Wearing high heels at work depends on company atmosphere

Kevin Valdez | The Ticker

Kevin Valdez | The Ticker

Dear Lily,

Is it wrong if I wear three-inch or four-inch stilettos to an interview or a business setting even though I am dressed appropriately? I know most people would think high heels are for the club but can there be an exception where I can pull off wearing high heels to an interview without being frowned upon?

-Zuzanna Zurek


Daphnelly Delacruz | The Ticker

Daphnelly Delacruz | The Ticker

Dear Zuzanna,

First of all, the most important thing is whether or not you’re comfortable walking in four-inch stilettos.

Can you walk in them without wobbling or twisting your ankle? If so, you’re one step closer to being able to wear them all day.

The next step is deciding if they can still look professional.

Is the outfit itself minus the shoes mature and not inappropriate? Is the skirt or dress, if you’re wearing one — already too short without heels?

Heels make any hemline look a lot shorter, so keep that in mind when picking shoes.

Secondly, do the heels appear professional other than their height? Are they overly strappy or casual?

If you want to wear super high heels but still want to maintain the professional vibe, I would suggest avoiding anything open-toed because they’ll make the outfit too casual. Closed-toed are best if you’re worried about your professionalism.

The good news is that heels higher than two and a half inches can usually be worn to work or an interview! Most are not all strictly for the clubs, though some still are. 

For example, the 4-inch platform heels should be kept for the club only. The platform adds a level of sexiness and will most likely not go over well with your boss or interviewer.

Closed-toed four-inch heels that are not too flashy can be acceptable. No rhinestones, no glitter, and no platforms.

As I mentioned before, it really does depend on the outfit as well. If you are wearing dress pants and a blazer, four-inch heels will not make you look unprofessional, so it just depends if they go with the outfit.

I’d say that most of the time with pants, four-inch heels are fine for your outfit.

However, it gets tricky once we get into skirt and dress territory. Like I said, high heels will give the illusion of a shorter hemline, so be careful.

If your dress is already five or so inches above the knee, putting on high heels will make it look super short, and thus no longer professional.

If you’re wearing a maxi dress or a midi dress — maxi goes to the ankles and midi goes to the mid-calf — four-inch heels will not make your hemline look significantly shorter because it is already quite long, so you’re safe.

It also depends on whether the company you work at or are interviewing for is a business formal or a business casual company.

Business formal companies tend to be stricter with what is acceptable to wear and sometimes four-inch heels do not fit the dress code.

 Many business casual companies are, as the name suggests, more-lax with their dress codes so you’re better off keeping the super high heels for those kinds of companies.

And if you’re just not sure, especially for an interview, there is nothing wrong with playing it safe and wearing lower heels.

 Lower heels don’t make an outfit any less professional, so don’t worry and wear what makes you feel confident, mature and comfortable.