High Heel Etiquette 101

Ladies in High Heels Sitting at a Bar

Have you ever gone to a party, event, or a certain place and seen someone overdressed, underdressed, or completely not dressed appropriately for the occasion?  Being that person can be really uncomfortable, especially if the culture for such event, place, or crowd isn’t taken under consideration when preparing for it.

Look, not everyone is Lady Gaga who can pull off wearing a meat costume at the VMAs, and even she was scrutinized and ridiculed for going outside the norms at this televised event.

Let me ask you a question.  If you were granted the opportunity to meet and dine with the British Royal Family, the Queen Elizabeth or Prince Charles, what type of heels would you wear?  After reading this post, you will know without hesitation what type of high heels would best suit your visit to the Palace.  Remember, it’s about what’s appropriate to wear and not necessarily what you want to wear… Continue reading to explore this answer.

Where and How to Pair High Heels with Events and Places

With fashion there’s a level of etiquette involved with what you wear to places and events. When it comes to heels, there’s a time and place for them as well…

Below is a hot list of common places and events in which honoring special high heel etiquette is appreciated.

Job Interview

If you are a nurse, please wear your scrubs and Crocs to an interview.  When applicable and wearing heels to an interview is acceptable, listen to this advice, as it will save you from yourself.  No matter the profession, the rule of thumb is wear closed toe pumps (not strappy) to a job interview.  Your pumps should be typically black or navy blue, polished, and 3 to 3.5 inches high.  Unless you are a dancer (stripper), then consider open toe platforms and 5+ inch heels.  Otherwise, the etiquette for a job interview recommends for a conservative attire, yes including heels.

Black Claire Ilene Berg
Ilene Berg Patented Comfort Technology


Closed toe heels are typically recommended for any conservative function.  And out of respect to the deceased and the family, please wear any color of shoes except RED shoes. Wearing the color red in your attire is symbolic of you rejoicing for the death of the deceased.  Politely, in this case stick to the code-norms and wear black closed toe heels to a funeral.


White Rose Bouquet and White Wedding Heels

You can judge the formality of the event based on the wedding card invitation.  If the wedding card assumes formality, then dress up your heels.  Regardless of the style of shoe you plan to wear, don’t wear white colored heels.  Out of tradition and respect to the bride, only the bride should wear white shoes in honor of her very special day.  For this special occasion, wear any color of shoes except in the color white.

The Beach

It’s simple.  Don’t wear heels to the beach.  Heels aren’t made to be walked in the sand.  If you’re too short and need a little boost for your confidence, then try wedged sandals. Otherwise, it’s not Kosher to bring heels to the beach.


Woman Traveling in High Heels

Have you ever waited forever for the woman in front of you to take her shoes off in line at the security checkpoint?  Please be mindful, and next time follow this rule:  If it is not a slip-on heel, don’t wear it to the airport.  My recommendation is wear comfortable shoes to the airport, as while in flight, your legs, ankles, and feet swell due to the altitude.

Remember, it’s not a fashion show at the airport, and people don’t really care how you look.  But if you shall wear heels, don’t wear strappies or any heel that will take you over two seconds to bend over and put on/take off.  Instead, wear strapless heels that are easy to take off and on and also fit comfortably for the swelling in your feet that will occur during and after your flight.

Black Tie/Gown Gala (Red Carpet)

Think bedazzled!  This is the time you can splurge on a pair of red carpet shoes and walk with finesse down that isle.  Because these events are usually lengthy, make sure these luxury heels are worth the party and your comfort.  For this reason, invest in luxury comfortable heels that will have you dancing all night long.

Beth Anne Pumps True Gault
True Gault with Patented FIT Formula

Meeting the Parents

What an exiting day, congratulations!  This is not the time to play fashionista to your future parents-in-law.  Rather, focus on wearing modest attire and footwear.  If this means wearing flats, do it.  But, if you want to dress it up a little more, don’t go higher than a 3.5 inch heel.  A more conservative heel will give a rather better impression of you than a sky high heel in which you could barely walk.  Less is more in this case.

Cole Haan Grace Grand Pump with Grand.OS Technology
Cole Haan Grand.OS Technology

Business Casual

Hang up that jacket or blazer, kick off your closed toe pumps, and head to the happy hour venue in those open toe heels or even those dressy wedges you’ve been dying to wear for a long time.  Business casual attire is considered less up-tight and informal where you can show your colors while still holding court.

True Gault with Patented FIT Formula
True Gault with Patented FIT Formula

Professional Attire

There’s a reason why they call them Court Shoes!  A typical professional woman’s heel is a closed toe pump with a mid heel of up to 3.5 inches (with no straps) and generally the go to heel for professional attire.  Some women prefer a high heel of 4 inches, and if it fits in your dress code, this too is okay as long as it looks classic and not trashy in the board room.  Industries such as finance, banking, and legal prefer a more conservative approach to a lady’s attire.  So check your dress code in your work handbook and make sure you are dressing up to code at work.

Cole Haan Elisa Grand Pump with Grad.OS Technology
Cole Haan Grand.OS Technology

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— Sasha Charms

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