PR Campaigns – The blog

April 13, 2009

Are a pair of high heels the new power tie?

Filed under: Precision PR — elwhite2 @ 5:30 pm
Tags: , ,

So I came across this post on Valley PR Blog by Linda Vandeverde called Heels are the new “Power Ties” in PR that I would love to share with you.

The author Linda Vandeverde mentions how high heels have gotten these days and makes a connection between  the working woman and her dress code (mainly heels).

Linda Vandeverde goes into the history of women and their revolution of fashion in the work force. It used to be that women wore suits with big shoulder pads, close toed shoes, pantyhose and a bowtie. Well today, men use there ties as a power statements where as more and more women are using their heels as “power weapons.” Vandeverde references Sarah Palin as one of the first female candidates that used heels to her advantage.

These high heels definitely do make a statement for a powerful woman just as a tie does for a man. Do you feel that this is a sexist view or that there is this expectation for powerful women to dress a certain way? How do you feel about the power tie analogy? I am still trying to decide myself. Let me know your thoughts.

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9 Comments »

  1. Well, as Linda Vandeverde touches upon in the blog, the link between a person’s height and how others perceive the level of their power and status based upon their height has long been studied. For some reason, we seem to subconsciously associate tall people with powerful people. However, I don’t necessary agree that the high heel represents the same concepts as the male power tie. While the male power tie represents, well power, I feel that the female high heel only partially represents this. While it can contribute to power, it also can contribute to sexism. Shouldn’t our long list of accomplishments represent more power than our long legs?

    While it may be true that there is a correlation here, women shouldn’t have to objectify themselves to gain power in the workplace. But then again, this is public relations. Maybe if wearing high heels is the way to get out messages noticed, perhaps we should follow the trend. Well, good thing I’m 5’10”. Guess I already got the height/power thing on my side…

    Comment by plepkows — April 13, 2009 @ 6:49 pm | Reply

  2. I agree with Patty above, that the height perspective and heels don’t come together. I do agree with the dressing up rule. For my new years resolution I decided to dress better for work. I have dressed up better, but probably not as best as I could–do you realize how expensive it is to rebuild your whole wardrobe! Anyways, if I wear a nice shirt with jeans and my feet hurt so I throw on flip flops I can honestly notice that people treat me different if I wear the same outfit with heels. From personal experience I agree with this post, but I am glad that I didn’t have to live through that whole shoulder pad craze!

    Comment by lindsaylynch — April 13, 2009 @ 7:38 pm | Reply

  3. As a shoe “fanatic” I wouldn’t be lying if I said I liked the correlation of shoes verse men’s ties however, heels pose quite a problem…blistered and broken feet. This semester I can say one thing I’ve learned through my internship that is important is, comfortable shoes. This translates to flats for me. With my average height of 5’6″ an extra couple inches wouldn’t hurt but why should I have to go through the pain of wearing the latest trendy power shoe to be noticed? This is where the sexism comes into the picture. I don’t think a women’s power should be determined by the shoes she wears there are many more important qualities I can think of that would contribute to the “power weapons” category and fashion isn’t necessarily at the top of the list.

    Comment by lehanson — April 13, 2009 @ 8:33 pm | Reply

  4. Now matter what we do there will always be a difference between men and women in the work field, and since no one can say to me, “Hey, nice tie” I am ecstatic when I am complemented on my heels. I think heels show a level of personality, if that matches yours wear them, if it doesn’t don’t. I think heels look professional and feel professional. The more professional I feel the more professional I act.

    Comment by tmpace — April 13, 2009 @ 9:36 pm | Reply

  5. Just as men wear ties to work to dress up, I think that women wear heels. It is our “uniform” for professional dress. I would not call it sexist. Just how things have been done for many years. Shoes are also a way for someone to let their personality show through. I personally feel more professional and dressed up when I wear heels, as I think that most women do. That confidence also shows through in every aspect of business.

    Comment by jejepson — April 13, 2009 @ 11:52 pm | Reply

  6. I think this is a great point to bring up Libby! Just at men use ties as a power statement, why shouldn’t women be able to do the same?

    Although I wouldn’t limit a woman’s power statement to JUST heels…I completely agree that they way a person is dressed in the workforce says a lot about them…what they think of themselves, if they are fashionable, if they are professional and how much power they hold (or appear to hold).

    You could be the lowliest intern at a large PR firm in New York City, but if you dress the part (and i’m not talking designer brands) and look professional and well-kept it says a lot about you. No one needs to even know that you are an intern.

    Women should be able to wear heels all they want! (Although mine are always on the smaller side with my 5’10 stature). GO WOMEN POWER!

    Comment by haleypetersonasu — April 14, 2009 @ 12:00 am | Reply

  7. I think it is important to dress professionally at work- whether that means heels or flats. I think it all comes down to what you feel comfortable in. Heels can be a big pain in the butt- blisters, squished toes and aching feet. So, I think first and foremost you should wear shoes that you feel comfortable in and are confident in. I personally like wearing heels because I feel like it makes me look more professional and I’m only 5’3″ so I could use a few extra inches! Just as shoulder pads were once “in,” now heels are in. It is important for women to keep up with the latest trends- especially in the PR field. Likewise, the tie may represent power, but it all comes down to looking professional and dressing the part.

    Comment by kmmorten — April 14, 2009 @ 8:19 am | Reply

  8. I think some women feel more confident in heels so they’re a good call, but if walking on a tiny point of contact makes you uncomfortable or uneasy don’t do it! I wouldn’t suggest wearing anything because you think it makes you appear confident. Wear what you actually feel confident in!

    Comment by mgjersvi — April 14, 2009 @ 2:28 pm | Reply

  9. I have mixed feelings about using shoes as a power statement. I love my heels and I feel confident in them until I have to walk long distances then my confidence goies out the wondow as my feet start to hurt and blisters start appear. I am still looking for the perfect heel that is not only trendy but comfortable I know I am not the only woman with this dilemma fashion vs comfort is a huge dilemma. However I am a firm believer in dressing for success if you look good most of the times you feel good and it can only help you not hurt you. However there is a flip side to that coin, you can look amazing but if you don’t know what your talking about and you dont have the brain to back it up there is no point. High heels can only help until they hurt you…literally like hurt your feet 😉

    Comment by allund — April 18, 2009 @ 1:35 pm | Reply


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