What Shoes to Wear on an Interview

Whether you’re a first-time, not-in-a-long-time, or frequent job interviewer, your head-to-toe appearance can help you get hired or quickly shown to the door. “Appropriate” is your mantra here — not every industry calls for a conservative business suit and forgettable footwear. To a savvy interviewer, shoes can be a tip-off to the qualities of the wearer. Are you a style maven, a deal closer, a detail person or an unbridled creative? Play it safe but don’t default to dull to get the job – here’s your guide to what shoes to wear on an interview.

interview candidates should err on the side of being too dressy

Don’t sweat the competition! Be smart and dress the part to nail down an offer.

How High to Fly
Women have a harder time settling on the perfect look for a job interview because the “uniform” is so loosely defined. You could opt for a business suit; a dress and jacket; a skirt, blouse and non-matching jacket; or pressed khakis and a nice shirt. Whatever the venue and style, heel height is an issue. The best choices are between medium pumps and conservative flats. No teetering into the human resources office on your killer stilettos, trendy platforms or faux leopard-fur ballet slippers — and skip the sneakers.

Be Safe But Sophisticated
Your professional self needs professional shoes — you’ll wear them again so invest in the best you can manage. Closed-toe pumps with a medium heel are classic. Change it up a bit with nude instead of standard black leather. Nude pumps give you a long elegant leg line with a skirt or dress. Heels with pants are just as sophisticated as heels with a suit. Slender black side-zip or lace-up short boots are an acceptable alternative to pumps under a pants suit. Power flats are most impressive in leather or fabric; color is fine, wild patterns, not so much. Save the exuberance for a discreet scarf, a touch of color in your blouse, or a distinctive but non-showy piece of simple jewelry. Here are a few of our favorite basic, classic pumps to wear on an interview:

One of our fave interview pumps - Zabrina by Lauren Ralph Lauren

LAUREN RALPH LAUREN Zabrina Pump

One of our fave interview pumps - Lennox by Naturalizer

Naturalizer Lennox Pump

One of our fave interview pumps - Dolly by Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein Dolly Pump

The Little Black Shoe
Guys don’t get a free pass on footwear when it’s time for a job interview. A good pair of black or cordovan leather slip-on or lace-up business shoes with a sleek line and leather soles always makes an impressive cap to the right business suit. Think of those good quality gleaming wing tips as a long-term investment; they’ll wear well and serve as an unspoken reminder of your reliable taste. Leather loafers are a touch more casual but still work for an office job — and if the office is in a creative company, loafers are a bit more dressy and definitely more respectful than totally trendy sneakers. Cool kicks can work once you’re on the payroll but don’t flaunt your colorful personality before they know your work. You can’t go wrong in shoes from brands like Ben Sherman, Florsheim, and Kenneth Cole.

Polished Presentation
So, you’ve regretfully set your gladiator sandals, mile-high platforms and B-boy sneakers aside, and you’re ready to power stride into that interview. Do a last-minute check to be sure your made-for-the-job shoes are clean, scuff-free, well-heeled, nicely polished and not trailing any bits of street debris after you. Keep your interview shoes in job-offer shape with regular polishing; taps on heels and toes to off-set wear; new laces; and cedar shoe trees to hold their shape and absorb foot odors. Test-drive any shoes you haven’t worn for a while to see if they still fit properly. And invest in a pair of waterproof overshoes for crucial job interviews that take place in a downpour. Slip them off and stash them in a plastic bag in your portfolio or briefcase once you hit dry land.

Best of luck landing the new job!

References & Resources

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Get in the Vans – Brand Spotlight

Since 1966, Vans have been the preferred shoe of the action sports realm. One could find Vans shoes on the likes of iconic skateboard pioneers like Tony Alva and Stacy Peralta, and their fans all across California. Eventually Vans turned from a strictly skate brand into a lifestyle brand as well, while still maintaining its preference among action sports pioneers in the skateboard and BMX fields.

Today, Vans’ many iconic designs are still available, with new colors and styles being added each season. Whether you prefer serious skate shoes or sneakers for casual wear, if you have a younger sensibility Vans are the sneakers for you. Here are some of our current favorites for men, women and kids.

The Vans Era 59 skate shoes for men are a signature weekend style sneaker, with a canvas upper, leather tongue and heel overlay, and a grippy rubber outsole. With this classic Vans look you can blend in anywhere while still displaying your own personal style.

Men's Vans Era 59 skate shoes.

Men’s Vans Era 59 skate shoes.

The Atwood Low sneaker for women offers a fresh and clean style that is effective both as a skate shoe and a casual, retro style tennis shoe. A textile upper and grippy rubber outsole combine to create the iconic Vans look and feel.

Women's Atwood Low sneaker.

Women’s Atwood Low sneaker.

You can’t talk about Vans without talking about checkerboard slip-ons. The classic slip-on skate shoe is available for girls and boys providing ultra cool style and comfort with a textile upper and that Vans grippy rubber traction outsole.

 

Girls' checkerboard slip-on.

Girls’ checkerboard slip-on.

Boys' checkerboard slip-on.

Boys’ checkerboard slip-on.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are just a few of our favorite Vans styles. With many colors and silhouettes to choose from, if you’re looking for a casual skate shoe, you can’t go wrong with California’s coolest brand.

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How to Buy the Perfect Shoe for You

Combat boots won’t cut it at most job interviews and a big night out with your super-tall main crush calls for killer heels, not ballet flats. Live your busy, varied life with the right kicks on your frazzled feet. Evaluate your lifestyle, your wardrobe and your budget and read more to find out how to buy the perfect shoe for you.

All Bases Covered

basic black pumps are a wardrobe essential

The perfect black pump (we love the Dolly from Calvin Klein) will take you from work to play.

A basic shoe wardrobe is carefully curated so all you have to do is slip your feet in and go – no matter what the occasion. Black pumps and nude pumps — go for the highest heels you can manage — will see you through just about anything. Leather or fabric ballet flats are just as terrific with jeans as they are with a flirty summer dress. Canvas espadrilles cover a multitude of warm-weather adventures, and low-heeled leather boots dress up or down for weekend shopping, a chilly night at the movies or a good restaurant. Add waterproof puddle-stompers for rainy days, slip-on sandals for sunny ones, canvas sneakers for hanging around, and high-tech trainers for high-performance running and racing.

Fabulous Fit
Try not to fall in love with the perfect pair of shoes before lunch. Once you’ve been on your feet for a while, you have a better chance of scoring a good fit because your feet swell slightly as the day wears on. Those early-bird spike heels might be too snug to dance in after dark. Walk around and note whether the shoe supports your arch, how snugly it cups your heel, and if the walking or standing angle of the heel cramps your delicate toes. The toe box should allow you to wiggle those toes – no scrunching – and the upper should be supple, not stiff enough to compress or dig into your foot. Nobody has two identical feet, so buy shoes to fit your larger foot – you can always customize with inserts.

What’s Your Style
If the shoe fits, make sure it reflects your style. Wear a chaste little blush ballet flat or a sparkly, sexy animal print one. Your leather boots might be relaxed stack heels with a wide toe; gleaming, black, flat-heeled and elegant; or cut-out, above-the-knee gladiators with sky-high heels. Your feet will be just as dry in garden-style, olive-drab wellies or a pretty Impressionist-print rain boot edged in lilac or turquoise. A strip of silver fabric thong on a leather sole will get you through summer as well as a cut-out wedge with a web of faux-jewel-encrusted straps to hold it on and encircle your ankle. Those default, wear-everywhere pumps could be sensible black leather Mary Janes, super-tall nude leg lengtheners or colored T-straps that match most of your outfits. Shoes tell your story, so get the type of shoe you need — and the right shoe to fit your personality type.

Evaluate your wardrobe to determine your style and choose shoes that will match multiple outfitsMajor Kicks
Investment shoes have to be beyond perfect, so start early and take the time to find the Cinderella slippers of your dreams. Regardless of the occasion, look for purchases with staying power. Survey your closet and identify your personal wardrobe trends and seek shoes that perfectly complement your style. If you’re more of a casual, chic and classic gal, then consider bejeweled flats or platforms for a boho luxe look. If you lean more glam, opt for sky-high sandals in copper, emerald or ruby metallic for major crowd appeal.

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How to Clean White Shoes

keep white shoes white with these cleaning tips

Keep your white kicks looking bright

White shoes should be dazzling, not dingy — and definitely not dirty. But you can’t spend all day inside admiring them in your mirror, and the second you stick a toe out the door in those blinding whites, they begin to dim. You could walk around with a bottle of white-out. Or you could pick up a few tips for restoring the pristine appearance of your snow-white slippers and sneakers. Here are our tips for how to clean white shoes of all kinds.

Canvas Kicks
White canvas sneakers like Vans, Converse and Keds involve more complex cleaning than a regular toss in the washer and dryer. A dryer just bangs your shoes around and could destabilize the glue that holds some sneakers together. Instead, follow these steps:

  1. Remove the laces
  2. Rinse your sneakers in warm water
  3. Apply a solution of dish washing liquid in more warm water with a soft scrub brush
  4. Scrub gently until the grime and smudges disappear
  5. Rinse the shoes with clean water
  6. Stuff them with paper towels to soak up moisture
  7. Air dry, preferably in the sun. TIP: Change the paper towels as they become saturated to speed drying and help the sneakers hold their shape.

how to clean white shoes

Hardcore Canvas Cleaning
Alternatives to the soap-and-water scrub may be necessary for seriously dingy white canvas shoes. Here are a couple options for cleaning even the dirtiest white canvas sneakers:

  1. Try a 50-50 mix of lemon juice and water — apply it to the grubby canvas and let the shoes sit in the sun all day to naturally bleach them.
  2. Another option to make those shoes shine again is mixing a paste of baking soda, moistened with water, that you rub in and leave on until the stain fades, then rub dry.
  3. White shoe polish camouflages scuffs and dirt, but only works as a temporary solution. Worth a try if nothing else is getting the grime out of those shoes.
  4. Last resort is to toss the not-so-whites in the washing machine. Make sure to remove the laces — shoes and laces should separated first, but can be washed in the same load — and use warm water and the gentle cycle. Avoid doing this too often, because the shoes might shrink.

Patent and Other Leathers
There are several tips & tricks to clean white leather shoes.

  1. White leather, lightly soiled, can be refreshed with a soft damp cloth.
  2. An art gum eraser, or even a clean pencil eraser, may lift smudges gently away.
  3. Real scuff marks may vanish with a brief swipe of nail polish remover, but test it first where any dulling of the leather finish won’t be seen.
  4. The lemon juice trick works on yellowing white leather as well as it does on canvas.
  5. Murphy’s Oil Soap or non-gel whitening toothpaste and a toothbrush get tough on scuffs and dirt.

White patent leather should be dry shoe-brushed and then wiped clean with a soft lint-free cloth and a solution of mild detergent and warm water. Once the shoe air-dries, saddle soap restores the shiny leather to its former glory. In a pinch, mineral oil or petroleum jelly on a soft cloth can rub away a scuff mark. Clean, buff and go.

Suede Smarts
White suede is for the truly dedicated, make-a-statement shoe fan. You need an unmistakable air of nonchalance to go with white suede foot gear — and a bulletproof cleaning protocol. Here are the rules of cleaning white suede shoes:

  1. Don’t get them wet. Suede is all about the nap, and soaking it kills the distinctive texture.
  2. Attack dirt ASAP with an art gum eraser — a clean one — or carefully sand stains off with very fine sandpaper or an emery board.
  3. Raise the nap again with a clean toothbrush or terry-cloth towel. Flat nap responds to a quick steaming over the teakettle and a brush up with a suede brush.
  4. Talcum powder, liberally applied to a greasy stain, soaks up the oil and can be brushed off after several hours.

References & Resources

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How to Wear Flat Sandals – Outfit Inspiration

Flat sandals are all the rage this season! The construction may be simple, but add some embellishment and you have a unique standout statement. Flat sandals embody a fun, carefree design perfect for women of all ages. Not sure how to wear these sandals? Check out these three different looks that can help you create a signature style of your own.

Flat Sandals

Madden Girl Taahnee Sandal

Flat Sandals

Not Rated Snowdrop Sandal

Flat Sandals

Naughty Monkey Butterfly Effect Sandal

Look 1: A Maxi Dress. Look effortlessly put together with an easy breezy maxi dress and the Madden Girl Taahnee Sandal. Subtle embellishments and cutout accents create a chic statement.
Look 2: T-Shirt and Shorts. Stay cool on warm weather days with your favorite V-neck and patterned shorts. Accent your style with the go-to Not Rated Snowdrop Sandal.
Look 3: Tank Top and Skirt. Soak up the sunshine wearing the ultra-cool Naughty Monkey Butterfly Effect Sandal. Pair them with a breathable tank top, skirt and fun accessories.

flat sandals
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