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Heels in the Classroom: Hit or Miss?

by Kelly Keenan | University of Notre Dame

F Posted in: Sports and Culture, Voices P Posted on: September 19, 2012
headshot kelly keenan Kelly Keenan

We walk a fine line when we wake up each morning and attempt to dress for class. We aim to put our best foot forward, to dress in a way that tells our professors we are eager to learn, lets our peers know we have some sense of personal style, and manages to not look as if we plan on running out to the nearest bar the minute class ends. What do heels say about us when we strut into class? Are we immediately labeled overdressed or club-ready?

It seems there are times during which heels in the classroom might be appropriate. Pre or post class job or internship interviews and certain types of presentations might qualify. But are stilettos really appropriate on a random Tuesday morning? My thoughts are probably not, and here is why:

1. Comfort

Though I certainly do not advocate the ultimate in comfortable clothes in the classroom (namely the evil sweatpants) I do acknowledge that a certain level of comfort is likely to be more conducive to effective learning. If you are thinking about the pain your shoes are inflicting rather than listening to your Chem lecture, chances are your fashion choices are distracting you from what is really important. It is also important to consider the stretches you will be walking between classes. Trudging from one end of campus to another in an extremely brief period can be a challenge whether you’re wearing running shoes or teetering on a pair of towering platforms.

2. Presentation

When worn with a suit, a pair of heels can look quite professional. When worn with a pair of skinny jeans or short skirts, they might make you appear a bit less job-worthy and a bit more party-ready. Recently, a peer informed me of a style she had tactfully dubbed “business club.” It took me a second, but I was soon able to picture the girls who walk into career fairs wearing bandage skirts and blazers. Exactly as it sounds, the look mixes elements of working woman style with looks somewhat more conducive to frat parties. When you’re working the heels, you probably want them to have a purpose. They can certainly be powerful, but think about the message you want to send before you slip into a pair.

3.  Style

I may be a biased party, because I have no balance and am at constant risk of falling on my face. Believe it or not, though, flats can be very powerful style statements. This season, it’s all about the flat. Smoking slippers, old-fashioned penny loafers, oxfords and ballet flats have designers reeling. As colder weather approaches, boots will become your best friend and a pair of flat riding boots or chunkier motorcycle boots make any outfit look sufficiently cooler. More comfortable and often more stylish, flats offer such a diversity of styles and can be paired with so many different looks. Grab a pair or two for class and soon enough you’ll find yourself pairing them with your Saturday night finery.

What are your thoughts? Heels in the classroom: hit or miss?

Kelly Keenan Kelly Keenan Kelly Keenan is a junior at the University of Notre Dame, where she is studying Marketing and English.

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