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Paralegal Career Dressing: A Reader Asks about Flats & Sandals for the Office

Paralegal Career Dressing: A Reader Asks about Flats & Sandals for the Office
Reader Question:  
Lynne, I’ve been enjoying the blog lately (love Juanita!), but can you do a post about shoes? Specifically, flats and sandals. Some of us can’t or won’t wear heels. I love your shooties, but I’d fall off of those so fast I’d break my ankle. What’s in style, where to buy, and are sandals “appropriate” for the office or court? Thanks! ~ NC Certified Paralegal
Practical Paralegalism Career Dressing’s Answer: 

Thanks for the nice mail. It’s great to hear from readers. I get the sense that most conservative law firms, legal departments, and certainly court rooms, do not want to see female (or anyone’s) toes. Feel free to weigh in on why ladies’ toes are supposed to be hidden in the office in this modern age.

I do know the conservative court rule is generally no sandals or open-toed shoes in the court room (flats are fine) – although you will see them anyway from those who have no idea they’re committing a supposedly huge breach of courtroom etiquette. I have no idea if a female legal professional has ever actually been asked to leave court for *gasp* exposed toes, or *double gasp* no pantyhose.

Your office dress code will dictate whether you can wear peep toes or sandals. Casual offices are probably fine with sandals, but most conservative law offices frown on ’em, i.e. no toes showing at work. I like peep toes and flats for summer, and am recommending some options that may work in most conservative offices and less flexible law firms.

Blowfish Nest Flat – $34.95 (DSW)
Tie-back ballet flats ~ $49.95 (Gap – other colors including teal available)

Florals are in this spring, but if you want to start small, your shoes are a good place to brighten up your outfit.

Blowfish Selene – $39.00 (Zappos)

Is this a sandal/flat? I dunno, but there are no toes showing so I think you could sneak them into the office, plus everyone needs a pair of red shoes.

ASOS Landscape Point Flat Shoes – $44.76 (asos – also available in black)

Quietly explore your wild side with these great neutral flats.

White Mountain Shoes, Truth Flats – $49.99 (Macy’s)

Finally, color is a great way to liven up your spring and summer wardrobe, and at this price, you can buy more than one pair of these flats, also from New York & Company.

Bow-Tie Ballet Flat – $14.97 (New York & Co)

Readers who work in conservative law offices and legal departments, can you wear sandals to work, and if so, what can you get away with?

4 Responses to Paralegal Career Dressing: A Reader Asks about Flats & Sandals for the Office

  1. Excellent post! I, too, have been really enjoying your blog lately. Of course, I found it not too long ago after landing a job at a medium sized firm. It has truly been a gem, so thank you for that.
    As for the shoe debate, my firm is conservative enough that whatever is by the book proper for a court room is what the attire would be. In the office though, sometimes I feel like I'm in an episode of Jersey Shore. The older, more conservative gals are more open to open toed shoes as long as there was a recent pedicure and the shoes are classy. Love many of the flats you suggested.

  2. @A – Thanks! You raise a good point about toe hygiene. I think a beautiful pedicure makes all the difference in the world as to how much toe you can show 🙂

    I can only watch about 15 minutes of Jersey Shore (the teens have it on sometimes), repeatedly moaning, "Eeeeyewwwwww" the entire time. I can't imagine wearing anything remotely like their daily attire to the office, especially a law firm!

  3. I too enjoy reading your blog. Even recreated a few of your outfits. In my office it is supposed to be business casual. In reality it is more casual than business. Shoes range from flip flops to 4 inch platform heels. I wear flats or a 2 inch heel at the most.

  4. @Sheila ~ I'm really flattered that you've gotten some inspiration from this blog. I've certainly been inspired by many of my favorite style bloggers, but it's harder to find those that are over 40 and work in conservative offices. Don't get me wrong, I follow a lot of young, very cool style bloggers, but I know there's no way I can afford some of their clothes or wear their looks to work.

    Flip flops at the office? Oh no!

Contact Info:

Lynne J. DeVenny, N.C. State Bar Certified Paralegal

Owner & Virtual Paralegal, DeVenny Paralegal Services

Email: lynne.devenny[at]

Telephone: 336-582-0003

Inquiries are welcome, with free quotes available.

Meet Lynne:

Lynne DeVenny is a North Carolina State Bar Certified Paralegal with over 27 years of experience working on complex litigation cases, including medical malpractice, personal injury, workers’ compensation, and Social Security disability.

Disclosure: I am not a lawyer and cannot provide legal representation or legal advice.

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