Piers says he likes women who wear heels at work, so I tried it for a week

All I want is approval from men like him

This week, the debate about workplace dress codes for women reared its head again – specifically, the compulsory enforcement of heels.

Of course, Piers Morgan – expert and oracle in how women ought to live their lives – has weighed in, perpetuating the argument that heels make women look “more professional”.

I tried wearing heels for a week to see if – like he says – I seemed more professional, or if I became a joyless, pained, cranky and unproductive bitch.

Wednesday

I went into this with a positive attitude. Being in a workplace where our footwear isn’t dictated by our senior management, it’s unusual I would wear a pair of heels in the daytime.

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Shortly after leaving my house I realised I should have accounted for my slower walking speed and left earlier. I worried I would be late as I picked my way across the cobbled tunnel on my way to the train station.

I was incredibly aware of my pale, pale ankles. I’m sure the sight of my unkept ankles would horrify Piers.

Throughout the day, I was overtaken again and again. Tired and not concentrating, I missed my stop on the train home and ended up in Putney. Fucking Putney.

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Me in Putney

It took me over an hour and 45 minutes to get home. I didn’t feel professional or empowered.

Thursday

My heels today were only marginally higher than those I’d worn the previous day, but twice as hard to walk in.

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I fake tanned my feet the previous evening – because of course, cosmetic perfection is paramount to a successful career.

I had to stand on the Overground, which made me angry for the seventh time since I started, by my count. It has been two days.

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No one took pity on me

At lunch time I went to Tesco and a builder shouted “g’wan girl” from his van, blowing me a kiss. Must of been commending me on how professional he felt I looked.

Blowing me a kiss

Blowing me a kiss

After lunch, I took my shoes off. It was only day two, but my feet had been crooked out of shape for over eight hours and, quite frankly, I’d had enough. Hardly professional and not a situation I would have found myself in had I worn flat shoes to work.

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As I wobbled to a restaurant after work, I was approached by a man who grabbed me on a dark street and said “ah baby, you look beautiful”. Instead of a glare and a firm “no”, I shook my head, lowered my gaze and said: “no, thank you, please don’t”. I shrugged him off and picked up my pace.

I felt more intimidated than I normally would have, because I simply couldn’t have run away if I needed to. It felt like he spotted that I was wearing heels and took them as a free pass to touch me.

Me looking "beautiful"

Me looking “beautiful”

I got to the restaurant and my friend said he couldn’t work out what was different – but that I looked better than normal (thanks, Benny). Indeed, I couldn’t have felt less sexy – but he said that girls automatically look “hotter” in heels. No mention of profesionalism.

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Friday

I was hungover. Obviously, I did not want to voluntarily stuff my feet into exquisite torture contraptions. My feet hurt from the extended wear the previous evening and the heels were added insult to injury.

I painted my toenails and fake tanned my feet, so I was prepped and ready for a day of heel wearing. I must admit I did feel quite prim and proper. Piers would be so proud.

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I met friends for a drink that night. I don’t think they thought I seemed any more advanced in my career because of my newfound footwear. One of the other girls said my legs looked slim, but to be honest I don’t think the rest of them noticed.

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I was left thinking it wasn’t worth the pain.

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Monday

I slept through my alarm, which is not ideal when your walking speed is halved by your shoes. As I did that stupid heel-run for the train, a girl on crutches overtook me.

I hoped that wearing heels would make me feel powerful and ambitious: instead, I found I was making lazy choices. I got the bus instead of doing the 12-minute walk to the station after work. I was less inclined to get up and make a tea or coffee.

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My friend brought me tea

I dreaded meetings. Firstly, the thought of having to endure the pain walking anywhere, but also clip-clopping around and everyone turning to look when I enter a room.

That evening I passed on drinks because I wanted to go home, pry my high heels from my feet and lie down.

Tuesday

I put on a brave face but my joy was largely due to being at the end of this painful venture.

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I worked a little into my lunch break and by the time I left to grab lunch, everyone had already gone. I had to hobble to Tesco alone, and felt stupid for the hundredth time that week, hoping I wouldn’t bump into anyone.

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I had to ask a stranger to take this picture. It was embarrassing

I admire girls who wear heels all the time, and think choosing to wear them is a perfectly understandable decision. But dictating that employees must cause themselves discomfort – both against their will and for little gain – is totalitarian.

I did note an increase in the amount of unsolicited attention I got, and that didn’t make me feel more attractive. All it took was a pair of heels for them to deem me “sexy” and feel that it’s okay to shout at, or touch me.

I don’t feel any of my colleagues thought any more of me this week and it didn’t empower me in the way I’d hoped or expected. If anything I felt less productive and slow. To force women to wear heels, and suggest that such a banal adjustment could enhance their workplace performance, is quite frankly bizarre.

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