I moved to New York last summer, and after a couple of months, I came to the realization that I had only worn heels about two or three times. Though I don’t fancy myself a heels devotee (love sneakers and loafers to boot), this was well below my average percentile. Why the sudden drop? I’m guessing it was a combination of not understanding the commuter lifestyle and feeling intimidated by navigating the uneven city streets in stilettos (tiptoeing between cobblestones is not the best look).
Whatever the reason, I made a New Year’s resolution to slide into a pair of heels more frequently, and this goal commenced with a self-induced challenge to wear them every day for my first week back at work this month. Why? Simply put, I feel more polished and professional when I’m in a pair of heels. Though I’m not particularly short (5’5”), there’s something about the extra height that gives me a boost of confidence. (Societal norm? Perhaps. Anti-feminist? No way, José.) What would happen to my confidence if I wore them every day for a week? And so began the challenge. Scroll down for my riveting shoe log!
Ed. Note: I commuted in sneakers, and there were kitten and chunky block heels involved—no visits to the podiatrist required to conduct this experiment.
The Shoes: Madewell strappy clogs
Observations: Something I noticed right away was that integrating a pair of heels into my look required preparation. The eve before my first day back at work, I spent about 15 minutes in my closet putting together an outfit. Though I’m sure you’re aware that this does wonders for your morning routine, I’ll reiterate that picking your outfit ahead of time is the best thing you can do for yourself. You’re more creative because the pressure of getting out the door is absent (creativity = confidence), and you have more time in the a.m. hours to do things like make breakfast or read the news. Or, in my case, play with my roommate’s dog, Grace Jones.
The Shoes: Madewell suede pumps
What I Wore With Them: Bella Dahl shirt; vintage cashmere shell; Wilfred Free De Brauw Pants ($75).
Observations: On day two of heels, the compliments were rolling in from my lovely, attentive Clique Media Group colleagues. I also felt like I was paying closer attention to emails and working harder. Maybe it was in my head, but I felt like my professional outfit was in fact making me more professional.
The Shoes: Ralph Lauren kitten heels
Observations: I had a few press appointments this particular day, so I opted for a $2 pair of Ralph Lauren mule slides I found at a thrift store in Ojai (score!). The heels are of the kitten variety and feel very Olsen-esque to me, which can never be a bad thing. It was nice being able to maneuver with ease yet still feel put together in heels. Another point for confidence.
The Shoes: Zara High-Heel Backless Sandals ($40)
What I Wore With Them: Everlane Cashmere Crew Sweater ($128); Wanderlust shirtdress; Banana Republic knit skirt.
Observations: One of my many post-holidays sale victories was a Banana Republic sweater skirt. I knew I wanted to play with proportions when layering in the statement item, and a pair of heels felt right to offset the multiple pieces. I had a breakfast appointment that morning, and I felt confident and (if I may say so) cute heading into the meeting. I simply wouldn’t have felt the same sporting a pair of loafers or sneakers.
The Shoes: Madewell suede pumps (yes, same as day 2!)
Observations: On the final day of my experiment, I was really feeling the effects of wearing heels the entire week—in the good way. Though I must admit my situation may not be the same as others (e.g., if you work in retail, wearing heels while standing all day is simply not an option), if your office environment is similar to mine, I’d suggest testing this out for yourself. You can still walk to work in sneakers (tuck your heels into a tote bag), and the extra boost of confidence will surely make your workweek a tad more fun.
How often do you wear heels to work? Do you think it affects your confidence? Sound off with your opinions in the comments!
Opening Image: Getty Images