The question asked to The Petite Edition is: Are platform shoes appropriate for the office? The quick answer is “it depends.”
Depending on the total heel height, platform width and design, you just might be able to pull off a platform pump at the office. Here are a few general rules:
- Rule 1. Wear what you can walk in. Although I typically commute in flats, I have often had to race in heels through the Big City. On many occasions, I have had to lug files ten blocks, through the subway and up/down stairs while speed-walking to keep up with a handful of long-strided men. Although cabs and car service are available in the Big City, too often traffic requires an alternative mode of transportation. Therefore, be certain you can walk in your shoes. If anything above a two-inch heel makes you teeter down the hallway, then you may want to pass on the platform trend.
- Rule 2. A platform does not give you license to wear a much higher heel. Even though a 5-inch heel height with a 1-inch platform may feel as comfortable as a 4–inch non-platform pump, it does not mean the shoe is office appropriate. Don’t get me wrong, I do LOVE a high heel and am used to wearing heels. (I even shed a tear when I was forced to wear flats for two months while nursing a foot injury.) However, I try to keep my office heels under 4 inches, typically around 3.0-3.5 inches, and reserve my higher heels for outside the office. Stick to a total heel height of no more than 4 to 4.5 inches for the office, especially if you’re petite.
Save these for a night out:
- Rule 3. Pay attention to the platform-to-heel ratio. A larger platform tends to suggest a party shoe. Keep the platform at a half-inch or shorter.
My current go-to office shoe is the Jimmy Choo Aimee Pump in nude. At a walkable 3.5-inch heel height, with a .5-inch platform, the shoe follows the three rules above. The Enzo Angiolini Dixy Platform Pump, currently on sale at Bloomingdale’s, has similar proportions and is another great option. My colleague loves the Christian Louboutin New Simple Pump, which is 120mm, or about 4.7 inches. Given the subtle color of the shoe and her taller-than-petite height (which helps even the ratio of body/leg/heel height), she has been able to wear this pump successfully at the office. Though, at 4.7 inches, the New Simple is skirting the edge of the office-acceptable range.
- Rule 4. If the shoe is printed or a bold color, opt for a non-platform version. Consider the below spotted pumps. The left shoe, without the platform, would be the only appropriate option for the office.
That all said, there are (of course) a few caveats. Be mindful of your office setting and look to your more senior-level colleagues for guidance. Working in the Big City, my office tends to be slightly less conservative and more welcoming of fashion trends than another sister office located just one hour away. Also, even though platform pumps are generally accepted in my office with the above restrictions, there are certain situations when I would not wear platform shoes, such as important client meetings, presentations or formal networking events.
Finally, when in doubt, you can never go wrong with the classic, non-platform business pump.
Have a question about appropriate workwear? Email The Petite Edition at ThePetiteEdition@gmail.com.