Wearing Open-Toed Shoes With a Business Suit
Are open-toed shoes okay to wear with a business suit? Generally, no. In most business situations and corporate environments sandals, open-toed (and open-heel) shoes are not considered professional. This also goes for many types of heels that may dressy, sexy, or overstated.
You can certainly find many shoe-sale sites and fashionistas who will disagree for their own reasons, but when it comes to a formal business setting, formal business rules apply especially when interacting with clients, attending business meetings, or simply even trying to get ahead. A good rule of thumb is if the occasion matters to your image — go conservative and follow the rules.
Open toed shoes paired with a business suit actually can look great together, but they are still not considered acceptable in a formal business setting. It does not really matter who sets the rules for proper business attire if you want to show that you are educated in the matters of proper business protocol -- and that includes business attire, skip open-toed shoes for formal business wear.
When Your Colleagues Wear Sandals to Work
Just because someone else does something does not make it the right thing for you as well. The one exception might be if your office has a formal (or even informal -- meaning everyone dresses more casually than the typical workplace) dress code that specifically supports casual dress and footwear. If you are required to wear a suit to work, resist the urge to stray from the garden path and mix casual shoes with your look.
Wearing Open-Toed Shoes for a Job Interview
Again, just as if you already had a job it is not the best of ideas to go casual for a job interview. You may think that standing out during an interview is a good thing and in many cases, that is true. However, standing out means showing that you are the ideal candidate for the job -- more qualified than others, or simply will be a better fit for a team environment. It does not mean showing off your freshly manicured toes.
Whether or not the interview is for a summer internship, entry-level clerical position or a managerial position does not matter: if you are interviewing in a corporate (office) environment dress the part. You might think your shoes are not all that important, but by adhering to the standard and widely practiced dress codes consider acceptable for office attire you show that you are serious about the job, the company and that you will fit into a corporate environment.
Your Shoes Shouldn't Be What Stands Out
In the grand scheme of things, as long as your shoes are not making a loud "look at me!" statement, probably not. But instead of asking if they matter at all, why not ask yourself -- what would you think if you saw someone running along the beach in high heels? That they were out of place? Trying to call attention to themselves? If your shoes are what stands out most when people see you, you are definitely not putting your best foot forward when it comes to stepping out with your workplace image.