Coming from a girl who would wear flip-flops and yoga pants every single day of her life, regardless of where she was, fashion advice is pretty funny. I’m not someone you’d find on the People Of Walmart – I at least put on jeans and a bra before I leave the house – but I’m not a Madison Avenue fashion plate either. But since what I’m here to offer you is practicality in shoes that still maintain your visual credibility, I guess we’re good.
While I hate to admit it, my mother was right: Shoes can make or break you professionally.
I found this info on Tesh.com, (I know, I know – so lame. But I’ve got to tell you, it’s a GREAT research site for this kind of stuff!):
Your shoes reveal all kinds of information about you, according to David Givens, director of the Center for Nonverbal Studies in Washington State. Without ever seeing someone, you could probably tell if they’re a man or woman just by listening to them walk along a corridor. Expensive designer shoes generally say that someone has money to spend. Shoes without scuffs indicate someone attentive to detail. Comfy tennis shoes speak to a person’s attitudes about practicality.
Obviously, comfy tennis shoes aren’t your best option for establishing the visual credibility required to lease apartments – unless your whole team is doing a summer casual thing (in which case you work for an awesome company and I hope they’re executing the idea well!).
Also, ditch the flip-flops. Not only are they just way too casual for work, but no one can take you seriously when your sales interactions sound like this:
“Mrs. Jones (flipflopflipflopflip) as you can see the kitchen has ample storage,(flipflopflipflopflipflop) and just look at this laundry nook! It’s so cute! (flipflopflipflopflipflop) And this view – it practically sells its(flipflopflipflopflip)self.”
It’s good that it “sells itself,” because if I was depending on you to sell it, I’d be hosed.
Next, as sexy as they might make your legs and butt look, the high heels are a truly bad idea, and I don’t just say this because I’m convinced that they are a subtle torture device devised by men. Anything over about two inches is asking for trouble, so if you’re short, I’m sorry – but mega high heels aren’t the answer for several good reasons.
On Tesh.com there is another article where he breaks it down by the three most likely types of shoes that will land you in the emergency room. The third on the list is heels higher than 3 inches, but these two are the ones that drew my foucus:
A) The Platform Wedge - Experts say platforms are the most common cause of the “ballet break.” That’s basically where your heel slips sideways off the top of the wedge, rolling your foot, and causing an instant stress fracture.
In the summer, these are really tempting for a lot of us because they look almost professional without making our feet sweat all day. Most of them even have a cute peek toe that is probably forbidden by our company’s dress code (but never enforced because it’s cute). First, if you’re going to wear anything without something covering your heel, then you’d best get yourself a pedicure because your dry, chalky, nasty, calloused heels are a total turn-off. But that’s not even the biggest issue. The true problem here is that you work on a property, and this means that you’re going to be walking around all day, up and down curbs, and even if you – unlike me – do have good coordination, inviting a rolled ankle to your leasing party is just bad news.
B) Stilettos - Dr. Rock Positano is a foot surgeon who says the human body isn’t designed to balance on something as thin as a pencil. He’s had many patients who’ve torn tendons in their legs and knees after stumbling from breaking a stiletto heel.
Yes, sex sells. But if you’re relying on it to sell for you, then you’d better either save all your money for plastic surgery in your late 30s or get a back up plan for your career once gravity starts to take hold of…everything. One of my friends started with a local company here and when she was promoted, some of her friends in the company bought her a gift that they called her first “Big Girl” shoes – 5 inch stilettos. Not only did they kill her feet, but walking around property on them all day was, again, a really good way to get injured. She worked in a semi-rough area, and if she had needed to fend off an attacker, it would have been difficult for her to run away with those shoes on, even after she stabbed him in the foot with her heel.
So, what does the perfect work shoe look like?
If you’ve got to wear heels, then keep it below three inches – two is better. And get a pair that fit right: They should have enough mass in the heel to actually support your ankle well. If you’re on your toes the whole time you’re wearing them, that’s not a good pair of work shoes.
Personally, I lean towards flats. They work well for me because I’m 6ft tall and they keep me from being overly intimidating, especially with men. Also, I’m accident prone, so when I inevitably lose my balance, I don’t have nearly as far for my ankle to twist.
Whatever you choose to wear, remember three things:
1) You represent your company, and they are not a strip club (last I checked.)
2) People do judge you by your shoes, so keep them scuff free and clean of pet litter.
3) Your feet are your feet for life. Mess them up in your 20s, and they’re still going to be messed up in your 50s.