Self-presentation is all about creating a signature look and having something to be remembered by. Although many women know that shoes are a way of establishing their look in the office, they often struggle with what they should wear to work for different types of events and meetings. Will my boss think I’m trying to be sexy if I wear heels to the after-work soiree? Will my colleagues take me seriously if I sport flats everyday? How can I command authority in a business meeting without toppling to the floor after my presentation? In a white-collar workplace, these are a few of the situations that make planning an outfit for work more of a nightmare than a dream. Here’s what we think you should be wearing at work instead of those good ol’ $12 flats from Payless (hey, every girl knows she has a pair).
1) Big Business Meeting. Business meetings are all about presentation – and not just for the person at the front of the room. You want a pair of shoes that will let you stand tall and allow you to appear polished and confident. The Levity pump has a unique style. Because of the tie at the back, a pair of trousers would give this pair a conservative yet bold look.
BCBG has faux patent leather to catch the eye and curves that fit the form of your foot. It is available in various colors that really stand out because of the finish. When choosing colors, keep in mind how your office would respond to bright colors verses warm colors (for example, if I worked at an advertising firm, they may frown upon me wearing too much black). You may also want to invest in a pair of insoles designed for neuropathy, as nerve damage from wearing high heels is quite frequent.
2) Casual Day. When it comes to casual day, avoid settling for a torn pair of tennis shoes or sandals. Your attire is a measure of how you take care of yourself. Be comfortable with a nice pair of flats or Mary Jane pumps during casual day. The Karen Scott Mihri flats have a small heel to add height and great details with the two-tone and metal links.
3) Afterwork Happy Hour. Brave the cold winter weather with a pair of leather riding boots for the afterwork mixer. Consider getting a half size bigger than you normally wear to accommodate for thicker winter socks. Riding boots in particular are a great choice because they cover a majority of your leg and protect from melted snow and slippery ice.
4) Off-site trip With Your Team. Consider the type of off-site visit you’ll be taking. Will you be heading to a warehouse or a manufacturing building? If so, a decent pair of tennis shoes or flat boots will provide adequate protection and comfort as you walk around. If the trip is to another office space, ask your manage what is the appropriate dress code. Booties are a great default shoe for most occasions. The Carlos boots design in particular allow for an approachable yet professional look.
5) Company Wide Meetings. Company wide meetings can mean rubbing elbows with managers, directors and executives in addition to eyeballing other colleagues in the company. It can be easy to get lost in the crowd. If you work in a more creative environment like advertising, wear a vintage pair of shoes – something that could be a conversation starter.
6) Interview. When going into an interview, you want to be as comfortable and professional as possible. The shoes you wear could play a role on how comfortable you feel. Wear shoes that are well kept but ones you can walking in. Sometimes interviewees will show you around the work space or they might have you spend sometime standing.
Shoes, like any accessory, can establish a look and mean that you are remembered. Shoes can be spark conversations at an afterwork mixer or a company wide meeting and after that, who knows? A small talk about shoes could lead to something bigger.
photo credit: *maya*