Which Shoe to Choose?


I had an interesting experience today. I was hired by a Real Estate firm to come and talk to their sales team (about 30 people) about image. It went well (thanks for asking). Afterwards I was speaking to one of the company directors and I asked him why he’d chosen me over the other image consultant who had been quoting on the job. His PA piped up (and she obviously had some input) “You were wearing close toed shoes at the meeting” (which I’d had to find out the brief on which to base my proposal). “The other consultant wasn’t.”

Now given that in this countrym for this industry, and especially the neighbourhood of these real estate agents (where the majority of the homes would be $700 000+ to $millions), the need is to dress conservatively. And even though it was a hot day that we had that meeting, I carried an extra pair of shoes in my car, and changed into them before I went to meet, as I appreciate that the standard is, if men are expected to wear a suit and tie, women are expected to wear closed-toe shoes.

Winning and Losing Shoes by imogenl

So here are a representation of the two pairs of shoes – no one is denying that the purple suede peep toes aren’t gorgeous – they’re just don’t say ‘business’ which is what the consultant needed to communicate.

OK, so it wasn’t just down to my shoes, they also liked the video of me on my website that also helped showcase my speaking skills too. Plus they liked my proposal. Still, isn’t it interesting that a pair of shoes helped to seal the deal?

Have you had any shoe experiences like this?


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  • Really interesting. And, I have to say, I would prefer the black pump for a business meeting. I think of peep toe as more sexy and I would save it for more casual and/or saucy occasions. I am not sure where I learned that—-but I am glad I did.;-)

    Just last week I learned the importance of carrying an extra pair of shoes, but that was for different reasons.

  • I love a peep toe – but they’re more casual, or saucy – depending on the heel and style. You are very right Belette.

    I’m sure if I’d been wearing your new Prada shoes that I would have got the job too! Though, all I had to do was park right outside and walk in the door, no traipsing up the street for me.

  • You might have towered over your interviewer in my Prada pumps and I have heard that men can sometimes be intimidated by that.

    Congratulations on the job. I have a feeling that you were the most talented candidate that your shoes were only a small part of the equation.

  • Belette, I would have towered over my interviewer in ballet flats. The heels I was wearing were proably 3 inches, not quite the 4 of your Prada’s!

  • That is fascinating and definitely worth posting! And I am sure your training was invaluable to their sales team. What fun! (And I love the shoes you wore!)

  • OK, not to be a wet blanket or anything, but each of those shoes look to be close to 4″ heels…both of those shoes scream “sexy”, not business, to me.

    I’ve always thought of “professional”, “business”, and “conservative” shoes to be in the 2 1/2-3″ heel range. Am I behind the times? (Which is totally possible, given that I live in the hinterlands of Maine…)

    Speaking of which, now that it’s started snowing here, I have at LEAST two pairs of shoes with me at all times…I can’t get from my front door to my car without my Sorel boots and my ice thingamabobs on them. But they just don’t cut it with a skirt or dress or nice trousers. 🙂

  • Christine – true – my shoes only had a heel of around 2.5 inches – I don’t think I’d be able to get round in shoes this high – it was just a pic I found on the interweb.

  • So interesting that the toe of your shoe made all the difference. Talk about paying attention to details!!!

    By the way you look and sound great on that video clip!!! Was that on TV sometime? I have no idea who Christie B is – should I??

  • Wow, I never would have guessed that a little “peep” could cost you a job!Isn’t it okay to be a tad feminine in business?

  • Christie B show goes out on cable networks (Christian ones I believe) across the world. I did the interview a couple of years ago now.

  • Loved the video. Am thinking more and more about contrast. Why I’ve never liked black but use gray and even brown as a black-like substitute. I’m medium to low contrast. You’re right! It works.

  • I get that close-toed shoes are more appropriate for a business meeting, but I disagree with the "rule" that they must be worn when the men are expected/required to wear a suit and tie. Weddings, church, formal dinner parties, anything black tie, etc. are all perfectly acceptable occasions for open-toed shoes and sandals.

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