What Businesswomen Wear – a guide to powerdressing

Why high-heels shrink you (and why girls in sneakers need to be in sitcoms)

Alas, I got my business style from 90’s sitcoms – Ally McBeal, Rachel in Friends. Ally McBeal was definitely the best. Perfectly fitted miniscule suits in a perfectly fitted manicured lawyers’ office.

Her image outweighed all her well-rehearsed legal knowledge and ability to litigate. The perfectly groomed woman, whose largest flaw was a mane of hair falling in front of her eyes and lip biting, as Billy told her they weren’t together anymore, (excuse my sitcom facts, they are a little hazy as time passes before my 40 something eyes).

The smooth bottoms

And then there are the bottoms. Smooth and firm without panty lines. Each buttock exactly like the other – matching left and right. No cellulite, no unexpected bulges that make the girls’ bottoms their own. Only smooth manicured cotton that covers a smooth manicured line of a smooth manicured derriere.

NB. Ally McBeal was too small and twig-like to have a waist or a bottom. The Chinese girl had these. Ally was all angles and coffee. Lots of cups of takeaway coffee – never a girl without a cup of takeaway coffee…

…And the Manolo Blahnik shoes

But then the noughties brought the SHOES. These really shadowed any professional capabilities as Sex and the City did constant product placement for high heal maker Manolo Blahnik et al.

And then there’s the real world – Flanders, Belgium

Now (just for fun!) place yourself in the heart of Flanders, Belgium in a business school. Here the power of male domination of the business world is palpable. They rule 150%, while token females stagger around on stilts.

But instead of making the ladies in the house look strong and elegant walking along a New York street, they just shrink them because any living person knows that stilts are silly. They are for carnivals and street parades and being on them creates the opposite of strong. They make you fragile, exposed and uncomfortable.

Camels in disguise – a ‘how-to’ of walking on stilts

Just to set the scene – you have a big presentation to give. You’re up next. You look the part. Perfectly manicured, new suit, great new €400 high heal shoes! But rather than breathing and keeping calm before it, all you can think about is getting up to the podium on stilts (smiling). You have to rehearse the following steps in your head and all steps are critical – get anything wrong and you’re just a smiling camel in disguise.

The diatribe goes: stand up; pause, smile; establish balance; concentrate hard on affecting an elegant glide – plant your heal in a straight line in front of you to avoid ankle tips on the crucial first and second steps; once momentum is established – keep your eyes focused on your point of arrival; pull in your tummy, tuck your butt under, keep your ankles together, affect a slight sway, smile!

Steve Jobs (RIP) in heels

Gee, I would love to see men in this same predicament as they conduct their business, it’d definitely take away their power. Imagine Steve Jobs walking up to the podium in heels – all his business mojo is gone. Deflated. All puffed out of him, like a balloon. Pffffffffffffffffff, clack, clack, clackity, clack clack, clack.

What’s my point? High heels are for boys!

So the moral of this story is that high heels are no longer for me. I have also had it confirmed that two of my lower vertebrae are shot. This may be because of all the heels over the past years (all the shoes featured in the illustration are mine).

So I went out and bought myself a couple of pairs of sneakers – a black pair and a brown pair to match all my outfits. I look strange from a distance but when I stand up I feel centred and when I walk I am the strongest wo-man in the room.

PS: Read the latest New York Times Article ‘Science Weighs in on Heels’ where it says they contribute “to ankle instability and balance problems and eventually to a decline in…strength”.

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