Hawaiian print shirt and call it “business casual” so I don’t see that a woman wearing a large, floral print skirt looks very professional (unless her workplace is one where a man wearing a Hawaiian print shirt is acceptable – in which case, are you hiring? :) ). I pick colors, and styles (yes, lots of button downs and pencil skirts) that I see as female equivalents of traditional mens clothing. My philosophy is that no one is paying me to be fashionable, and that I’m clearly a woman regardless of what I wear, and so I’m happy to hold off on the ruffles, flowers, etc. until evenings and weekends.

      However, I know I’m in the minority.

      • I once had a judge interview me wearing a hawaiian shirt. I so wanted that clerkship. (It was, in fact, a hawaiian judge on a skype interview)

        • Hawaiians wear Hawaiian shirts to work all the time. They just tuck them in.

          • Aloha Shirts :

            Aloha shirts (“Hawaiian shirts” in mainland language) are considered professional attire in Hawai’i–not for court, but for the office and certainly client meetings. Reyns is the place to go for Aloha shirts.

  25. FWIW — I am not a fan of pink or patent leather, but I think these are cute. I probably wouldn’t wear them (b/c they are pink patent leather), but I wouldn’t think twice about someone who did (unless it was with a matching pink suit!).

    My one –huge — issue with them, as someone who lives (and walks) in NYC, is that the heel would last at most 3 wears before getting stuck in a grate or elsewhere on the sidewalk and becoming irreparably ruined.

  26. Anne Shirley :

    these shoes made me squeal with glee while sitting at work

  27. Corporettes, normally I love a good shopping hunt, but I am being totally defeated in my quest for a decent lightweight, not-gigantic leather wallet. I don’t care if it bi- or tri- folds, zips around, whatever. All I want is something that will fit into my smaller bags and still have some space for my pile of credit/gift/rewards cards. I’m not even picky about price or color at this point. Does anyone have one they love?

    • The Lauren wallet by hobo international is amazing! I don’t know if you would call it not-gigantic though, since it’s about the size of a clutch. It comes in dozens of colors and looks very sleek and pretty, IMO. I rarely love something as much after I get it as I did when I was in the pine-for-it and stalk it online phase, but I love this wallet even more than I thought I would.

    • Fossil! I have one of the popstitch ones. They come in 3 or 4 sizes; I have a mid-sized one. It has a TON of card slots. I love it. And mine is purple!

    • I was on that hunt forever as well, and finally ended up with a Merona wallet from Target… so it was cheap, but I’ve been really happy with it and won’t mind getting rid of it when I finally find my one true wallet love.

    • I absolutely love my Lodis framed wallet. Perfect size for me, great design for keeping everything organized, high quality leather (I’ve had it for almost a year, and not a scratch on it, and I am tough on things). Comes in lots of colors and patterns. I have the red. Here’s a link to the Lodis website; Nordstroms also carries them, though not as wide a selection as the Lodis website. I have a matching card case as well.

      • I should have added that their framed wallets come in different sizes — mine is the ballet size (something like 7″ x 3 1/2″). I didn’t realize that when I first ordered — I got the “clutch” size first (something like 10″ x 4 1/2 “), and it was way too big. So be sure to check the size in the description if you decide to order.

    • Thanks everyone!

  28. lawyerette :

    Corporette finally works for me at work! YAY!!

  29. instant obsession. i want to marry those shoes. now.

  30. i just made these shoes my screensaver.

  31. Love love these shoes. Was going to buy them and then found a pair of Loubitains that I LOVED and bought those. May need to buy these Kate Spades b/c C recommended them :-)

    Re: different standards for men and women attire, I think the FLOTUS really makes style look fun! I love how she’ll add a pop of color (shoes or pin) to a dress and I LOVE that she doesn’t wear dowdy suits. IMO Michlle Obama is setting such a good example for us professional women.

  32. Love these shoes, Kat! I just wish that I 1) could wear 3+ inch heels and 2) had $300 extra to spend on shoes.

  33. For anyone still receiving updates to this post: I have the biscuit with rainbow stacked heel combo and I.Love.IT. Granted, the heel might be a bit tall for some conservative offices (I work in business casual). The heel is really made of stacked (leather? wood?) material, with the individual stacks colored.
    Even though the sole/shank may seem thin, they are very comfortable and well-balance. I’m typically a size 7, but got 7.5 in these bc my feet are a bit wide at the ball. I tend to have a problem with shoes, even mid-range ($200-300, high-end for me!) ones, bc my big toe ‘knuckle’ is a bit larger than it’s L-side counterpart. As a result, low and high shoe vamp alike tend to cause me foot pain by the end of the day. No so with these, even though the vamp is a bit on the lower side!
    I’d say buy them in store, if that option’s available to you. They’re chronically out of stock online (zappos and ksny’s own site) anyways.
    I’d recommend these shoes if you’re okay with the height (3″) and the price point. I know I’d snatch up the aqua, the strawberry one featured here, and the linen with navy/cream striped stacked heel if I could afford them

work fashion blog press mentions