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Pumps are a timeless footwear style that dates back centuries. They are also referred to as court shoes and were originally designed as flat dress shoes to be worn by men. Today, the shoes are almost entirely a women's fashion item, and for good measure: There are few things as effortlessly sexy and universally flattering as a pair of pumps.

The Style

Though recently they pump has undergone a transformation that includes a front platform for added height, the overall shape has remained unchanged. Pumps may be flat, or a heel, ranging from one-half to six inches, may lift the heel from the floor. The front of the shoe is narrow and may feature a peep toe or a strap across the top of the foot or across the ankle; however, they always slip on and off. The sides of pump shoes may be cut out, leaving only a heel and a toe section, but the classic pump style has a solid panel from front to back with a single line of stitching at the heel.

The iconic shape of a pump is easy to dress up or down, which is why they are immensely popular. Pumps come in a variety of styles, shapes and colors, and are perfect in any season or any occasion. Patent leather, tweed, suede and other materials can be plain or adorned with sequins, stitching, patchwork or other elements. Pumps are especially popular by designers such as Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, or Lanvin, and add instant class to an outfit.

If a lady is looking to match a pair of pumps with clothing items or accessories, she should be aware that the only limit is her imagination. A pencil skirt with pumps and a fitted blouse make the perfect business attire, but they can also be worn with jeans or shorts for a more casual look. Anklets add a touch of sparkle above a pair of pumps, too.