Heels can do wonders for your calves, snap your spine straight (helllooo balance), and create a sexy strut.  But is there such a thing as a heel too high for the office?  In short: yes. But it's not always that easy.

While most office dress codes don't specify a min/max height, tradition states that a lower heel usually translates as more professional than one that's higher.  But in most business casual offices, there is quite a bit more leeway.

So how do you figure out if your heels are appropriate?  Start with these questions:

  • What is on my agenda today? Will I have to walk? There is nothing pretty or professional about limping around in heels when you know you have a lot of walking to do during the day. Practicality first (sometimes).
  • Who will I be seeing or meeting with? Do they have any preconceived notions of propriety? This goes for clothes, as well.  If you know an old-fashioned bigwig is coming in, you  may want to play it safe for the day. 
  • Would I wear these shoes to a club? If so, you may want to think twice.
  • How high is the platform? Steer clear of anything higher than about 3/4", and try to keep the rest of the shoe a little conservative. 
  • How skinny is the heel? Especially for heels higher than about 4", spiky stilettos can look inappropriate or dangerous. If you're going to do a taller heel, try a stacked or chunky heel (plus it helps with balance).  A wedge can also look polished, especially with heels 3" or lower.
  • What does the rest of the heel look like? If you're wearing something especially high, it helps if the rest of the heel is a little less attention-getting.  Details like ruffles, buckles, straps, neon, and shiny patent only call more attention to your feet.  A classic almond-toe pump in a matte leather and 4.5" heel is less likely to raise eyebrows than a platform pink strappy shoes at 3".
  • What else am I wearing? If you're wearing trousers, the rules can be a little looser, since the bulk of your shoe will be covered by the pant leg.  If you're wearing a skirt, consider the fact that people can get a 360 degree view of your shoe.

Consensus: We all love a fun heel. But for the sake of professional decorum and not distracting others, let's keep the crazy at home.