Veronica Benini, better known by her online nickname La Spora is an Italian-Argentinian high heel guru and coach who teaches women how to walk in high heels, how to create a personal brand, how to feel empowered and much more.
She’s also the founder of very successful online and offline projects such as Stiletto Academy and Corsetty.
Veronica is in today for a Q&A session about wearing high heels to job interviews.
Veronica, before becoming a high heels coach, you were a Paris-based architect and you also worked several other jobs in the past…
Yes – in a way or another, I’ve always managed to work and pay my bills, and to pay for my holidays and education. While at university, I worked some typical student jobs, such as hostess, promoter, waitress and babysitter, but I also picked some weird ones: I did nude modelling for art classes! I actually chose to mention this one only to brag about it, haha. Working has always been a route to independence for me, and I love to depend on anyone but myself. Hence, I love working!
Were you wearing high heels at work as an architect?
Actually, I discovered high heels pretty late in life. When I was a fancy waitress I was forced to wear high heels at work, and then I decided to go high-heeled during the last five years of my overall 12-years architecture career as a way to feel empowered. It is always about women empowerment: wearing high heels broadens your horizons, and the new posture makes you feel invincible.
Who should and should not wear high heels at work?
You tell me! I think everyone has the right to wear high heels at work; it’s all in your head. Some jobs and industries 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 work in a regular office, then go ahead!
Do unspoken rules exist when it comes to high heels at work?
Absolutely! The higher, the braver. I would never hire an intern on 5-inch red heels: I’m the boss, you’re the slave, you learn how to work, how to live and how to breathe from me! Haha, just kidding! But I think uniforms and high heels directly relate to hierarchy, and most women refuse to assume their roles at work, and they keep dressing just like anyone else – or in a very boring way – and just avoid high heels, and it’s such a shame. High heels are an incredibly powerful tool to convey your role so you don’t even need to say anything when you walk in a room. If you know how to shape a powerful walk, you will instantaneously “irradiate” your role and expertise. I love that.
Is there a link between wearing high heels in the office and getting promoted?
Yes and no. High heels are a tool. When you wear high heels you feel different and so you can also act differently – and that’s a fact. High heels will make you feel sexier, and sex is intimately related to power and career in a men’s world. But if you’re not good at your job, high heels will do exactly the opposite for you, making you look just like some shampoo girl chasing an easy promotion.
How about high heels and colleagues?
If you wear high heels at work and your colleagues don’t, this is certainly going to have a negative impact. Women in flat shoes will feel you’re empowered and sexy, and they’ll notice male colleagues noticing you. Just imagine a non-heeled secretary or receptionist making your life a nightmare. I’ve been there and it wasn’t a wise move to do.
I’ve been there too, she was an HR manager. But I was just wearing trainers.
The thing is that high heels rise with responsibility. It’s a path.
What do you think of non-heeled bosses?
There are many, and it’s okay. Women are still women with or without high heels. But I prefer to wear stilettos and be a pain in the ass!
What’s the maximum high heel height allowed in the workplace?
It’s all about your position in the hierarchy, and how long you can stand or walk.
Any advice on colours and styles?
Of course, it’s easier to tell what it’s okay than what it is not. Go for something classic and black, but avoid decolleté: they are like killers 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 at the disco or at some rave party!
Should you feel entitled to wear high heels if your (male) boss is smaller than you?
It depends on the 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 heels if you are short?
In this case, everyone will be more tolerant. Men actually think that women wear high heels to be taller… lol!
Can you wear high heels to a job interview?
Uh! If you’re going to a job interview, I recommend wearing mid heels – otherwise, you’ll just give them another reason not to hire you. Women managers would never hire a high-heeled candidate, and men would think you’re queuing to become their mistress, so just keep it simple: Armani-style black decolleté or open toes with 2,5 inches of delta – you subtract the platform measure from the heel – are interview-proof for a regular office job. On the other hand, if you work in the fashion industry, you’ll need some crazy killer cuissardes… but that’s another movie!
★ If you liked this interview, you might also enjoy some tips on how to take control of your career, how to style your hair for job interviews, how to pick the best colours for a job interview, what it’s like to get a seasonal colour analysis test
★ On the other hand, if all you want is being allowed to wear your trainers at work, you’ll love Story of my life and a pair of Nike