In this series of Blogs, 'Dressing For Work Experience', I am going to start with the item of clothing that can often, for me at least, undo a whole outfit. And true to form I have had a tough time trying to find suitable shoes. To me 'smart casual' footwear is synonymous with smart embellished flats. I'm sure everyone's noticed the 'stud' trend, that has been seen on anything from shoes to jackets recently, and while I don't usually subscribe to a style because it is a trend I have to admit... studs are cool. And, in terms of my work experience placement, they're the perfect way to toughen up a smart shoe enough to be 'smart casual'.
I went shopping last week fully prepared to spend a fair amount of money on such a pair of shoes; expecting to find a toned down version of the stud trend in Zara or Aldo. I was wrong, it was either all studs or no studs at all, what's wrong with a happy medium?. Later in the day I found myself in Primark men's department, they do the best snoods, when I wandered over to the shoe department and found these:
They're not exactly what I was looking for, although they are reminiscent of the capped toe shoe trend, but they still fit the bill for a slightly different smart shoe; and for £5 per pair you can't go wrong. I am also pleasantly surprised with the quality of them, they look like more like a £30-40 pair, and I'm hoping I can get a good couple of months wear out of them.
How could I write a blog on shoes for the work-place, albeit voluntary, without mentioning the unassuming hero of any shoe collection: the flat black loafer. You may feel unadventurous when you buy them but their ability to match almost anything make them your most worn shoe; especially when you're in a rush in the morning and have no time to determine whether taupe matches burnt orange (I know this sounds like an obvious clash but I did actually have to check this).
I also thought that these were worth a mention: they're a black mid heeled wedge with a fold over detail. I know I said earlier that for me 'smart casual' means flats but these wedges embody my other requirement for this look: a classic shoe given an edge by the detailing.
So, this instalment of 'Dressing for Work Experience' has been about my take on the 'smart casual' shoe. In my opinion it is the embellishments and details that are key to dressing down what would otherwise be a very classic style. Although a pair of ordinary black flats are key to a working wardrobe the 'smart casual' style needs some edge. What's your take on the 'smart casual' style?