Dress shoe

A dress shoe (U.S. English) is a shoe to be worn at smart casual or more formal events. A dress shoe is typically contrasted to an athletic shoe. Dress shoes are worn by many as their standard daily shoes, and are widely used in dance, for parties, and for special occasions.

Women's dress shoes come in a variety of colors: black, silver, gold, tan or white and they may also match the color of the gown, dress or suit being worn. Almost all women's dress shoes are high-heeled.

Pumps

Pumps are typically thought of as a staple in any woman's wardrobe, and come in a variety of colors and styles. They can have a rounded or pointed toe, and are usually made of leather. They have a heel of at least 2 inches (5 cm). Today, pumps have evolved beyond the classic working woman's shoe. Now, there are peep toe pumps, which have a small opening at the toes. There are also pumps with ankle straps. Not only have the styles evolved, the fabrics have as well. While almost all pumps used to be made of leather, pumps now come in a variety of materials, such as suede and wool.

Slingbacks

The slingback is similar to the pump in that it can have a rounded or pointed toe and usually has a heel, but it doesn't wrap all the way around the heel like pumps usually do. Instead, it has a narrow strap that is pulled up over the heel, leaving the rest of the heel exposed.

Loafers

Loafers are usually flat and typically thought of as more masculine and comfortable than anything with a heel. The typical loafer has a square toe, and comes in darker colors, such as black or brown. One spin on the loafer is the cloak, which is a slip-on shoe, just like the loafer is, but it has a heel and is a little more feminine than the average loafer.

Mules

Mules are shoes that slide onto the foot, and do not cover the heel or the back of the foot at all. These aren't considered dress shoes unless they have a heel.

Ballet flats

The ballet flat hadn't been a popular fashion trend until some time after the first few years of the 21st century. Taken from the art of ballet, as their name implies, they are flat shoes with a rounded toe, and come in many different colors and patterns. The classic ballet flat has a small bow on the toe, but this style has evolved to include varieties without bows.

Sandals

While sandals are usually more casual, there are some sandals that can be worn with dress clothes. For example, any sandal that has a heel, many straps, or a shiny finish would probably be acceptable in a more formal atmosphere. A minor controversy erupted in 2005 when some members of Northwestern University's national champion women's lacrosse team visited the White House wearing flip-flops. Following the criticism, their footwear was eventually auctioned off on eBay to raise money for a young cancer patient, Jaclyn Murphy of Hopewell Junction, New York, who was befriended by the team. Nine pairs of flip-flops raised approximately $1,653. There is still a debate over whether this signaled a fundamental change in American culture many youth feel that flip-flops are more dressy and can be worn in a variety of social contexts, while older generations feel that wearing them at formal occasions signifies laziness and comfort over style. The Dalai Lama of Tibet is also a frequent wearer of flip-flop sandals and has met with several US presidents, including George W. Bush and Barack Obama, while wearing the sandals.

High heeled shoes

High heels are often worn by women as dress shoes for special occasions.

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