La Spora – whose real name is Veronica Benini, is an Italian-Argentinian high heels guru who teaches women how to walk in high heels, how to improve their self-esteem and plenty of other great things.
She’s in today for a Q&A session about high heels at work.
Veronica, before becoming a high heels coach you were an architect working in Paris. What else were you doing before this?
Oh, wow… I’ve always managed to work in one way or another, in order to support my education and my travels. I’ve been into some typical student jobs, I worked as a hostess, promoter, waitress and babysitter, but I also picked some weird ones like nude modelling in an art school (I guess I chose that one only to brag about it!). Working has always been a route to independence for me, and I love to depend on anyone but myself. So, I love working!
Did you wear high heels when you were an architect?
I discovered high heels pretty late in life. I wore them during the past as they were required for some fancy waitress jobs, and only during the last 5 years of my 12-year career in architecture, to feel empowered. It’s always about feeling and empowerment. High heels raise your horizons, and the hips’ posture makes you feel invincible. I think high heels are a dramatic tool if you want to feel a kind of Towanda way.
Who should and who shouldn’t wear high heels at work?
You tell me! I think everyone has the right to; it’s all into your head. Some jobs do not allow high heels for security reasons, while others make it difficult if you need to walk or to stand a lot… but if you are just in an office job, then go ahead!
Do you think “untold rules” exist when it comes to who is “authorised” to wear high heels at work?
Absolutely! The higher, the braver. I would never hire an intern on red 5-inch heels. I’m the boss; you’re the slave. You learn how to work, to live and breathe from me – and we’ll see the rest later on.
Apart from humour, I think that uniforms and high heels directly relate to hierarchy, but most women refuse to assume their role and heels and keep dressing just like anyone else, or in a boring way. And it is such a shame since high heels are an incredibly powerful tool to convey your role so you don’t need to talk when you walk in a room. If you know how to shape your powerful walk, you just “irradiate” your role and expertise. And I love it.
Do you think high heels can positively affect a girl’s career in term of getting promotions?
Yes and no. High heels are a tool. When you wear them you feel different so you act differently, and that’s a fact. High heels can make you feel sexy, and sex is intimately related to power and career in a men’s world. But if you’re not a real professional, heels will do exactly the opposite, and you’ll feel just like a shampoo girl seeking an easy promotion. Not likely!
On the other hand, can high heels negatively affect a girl’s career or her relationships with colleagues?
When it comes to your colleagues, yes. Big yes. Women in flat shoes feel you’re empowered and sexier, and they’ll notice that male colleagues will have their eyes on you. Now, just imagine a non-heeled secretary making your life a nightmare. I’ve been there and it wasn’t a wise move to do. Heels rise with responsibility. It’s a path.
What would you think of a female boss without high heels?
There are many, and it’s okay. Women are still women with or without high heels. But I prefer to wear them and to be a pain in the ass!
Would you recommend a girl to wear high heels if her boss is smaller than her?
It depends on her boss’ self-esteem.
Being myself 5’10” tall, this one affects me particularly: how tall can you allow yourself to be at work? Should you still wear high heel if that makes you the tallest in the whole office – men included?
In this case, it all depends on your own self-esteem. You cannot force yourself to wear heels if you cannot stand the posture, in every sense. So it’s up to you: are you brave enough?
On the contrary, should you absolutely wear high heel if you are particularly short?
In this case, everyone will be more tolerant. People think that women wear heels to be taller. LOL.
What’s the maximum height of high heels permitted at work?
It’s all about your position in the hierarchy. And about how long you can stand or walk. I recommend a plain pair, plus a killer pair of stilettos to rock your killer meetings.
Are there colours and shoe shapes that you would avoid at work?
Of course, and it is easier to tell what is OK than what is not. Go for something classic and black, but avoid decollete: they are like a killer for your feet. Prefer open-toe shoes with a small platform for a better fit and comfort. Leave leopard and patent red for your Friday nights.
Let’s talk about high heels & job interviews: when, where and how?
Uh! I’d suggest wearing discrete heels. Women managers would never hire a high-heeled candidate, and men will think you’re sort of slut.
Any more suggestions for those who aren’t sure whether wearing high heels or not at a job interview?
Black decollete or open toes with 2,5 inches of delta (you subtract the platform measure from the heel) are interview-proof if you apply for a boring job. On the other hand, in the fashion industry, you’ll need some crazy killer cuissardes. But this is another movie