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The shoes every woman should have in her work wardrobe

18 Oct 2019

Shoes are a powerful accessory in your work wardrobe. The finishing touch, that punctuates your outfit.


In our personal wardrobes, shoes are a chance to make a style statement. In the office, they should assert professionalism. “Shoes are often overlooked in favour of outfits, however, these are pivotal items that set the tone for your professional style,” says leading Sydney stylist, Carol Sae-Yang. And she should know: with over 20 years of fashion expertise up her sleeve, Sae-Yang is an expert in creating work looks that are modern, sharp, and designed to make any woman feel confident.


Here, Carol shares her definitive list of the best women’s shoes for work. A capsule wardrobe of essentials, they’re guaranteed to add polish with every step.


Black pumps

When we wear heels, we stand taller: our posture improves; our confidence emanates. Pumps are the LBD of the shoe world. A classic leather style is a versatile option; and that makes it a smart addition to your office wardrobe. “Fabric is important,” advises Carol, “a patent leather shoe won’t stretch, so make sure that you’re comfortable in them. Suede, on the other hand, is a soft, comfortable fabric to wear. It’s also important to choose a sensible heel height that’s easy to walk in.”


Nude heels

The classic heel is a women’s work wear staple. A pair in a neutral shade opens your wardrobe up to endless possibilities – there’s nothing nude shoes won’t work with. When choosing your neutral tone, look to closely match your skin tone, and select a pair that suits your shape. “Pointed-toe styles elongate the legs,” advises Carol. “For those who may be slightly thicker in the ankles or calves, choose a block heel. Not only are they flattering, they’ll balance your legs better than a thin stiletto.”


Formal flats

A wardrobe mainstay of any career on-the-go-getter is a well-chosen pair of flats. “I love an elegant flat shoe. A beautifully crafted flat shoe oozes chic and effortless style,” notes Carol. Ballet flats, loafers and flat mules are failsafe choices. Opt for closed-toe designs and avoid any extravagant detailing. Looking to break away from black? “Textures such as mock-croc or snakeskin-print add a stylish contrast worn against monochrome work outfits,” recommends Carol.


Ankle boots

Boots aren’t solely for winter: they’re also a fantastic go-to, all-year round. The ideal women's boots for work are ankle-length leather. “In the cooler months, wear them with pants. When the weather warms up, they look great with skirts and dresses,” advises Carol. Guaranteed to look polished, opt for a minimalist boot style – no studs or embellishments, and nothing higher than mid-calf. And while black shades work best, dark chocolate or rich oxblood hues will elevate your office attire, too.


White trainers

An unexpected addition, trainers are fast becoming a staple in most women’s wardrobes – particularly when it comes to office attire. “As dress codes relax in the corporate environment, white trainers are becoming a casual must,” says Carol. Subtle yet cool, she recommends simple, unbranded leather styles to make a chic statement. And to ensure they stay that way, vigilant cleaning for a polished appearance. Balance is also key to pulling off sneakers at work: your outfit should veer on the formal side, offset by white trainers for a contemporary take. Teamed with tailored trousers or pencil skirt, the look is fresh and modern. For a more feminine feel, pair with a chiffon dress and blazer for effortless workday wear.

Taking you seamlessly from season to season, consider your corporate footwear as an investment –beautiful, functional essentials that elevate every working day. “Shoes are a game-changer,” affirms Carol. “I used to spend all my money on clothes, but I soon came to realise they’re pivotal to altering the dress code of an outfit. Adding different shoes (and a jacket) can take you from school drop-off to a meeting, or a business lunch to a dinner date.”


For the perfect shoes to match your existing office wear wardrobe, or advice on the right shoes for a specific office dress code, Carol Sae-Yang offers personal styling sessions at QVB. To make a booking and build a perfectly curated work wardrobe, visit .

OR to shop QVB's world-class footwear range, visit here.