When it comes to women's footwear, few styles exude timeless elegance quite like a classy pair of pumps.
These iconic shoes have been a staple in women's fashion for decades, gracing the feet of celebrities, professionals, and fashionistas alike.
Let’s explore the world of women's pumps, from their fascinating history to the various types available today — we'll also help you style them to perfection!
What Are Pumps?
Pumps are a type of women's footwear characterized by three distinct features:
A closed back
A low-cut front
A high heel
Pumps are admired for their ability to elongate the legs and add an element of sophistication to any outfit. They typically have a sleek and classic design, making them suitable for a wide range of occasions, from formal events to the office and even casual outings — it all depends on the outfit you pair them with!
The History of Pumps
The concept of high-heeled shoes dates back to ancient civilizations. In ancient Egypt, around 3500 B.C. In those days, both women and men wore heels as a symbol of social status. Elevated footwear also served a practical purpose: helping to keep the wearer's feet above the hot sands of the desert.
While heels continued to evolve throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, the classic pump, as we know it today, started to emerge during the early 19th century. During this era, pumps were unisex footwear and were often made with low heels. They featured a rounded toe, a closed back, and a low-cut front — just like the modern pump. These shoes were practical for both men and women, primarily as indoor shoes or for more formal occasions.
The 20th century saw pumps cement their status as a symbol of sophistication and glamor — iconic actresses of the Golden Age of Hollywood, like Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe, frequently wore pumps both on and off-screen. Their elegance and charm helped to solidify the association between pumps and timeless style.
Today, pumps come in a wide range of styles, materials, and heel heights to suit every occasion and personal taste. While classic black and nude pumps remain wardrobe staples, designers continually experiment with colors, textures, and embellishments, allowing women to express their individuality through their choice of pumps.
Types of Pumps
As one of the most versatile footwear options on the market, there are several different styles of pumps available.
Let’s look at four of the most common types.
Slingback pumps are characterized by a strap that wraps around the back of the heel, leaving the heel exposed. This style combines the sophistication of pumps with a touch of playfulness — they’re suitable for both formal and semi-casual occasions.
The Anne Klein Brooklyn Pump — the perfect example of a stylish slingback pump that works with all of your favorite outfits.
Peep toe pumps feature a small opening at the front of the shoe. This subtle detail adds a feminine touch to the classic pump design, making them ideal for cocktail parties and special events.
The flirty and feminine nature of peep toe pumps make them a must-have for your wardrobe — like these Vixen Dress Pumps, for example.
Kitten heel pumps are perfect for those who desire the elegance of high heels but prefer a lower heel height. With a typically slender and curvy heel that's around 1.5 to 2 inches in height, these pumps are comfortable and versatile, making them suitable for extended wear.
The Infinity Kitten Heel from Anne Klein gives you a fun addition to your shoe closet — it comes in three different colors, too!
The d'Orsay style is recognized by a cutaway on either side of the shoe, revealing the arch of the foot. This design creates an illusion of longer, slimmer legs and is ideal for more formal occasions — or when you want to make a bold fashion statement.
How to Style Pumps
Knowing about the different types of pumps is one thing — understanding how to create timeless and classy outfits is another thing.
Let’s create two different looks: An office look and a casual outfit.
For the Office
Everything starts with a classic pump in a neutral color — these Bice Dress Pumps from Anne Klein will work:
Up top, you have a few different options. You could go with fitted trousers and a blazer, or you could pair it with a dress — totally up to your preferences.
Either way, you end up with a go-to office look for important meetings when you want to look your best.
Pumps aren’t just for formal events — they can be used to create a classic casual look!
The Infinity Kitten Heel we mentioned above is a great start — kitten-style pumps are perfect for your casual outfits.