The question of whether men should wear brown shoes in the City of London has been prevalent in the news. While it seems that more traditional industries such as insurance and finance expect gentlemen to wear black shoes, how do their female counterparts feel?

Do women who work in the City of London only wear black shoes?

"Whilst the unwritten rules are less restrictive for women, there are still colours which it is sensible to avoid" explains Susannah Davda, Director of The Shoe Consultant Ltd. "Women who work in the City tend to steer clear of bright red. This is due to an association with overt sexuality." "Paler colours such as white can appear juvenile or saccharine. I would recommend that junior employees in particular select darker shades. "

A female solicitor, 33, who works for a large firm in the City of London, clarifies how the brown shoe policy relates to women. "I think all brown court shoes are OK, but if they were too tan then maybe they'd look a bit cheap."

If you think matching bags and shoes are just for the mother-of-the bride, think again. The solicitor explains "I have one pair of brown court shoes but I only wear them with a brown suit I have. I've always struggle to find matching brown leather handbags which is why I always stick to black shoes and black handbags as it makes life easier. I have a pair of suede navy court shoes but I've never worn them because of the handbag saga, but I should dig them out and wear them with a navy suit." The rules certainly seem to be more complex for women.

One female accountant and business sector professional told us about her footwear choices. "Go to colours are often black and navy, but I also wear grey and tan." When asked whether she would wear other colours, she reveals "I'd probably wear burgundy or maybe even a deep purple but I don't really have those colours in my wardrobe." As for her no-go colours, she explains "I wouldn't wear white, red or pink as I believe it would impact on how clients/colleagues perceive me professionally."

Susannah Davda encourages women in the city to "try alternatives to black such as grey, bordeaux or a rich brown or tan." She advises women to " invest in quality footwear that looks the part". She says that "cheap-looking shoes undermine your professional image, but you don't have to spend a fortune to look smart." When asked what makes a brown shoe look expensive, she reveals the secret is to "opt for leathers with tonal variance when shopping for brown or tan options. "

Both City workers chose to remain anonymous. Could this be because discussing something as frivolous as footwear with the press might damage their professional profiles as much as wearing a pair of scarlet shoes?

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About The Shoe Consultant Ltd

Susannah Davda has over 20 years’ experience in in the creative and business aspects of the footwear industry.

Whilst studying for a BA (Hons) Degree in Footwear Design, she worked in five different shoe shops. After graduation she spent many years working for footwear brands and retailers, within the UK market and internationally.

Susannah set up as an Independent Footwear Consultant in 2015, based near London. She advises shoe brands globally, and has helped lots of exciting shoe companies; from start-ups to established businesses.

With a popular blog, two published books, and regular speaking engagements including BBC radio and ITV News, mum of one Susannah is fast becoming the most sought after shoe expert in the UK.