The Hunt: Purple Pumps

Edelman Orella Pump

2017 Update: We still love these purple pumps, but you may want to check out our latest roundup of what to wear with wine-colored pumps.

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

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: purple pumps are one of my favorite things to wear to work. I like all shades of purple, truth be told, but my absolute favorites for pumps are the ones the color of wine, with a lot of reddish brown in them (but too dark a color to be considered a classic red or even a cordovan pump). They add a tiny bit of pizzazz, and look great with a variety of colors, including: black, navy, gray, cobalt, olive/army green, and beiges and whites.  We haven’t done a roundup in a while (2014, 2012, 2010).  Ladies, what color heels (not black or nude) do you find to be the most versatile color for pumps? Have you bought any purple pumps recently, or loving any older pairs?  

Some roundups of special interest shoes (most links go to Amazon, Nordstrom, or Zappos):

Nine West MargoI don’t think we’ve featured the Margo before, but it’s been around for a while, has a classic look, and is offered in tons of colors.  Amazon has it on sale today (take an extra 20% off with code NEW4FALL) — Zappos also has it, with a ton of reviews, if you prefer to purchase there.  (Check out our “Under $75” category, above, for more in this price range.)  Pictured, marked to $63 today:  Nine West Women’s Margot Suede Dress Pump
Anne Klein AKFionI always like a good strappy pump, and these dark purple suede ones are from a brand I’ve had great luck with in the past for comfortable heels: Anne Klein.  This 3″ heel comes in four colors, including purple suede.  Other options in this price range: Ann Taylor (two pumps come down to $75-$80ish with code FRIENDS40 during their Friends & Family sale). Pictured, at $79: Anne Klein AKFion
Edelman Orella PumpThese Sam Edelman pumps look awesome — trendy pointed toe, nice deep vamp (assuming you’re not squeamish about toe cleavage), and a reasonable 3″ heel.  They’re also available in sizes 4-13, in regular and wide sizes, for $109 at Nordstrom. Sam Edelman Orella Pump
Weitzman Diploma Bordeaux SuedeOn the con side: yes, these shoes are super high (4″ heel!).  But there are so many other pluses I had to feature them.  For starters, they’re from reader (and personal) favorite brand Stuart Weitzman — and a gorgeous shade of purple — and on crazy sale at 6pm for $128. (They were originally $425!) And, booyah: they’re still available in sizes 6.5-11. Stuart Weitzman Diploma
Vince AurelianThese 2″ heels from Vince look like the best of a ton of worlds: conservative, trendy, comfortable.  (I always think a vamp that exposes a bit of toe cleavage is more flattering, but the straight line vamp, like here, is very popular right now).  These shoes are $350 at Neiman Marcus and available in a number of other colors. Other options in this splurgey price range: Stuart Weitzman, Ferragamo (on sale at Bluefly), Anyi Lu, Via Spiga. Pictured: Vince Aurelian Suede d’Orsay Pump, Eggplant
Prada Purple PumpIn the priciest tier, Manolo Blahnik is in our Hall of Fame and offers a lovely “bordo” suede, but I’m more partial to this gorgeous Prada almond-toe pump.  At 3.25″ (85mm) the shoe is high but not crazy high for work — I also like that it comes in sizes 4.5 through 12.  Other options if you want to splurge: Sergio Rossi, Nicholas Kirkwood, Salvatore Ferragamo. Pictured, at $650: Prada Almond Toe Pump

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  1. I have really fine hair that also gets very frizzy in the summer and/or rain. When I straighten it, it looks much sleeker, but in bad weather, it only lasts until I walk out the front door. Has anyone with my kind of hair done Japanese/Brazilian straightening? Is it a terrible idea if you have very fine hair? I’m worried it’ll all fall out or look too limp.

    • Anonymous :

      I have your same hair but it curls in humidity. I had a keratin treatment done on the roots of the hairs just around my face so that my gray hairs took on more the texture of the hair surrounding them. It didn’t ruin my usually-flat hair and the grays now just look shiny and not like some sort of mutuant hair transplant gone wrong. I have to repeat every couple of months just on the roots.

    • I considered doing the Japanese straightening, but at $800, it was too steep for me.

      I ended up buying a box of Dark and Lovely relaxer at CVS for $7 and did that at home. I left it on for 15 minutes, rinsed it out, and my hair is beautifully straight, even in Florida’s soup-like humidity.

      (Obviously proceed with caution on this. My hair is very very fine but resilient)

  2. My most versatile non black or nude-for-me shoes are a neutral snakeskin print (sort of dappled ivory/brown/grey). My office is pretty conservative; purple shoes would really stand out, and not in a good way.

    • Anonymous :

      I love snakeskin shoes, but I’ve never found a pair that’s mild enough for my office- any specific suggestions?

      • Mine are flats from Club Monaco about a year ago–I wish I could find them for you! This is the closest I could find quickly:

  3. Anonymous Associate :

    I have a great pair of purple/wine-colored alligator Jimmy Choo’s. Much more versatile then you’d ever think.

    Another great color is blue. I have a pair of fabric Manolo pumps that look like a subtle royal blue-sky blue watercolor. Also more versatile than would be expected.

  4. Anonymous :

    I’ve never owned purple shoes, they just don’t fit in my wardrobe, and I kind of hate purple.

    I find my cordovan (deep red) and cognac (amber-brown) shoes to be by far the best workhorses, after black.

  5. Anonymous :

    I’m so sick of my closet. I’ve been working for about 5 years, and I’ve accumulated so much stuff that was bought hastily- doesn’t fit well, or work with other clothes, or was too trendy. I just feel like I need a total refresh.

    I’m overwhelmed with where to start- Do I get rid of everything first? Or do I start shopping? Do I make a list? Everything is so blah right now, I just want some new stuff that fits better and is better quality.

    • Anonymous :

      Time to Marie Kondo!

    • Are you wearing the same handful of outfits over and over again? Think about what those outfits have in common and build a wardrobe around that. I work in a business casual office (more business than casual), and have about 7 or 8 pencil skirts, silk or silky sleeveless shells, and cardigans. I also have several dresses. I only have one pair of work pants because I hate wearing pants. Once you can edit down to what you really love wearing (which I did with the Marie Kondo thing), a light bulb will go off and you will know what to shop for.

      • Diana Barry :

        +1. I found that I had a bunch of stuff that I had bought for a more bohemian-artsy look, which really didn’t fit my clothes personality or my workplace, and so out all that stuff went. The stuff I kept was more sharp-dressed lady lawyer with a touch of androgyny, so more tailoring, more suits, fewer flowy skirts and dresses.

    • Start off by trying everything on and eliminating things that are damaged or don’t fit. I try to do this every six months when I rotate clothes and find it’s easiest to do it by category. Then evaluate how to work with the remaining items or what items you could purchase to incorporate them.

  6. lawsuited :

    My favourite purple shoes (yes, I have multiple pairs) are the Coach Nala pump. I have them in purple, teal and wine suede – they are very comfortable shoes and add a pop colour to my very neutral wardrobe.

  7. I’m with Kat – I love purple shoes. I wear my purple shoes more than a lot of my neutral shoes, black included. I’m the same way with cardigans – I wear my lavender cardigan more than I expected. I’m also a big fan of green shoes, particularly olive. Greens work well with brown-toned outfits, while purple seems to do the best with cooler black/blue-based outfits.

  8. My favorite non-neutral pump color is red. I have a pair of MK Flex pumps in true red saffiano leather which I wear at least once a week. They are often a pop of color when I’m wearing all black or all navy.

    I would love a nice pair of teal pumps, as well, but haven’t found the right shade.

  9. I love colored shoes. My favorites are red, burgundy, emerald and cobalt.

  10. Diana Barry :

    I find I wear my silver shoes the most. I have silver oxfords and ballet flats and Cole haan air tali wedges. After that, red, then gold or leopard is a distant third.

    • Josie Pye :

      Wearing my silver Cole Haan tali wedges right now! They’re so comfortable. I just wish the bow looked less flimsy.

  11. A few pairs that are in pretty heavy rotation – raspberry patent point-toe jimmy choos, maroon studded point-toe guccis, orange point-toe valentinos, and dark red patent point-toe louboutins. Surprisingly versatile, although now I’ve realized that I tend to accent with red/pink tones instead of blue/purple tones.

  12. Ooohh… I’ve been on the hunt for red/wine shoes. I had a pair a few years ago that a few people *still* remember as being incredible (“You had those great red shoes”), and, yeah, wore those suckers out.

  13. I too love a dark color shoe as a near-neutral. I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of both wine and dark blue over the years, but haven’t tried purple yet.

    My current favorite is a blue black combo. These are in heavy rotation for me, and it’s time to replace.

    Any ideas for a similar shoe? Sad that they’re hitting the end of their useful life.

  14. Most versatile were muted snakeskin print ones from cole haan. And bright red pumps from Ferragamo.