Toe Cleavage Etiquette

Written by Meredith

As you may or may not recall, a few months ago I posted a Mad Men-inspired outfit that incorporated a fantastic pair of heels. I briefly mentioned toe cleavage in the post and even tagged it to the post (while laughing to myself), but this silly reference has turned out to be much more influential than expected.

Let’s just say that we get several views a week, if not a day, from the “toe cleavage” search term. My initial reaction was “ewwwwwww fetish,” much like my reaction to receiving views from “long legs short skirts,” but then I thought about it a little more. It’s a taboo subject; while some women jump right into sharing their opinion on the topic, others simply express their relief that the topic has come up at all. Maybe people are just searching for a little discussion. Do we like it? Is it ugly, sexy or weird? Office-appropriate or not? Is this even worth talking about?

Toe Cleavage

Forming my own opinion required doing exactly what had skeeved me out in the first place: I Googled “toe cleavage.” Turns out, toe cleavage is quite the topic of debate. Wikipedia’s claims (obviously, the ultimate authority) that a little toe cleave is sexy and Manolo Blahnik quips that “the secret of toe cleavage, a very important part of the sexuality of the shoe” is that “you must only show the first two cracks,” but there are many in the fashion blogosphere who argue against it. With no clear sartorial rules about toe cleavage, though, it all really comes down to personal preference. Apparently, pumps with toe cleavage are in vogue, so if you’re a fan, you’re in luck! Otherwise, you might have to spend a little extra time combing the aisles at DSW.

Now here is where the real question comes in for Cubicle Chic: what amount of toe cleavage is appropriate for the office? My stance is that you follow Mr. Blahnik’s advice and only reveal your first two toes. More than two looks both vulgar and ill-advised: you are either trying too hard to find a super sexy pair of heels (like a blouse cut too low) or you bought a pair of shoes that simply doesn’t fit. In the winter a pair of tights might cover up this mistake, but during the summer months when tights aren’t an option, leave the low-cut heels at home.

Toe Cleavage

One other point worth mentioning is that everyone is built differently, so, for example, a low-cut pair of shoes on me might look completely different on Lindsay. Long-toed ladies may have a harder time finding something appropriate for the office, especially with the abundance of cleavagy shoes available.

And with that, before this posts gets too overrun with the words “toe” and “cleavage” and just becomes a go-to fetish reference guide, I open this up to you, CC readers: What are your thoughts on letting your toes peek out of your shoes at work and at play? Have you had any personal experiences with the matter? To the comments!



Filed under Side Notes

8 responses to “Toe Cleavage Etiquette

  1. Ack toe cleavage. I guess it depends. I don’t really think the photos you posted are inappropriate–there’s barely any toe! I have, however, tried on shoes and didn’t buy them because of the crazy toe cleavage. Not sure if it’s sexy or unprofessional, but it just looks odd to me, and usually when I see toe cleavage on my foot, it’s a pretty uncomfortable shoe.

    • True – those photos weren’t meant to be provocative! But interesting point about toe cleavage meaning that the shoe is uncomfortable; I’ve definitely experienced that. Although, sometimes that’s not the case for me.

  2. I agree with Angeline… it’s not so much about how it looks, but how the shoe will feel. Super low cut shoes just look like my toes will be fighting to keep them on. Otherwise, I have nothing against toe cleavage! I just can’t believe it’s such a hot debate!!

    • I know! I didn’t know that it was a debate either until I did a little investigation. I didn’t really even know that it was a “thing” besides noticing it around town more and more. What just a little Googling can tell you…

  3. Sandy

    Shakespeare had it right – ‘much ado about nothing…’ I was astounded when I first realized that this is a topic – at all! It seems so middle school to me, but then, I am old and almost said junior high school… 🙂

  4. Mandy

    I have been thinking about toe cleavage for years; I have always loved it! I love that it can add a little intrigue to an outfit, a little allure. Just the other day I spotted a friend who had the perfect toe cleavage! the rest of her outfit was a little quiet, simple, but the perfect fit of her flats, that extra little flash of skin, made her look.

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