How wearing the right shoes can make a valuable impact.
By Miss Susy on July 17, 2008
Ok, so we no longer live in the 80s or 90s when women’s heels in the workplace were confined to 2 inch block pumps in navy, black, brown and oh God- taupe. Yes, we’re 8 years into the millennium. We’ve made our peace with frumpy conservative looks. We’ve said good-bye to bulky shoulder pads and anti-form fitting, elastic waistband skirts too.
Fashion in the workplace has evolved ladies! Welcome stilettos, the peep-toe pump, and if you dare, strappy heels too. Bring on the fuchsia, red, animal prints and hues of blue. Conservative no longer means dull or playing it safe.
So, how do we incorporate today’s fashion trends full of vibrant colors, daring prints, and “unconventional” materials into serious, high profile or uber-conservative work atmospheres?
The answer lies within common sense, variety and understanding the power of the shoe. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Allow me to elaborate. While I do encourage today’s fashion trends and bringing colors and prints into the wardrobe especially with shoes, there’s a certain commonsense that should be applied when picking out those pair of shoes to complete your day’s outfit.
If you have a typical 9-5 job in an office setting such as a bank or law firm, well any day time job for that matter, a 4-½ inch rhinestone embezzled strappy stiletto just isn’t appropriate. Not even if you’re wearing an Armani power suit.
Such shoes are better left for evenings out. Wearing blinged-out shoes just says you don’t mean business. As women who have participated, encouraged and/or witnessed the advancement of our gender in the workforce; US (women) not meaning business is the last message we want to convey.
This is why variety in our shoes and wardrobe is essential. Our shoes say a lot about who we are. They’re an extension of what we wear, who we are and always make their own statement. Your shoes should reflect your personality (who you are, what you’re about and where you’re going), cover your basics (blacks, blues and neutrals), and always compliment your outfit.
Once you’ve acquired a versatile collection of shoes, which doesn’t mean owning hundreds of shoes but rather, a little of every style- learn how to use the shoe. Ok, so that might sound silly to some of you. You’re probably thinking it’s a shoe- you put in on and walk. Well, that isn’t what I mean. Remember, your shoes make their own statement. I think it’s time for an example.
Visualize with me. We have a young lady by the name of Margot. She’s in her late 20s, has a bachelors of science in advertising and marketing communications, and is a well-rounded individual with an abundance of creativity surging through her. Margot is also an employee at one of NY’s top marketing firms who has been working on the 3rd floor in the public relations department for 4-½ years awaiting a potential promotion. She works in a rather relaxed work environment of jeans, khakis and pullovers- something she has become accustomed to and embraced as part of her identity over time.
Margot finally has her chance to interview for a vacancy on the 6th floor in advertising. A chance for her years of studying to finally pay off- Junior Account Executive. Now her dilemma is how does she get them to notice her out of all the other applicants? She has the education, the knowledge and the background. She just needs the right look. Something that will say Margot Torres- Junior Account Executive.
She finally picks out her interview outfit. A simple black a-line skirt with pleated slit detail in the back, a fitted royal blue, ¾ sleeve button-down shirt and simple accessories. Now she’s stuck with two choices of shoes. Does she opt for the black peep-toe pumps or the ever-coveted black stiletto pump?
Ladies, this is where understanding the power of the shoe and how to use the shoe come into play. Anyone woman in a rush would probably grab for either and either is fine for a regular workday but which one says Junior Account Executive? For a big interview day, a little morethought is required.
Margot wants to look sharp, sophisticated, collected and professional. At the same time she doesn’t want to be the formerly known public relations representative from the 3rd floor. She understands that advertising/marketing to some extent is still a male dominated arena so she wants to show control, assertiveness and bold confidence, while maintaining her fresh and creative aura. In this case, a peep toe is too feminine and too prissy. While it does complete a sophisticated and dainty look for the outfit, it’s missing that defining boldness that lies within the black stiletto pump.
This is a timeless shoe, worn for decades by women encapsulating elegance, sophistication, boldness, assertiveness and even sex appeal. This is a shoe that means business with versatility at its max. As a peep-toe alternative, it creates a stronger silhouette and polished look for Margot, giving her that edge of boldness for her interview.
Isn’t it amazing how such a simple accessory can convey so much? Whether consciously or subconsciously, society does put a lot into how people and things look. In many aspects of life, first impressions, presentations and introductions are defining points. C’est la vie!
We continue being fabulous women in our fabulous lives. We put our best foot forward and open the doors to opportunity- we just can’t forget the right shoes to put on our feet when doing so.
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