ask ashley // the best shoes for work

It's another round of Ask Ashley, we are tackling a serious question--what shoes can you wear to work that look presentable and feel comfortable? 

We have to be serious here because unlike other accessories, your shoes need to be functional before they can be fashionable. They affect your posture, your knees, your back and ultimately your health. 

As a New Yorker and a kindergarten teacher, I am constantly on my feet. I love a good heel, but for my day-to-day life they aren't practical. Annie, who asked the question, is a professional organizer and as one might imagine she isn't climbing step stools to organize closets in Manolos. Because of this, I'm going to focus my answer on flats. If you spend your entire day on your feet there is no need to be a hero and wear heels. You will exude more confidence and do your best work when you are comfortable. 

There are three styles of flats that I love for work--ballet flats, d'orsay flats and loafers

The first thing I recommend is buying three pairs of shoes. One black. One nude, and one color or print. In terms of print, I love leopard, but you should take this opportunity to find something that speaks to you. With these three options in place you will never have a moment of "I don't have any shoes to wear with this." 

The second thing we need to talk about is really glamorous. You are not wearing socks with flats* so guess what? At some point, they are going to start to smell. That's life and when it gets bad enough you will need to throw them away. (I like to have a little funeral and say a few nice words when the time comes). So, think about your budget and what you can afford to replace because these are not 5+ year shoes. 

The last thing I recommend is knowing your body and experimenting with brands. I for one can walk in almost anything for any period of time (blame it on years of pointe shoes). However, my best friend Jess has much more trouble walking in anything other than sneakers. So when we're shopping I know I can buy flats from Target without a problem, but she might need something with more support like these Cole Haan ballet flats

Here are some of my favorites. 

ballet flats 

d'orsay flats



*Even the loafers. Just please, don't. If you feel you really need something (and I love these for traveling and airport security) try these no-show socks.