You Can Find Success at Work While Wearing Comfortable Shoes

A woman’s talent isn’t her appearance, but her ability to contribute and be a leader. Sure, unfair standards exist, but women should not feel that they have to subject themselves to any standard of beauty. We feel most confident when we are dressed in something we like and can instead focus on building trust with our colleagues and teams. You can see this in the recent decision by the Miss America pageant to get rid of the swimsuit portion of the competition. Things are changing for the better.

But it’s important to note that in some leadership roles, appearances matter—for both men and women. This is often called dressing for success, but I think of it as dressing for the job I want to have. Look at the leaders you aspire to be and what they wear to work—it will give you a good point of reference. This is also a good time to take inventory. If the environment you’re in focuses on appearances too much, then maybe it’s not the best place for you.

In the past, I was an executive coach working with emerging leaders, many of whom happened to be women. I would always remind them of the importance of knowing how to A.D.A.P.T.: Awareness of self and others; Determining what matters most; Acknowledging reality; Planning for accountability; and Trusting yourself and others. With A.D.A.P.T. as a resource, all women can find success at work, whether wearing flats or not. We should be affirmed that we are women, the way we are.

So yes, absolutely, a woman wearing flats can find success at work.