High heels… a pair of shoes that hold more symbolism for women than any other item she may wear. The other day I asked my followers to tell me what comes to mind when you see a woman in high heels: powerful, confident, successful, beautiful, sexy.
Truthfully, when I put on high heels I feel a bit silly, usually uncomfortable, and rarely powerful. I prefer flats. I’m comfortable in flats, close to the ground, and can chase after my kids. It’s funny because sometimes I feel real powerful when I’m rocking a pair of loafers. So here is my question… Why do women have to wear high heels to look powerful?
If you asked me to describe a woman in high heels: POWERFUL.
I may also wonder what she does/if she has kids/if her back hurts. I don’t know if it’s because society has conditioned us to associate high heels with certain adjectives, or because the shoes really do a lot for a woman – either way, they’ve become quite distinctive.
“Power, money, class, profession” are somehow determined by the brand or style of a woman’s high heel.
If there is a red bottom, she has money. If the heel is short and stout, she is an old lady. If there is 5 inch clear platform, well… I don’t want to say what we grew up thinking but you get my point. For women, the type of heels you wear suddenly tell a story about you, one that might not even be true.
Some people spend a lot of time, money, and thought on the shoes they wear day to day.
Perhaps we can say the same about other types of shoes and the stereotypes they give the wearer. Sneakers = athletic, loafers = academic, flip flops = casual. Some people spend a lot of time, money, and thought on the shoes they wear day to day. I prefer a pair of shoes that are nice and my taste is sometimes expensive. As a 33 year old Mom, comfort is usually more important than style.
Check out this post on wearing ballet flats as a Mom.
Let’s go flash back to my wedding shoes ten years ago…
I bought a pair of green high heels to wear on my wedding day because everyone told me to. I also packed my favorite pair of UGG slippers, wore them 95% of the evening. In my defense, it was a cold October night and I had the flu when I got married, but wearing my slippers didn’t stop me from feeling gorgeous, powerful, and confident.
With all this being said, don’t assume I’m anti-high heel. I will wear high heels every once in awhile.
I wear high heels on special occasions and the random date night. When I slip on a pair, I feel a little bit taller and elegant (even if I walk around like a baby giraffe). I notice the sound the heels make, clicking away on the floor, and I enjoy the sound. It’s almost like you can feel the heads turn to see who is coming in. We can all thank society for that.
But that’s not to say that I don’t wonder… How amazing it would be if I made the same impression without staggering in on a pair of heels? My 5’3 stature, my attempted ballerina-like posture, my confident aura… all exuding POWER without high heels.
Totally get it as I have aged 🙁 I lean toward the flat heel but I do know that they are more comfortable. BUT that being said I feel when in a room with my work peers the women in heels are viewed differently.
To me, a lot of viewing women as powerful in heels has to do with the way they carry themselves & the confidence they exude. I believe you totally can still have that same aura in your favorite loafers!!! Judging a woman on the shoes she wears says a whole lot more about the person judging than it does of the woman wearing said shoes.
I have a love/hate relationship with heels. I too love how they make me taller and I do feel more powerful in them. That being said, they really only come out for special occasions! haha
What an interesting concept! I do think that heels personally make me feel more confident (since I’m under five foot) and that confidence exudes “power.” I don’t quite feel the same in the pair of flats but perhaps it’s a confidence thing.
Oh wow. I never really thought about this. But I DO feel so different when I’m in heels. Which I almost always am because I’m only 5ft!
I always prefer to wear heels when I can, because I really do believe they elevate my look – especially because I love skirts and dresses. I always see people styling their dresses with white sneakers and think, well, it’s cute, but it would look so much better with heels! Of course everyone needs to feel comfortable and confident, no matter what is on their feet!
Chic on the Cheap
Such an interesting post; I’ve never thought about the impressions shoes make or the assumptions of society that correlate. Food for thought!
It is crazy that high heels hold so much power! I am an inbetween-er when it comes to heels and flats/loafers – but wearing flat shoes is SO nice. Plus, loafers with a great outfit? You can conquer it all!
Girl, I get it! I love my heels but sometimes I feel just as powerful and as much as a boss in my flats! You have to see what you’re in the mood for and go from there!
Laura Leigh says
I have to say, I feel more confident in boots with heels but not actual heels. They make me feel weird and uncomfortable. They definitely aren’t my shoe of choice! And I love that you wearing your Ugg slippers made you feel powerful and confident. I say we rock what we like and we just rock it!
xo Laura Leigh
This was such an excellent read. I think we don’t often pause to consider the meaning behind heels – we just make assumptions. But it’s important to really determine WHY we wear what we wear – for who and for why.
I don’t wear heels too often myself but I do enjoy wearing them every once in awhile. This was a great read!
It is strange how different I feel when I’m wearing heels vs flats!!
Shelbee on the Edge says
Caitlin, this is such a great topic to ponder! I do love a killer pair of heels…especially the sassy sound of the clicking on hard wood. But I feel equally powerful when I am wearing my flat combat boots, too. Shoes do speak volumes, but I am thinking that it is more the confidence with which you wear anything that speaks louder. Thanks so much for joining my Link Up On the Edge. This post will be featured tomorrow.
Daydreams of a Mum says
Its an interesting one. Though I much prefer flats these days I do feel good in a pair.#blogcrush
maen ababneh says
Thank you for sharing this post
volgopoint girl high heel shoes
I trust you thoroughly can in any case have that equivalent atmosphere in your preferred loafers. Making a decision about a lady on the shoes she wears says a ton more regarding the individual deciding than it does of the lady wearing said shoes. I also love the delightful way they cause me taller and I do to feel all the more impressive in them.