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Tamara Shayne Kagel

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Stop Taking Those High Heels Off

Posted: 08/17/2012 2:46 pm

I've come to notice a troubling trend around the office: Women are constantly flinging off their heels for flats or flip-flops, and I just can't stand it any longer. These women wear their heels for about two minutes total and the rest of the day, they're trudging around in shoes more fitting for the beach, their pants held up around their ankles with rubber bands. Therein lies the problem: The outfit they planned for the day and checked in the mirror before they left the house was a smart outfit perfectly tailored to those stylish heels. But the outfit most people will see them in throughout the day is a netherworld of messiness nobody was intended to view.

Now, I'm not telling all women they have to wear high heels all the time. In fact, if these women never want to wear heels again, they should go right ahead. But what I can't stand are all these sloppy half-office, half-vacation outfits that seem to dominate the workplace these days. This could easily be fixed by just wearing flats. If you want to plan every outfit with a pair of flat shoes, go ahead. Buy a pair in every color. Have every pair of pants tailored for flats. (Remember pants should always be hemmed for either heels, never being more than ½ inch to 1 inch away from the ground, or for flats, but never to some in between length.) When trying on new clothes, assume you'll be no taller than you are in your bare feet and shop accordingly. But please stop asking us to hold-up so we can wait while you pull your sweaty feet out of your heels and throw on shoes you can actually walk in.

As a general rule, no one should be taking their shoes off out in public. This means if you go out for a night on the town, no one wants to see you at the end of the night walking barefoot outside to find a cab with your heels slung over your shoulder. Nor does anyone want to hear a woman complaining all the time about how much her feet hurt. Once you've walked out the door in heels, you've committed to them till your back home and inside. They shouldn't be coming off.

Part of the problem is that many women buy the wrong kind of shoes in the first place. When you try on a new shoe, you should not just be checking to make sure you can fit all your toes inside. You really need to walk around in them to be sure you can actually WALK in them. Yes, you need to be able to walk and walk well, as in heel-to-toe without holding on to someone, in order to make a determination that you should own those shoes. Many shoes need to be broken in first, so wear them around the house before you wear them to work. If your shoes are giving you blisters, they do not fit you properly. Try some sort of Dr. Scholl's pad or gel or try them with stockings or band-aids, but if you can't wear them without getting blisters, donate them to Goodwill because they don't fit you. If you're not getting blisters and they still hurt, see if you can wear them for short outings to build up your calf muscles or perhaps just admit that heels are not your thing.

But you've got to stop buying shoes to pose in. Shoes are for walking, not posing. This pandemic that has spread through the workplace requiring all us all to accept that women will be taking their shoes on and off all day has got to stop. Men aren't untying and retying their ties all day long every time they leave for lunch. If a change is necessary, treat it like you are changing your clothes. For instance, if you wear flats with a dress to work and you want to wear heels with the same dress after work, change in the bathroom or in your office if you can close the door. I understand there are certain circumstances where a change is going to be unavoidable. But the normal workplace environment should not include women in flip flops with long pants being held up by rubber bands all afternoon after changing shoes at lunch. Nor should it require all of us to become accustomed to watching women take on and off their shoes all day. Abraham Lincoln once said, "be sure you put your feet in the right place, and then stand firm." If you put your feet in the right shoes, this shouldn't be a problem. If you can't walk firm in heels, your feet are in the wrong shoes.

 

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