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post-pandemic

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It’s Friday night and I am getting ready to go out out after work. Somewhere fancier than where we usually go – remarkably fancier as it goes – and so inevitably, out come the heels. 

The only problem: It has been close to two years, with lockdowns and closures, since I last gave my heels an outing. Nonetheless, I want to dress up, for the first time in a long time; to feel good, to feel confident – and I must be honest, I do.

What is it about heels?

Heels have been long desired and recognised as a symbol of power, style and strength despite the medical warnings of long term use. They communicate authority and superiority. Those who choose to wear heeled footwear (of any kind) do so for the fashion, the look and the feeling it manifests; not to mention to make that ultimate impression. Studies have revealed the unnatural body shape transformation caused by the wearing of heels not only increases judgements of female attractiveness but also increases the woman’s selection of mates. The benefits definitely seem to outweigh the risks. Here however I ask, could the wearing of heels influence perceptions of intelligence? 

In other words, do women who wear heels embody a feeling of authority which in turn affects the self-perception of their intellect?

Let’s think about this

This conversation was sparked from an article published in 2013 by totalbeauty in which they discussed as a result of wearing heels, women were more likely to make more balanced economic decisions when shopping – could this be true?

The concept of balance seems here to be key. By focusing on the ability to stand tall and steady, could this really focus the mind and perhaps explain why more level-headed decisions are made when shopping?

Studies investigating links between the aesthetic of wearing heels and the science of intellect (or perception of) are few; yet research investigating the importance of fashion and Enclothed Cognition emphasise its ability to increase feelings of self-confidence – and high heels undoubtedly tie into this.

It is the blend of self-assurance combined with self-enhancement and poise from wearing such footwear that provides reason for why, when spending with a budget in mind, women may be more likely to hold true to that financial promise. Does this ring true with you?

Uh oh… and here comes Covid-19

Now however, let’s flip this conversation on its side. As the world felt the effects of the global pandemic in 2020, offices and public places closed and working from home became the norm, heels became redundant. They sat unworn and unneeded in our wardrobes for over a year.

Then, as we felt restrictions begin to lift, for many like myself on that fateful Friday night, the inevitable day came where it was the time to sport those heels once again. Fashion trends today reflect this in their mixing of smart and casual collections easing us back to normality. Flats are having their moment in the form of slippers, pumps, and sandals for the summer, worn with loose flowing dresses and flattering wide leg trousers.  Thus, still embracing the cosy and comfy, whilst moving away from our sweatshirts and leggings we saw the pandemic play out in for over a year – although we hate to admit it.

Therefore, if heels do increase feelings of intelligence, boost the wearer’s self-confidence and self-esteem, should we give up on them completely? Whilst it has been proven that heels boost us if the past year has taught us anything its that we can still be productive and dynamic even in our comfiest pyjamas and fluffiest slippers. While heels may provide confidence for women maybe we shouldn’t be reliant on them to display a perception of our intelligence.

Come on ladies, whilst we can embrace them as a fashion tool, true intelligence should not be measured by the height of your heels.

I was delighted to be featured in Forbes again discussing my work with Afterpay in understanding how the pandemic has forever impacted workwear.

For many people, sky high heels and underwire bras are relics of a long forgotten, less enlightened time. Casualisation of dress codes has been occurring for some time and now that we’ve all had a taste of what it’s like to look good and feel great while working, we simply can’t let that go. 

The pandemic has sped up the casualisation of office dress codes that has been occurring for the last few years. After more than a year of working from home, what we wear day-to-day for work has made a more significant shift with many people foregoing traditional workwear and opting for loungewear and a waist-up approach to dressing. 
We all have a dynamic relationship with clothing that impacts the three different ways we view ourselves; the person we want to be, the person we hope to be and the person we fear to be. 
Studies have also shown that comfortable clothing aids cognition making it easier for people to concentrate and focus on their work. So, it’s understandable why people will be slow to let go of their new comfortable workwear pieces. 

Click here to find the full article.

I spoke with RTE to discuss the shift in what we are wearing post pandemic, most of us are finally able to take a more creative approach by dressing up!

“Over a year spent in loungewear can cause some to experience ‘loungewear fatigue’ due to the way we’re hardwired to be attracted to novelty hence the embracing of bold styles.”
“Similarly, studies have shown that outlandish dressing has a type of tension release dimension because it can act as a form of escapism which will appeal to many after the tumultuous nature of the last 18 months.”

You can find the article here.

I was so delighted to speak with Katie Attardo for Marie Claire about how we are approaching fashion after the pandemic. Including the many shifts in how and what we are choosing to shop, from trends to comfort dressing.

“Clothing can be used to mitigate our moods, to evoke nostalgia, to ground us in our political and religious beliefs and so much more, all of which involve copious mental processes located in various parts of the brain.”

“The pandemic has also shifted the way trends are formed from trickle down to trickle up. Rather than being largely dictated by fashion seasons, consumers are looking closer to home and on their social media feeds as a source for inspiration. By engaging in mindful shopping practices consumers can ensure that they are buying what they truly value and avoid the trappings of retail therapy and instant gratification both on and offline.”

“Comfort has remained an important fixture in our wardrobe and that’s something many will find hard to relinquish anytime soon. Workwear will be more functional than before with elevated loungewear pieces taking centre stage.” 

Please read the article here.