Dressy Vs. Casual Shoes: When To Wear Slingback Women's Shoes

Learn the rules of pairing women's slingback shoes with stay-at-home, business casual, business, evening and formal attire. Don't wear slingbacks without reading this first.

Slingbacks, women's shoes with a cutout heel and a strap spanning the back of the ankle, defy simple categorization as they once did. Years ago, slingbacks were appropriate only during the summer months, and they were considered a casual shoe. Certainly, no self-respecting woman south of the Mason-Dixon Line would be caught dead in a slingback before Memorial Day or after Labor Day.

Now, with a growing selection of women's slingbacks, you can find a pair for every season and every occasion""from stay-at-home clothes to wedding attire. What determines the slingback's suitability is the design of the shoe, the material, the embellishments, and whether it contributes to the overall desired look.

We'll look at the entire spectrum of occasions, and offer suggestions for pairing slingbacks with outfits for each occasion. If you feel the shoes complement your outfit and you feel comfortable wearing them, let your personal sense of style guide you. People judge others by first impressions, and watches, handbags and shoes play an important role in first impressions. Cut corners elsewhere, but never with your shoes. Regardless of the style you wear, ensure that your shoe are in A-1 condition, with perfect soles and heels and that the fabric is clean, the leather polished, or the suede brushed.

Stay-at-home attire

Any of the popular fabric, leather or suede casual flat or low-heeled slingbacks complement stay-at-home attire. Slingbacks are available in denim as well a wide variety of other fabrics. Wear mesh or cutout slingbacks with shorts, skorts, culottes and other skimpy summer attire. The perennial favorite, the sandal, fits into the slingback category, and for summer casual clothing, nothing beats a pair of flirty sandals, particularly with a pretty, freshly manicured set of toes peeking through.

Flat penny-loafer slingbacks complement corduroy pants in the winter, while quilted satin slingbacks round out a stay-at-home casual knit or cashmere pants outfit. In the spring and early summer, embroidered terry slingbacks add a finishing touch to a cropped terry running outfit. Wear thin solid or patterned knee-high socks with your slingbacks in the cooler months.

Business casual attire

Business casual attire requires a polished look, so select accompanying slingbacks accordingly, just as you would any other shoe. A medium-heel leather, suede or fabric slingback adds polish to a business casual pants suit or a skirt and sweater set. Add bows, buckles and other embellished clips to your slingbacks to extend one pair of slingbacks into multiple looks. The term business casual varies from company to company, so if your company has a policy that requires closed shoes, you should avoid wearing slingbacks to work.

Business attire

Suits destined for the boardroom can carry off slingbacks with a sophisticated, classic design. Spectator pumps and unadorned, simple leather slingback pumps coordinate perfectly with a classic, tailored suit. Always wear top quality, color-coordinated hosiery with business attire, regardless of your shoe choice. If you frequent the boardroom, it's unlikely that you have to inquire about the dress code; more likely, you set the dress code.

Evening attire

The little black dress never looked better than when accompanied by silk or satin slingbacks. If your dress is simple, concentrate on jewelry and shoe embellishments. If your outfit is the centerpiece of your look; for example, a peplum top, a close-fitting wrap skirt or a plunge neckline, downplay your accompanying slingbacks""a simple slingback with no accompanying adornment. Feel free to wear sandals year-round with evening wear.

Formal attire

Formal eveningwear requires formal accessories, and while closed toe slingbacks are too casual for a formal occasion, you can find formal open toe shoes in a slingback""sandals. Sandals often finish a head-to-toe formal look. Find the most stunning formal shoes and handbag you can afford to add the final touch to your formal attire.

Regardless of the occasion, the design of the shoe, the look you're trying to achieve, none of it is worth wearing an uncomfortable pair of shoes. If you're wearing uncomfortable shoes, it will show in your face, your posture, and your demeanor""and that's enough to spoil the look of casual sophistication or elegance that you're trying to achieve.

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