Can Your Boss Force You to Wear High Heels?

Just what is a formal professional dress code? For men, it’s always easy: Dark suit, white or blue shirt, a tie, and dark shoes and socks. For women? Not so much. Can you wear pants? How short of a skirt is too short? Do you need a jacket? Is a nice cardigan the equivalent of a suit coat?

And let’s talk about shoes. Flats? Heels? Open-toed okay? Sandals? What about nylons? And are tights the same as nylons and what about bare legs?

Companies disagree on these things and one woman, Nicola Thorpe, found herself sent home from a London office of PwC for not wearing two to four-inch heels. Her job involved a lot of walking around the office and she, understandably, didn’t want to wear heels. Thorpe was a temp working directly for Portico, who had and enforced the rule. It wasn’t a PwC rule.

To keep reading, click here: Can Your Boss Force You to Wear High Heels?

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8 thoughts on “Can Your Boss Force You to Wear High Heels?

  1. Mention should also be made of the potential need for accommodations to dress codes due to disability. I am severely mobility-impaired, and walk — with varying difficulty — using a cane. It would be difficult to impossible for me to even walk if required to wear something other than sturdy, supportive, flat shoes. And, even if I could walk in heels, it would be unsafe for me to do so, because of impairments involving balance, muscle strength, etc., and the resulting danger of falling.

  2. After reading this story in all the versions, I get these impressions, first, this happened on her the first day of work and she complained/commented on how she didn’t own any high heels. Why didn’t she ask or note the way the other women were dressed at this place of work at interview.? Second– they have never shown the shoes she wore in to work as there are differences between dress shoes and casual shoes. I f she wanted comfort in shoes, they are available. Third, unless she was a model for a runway extremely high heels are not office material shoes. I throughly agree that dress shoes for women should be made more comfortable and wider for daily use. But all offices do have a dress code in place–office look. When in doubt, she could have asked, especially since this wasn’t a Silicon Valley office where casual attire reigns. This is falls very close to not wanting to dress for the office complaint especially on first day of work. But shoemakers for women do need to make more comfortable good looking shoes for dress wear for women/

    1. I disagree. There is no reason, other than perhaps on the fashion runway, to require women to wear high heels.

    2. No way could I wear high heels every day. Even danskos (practical, decent looking but with a heel) feed into some muscle imbalances that cause a lot of pain. I also wouldn’t notice when interviewing if other women were wearing heels, because I don’t care. Unless they were all wearing stilettos I suppose. Even if I didn’t notice I wouldn’t expect it to be policy, just those women’s sense of style.

  3. IMO it’s pretty straightforward. Female equivalent of a suit is a suit: trousers, shirt, suit jacket, black brogues/Derby/Oxford shoes.

    1. No! There can be gender differences, but it needs to be a consistent level. You can’t require women to wear dresses and heels while the men wear t-shirts and jeans.

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