What Is Office-Appropriate?

The May 2013 issue of People Style Watch contains an excellent guide to office style in a piece entitled “Tips for a New Job!  Follow this expert advice and you’ll always look office-appropriate–whether you’re just starting out or mid-career.”

The advice is spot-on, the kind of advice you would receive from a professional image consultant. The advice includes such recommendations as “make sure your clothes fit well” and “dress like it’s interview day.”  With photos of Dianna Agron, Mandy Moore and Pippa Middleton illustrating appropriate professional wear, the article is helpful to every woman who works in an office setting.

Contrast the People Style Watch advice with the following, which stopped me in my tracks. “Who Says You Can’t Wear Color to the Office?” asks the January 2013 issue of Lucky magazine, which continues: “Give the black and navy a rest and try these classic, work-appropriate looks in bright, bold, gorgeous colors.”

I shudder to think how many human resource directors need to counsel young women as a direct result of this remarkably bad advice suggesting that wearing stripes, sequins, friendship bracelets and neon nail polish together in starting combination is work-appropriate. It may be loads of fun on the weekend, but it reflects a complete lack of professionalism in an office environment. This is a look guaranteed to take one OFF the fast track to success.

The Sound of Other Shoes Dropping

When Sarah Jessica Parker, well known and loved for her role as Carrie Bradshaw on Sex and the City, announces a new perspective relative to shoes, women might want to take heed. On ABC-TV’s The View last week, the panel discussed as one of its “hot topics” the news that Parker has announced she is giving up high heels – mostly. Fashion’s obsession with sky-high heels was compared to the ancient Chinese tradition of foot-binding, a disabling practice, long gone, that was thought to make women more attractive.

The hot topic stemmed from an interview published online by Net-a-Porter on March 7, 2013 and picked up by the Huffington Post.  Here’s the pertinent portion of the interview:

While Parker may have moved on from Carrie, at least for now, the role has left its mark on her – and on us. Seated in a small Italian restaurant in New York’s SoHo district, our neighbor stares at the petite actress, despite her casual attire of grey cotton blouse, jeans rolled at the hems and, yes, high heels. One expects nothing less, but Parker tells me extra inches are a rarity these days. “For ten or so years, I literally ran in heels. I worked 18-hour days and never took them off. I wore beautiful shoes, some better made than others, and never complained. But then I did I Don’t Know How She Does It, and I was very thoughtful about my whole wardrobe and said, you know, [Kate Reddy] could not afford really good footwear. So I got [lower priced] shoes and the bottoms weren’t leather, they were plastic, so I slipped a couple times, twisted my ankle. I went to a foot doctor and he said, ‘Your foot does things it shouldn’t be able to do. That bone there… You’ve created that bone. It doesn’t belong there.’ The moral of the story is, the chickens are coming home to roost. It’s sad, because my feet took me all over the world, but eventually they were like, ‘You know what, we are really tired, can you just stop – and don’t put cheap shoes on us?'”

 

The April 2013 issue of Glamour magazine reveals that Sarah Jessica Parker is far from alone in experiencing foot problems from footwear. In a Glamour poll of 1, 177 women, only 28 percent of the women polled reported that they had never had a “serious shoe-related injury” – and of the 72 percent that have experienced a serious shoe-related injury, 38% have “wiped out”; 43% have had heel or ankle pain; 32% have twisted or sprained an ankle; and 5% have fractured or broken a foot. No wonder over a majority of the women Glamour polled – 57% – reported that a one-  to two-inch heel “is plenty.”

Despite this evidence, there are articles like the one that appeared in the November 2012 issue of Marie Claire in which the writer asserts that she spent $1,200 to receive gel dermal fillers on the balls of her feet after she had been shamed by a friend at a wedding for taking off her 4-inch stilettos. The painful and expensive medical procedure allowed her to reduce her pain by a whopping one-third at the next event to which she wore the aforementioned stilettos.

 

The April 2013 issue of People Style Watch includes a full page of beautiful low-heel shoe options in its Spring Accessories Guide. Designers as high-end as Michael Kors, Sigerson Morrison, and Dolce & Gabbana provide chic low-heel options.

Take a stand against fashion’s ridiculous obsession with dangerous, foot-damaging footwear. It’s time to vote with your feet.