This outfit formula was inspired by looks I’ve been helping some clients put together for Spring business casual. Sandals are usually not part of the work dress code, but dressier mules are a fun and trendy way to do “sandals-lite”. Mules are generally okay with work dress codes because the toes are covered. 

Black mules come in a variety of silhouettes. Heeled, flat, casual, dressy, sueded, with hardware, and in all sorts of vamp lengths and toe shapes. Take your pick.

Halogen Elly Slide
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Frye Flynn Mule
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Black mules are a slam dunk for those who like to wear black bottoms and black footwear to work. The good news is that the two look great together, and are a good way to refresh your style for the office. The point is to show some ankle and leg when wearing mules. Covering up the back of the mule hides the main feature of the style. If you get the right shape and size for your feet, mules fit extremely well and feel secure and comfortable. They can look polished and pulled together if you choose a dressier version.

The outfit formula:

Black Bottoms + Business Casual Top + Business Casual Topper + Black Mules

Here are four renditions to get you started. I’ve chosen a black, white and grey palette with a pop of colour. Feel free to choose any colour palette, although the point here is to keep the bottoms and footwear black.

1. Cropped Pants, Mules & Blazer

Combine black cropped straights or flares with a layering top and non-black blazer. Cropped pants can hover between two to six inches above the ankle bone. Ankle pants that finish two to three inches above the ankle bone are usually best for the office. Finish off the look with black heeled or flat mules and a structured bag.

Mango Cropped Button Pants

2. Skirt, Mules & Jacket

Combine a black skirt with a layering top and a jacket that works with the length of the skirt. Tuck or semi-tuck the top. Or leave it out. A flared skirt is shown here, but a pencil skirt will work just fine. Finish off the look with black heeled or flat mules and a structured bag. You can absolutely wear flat mules with a skirt or dress, so please don’t think that you have to wear heels — that’s a dated style concept. Pointy toes will elongate the leg line, as will tucking or semi-tucking the top to showcase or hint at the waist.

TOD'S Embellished Leather Mules

3. Slim Ankle Pants, Mules & Long Topper

Combine slim black ankle pants with a layering top and a solid or patterned long topper like a cocoon jacket, duster coat, long blazer or maxi cardigan. Leave it open in front to create an elongating vertical line down the centre front of the body. Finish off the look with black heeled or flat mules and a structured bag.

CHRISTIAN LOUBOUTIN Octavian 35 Studded Fringed Patent-leather Mules

4. Roomy Pants, Mules & Statement Blouse

Combine black culottes, wide crops or cropped flares with a dressy statement top that looks professional and dressy without a jacket. It does not need to be tucked or semi-tucked unless you want to lengthen the leg line from the hips upwards. A wrap top is a great idea. Create a low contrast between the top and bottom if you don’t want a horizontally cutting line across the body. Finish off the look with black heeled or flat mules and a structured bag. Add jewellery, eyewear and watch as desired.