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Office fashion: open-toed heels Add to ...

There are few faux pas left in the fashion world these days. Red and pink? Rock it out, sister friend. No white after Labour Day? Um, it's called cashmere and I prefer ivory. Ties with jeans? Not ideal, but pair with the right jacket, stick to dark denim and you, sir, get out of jail free.

Still, some people draw the line at hosiery and open-toed shoes. Their grievance is simple: It's the feminine equivalent of socks and sandals. In other words, the primary intention of a shoe that exposes parts of the foot is breathability (fetishists may argue otherwise). Moreover, a concealed foot in an open shoe flouts the laws of season-specific footwear. Bottom line: We're dealing with an aesthetic oxymoron that deserves no further discussion.

Or does it? Designers have been showing opaque tights with open-toed shoes for many fall/winter seasons now; runway collections from Giorgio Armani, Karl Lagerfeld and Balenciaga were among the most recent standouts. Besides, with no sign of footwear becoming more affordable, you could argue that it's fiscally responsible to put off buying another pair of shoes.

So go ahead and try out the look for work but keep it conservative and appropriate by adhering to the following guidelines:

1. Stockings must be seamless at the toe.

2. Go for black or grey hosiery over nude pantyhose.

3. Choose a shoe that's chunky rather than strappy; the less exposed the foot is, the better.

These may be among the last remaining rules in fashion and there may yet come a time when they no longer apply. So respect them, especially in an office context, and know that you have more fashion freedom now than ever before. And that's no mean feat.

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