Every morning before walking out the door heading off to my consultancy job, I pause before the mirror. I’m a proud woman and I like to look myself over: make-up check, hair check, teeth check, outfit… sort of check.
Since I’m the mother again of an adorable one year old, it has become very difficult to have an outfit still looking decent between the time I put it on, get the kids dressed, serve breakfast, then order everyone into shoes and jackets, to finally leave the house. Normally, there is some kind of faint stain to be detected on my outfit. The origins of this stain usually originates from baby’s bodily fluids and can be either of the following : vomit, snot or poop. Sometimes I’ll find a cornflake smudged into my skirt. There is no time to change again if I want to be on time. So I have become a little more complacent about the state of my clothes. And with that complacency came the ease of wearing flats.
My entire pregnancy I wore flats. I had sparkly pumps. And pumps with ribbons. Flats covered in Swarovski. I have them all. Moving around in heels with a baby on your arm isn’t only tiresome and harder to do. It also slows you down terribly. Which isn’t much help when you’re in a rush each morning to get big kids to school, baby to creche and myself to the office. Preferably on time.
So you’ll understand my astonishment as I stood before the mirror this morning for my ritual self scan when I observed that I looked impeccable. Clean clothes, no smudges. Make-up in place, jewellery on. This state of being immaculate called for high heels. It had been such a long time since I wore them. You can’t imagine my joy, getting all dressed up to head out to the office.
Power dressing is a fact.
But not only power dressing. Another morning ritual I like to perform, and this is usually when I’m applying my make-up, is some positive self-talk. I always like to give myself a big smile each morning. A loving look. And then to make my day super I tell myself : “Everybody loves me. Everybody thinks I’m great.”
Now that sounds grand, doesn’t it. And don’t start rolling your eyes. I’m not completely buying it. I do know it’s all kind of tongue in cheek. But this little affirmation each morning will make for a wonderful day. Really, you should try it. It does wear off on your peers. Flash a smile, receive admiring looks in return. It’s a vicious circle. The kind of loop you like to put on repeat.
However, that day…
I was sitting nicely behind my desk this afternoon, enjoying an absolutely fabulous day. I love days when I get things done. When great analysis is done. When insights have been uncovered. When the bank’s website has been saved yet again. Yay, those are the days that make me shine.
So just as I was basking in my own happiness, the fire alarm went off. We usually have a test fire alarm each first Thursday of the month. But today is a Tuesday, and we’re nowhere near the beginning of the month. Strange.
As usual, everybody just sits there. Inaction is such a common trait amongst people. “What should I do?” So anyway, not really wanting to risk anything and being a woman who likes to follow the rules – this makes it all the more fun to break them later on – I got up and looked around at my colleagues.
Everyone looked at me as if I had the answers. And I usually do. So I got my handbag and said “Think we’d better head towards an exit.” Hesitation is creeping into my voice and I’m trying to be an example. “Are the emergency stairs over there?”
Then I notice other colleagues getting up too and voices getting louder that “This is not an exercise” and then somebody trying to sound authoritative and calm – yet failing miserably “Everybody needs to evacuate the building.”
This my darlings is the moment when you regret that you’re wearing high heels. Especially when you’re expected to head down flights and flights of stairs. Knowing I’m on the 9th floor. Down down down. With all my male colleagues in trainers already gone way ahead of me.
I try to remain calm as I’m going down the stairs. And I really can’t speed things up in these heels. Which are kind of starting to hurt right now. It’s hot outside and my legs have started to swell.
What’s going on?
Nobody knows what’s going on. And must say that an act of terrorism had crossed my mind. It’s the Ramadan, and what if IS has put a bomb to go off in the capitalistic bank’s basement. A tip was received which made the bank pretend there was a fire alarm to get people to evacuate smoothly. Doing my best to breathe.
When we get outside it’s even worse. The weather is like 34°C and the air is thin. I’m hot and bothered, and feeling like I’m going to faint for lack of air. But no, the ordeal doesn’t stop there. We have to walk over to a neighbouring park where our meeting point is.
What should in fact be a “short” walk turns out to be the road to hell in high heels and hot weather. I’m trying my best to look cool and not at all fazed by what’s going on. So to hide my slowness, I take out my phone and start messaging people. My boyfriend. My friends. It’s also important to stop for a selfie to post on Facebook.
Anyhow, to make a long boring story short, got to the park, where we were informed it was a false alarm set off somewhere in the building and we could all go back.
Back at my desk I am no longer a happy camper and the shoes must come off. Too bad for my colleagues. Thank god I found the time to paint my toe nails recently. What luxury! I had feet which could be seen.
Which is when I noticed the guys on my team were whispering animatedly with coy smiles. They’re laughing at my tootsies, I’m sure. So I look up and ask them what now?
“Oh nothing really…” William hesitates a moment. “Kevin just effectively managed to avoid a boring meeting. Fun huh.”
Heels are beautiful, but flats are comfy. Darlings, I’m starting to buy into taking your shoes to work in a separate bag. Power dressing is only to impress people on the work floor and to look in control in meetings. Outside of that, do your feet a favour.
Especially with temperatures rising, the only shoes to be wearing this season is something which will make your feet feel happy. Happy feet, happy woman. For influencers and social stars the world over : bring your high heels in a separate bag. But also, don’t be afraid to be extravagant in your flats. Some pumps have iconic designs, fresh colours and brand new styles. You want to start the summer season in a heatwave.
And I wonder… “Yep, we are all good. Kevin just tried to avoid a boring meeting.” Did Kevin set off the fire alarm ?
What do you think ? Heels or flats, and does it influence the power a woman has on the work floor ? Let me know in the comments below.