Reader mail: How to wear pewter shoes?

Today’s reader mail has to do with how to wear gray/silver shoes…
icon How to wear pewter shoes? I bought 2 pairs of pewter colored shoes: Franco Sarto Artist Collection ‘Cameo’ Round Toe Flaticon and Me Too ‘Sunset’ Slip-On Wedge. Should I wear them with black? Would they go with a blue dress? (I bought 2 pairs because I usually get a heel and a flat in the same color, so depending on my pant length it works.)

This strikes us as an interesting question, because while gray is frequently touted as the “new black,” it does take quite a bit more thought than, well, black does. For our $.02, yes, pewter/gray/gunmetal would look great with navy. In fact, we’d probably wear it with almost any color — except, that is, for an all-black outfit (if only because people might think that you didn’t realize your shoes weren’t black). For the most part, we would advise that you wear them (particularly silverish ones like the ones you bought) on the days where you can be a bit more adventurous with your wardrobe (e.g., not to court or to a company-/firm-wide meeting).

Readers, any thoughts on pewter-ish shoes?


  1. The shoe on the left could be cute with pants. The shoe on the right in no way seems professional or work appropriate.

    I have a pair of silver LK Bennett snakeskin flats that I wear on Fridays…and I always get compliments. Personal rule of thumb is to limit “bling” at work in terms of wardrobe items.

    Shiny=cougar, or bobcat, depending on your age.

  2. Anne Vohl :

    As the season chnges, we have to think about how the shoes will look with our coat or jacket, as well as with our suit or dress. That said, metallic leather looks especially great with bulky knits and with tweeds. I think metallic leather can look great in court if the shoe style is simple. A non-metallic pewter gray will look best with, for example, a gray or wine-colored flannel (or other smooth wool) suit or dress.

  3. Question: “How to wear pewter shoes?” – Answer: “Any way you’d like when you are not at work.” Do people really think metallic shoes are office appropriate? To me, metallics are for weekends, weddings, etc…

  4. I actually would wear these with an all-black outfit, like a black sweater and pants. They’re just right right pop of something different. I hadn’t thought of wearing them with blue, however — great idea.

  5. I second that. Neither are work-appropriate. The wedges are hideous, in my opinion.

  6. I have pewter pointed toe pumps and I usually where them with an otherwise mono-crohomatic outfit – blacks/whites/grays so I don’t overdo. Love Anne’s suggestion of tweed. I can definately see those flats looking cute with a grey/black tweed skirt.

  7. b – yes people really think metallic shoes can be appropriate. I started coming to this blog because it was supposed to be for women who want to look professional AND fashionable. Doing plane-jane brooks-brothers/ ann-taylor conservative professional is easy. Doing modern professional with a bit of style is hard, which is why this blog exists.

    • Okay my tone was a bit b*tchy. In all seriousness, though – I haven’t seen women in my (large) office in metallic shoes and my personal thoughts are that they would probably be hard to pull off at work unless the rest of the outfit was super toned down. But they seem to be a pretty popular trend from the comments so maybe my office (and me?) are behind the times on this one….

      • It sounds like you’re in a fairly traditional office. What makes a look professional to me is its style, not its color. A peep toe bootie or 6″ platform stiletto boots are not going to work in a professional environment no matter what color you pick. A nice flat like the one featured here could look wonderful with a navy, tweed, or black. I think the wedge is too casual for a business environment and would really only work on casual days.

      • Apoligies if my reply came off as b*thcy too. Tone is hard to judge on the internet. I just feel like I have been seeing more and more commenters saying “that is so not professional” to nearly every piece on this blog lately and get annoyed with it because I feel like they are missing the point that women, shouldnt have to look like a brooks brothers ad to be considered professional, and many women don’t want the brooks brothers look nowadays. (yes, if you are going to court or have an important meeting with the VP, etc., wear your most conservative, couldnt possibly offend anyone outfit, but that is not most days for most people)

  8. I’m an attorney at a big law firm, and I see nothing unprofessional about the pewter wedges. True, I’d probably not wear them to court, but I would for a client meeting. Now, bright sparkly silver shoes would be a little too precious, but a pewter wedge adds a little depth to an outfit without too much “look at me!”

    I’d probably wear them with pants, both to possibly tone them down some (depending on shininess) and also because I have no idea what color tights to wear them with. Black seems too high contrast. Love the tweed idea, too.

  9. I think pewter and bronze are very neutral choices that could be worn with just about anything. I have two pairs of bronze/duller copper shoes that I wear more than my saddle tan ones.

    These shoes do look more silver than pewter, but still…I might wear the wedges with pants before I wore them with a skirt…

  10. I’d pair them with my trusty oil can and wear them to see the wizard for my heart!

    • I actually like the shoes on the left, but your response is awesome. Thanks for the laugh!

  11. the wedges are a bit chunky for skirts i think, but okay with pants. as long as this is your only really flashy part of your outfit, i don’t think there’s any problem at all. i wear silver cole hann ballet flats at my office regularly and i don’t think anybody has ever thought twice about it. i am senior associate at a biglaw firm in nyc

  12. I have had grey patent shoes and grey suede but not metallic…here’s to corporette and the bloggers – helping us weed through fashion vs. trendy to spice up the classical work wear without looking like we’re trying to be 18 again. Of course, I’m speaking of those of us 40+ :)

    For the silvery/pewter tones which are deeper than grey, I would use the dark, rich tones in fall wardrobes: plums, navy, forest green, wine, burgundy. Not sure about mixing the silver with browns, although you do see browns and blacks and silvers all together in fashion now. Perhaps with some related, textured silver or gunmetal jewelry with solid or muted patterned clothing. Can’t say i think wedges are professional at any time, but then again I say the same for open toed shoes.

    Here’s to the rich feelings of autumn, with the whispery, floatiness of spring/summer nearly put into storage, even here in Texas.

  13. Metallics are a fantastic way to add interest to a more toned-down outfit. I have silver flats that I wear with dove gray trousers in the summer and get lots of compliments on them. Metallics are a neutral! It’s important to make sure that if you’re wearing a metallic shoe, then let it shine and don’t wear anything else that might distract from it – including jewelry. The shoes are the star, everything else is supporting cast!

  14. I think that these pewter shoes would be perfect with trousers in charcoal.
    And I totally disagree with commenter H.
    These metallic shoes would complement any white gold or platinum jewelry, or a white gold or stainless steel watch. The shoes and the jewelry would tie the whole look together.

  15. @ belle de ville – I didn’t phrase correctly. I meant any distracting kind of jewelry, like big earrings or a busy necklace or something. I always wear jewelry! I feel undressed without it. White gold/platinum/sterling silver looks great with shoes in that color family. Sorry about that!!

  16. Love the flats, but agree that the wedges do not look office-appropriate – they look young (like still in college young). And I think metallics can definitely work for the work place, as long as the rest of the outfit is well tailored and a little more conservative.

    Also, I am with A – with the blog’s increased traffic of late, it seems like a lot of people are dinging every single suggestion, without realizing that there is an ongoing discussion here about how to balance fashion and trends with being in a relatively conservative world. Brooks Brothers has its place, but we don’t all have to wear penny loafers or pointy black 2″ pumps all the time.

    • i agree re: all. those wedges (think its all the curves) scream “i’m an intern” to me. but i think the color alone is totally office appropriate.

  17. What hosiery to wear with shoes other than black always vexes me. Mine is not a bare leg office so with my grey,maroon and (dare I say it) red shoes I generally end up taking the trouser option at work so I can have limited leg exposure because I hate the black tights coming out of another colour shoe look. Good old black shoes can always cope with black opaques or tights.
    Do others worry about this too, or am I just being obsessive again?

    • I kind of prefer plain black tights with another color shoe. I find plain black tights with a black shoe to be so boring that I typically do the patterned tights (often in gray) with a black shoe to give it some interest. Then again, if I have on a black pantsuit, I do the same thing by choosing a colored/metallic shoe. You can always do pantyhose if you’re worried about the color combination, can’t you?

    • No I think you are exactly right. Pairing tights and shoes with skirts is a much tricker game than pairing them with trousers. I have a couple of skirts in my closet that looked great in the dressing room and fit great but I don’t wear them because I don’t know which shoes and hosiery should be paired with them. Help us out here Corporette.

      • What are the skirts like?

        If you post up links to something similar someone might sugest something you like.

        I’d offer to do it, but this winter I plan to wear aubergine 70 denier tights with a couple of my work dresses, I might be too alternative for you?

      • I wear either black or gray tights with black shoes and fortunately have one pair of dark brown tights that match a pair of brown heels perfectly. For harder shoes to match (red, gray, pewter), I wear nude hose – would never consider wearing any of the dark colored tights with a lighter/different colored shoe.

        I like the idea of navy or maroon hose but have never seen anyone in my office outside of the nude / brown / black / gray spectrum. I can picture some format of maroon or navy hose, gray skirt, creamy top looking good… but, am also stumped as to the best shoe to wear to complete the look.

    • Anne Vohl :

      I worry a lot about black tights meeting a colored shoe. That is a pretty harsh look. I think there are great options this fall for hose with a hint of color – gray – wine – brown – navy – and a bit of transparency versus totally opaque – no shine, please. Maybe a bit of texture, too if the outfit is very plain.

  18. I actually think the gunmetal shoes would work especially well with an all-black outfit. It adds a tiny hint of excitement to an otherwise monotonous ensemble.

    • divaliscious11 :

      I agree. I am thinking a black cashmere turleneck and wool a-line skirt with a black tight.

  19. It’s amazing. Those shoes really look more silver than pewter. I think those shoes are beautiful and I think to buy those to my wife… or I will buy just the right one…

  20. Anon for this one :

    I think it’s interesting that the majority of commenters make snap judgments about what is (and isn’t) work appropriate based on their own office environment. It’s true that certain styles may not work at a white shoe law firm. It’s also true that a more relaxed firm might not care what the associates wear, or might have a much more lenient dress code.

    When I see comments that denigrate every single fashion choice, I have to wonder what you actually DO wear to the office. For example, I work in what you’d probably consider “flyover country,” (Madison, WI) but I work at an actual law firm, practicing actual law – just like the rest of you. And, heavens to betsy, my firm does not care what I wear. There is no dress code here, period. So some days I dress up in a suit or a dress; other days I wear jeans and a nice sweater. Most days it’s in between in the ubiquitous “business casual” look. But I could wear either pair of those shoes up there without a problem. At my firm, thankfully, the ONLY things the partners care about are: 1) timeliness; 2) good work product; and 3) a decent attitude.

    • Dear Anon
      Absolutely agree, you have to be comfortable though in the environment and most of us are pack animals to some extent. I found even when my old office didn’t have a code of dress most of the younger lawyers in particular found comfort in a “type” of uniform. Easy to work out in the morning, suitable for court and meetings etc. There is nothing worse than being in the office and called into a meeting for which you feel underdressed ( and sometimes the coat or cardigan hanging on the back of the door just won’t work) , apart obviously from being unprepared for the meeting!!!
      But there’s nothing that says it has to be boring, so wear what you feel good in. Don’t make yourself into a matron in pearls and black square cut too soon. Believe me there are many years for that.
      The other option of course is escape….now I’m in house , life is much more relaxed. In fact I’m typing this from beside a pool, wearing a caftan and linen pants.Sorry!

  21. I would definitely wear those shoes, but not for anything very formal such as presentations or executive board meetings.

  22. I like the flats pictured (and have a similar pair with more gold in the color) and would wear them with pants – black, gray tweed (solid gray a little matchy, perhaps) or navy. Great for those “have to be all over the office today” days when nothing is particularly formal.

    The wedges I’m not so thrilled about – they seem a little clunky, between the thick wedge, rubber sole and the draped, rounded toe, and echoing other commenters I think they look too young. A shoe with a more grown-up silhouette (in a d’Orsay style, with a more elongated but not pointy toe?) in the same material would look fabulous, though, with skirts or pants.

  23. I hate the wedges (look very HS), but I DO love the flats. I would wear them with black, navy or tweed trousers and a simple, neutral top with minimal jewelry (diamond studs and a single diamond drop necklace). If the rest of your outfit is relatively toned down, and you aren’t dripping in big jewelry, I fail to see how wearing a pair of silver flats is any different than wearing a big necklace with a neutral outfit.

    THANK YOU to all who commented on people dinging everything not straight from the most recent Brooks Brothers catalog. I totally agree that doing BB-conservative is beyond easy, and that the purpose of this blog is to add a little fashion and flair in a professional manner.

    And, dare I say it, while BB is great for court and client meeting appropriate pieces, it is FAR from what I consider “fashionable.”

    • yes, well said all! Although I don’t think BB is necessarily anti-fashionable (classics never go out of style!), it’s not very much fun, either. Finding the line between adding a kick to your wardrobe and having that kick be too much, too young, too whatever for work is the hard part!

  24. I’m with A, EAS and anyone else who mentioned the overly-fuddy-duddy traffic on Corporette recently. I’m glad there are more like me who want a little fashion in our corporate drone/lawyer/whatever life!

    Shiny silver shoes are probably safer with pants than a skirt, but only because I tend to keep my statement shoes under pants (maybe I’m an old fuddy duddy). But a more muted or deeper pewter, wear with anything!

    I would keep the silvers and pewters with cool tones and coppers and bronzes with warm tones or their exact complement (so bronze with a rich blue, but maybe not silver with an orange …)

    Thanks for keeping us fashionable, Corporette!

  25. Not a fan of the wedge – it reminds me of something a teenager would wear to a school dance….Loving the flats though – agree with the comments on dark conservative pieces like black, tweed, etc.

    I’m also a fan to pull these out when my office has one of those rare jeans days – dark denim with pewter shoes and a preppy sweater? Yes, please!

  26. Ok, I am the reader who submitted this question. Interesting answers. Ironically, I am going to Nordstrom today to return both pairs of shoes. I have never worn either. I hired a wardrobe consultant and she said they didnt go with any of my work clothes! So back they go. By the way, the wardrobe consultant thing was fun. She is also a personal shopper. I had a bunch of shoes from the Nordstrom sale and she is having me return most of them and buy other stuff.

    • What is she having you buy – specific recommendations (as in, everyone should have an x, y, and z in their work wardrobe) or just general “these are your best colors and styles” advice?

      • Yes, please share for those of us who’ve been wanting to do this but haven’t been able to justify the expense!

        • Yes and if you were happy with the service perhaps share contact info?

          I did hire a personal shopper once, and have also used in-store personal shoppers at Macy’s. They made the shopping experience more pleasant and spotted some good things I might have missed, but I didn’t think they really helped me put together a coordinated wardrobe or improve the professionalism or style of my wardrobe. I would definitely consider hiring someone who could do that. I haven’t used the personal shopper again b/c I didn’t think that one was worth the expense. I liked the in-house personal shopper but would only do it again if I were planning to buy a lot at once – I definitely felt guilty not buying things.

  27. I would wear either shoe with a gray top or gray pants/skirt. I have silver low wedges and have gotten consistent compliments wearing them to work. I’ve never gotten a single remark that they looked unprofessional, nor have I ever gotten that impression (I work in N. California so perhaps it’s different elsewhere). I think that wearing them with gray pulls the look together which, in my opinion, helps for those who think it might be more risky in their workplaces. I don’t think either shoe looks too young, but I’m 28 so maybe I’m just in denial.

  28. Those shoes are kind of ugly and unsophistocated. Sorry! I would save them for the weekend…

  29. How about a thread of folks providing names/contact info on wardrobe consultants/personal shoppers who have good taste, able to deal with both fashion and corporate, and reliable service?

    • Great Idea to list Personal Image Consultants.

      I happen to be a professionally trained personal image consultant in Baltimore, Md. I work with individuals and groups in Baltimore, surrounding areas and Washington, D.C. I have a website, and a blog,

    • Here is a link to a wardrobe consultant that I’ve worked with..she is in the Philly area but she does virtual consults, too:

  30. Here is what happened with the wardrobe consultant. My sister, who lives in Chicago and is a way better dresser than I am (I would have thought she wouldn’t need it) used one ($100/hour 4 hour minimum then $100 hour for personal shopping) and loved it. So I googled wardrobe consultant in town (Western state capital city) and found one lady with a great website, but was kind of intimated, like maybe I wouldn’t be fancy enough for her. Also she didnt respond to my email for 4 days. And I found another lady mentioned in a blog and she responded right away. And she only charged $25 an hour. The other woman with the fancy website was $50 an hour. So the $25/hour lady came over to my house and I tried on all my work clothes and some of my casaul clothes and she told me what to keep and what to put in the Goodwill or consignment pile. (Freshly drycleaned clothes she didnt like she has advised me to sell. Not sure if I will or not, might be too much work.) The most interesting thing about it was she got rid of most of my shirts and about half of my shoes. She also re-combined clothes I had in ways I never would have but that looked good. She said my outfits werent bad, just overly boring. And that the style I should be going for (based on questions she had asked me) was classic with a twist. Then she made a list of what she thought I needed. And she went to the nearby mall without me and put stuff on hold. Then the next day I went with her and in 2 hours tried on all the stuff at the various stores she had put on hold. Previously, I had bought about $600 worth of shoes (including the two pictured above) at the NOrdstrom sale and she had me return all but one pair. So I got a bunch of money back from that. And then the clothes that she had me try on were much cheaper than those I usually buy (I shop a lot at Nordstrom since they help me buy outfits, although all the shirts I had bought were from there and she didnt like any of them.) We ended up buying 4 shirts at Ann Taylor, 2 new pairs of shoes at Nordstrom, a shirt at the Limited (a store I thought was about 15 years below my demographic) one jacket at Chicos (its a fitted camel colored jacket doesnt look old lady-ish) and a couple things from White House Black Market. That was another $100 in her fees but totally worth it. Then all we have left to do is have her come back to my house and help me put together everything in outfits (I plan to photograph myself in the clothes, down to the shoes.) Also I had a bunch of chunky shoes because they are comfortable and she got rid of them all and had me buy lower kitten heels. I think I will keep using her. The having her go to the mall ahead of me and pick out stuff was great. Much faster. Also I kind of hate shopping and this made it less awful.

  31. Seventh Sister :

    Lobbyist, what would estimate the total cost was for the consultant, including the clothes you bought? I’m trying to decide between doing something like that or having some clothes made by a tailor.

  32. Seventh Sister, I have paid her $200 in fees and I spent about $900 on clothes. However, I did get $500 back from the shoes she had me return. I am going to have her come back and help me make up outfits so will probably spend another $50 to $100 in fees.

  33. millelilly :

    Metallic Pewter shoes = Perfection with a Navy Skirt Suit. Also looks great with black pant suits.

  34. I have a pair of pewter flats (ann taylor on sale for $10!) that I lived in until I wore the sole through! I got lots of compliments on them and found that I wore them the most with outfits that weren’t based in black or brown.

  35. Because the eye automatically searches for colors that are repeated, when you repeat the color of your shoe this will make you look “pulled together.” and coordinated. If your hair has some grey in it you may already be repeating the color when you wear pewter grey shoes. You can repeat the color with a pewter grey belt and or a scarf or necklace that has pewter grey in it. It’s always visually more pleasing to repeat a color an odd rather than even number of times. But at least repeat the color of your shoes once in your outfit.

  36. Not at all work appropriate, if you want to be taken seriously and not as someone out of Flashdance. I hope you didn’t wear these to work.

  37. professionalism is not determined by your look, period. as long as you don’t dress too loud, funky, or showing too much skin, that’s okay. No one wants to dress up like a old hag. Those so called professional clothing are stuffy and mad ugly, yeah just plain boring.

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  40. i like it.

  41. that is right

  42. Because the eye automatically searches for colors that are repeated, when you repeat the color of your shoe this will make you look “pulled together.” and coordinated. If your hair has some grey in it you may already be repeating the color when you wear pewter grey shoes. You can repeat the color with a pewter grey belt and or a scarf or necklace that has pewter grey in it. It’s always visually more pleasing to repeat a color an odd rather than even number of times. But at least repeat the color of your shoes once in your outfit.

    i agree

  43. Metallic Pewter shoes = Perfection with a Navy Skirt Suit. Also looks great with black pant suits.

    Read more:

  44. there are many thing we have to do about the shoes.

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  50. I actually would wear these with an all-black outfit, like a black sweater and pants.

  51. I would wear either shoe with a gray top or gray pants/skirt. I have silver low wedges and have gotten consistent compliments wearing them to work.

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  53. So great the Not a fan of the wedge – it reminds me of something a teenager would wear to a school dance….

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