Personal musings. Views are my own.

Why do we wear dress shoes?

It’s pretty much a standard that men have to wear dress shoes in a work environment, right? Why is that? When did that standard get set, by who, and why? I’ve been wondering about that lately, cause recently it’s been the case that I ONLY wear dress shoes to work. Even some weddings I’ve gone to recently, I’ve worn a nice pair of sneakers—my bright red pumas… Lol. It looks tight though, and it’s way more comfortable to dance in than my dress shoes. With my clothes in general, I made a pact with myself that I’m not going to buy anymore clothes that I would only wear to work—I’m not going to spend more money that I work for merely to appease the corporate standards of my colleagues. Eff that, so I’ve only been buying clothes that I want to wear, and I’ve been discretionary with which of those clothes I’ll wear to work.

So my current pair of dress shoes: two years old, some fake synthetic leather material, rubber soles, and pretty damn uncomfortable. They’re getting worn to a point where I would normally start looking into buy a new pair. But why should I? I only where dress shoes to work, so why should I let my job force me to spend money on shit I wouldn’t normally want otherwise? So that’s where this question came up. Why DO I have to wear dress shoes to work? If I’m spending 9 hours a day there, why can’t I wear comfortable shoes? I started asking people at work and some friends, and of course, no one really has a good answer. “Business casual” is a set of rules that we just sort of accept, without asking why. “They make comfortable dress shoes, they’re just really expensive.” One of my colleagues said. So in order to be comfortable at work, I have to be able to afford to shell out a few hundred on a pair of dress shoes? If I don’t have that kind of money, then I have to accept wearing uncomfortable shoes to work, just so I can look like every other mutt in this place?

Everyone I’ve asked so far seems to think that it’s just merely a carry-over from an earlier time, that “they” set some standards back in the day, and we’ve just never had a desire or a need to change them. See the pictures to the left, interesting, eh? All white men (minus ONE), all dressed the exact same way.

streamline: v. To construct or design in a form that offers the least resistance to fluid flow.”

In the technical world, streamlining standard things that employees do every day is a way to make simple decisions for them, so they can spend their time and effort on more important, more meaningful things. Is “streamlining” our dress a way of making people more efficient at work? I have a hard time believing that, cause if people are going to stack themselves against each other based on their looks, they’re going to do it regardless of what you tell them to wear. Or if the effort was to make everyone look “equal,” like in a bureaucratically communist way, that’s gonna fail, too. cause the dude wearing custom-tailored suits versus me, who get’s a cheap suit from Syms, will still not be “equal,” in that commercial sense. So why? Why make everyone dress the same? And why make that standard an uncomfortable one?