If you work with men…
And you EVER have occasion to walk ANYWHERE with them, be it to a client meeting, or to lunch, or at a conference…
Please, wear shoes which enable you to walk as far, and at the same pace, as they walk.
Every day, I see groups of business people in which the men are striding ahead, conversing and laughing, while the women are mincing along in the rear on their high heels. They’re left out of the conversation. They’re left out of the main part of the group. THEY AREN”T KEEPING UP.
If you dress in a way that limits your mobility, you cannot expect to be considered an equal to a person who dresses for a combination of business appropriateness and comfort. No matter what any magazine tells you.
I’m sure this will be an unpopular opinion; flame away!
I completely agree, so no flames here. Save the trendy shoes for your personal life. You won't die if you wear the corporate uniform during working hours. If you just HAVE to wear heels like the first example while at work, make sure you've got something like the second pair in your bag for when you need walk further than 10 feet.
The glass ceiling, alas, is real and wearing clothing that keeps us from being part of all conversations is just self sabotage.
No flaming here, either, I completely agree.
I get so frustrated with women in their 20's and 30's who haven't figured out how to be stylish and practical. I love heels, but when walking around, say D.C., I wear flats or sturdy heeled boots. Even when I worked where I was dressing professionally every day, I wore flats. I was literally on my feet nearly all day and cute heels seemed like a poor decision. And that was only a bit ago, when I was 22!
bingo. The fashion industry sabatoges career women.
déjà pseu says
Well said! I've heard some people compare certain styles of shoes to foot binding, but what you've said here really brings that home without the hyperbole.
California Girl says
My first business trip to NYC. I was 30. I dressed beautifully for the occasion including 4" heels thinking we would take cabs to all the ad agencies we had to visit. Boy was I wrong! Not only did the people I was with walk everywhere, they walked blocks and blocks and blocks. Nobody on a salary takes a cab in NYC. I noticed all the smart women in suits walked in tennis shoes on the street. My feet never let me forget this.
Next trip, I took my tennies.
I keep waiting for someone in the under-40 generation to invent a post-modern feminism for the present day. (I'm 50-something, and figure our generation has limited influence over the younger ones, but maybe I'm wrong.)
I want to say to these women: What are you thinking?! What do you really want from your life, and do your actions, especially your clothes, speak that language?
Fifteen years ago, when a 3 inch heel on a pump was borderline inappropriate/hussified anywhere but a very dressy/sexy social event, I found out that the men in my corporate office referred to these as CFM shoes. Come **** me shoes. One woman on our floor, a mid-level manager, wore these 3 to 3 1/2 inch heel pumps with her business suits, and that's all the men could say about her, behind her back and among themselves. Look, Cindy's got her CFM shoes on.
Women's standards have changed. A 3 inch pump — no cut outs, studs, gladiator strapping, hydraulic platforms, etc — is just a yawn. Might as well be a 1/2" loafer, in the female fashion vernacular.
But men haven't changed. I'm quite confident that if, in 1995, that sedate 3" heel was a CFM billboard for a manager's colleagues, today's skyscraper heels erase a woman's professional credibility and collegial stance immediately from the mind of even those men who are trying to walk the take-them-seriously-and-treat-them-equally walk.
I love the look of many of these shoes. I can't wear them, but many of them are gorgeous in an artful way. And no one will question the esthetics of the long, long leg. But I struggle to understand, and even respect, the woman who thinks these shoes are appropriate in any remotely professional situation. The shoes are unquestionably sex-sirens and cripplers (literally and career-wise) and incredibly stupid for any situation in which you don't expect to be pillow-carried from spot to spot.
This is the message these shoes send. CFM, and carry me on a pillow through life. Did ANY of the lessons of the old feminism stick? Will they die out with the baby boomers? The personal and social ramifications, not to mention the orthopedic price that will paid from age 38-98, are enormous.
Are we literally slaves to fashion, and in enslaving ourselves, are we losing what financial, social, and relationship freedoms we've hard-earned in the last century? It wasn't so long ago that we couldn't even VOTE. So, what, now we don't want to WALK?
There, Vivienne, you've been flamed. I think they call this violent agreement.
Oh THANK YOU ALL! for these comments. I live really close to "the loop" in downtown Chicago, and so I see literally thousands of people any day that I leave our building. And I see this "girls lagging behind" thing dozens of times a day! They went to college. They have great qualifications for great jobs – certainly better than anything I could hope to have – and they paint their fingernails to look like ladybugs, and they wear geisha footwear, and then they WONDER why they're not running the world. I get so frustrated I could just scream…
Now that you mentioned nails here, I am curious, do you consider any color or is only french manicure considered nice and classy? Thanks for all your amazing posts! I love reading your blog.
I hate to see women mincing and I hate it when I mince. My shoes have gotten lower and lower over time and now my main criteria are: Are they cute? Can I walk several blocks for coffee without looking like a fool? Can I kick ass? — Queen Lucia
Love those criteria, Queen Lucia. Especially, "Can I kick ass?" Perfect.
Completely agree! My problem was the other way around: I have always been comfortable and practical, but figuring out that I could be stylish too was huge for me. I'm so happy I learned these lessons young (I'm 24)!
Brilliant, Kim! You are a prodigy. Many of olders took decades longer to figure out the style+function equation!
Stylish, yet sensible shoes, a la example two, except dark color please, hide the scuffs, seems to be knowledge that comes, in most cases, with experience and age. I could run 10 blocks in my four-inch Charles Jourdan heels in my 20s, by my 30s I was down an inch, down another inch for my 40s and now in my 50s, I love the look of heels, but I am resigned to the kitten heel or wedges or flats. It's the only way to walk.
Chiming in to agree also! Heels may make you feel powerful, but there's no power in mincing, as you so aptly put it.
I agree, too! And not only for women in the business world…My husband sure hates it when (on the rare occasion) I wear high heels and lag behind him! He looks at my heels and shakes his head!
C'est Moi says
Good post! I stopped wearing heels early on, when I realized it was making my life harder than it needed – running for a plane or striding down a hall with a customer gets a lot more difficult if you are worried about your feet. Same for traveling – I went to Rome for the first time and only packed heels! I stopped and bought a pair of flats after the first day, when I realized I was spending more time thinking about my feet than focusing on the scenery!
Yes, those shoes are terrible. But also yes, they are appropriate, functional, comfortable. I look at the first pair and all I can think is "those are stripper shoes.". If your work involves swinging around a pole all day then they are ideal, but if your job requires you to be valued for your brains more than your long, long legs, a low to mid-heel is the only way. The language of fashion – what are your clothes saying on your behalf?
Breanna Baker says
I shot a commercial the other day in 5 1/2 in heels. Moving from location to location…. ahead oh the pack!!! It's all about finding the right heels for your feet. Ones that don't hurt and that fit your feet right, and your balance!!! Everyone balances differently!!! Practice makes perfect too. =)
Would you identify the second shoe? They're near perfect in shape and height. The toe is pointed but not too pointed and the kitten heel is more graceful than many I see.
The nude kitten-heel pumps are from Stuart Weitzman. I have a couple of pair of shoes from him, in lower heels, and they are amazingly comfortable.
The Closet Therapist says
I totally agree! I honestly don't even think those high heels look good. To me it screams "trying too hard" (or stripper).
I decided a long time ago that I would rather wear comfortable shoes than be annoying because I'd be complaining about my feet or a headache.
I think hubby has accepted it. :)
At 66 years old, I could absolutely walk 10 blocks in the top pair of shoes! … If it was the short side of the block and not the long side … If I didn't walk further than arm's length away from the buildings lining that block (just in case I lost my balance) … If my pace was about half of the block per day … I'm sure I could cover 10 blocks within 20 days!
I realize this post is so late to this discussion that almost no one will see it. I discovered your blog about a month ago and have been reading postings here and there until I finally figured out how to access the archives. I'm just in awe. I've learned almost as much from the comments as I have from your postings.
I'm thinking of making your blog a tab on my internet options so that your blog just comes right up as soon as I login to IE. Thanks for all you do. At some point, I will have to figure out how to get an identity so that my posting will have my ID instead of anonymous.
I meant to say "If I didn't walk farther than arm's length from the buildings … I do know the difference between farther and further.
9/11 taught me that if you can't walk from where you are to your home, you're wearing the wrong shoes.