A Week at a Customer’s Headquarters in Heels

I work for a company that provides software development services to some of Germany’s largest car manufacturers. I am currently working on a project for one of the big names and, as part of our job, my teammates and I have to travel to their headquarters once a quarter for a week of meetings.

While I’ve been doing this for a while now, this was the first time I was brave enough to do it in heels. As a representative of my company at one of their largest customers, I have generally been very conservative in my choice of dress.

Skirts are entirely off the table for men which means I have had to wear nice pants and an Oxford shirt with a blazer. As you would expect, my female colleagues don’t have nearly as many restrictions.

However, this past week, the rebel in me partially won the upper hand. Instead of traditional leather business shoes, I decided to wear a pair of heeled boots. I figured that while skirts might be too much of an assault on the conservative business senses, heeled boots would be subtle enough for me to get away with. And I did!

No one complained and one of my female teammates even complimented me. She liked the boots a lot and said they fit my style very well. She then wanted to know what brand they were and where I got them which is a very similar reaction I got from another female coworker the first time time I wore them to the office.

For those who are interested, the brand is Even & Odd and I got them from zalando.de.

The difference this time was that I didn’t just wear them to my company’s office, but rather to the customer’s office. That made quite a difference for a few reasons. Given the context, the stakes were a bit higher which meant I was a little bit more nervous. It turns out I didn’t need to be, but I still was, especially at the beginning.

Another reason was the amount of walking required. I love walking in heels, but as any woman can tell you, it does make a difference as to whether you are just wearing them around the house, taking a quick trip to the grocery store, or if you wear them all day long and have to walk through large office buildings, to lunch and back, etc.

Since I was at the customer’s headquarters, it was the latter that I experienced. My feet never hurt since they are comfortable and not that high, but I did notice my legs getting tired more quickly since heeled shoes change your gait.

That said, however, I don’t regret anything. I enjoy wearing gender-non-conforming clothes, even if business norms prevent me from wearing exactly what I would like to every time (i.e. skirts).

Wearing heels at the customer’s headquarters was a very psychologically positive experience for me. It still allowed me to express my more feminine side to an extent, break stuffy old dress codes, and defy expectations — all of which are things I love doing.

Our meeting next quarter is in the summer which means I won’t wear boots, but I will certainly still try to find a way to defy gender norms, even if only in a subtle manner.

Have you ever had a similar experience where you subtly defined the norm? Have you ever defied the conservative business dress code to break gender norms? Let me know in the comments below!

My Heeled Boots at the Office
The Heeled Boots I Wore
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About the Author

In many ways, Alex is a typical man who just so happens to enjoy wearing skirts and high heels. He is married to a wonderful, supportive wife and has a young son. His hobbies include reading, programming, metal music, playing instruments, video games, cars, hiking and a number of other smaller things.

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