Reader NYNY writes in from a mysterious location and asks: 

Hi TCFKAG! I've been on a quest for some time with no success: I'm looking for red pumps in leather that isn't patent. I don't know why, but all I can find is patent, which always gives me blisters.  Add in that I fear red patent tends to look strippery - but that may be my office, where several staff members wear stripper shoes all the time (like these Qupid Neutral Platform Pump).  I wear a 7.5 or 8, prefer closed toe for year-round wear, like a 3 inch heel but would go up or down an inch, and want no or minimal platform. I'm willing to spend up to $150ish for the right pair. I frequently wear a lot of black, grey, and navy, and I've long loved wearing red shoes with a fairly neutral outfit. But I just can't find them lately. Can you help?

So - I'm going to start by addressing one issue in your letter - I'm fairly uncomfortable with the declaration that all patent leather shoes are "strippery" (or actually that any shoes are "stripper" shoes unless a woman is wearing them to dance on stage while taking off her clothes - but that's another matter entirely.)  But, what I'm not uncomfortable with is saying that certain shoes aren't necessarily work appropriate and are best saved for going out to clubs or bars or wherever else you want to wear them, and I think the platform pumps you linked to fall firmly into that category.  Here's why - I think work shoes can have one (or even two) of the following things: high heel, platform, bright color, patent leather, embellishment, or peep toe (know your office) - but if there are more than two of those on a given pair of shoes, you should think long and hard about whether the shoes you are holding are work appropriate.  But, moving on, I don't have to agree with you that patent is non-work appropriate by nature to understand that it may not be your style or preference - so I'm happy to help you find a nice, non-patent red pump (and I agree, they can be a real bitch to find.)  So let's give it a try, okay?
Cole Haan Juliana Leather Pump at Lord & Taylor ($109.99 ! - great price and beautiful shape - a great option!)
Nine West Selene Pump in red leather at Amazon ($48 - the reviews on this pump are decidedly mixed but it comes in so many colors that its hard not to recommend sometimes.)
Guess Rolenas Leather Pump at Lord & Taylor ($52.49 - I enjoy the color is "blood orange" - its RED - sorry, Project Runway joke.)
Kelsi Dagger Lillian Curved Leather Pump at Neiman Marcus, Last Call ($47.40 - clearly a bit too high, but so bad ass looking I'm sharing it. I love the curved side, my favorite heels have that and its beautiful.
Suede Leather Pumps in red at Mango Outlet ($54.99 - I know suede wasn't your first choice but the price is sure right on these and the shape is lovely.)
Naturalizer Clava Pump in dark venom leather (!) at 6PM ($31.99 - great shape and I like a darker red - and the price sure is right.  The reviews on other websites, if you google it, are great so this would be a really great option. Also best color name or best color name?)
And now for my tradition of a couple of less rule bound options:
Tahari Zoe Patent Leather Pointed-Toe Pumps in coral at Lord & Taylor ($59.99 - I *love* the shape on these and thought the color is called coral it looks like its a reddish coral.  Even though its called patent leather, it looks like these would be beautiful for the office in the spring and summer.)
Frye Regina High Heels in vintage red at Zappos ($188 - I love the shape and color of these - for a high heel these would be amazingly comfortable I bet.  Seriously.  There's a lower version too.)

EDITOR'S NOTE: Have you entered the promotional contest yet?  HAVE YOU?  And if you have, did you remember to send me the email documenting your entry?  Without the email I won't know how many people to enter in the raffle!!  So promote away dear readers - and then send me an e-mail at tcfkag@gmail.com with a screenshot or link showing your awesome efforts.  :-)  You are all awesome.  Thumbs up!
NYNY
5/27/2013 15:07:08

These are great, thank you! I love the Cole Haans, and have only ever seen them in patent before now. The Kelsi Daggers are fabulous, but I probably can't handle a heel that high for regular workwear. I can and do walk a lot - subway commute, meetings on other floors or a remote site which involves a shuttle and 3 block walk - so probably not the right pair now. I can't believe you found so many options, though. Seriously, thank you.

I hope I didn't offend with the stripper remarks. I should have phrased it better, but a high percentage of the women in my office wear clubwear to work. No one has told them it's inappropriate, because our office admin/hr manager wears the same stuff. I have advised staffers I know, and they have been dressing more conservatively (and getting promoted!), but I can't do that for everyone. Anyway, it makes me hyper-sensitive to always looking professional, both for my own advancement and to set a different example.

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5/27/2013 17:19:53

You didn't offend - its just something I like to be conscious of, the power of the language we use to describe things. Stripping is a legal, totally valid way to support yourself and your family. Also its a misnomer that the shoes sold in shoe stores are work shoes for exotic dancers (see e.g. http://how-to-strip.com/blog/the-six-types-of-pole-dance-shoes-for-strippers).

All I'm saying is, in the future when you talk about your co-worker's wardrobe, maybe use "work-appropriate" vs. "fun appropriate" or "evening appropriate." Corporette has actually had a tread or two about how to talk to younger colleagues about their wardrobe (google site search:corporette.com [insert search here). But, in any conversation like that, I think its really important that you NOT seem to be passing judgment on their sartorial choices (or edging over to the slut-shaming line) but instead trying to suggest alternatives (like, I really liked that pencil skirt and top you wore last week - and if you wore lower pumps with it and a blazer, it would make you look like an office BAMF! Something like that.

You can also send them my way at this website! Just tell them you like it, most of the shoes and jewelry and clothes I post here are pretty work appropriate!

ANYWAY - enough with the boring stuff - if you order the Cole Haans (through the link here pretty please) let me know how they work out! I'm in love.

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