THE BLOG

Heels Or Not, What You Wear Matters At Work And At Job Interviews

27/04/2017 14:48

The news that women can still be forced to wear high heels at work will have come as a bit of a shock to many, after a petition signed by more than 152,000 people asking the government to introduce work dress code law was dismissed last week.

The debate came about after a London woman called Nicola Thorp was sent home by her employers without pay for wearing flat shoes and questioning why men weren't told what footwear they should be shod in too.

Not only that, but her employers specified that female employees had to sport their high heels (between two and four inches high) with non-opaque tights, as well as having hair with 'no visible roots' and 'regularly re-applied' makeup.

A parliamentary investigation into heels and company dress codes found "widespread discrimination" in workplaces. Yet the Equalities Office said existing legislation was "adequate" as it stands. Hmm - so we're still in the dark ages then!

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Image: Pixabay

Do I think women should be made to wear heels at work? No! Well, only if men are too... But do I think that the way you dress is important in the workplace? Yes, and it's even more important to land that job in the first place!

I specialise in everything to do with careers and fashion is one of my biggest loves - one of my heroes is Ralph Lauren.

I love bringing together clothes, pretty accessories and shoes to make outfits. Writing CVs is similar in that it too brings the professional elements of each individual together. It's about dressing people up to show them in the best possible light.

The right Ralph Lauren outfit, with its brilliant tailoring, allows the very best first impression, a look and feel that works for the individual but based on classic lines and a classic story and modern. His whole concept is about bringing a story up to date.

Now, of course very few people can afford to wear Ralph Lauren, but your clothes and shoes make a vital impression when it comes to your career. It's what people see when they first meet you and they will often form snap decisions on the basis of what you're wearing. It might be unfair, but it's unfortunately a fact of life.

At interview, you need to look like someone who would fit right in. Is it a charity? A creative company? Or more traditional? Do your research and kit yourself out in the according clobber.

Check what the dress code is there and style yourself accordingly, whilst still feeling like 'you'. You've got to feel comfortable, and you've got to be yourself.

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Image: Pixabay

Generally, you need to look the part and look smart. You need to look like you've already got the job or if you're already where you want to be, dress like you've already been promoted.

At work, it's not just about how you appear for your boss, it's everyone you come into contact with - from colleagues and peers through to clients and senior management.

Although you should never judge a book by its cover, if you're in a big office with lots of employees then it's possible the only impression your boss really has of you is how you present yourself. Make sure you are always dressed appropriately with clean, smart clothes. That old tatty shirt you love to wear might be super comfy, but it's certainly not going to be impressing your boss any time soon.

It's also a fact that managers tend to hire people who dress like them or promote people at work if they have a similar style to them.

Emulating your boss - to an extent, don't be creepy - in terms of dress is an unconscious way to win brownie points. Teams who work together often end up dressing in a similar manner and managers tend to be more aware of those who dress like them. Fashion has always been about being part of a tribe and relating to others with what you wear, so it totally makes sense.

It makes a huge difference to how people will perceive you, both at interview and in the workplace.

Should you wear heels? If it's going to make you feel good and you're not going to be in pain as a result, then go for it - feeling confident is vital to success in the workplace or at interview.

But being forced to clamp on some four inch stillies? No way. After all, it used to be the law to bind women's feet in China, but thankfully, we're past all that nowadays - aren't we?

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