When it comes to the professional woman’s wardrobe, few brands are better represented than Everlane. It’s hard to believe that it’s been less than a decade since the company was founded, but in its nine years of existence, Everlane has proved that cutting out the middleman and employing responsible sourcing and manufacturing practices are great for business, and better still for fashion. And that’s certainly no exception when it comes to the brand’s beautiful collection of shoes.
What I love best about Everlane’s collection is its rather manageable size. Sure, there are still more than enough options from which to choose, but you won’t spend hours upon hours scrolling through seemingly endless variations of what ultimately looks like the exact same shoe. Rather, in keeping with the brand’s broader ethos, the shoe collection is straightforward and elegant, offering elevated basics at reasonable prices.
If you’re looking for a simple yet chic flat, look no further than the Day Glove, one of Everlane’s perennial best sellers. Available in a wide range of colors, this ballet flat is incredibly comfortable and looks fantastic paired with cropped pants. As it turns out, wearing a heel is not a prerequisite for looking put together, and the Day Glove proves just that.
Taking the Day Glove up a notch is the Day Heel, which incorporates a two-inch block heel with the same beautiful design and fit as its flat sibling. I love its back pull tab, side vents, and cushioned insole, all of which make this heel easy to wear. Plus, it comes in a wide range of colors that span the classic suspects like black, rose, and bone as well as bolder options like bright red, bronze, and other metallic shades.
I’m also in love with the Editor Heel, a sleek kitten heel that looks effortlessly sharp with its miniature stiletto. While it runs a bit big, the soft, Italian leather material may just convince you that this is the last pair of heels you’ll ever need.
None of Everlane’s heels go above two inches, which makes them extremely comfortable and wearable, and most styles come in both leather and suede versions to fit your personal aesthetic.
Pros: Incredibly comfortable, ethically made, manageable selection of styles
Cons: If you’re looking for a higher heel, Everlane may not deliver
The best work-appropriate boots
You may not think you’re fancy enough to buy Italian-made shoes, but M. Gemi is here to prove you wrong. The direct-to-consumer brand is best known for its beautiful loafers and flats, but as it turns out, the high-quality footwear company also makes some of the most beautiful ankle boots you’ve ever seen. If you’ve ever questioned whether or not boots are work appropriate, M. Gemi is answering with a resounding “yes.”
Made in Italian workshops with almost unbelievably soft leather or suede, the Corsa ankle boot is not only insanely comfortable, but extremely versatile as well. The beautiful silhouette has a fitted shaft and sleek sole, and looks fantastic paired with a sharp pair of cigarette pants or a dress.
While it normally takes some time to break in a pair of boots, this simply isn’t the case with M. Gemi. Its products are ready to wear right out of the box, and I’ve literally never gotten a blister from its shoes, even after very long work days. Plus, with the just-over-two-inch heel height, you won’t feel as though you’re at risk of falling when you’re running from meeting to meeting.
If you’re not into boots, you could also check out the famous Stellato Sacchetto. The company’s constant best seller, this pointed flat has a soft suede upper, a tiny heel, and an effortless sophistication.
Pros: Truly quality craftsmanship, beautiful and comfortable material, warm inviting earth tones, unique look
Cons: M. Gemi shoes do come at a premium, but they’re worth it
The best for those who want variety
With a seemingly endless roster of styles, colors, and patterns, J. Crew is truly the shoe lover’s dream come true. While this may sound a bit overwhelming, I appreciate that J. Crew’s website allows you to narrow down your choices based on the kind of shoe that you’re looking for.
The Elsie Suede Pump is a personal favorite of mine. Think of it as the shoe that every woman needs in her closet, with its slightly curved, 3.5-inch heel and perfectly pointed toe. I find this pair to be especially useful on presentation days, when I’m looking for a bit of additional lift.
The fact that J. Crew has both IRL and online presences makes shopping considerably easier. I’ll often scour the internet for a pair I like, then go to my friendly neighborhood store in order to take them for a test run.
Pros: Huge selection of shoes, higher heels available, ability to shop both online and in-store
Cons: Some J. Crew shoes can get pretty pricey, but there are also less expensive options to offset those pairs
The best sustainable dress shoes
Whether you’ve seen their ads on social media or admired their streamlined flats on a coworker, shoe startup Rothy is everywhere lately. That’s because the San Francisco-based company’s signature kicks aren’t just versatile, they’re also sustainable; every pair is made from 100% post-consumer plastic water bottles and other recycled materials.
Thus far, the company has repurposed 27+ million bottles (and counting) into styles like the rounded flat ($125), pointed flat ($145), and loafer ($165), all of which are machine-washable (not to mention light and flexible on your feet). I love the simple Black Flat for everyday wear, but the “Marigold” and “Flame” colorways seem like fun options if you’re looking for something a bit more bold.
Pros: Sustainable, comfortable materials, great range of styles, fun patterns and colors
Cons: Starting at $125 per pair and going up to $165, these aren’t cheap for flats
The best work-to-weekend dress shoes
I was a Madewell fangirl before I joined the workforce, and now, I’m a Madewell fan-professional. Not only does the retailer offer a fantastic selection of work appropriate clothing, like cardigans, dresses, and trousers, but it also has one of the chicest and most accessible shoe collections I’ve found for the younger demographic.
With great options for both the summer and the winter, Madewell’s shoes are, as you might imagine, well made, and reasonably priced, with most coming in at less than $130.
What I particularly appreciate about Madewell is its ability to turn classic shoes into fresh, modern offerings. Take, for example, the all-important loafer. While Madewell certainly offers this staple pair in your usual black leather, there are also a few updated options. My personal favorite is the Crackle Metallic version, which is just bright enough to catch your eye, but not so aggressive that you’ll feel the need to hide your feet any time a senior partner comes around.
If you’re looking for a great pair of mules, Madewell certainly has you covered. These shoes come in a wide range of heel heights, prints, and colors, which means you can use them to dress up or dress down your professional wardrobe however you see fit. I also love the solid craftsmanship of these shoes; the pair I own has more than withstood the tests of time (and weather).
Pros: Modern takes on classic styles, inexpensive, wide selection of colors and prints, available in stores and online
Cons: The dressiest of office environments may not be well-served by Madewell shoes