My boss tells me heels are good for business. I am not sure how to react.

Women are no longer forced to wear heels to work. Or wear makeup and skirts for that matter. Jane Harper advises on what to do when your boss tells you to wear heels to work.

This came up during a conversation I had last week with my boss, and I was wondering what you’d have to say.

For background: I work for a highly-organized boss who is quite particular about how things should be done. Let’s just say that he has to have a say on every matter.

Last week while discussing why clients take longer than usual to respond he pointed out that presentation is equally important during meetings. I was expecting to be congratulated on my efforts, however, he threw a curveball when he said and I quote: “If you want to be taken seriously and you want to be considered for a partner position, you need to wear heels. You look like a teenager, and you need to start wearing heels if you want to be treated like a grown woman here.”

I remember my jaw dropping, and honestly, I was taken aback by his choice of words. I am short, but I definitely don’t look like a teenager. Not only did my boss shame me on my choice of dressing, but he also associated my performance with it.

Normally, I wear paper bag trousers and turtlenecks to work. In summer, I switch to not too quirky looking dresses. I’ve always been loyal to my flats and moccasins. I don’t see why it’s so important to wear heels at work.

I have been venting to my friends as a means of dealing with it. I want to wear what I’m comfortable in, and I don’t see myself wearing 4-inch heels for eight hours a day. I don’t want to compromise either. I’d like to know what’s your opinion and if I am wrong to stay persistent on this matter.


It’s silly to suggest that putting on heels would help you be more successful at work.

It’s unacceptable that what to wear at work is still an issue in 2018. Tons of women choose not to work heels and are quite successful in their jobs. It’s silly to suggest that putting on heels would help you close more clients swiftly. Your performance triumphs how you look. Times are changing now. Think: Mark Zuckerberg in a grey hoodie.

Your boss needs to reassess what part of workplace dress codes are acceptable in this day and age. And meanwhile, you might point out to him that he is enforcing a sexist double standard of expecting women to wear heels to work.

Q&A with Jane: The brutal and straightforward answers to HR-related queries and concerns. Send in your queries with the subject line ‘Ask JANE HARPER’ at

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.