Are Peep-Toe Shoes Too Provocative for Women Lawyers?

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A comment overheard in the ladies room has prompted a legal columnist to wonder: Are peep-toe shoes acceptable attire for women lawyers?

The American Lawyer’s Careerist columnist Vivia Chen overheard this discussion in the restroom at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel. “In my day, I always wore pumps to court,” said a woman lawyer apparently in her 50s. “Can you believe this associate went to court with open-toe shoes?”

Chen sought comment. Former Cahill Gordon associate Kat Griffin, the founder of the Corporette fashion blog for lawyers, said peep-toe shoes may be inappropriate. “Peep toes are marginally better than flat-out open-toe shoes, but even then a closed-toe shoe is the preference,” Griffin told the Careerist. “Don’t wear open-toe shoes unless you’ve seen a much more senior lawyer do it.”

One of Chen’s law school friends said it’s the overall presentation that counts. “If the whole outfit is too casual or provocative, then that translates to ‘unprofessional,’ ” the anonymous friend said. “If the clothing is tasteful and the shoes match, then I think it’s acceptable.” She adds that women lawyers need to, “Keep those feet well-groomed,” They should also remember, “No one wears sandal-foot pantyhose anymore—the horror!”

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