How To Judge Someone: Look At Their Shoes:

What are you wearing on your feet at the moment? Perhaps slippers or just socks if you’re relaxing at home, trainers if you’re going outside to walk or jog and something rather more formal if you’re on your way to work. According to a report issued by researchers at the University of Kansas – quoted by Peter Harris, a contributor to – your choice of footwear provides not only an indication of your current lifestyle and employment status but also reveals essential details about your personality.

The 63 students involved in the survey were required to look at hundreds of pairs of shoes and guess the age, gender and social status of the people to whom they belonged. That part was apparently quite easy. What was more surprising, pointed out Harris, was that they were also able to determine 90% of the owners’ characteristics. Among their conclusions: The most agreeable people like to wear practical and functional shoes, but ankle boots are suggestive of a slightly aggressive nature; if the shoes are not new but have been well cared for, then that’s a sign of a conscientious person.

Activists on the left of the political spectrum may not be too pleased to be informed that their shoes tend to be “shabbier and less expensive” than those of their more conservative rivals. The survey furthermore associates “plain and boring shoes” with “aloof and repressive” individuals and “showy and brightly coloured ones” with extroverts. As the Daily Mail columnist, Eddie Wrenn, has noted, in the opinion of the researchers, “shoes convey a thin but useful slice of information about the wearer. They serve a practical purpose but also offer non-verbal cues with symbolic messages. People pay attention to the shoes that they and others wear”.

Bernhard Roetzel, the German author of “Gentleman: A Timeless Guide To Fashion”, has however taken the footwear debate into more controversial territory. His view (states is that “in more sartorially inclined cultures, brown shoes are not appropriate for many occasions, including work (even on Fridays)”. This attitude was echoed during a recent speech at a conference at the Hilton’s Tower Bridge London hotel, reported by the Daily Mail correspondent Isabella Nikolic on 8th April and tweeted by the legal affairs journalist Catherine Baksi, who was present at the event: An unnamed city lawyer advised delegates that, although wearing brown shoes with a blue suit “might be fine for footballers”, it would be considered “unsuitable dresswear” for anyone hoping to obtain professional employment in the City of London.

Nikolic highlighted the fact that this was reminiscent of the results of a Social Mobility Commission (SMC) investigation carried out in 2016, namely that “investment banks are less likely to hire men who wear brown shoes to a job interview”, that managers place as much importance on a person’s speech, accent, dress and behaviour as on their skills and qualifications and that often only those applicants who fit the “traditional image” are selected.

One unsuccessful candidate was told after his interview that, although he was “clearly quite sharp”, he wasn’t right for the bank because he wasn’t “polished enough”, the tie he was wearing was too “loud” and so was inappropriate for the suit he had on. The problem for bright working class university graduates, in the assessment of the Evening Standard writer Hatty Collier, is that – unlike their better-off counterparts who attended Oxford, Cambridge or the London School of Economics – they are unfamiliar with such “opaque” dress codes. The SMC did, though, acknowledge that the banks consider these are necessary in order to “reassure their clients about the quality of the service they will receive”.

So exactly what type of shoes should you wear to an interview? If you choose the wrong ones, declares Irene A Blake on, you’ll completely ruin your chances of getting the job. They should coordinate in colour and style with your clothing. For men, Blake recommends leather lace-ups or slip-ons. For women, “flats or low-heel pumps with sturdy wide heels, in black, white or a colour that combines with your outfit”. New shoes and those with extremely high heels should be avoided as “they can be uncomfortable, make you walk oddly or even fall”.

Blake emphasises that the condition of your shoes is as important as the type you select. Rather obviously, “If the tops, toe-caps or heels appear noticeably worn, choose a different pair or ask a cobbler to repair them”. If they only need mild cleaning, you should remove dirt, dust or scuff marks, use a shoe repair kit to cover any scratches, then shine or brush the tops. If they feel loose, install inserts or wear thicker socks. If the outsoles feel slippery, rough them up with coarse sandpaper. Furthermore:

Your socks or stockings should be of a neutral colour that matches your shoes and should contain an element of elastic that will prevent them from slipping around when you move”.

Filed under: Society | Posted on April 23rd, 2019 by Colin D Gordon

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