Who or what is said by the shoes you wear.

Estefania Medina

Take a look down at your feet. What do you see? Do you have shoes on or not? If so, why are you wearing those certain shoes at this moment? Often times as being part of the 21st century in the United States, we are a part of a fast-living, busy society. Rarely do we have time to stop and ask thought provoking questions. Take for instance when we need a new pair of shoes. We want to find a pair of shoes that meet our criteria which almost every time we have categories that we care about such as comfort, price, brand, style, color, quality, as well as what occasion they are for. However, very few times we stop and ask what do I want my shoes to say about me, or what perception will someone who sees me walking in these shoes have of me. Don’t worry if you’ve never really stop and ask such questions. Back in the 1600’s BC no one else stopped and wondered these specific questions when they were in the process of creating some form of shoes. As one fun fact that not many people know is that “late as 1850 most shoes were made on absolutely straight lasts, there being no difference between the right and the left shoe” (Bells), so in other words our ancestors had either two left feet of two right feet. There was no clear distinction to say there is a right or wrong.

Photo by _lola_fashion_

There is popular phrase from Bette Midler [although many people believe it was said by Marilyn Monroe] — that often times is overly quoted by many females of all different age ranges. The quote reads as follow-

“give a girl the right shoes and she will conquer the world” (Garis),

although many times this quote is aim for girls to show their love and appreciation for a certain type of shoes which in this case is the high heel. It also commonly used as a form feminism by showing that a girl too can be powerful and successful while emphasizing their identity of who they are; as they are a person who recognizes itself as a girl and expresses that recognition by their shoes. Although there is one key concept that needs to be brought up that is the beginning of time the high heel was not specifically invented for the female gender as back the in the early years of the 10th century, The high heels was precisely more common among men throughout many horseback-riding cultures. Which the concept was then later accepted by the European culture and the wear of high heels became associated with the upper class, as a sign of wealth (Invisible).

Additionally, in today’s society not only female who were born and assent to be female wear high heels. In the 21st century it has become more socially acceptable to see men who identify themselves as females to wear high heels out in public. One of Castile’s main concept throughout her book is to help her readers understand the large significance that the driver’s license has when regarding our identity of who we are as an individual, but as well as who we are perceived to be based on what it is written in our driver’s license. In the same aspect shoes say a lot about who we want to be perceive as by others in comparison of who we really are as a person.

“As a fashion object and symbol, the high-heeled shoe is weighted with meaning” (Invisible).

The high heel holds the power to make a clear strong statement without the need to say any words. When a person, whether it is a male or females wears any type of shoe that has some sort of high heel it transforms them. When wearing a high heel your calves are more define, your posture is stir, your head is high, and your shoulders are brought back so that you have a firm deportment. Along with having a well-founded pose can say a lot of who we are as a person. For example, when you are out in the street and you see a man dress in a suit and tie with dress up shoes and shoulders back, head held high and a steady stance you can get a visible sense of who he is and the way that he wants to be perceived. It is believed by many people that the first impression is always the most important one.

“The Devil Wears Prada” is a movie of a girl who wants to become a newspaper writer, but to do so she becomes an assistant for editor-in-chief high fashion magazine. During her time there she learns how fashion and the right set of shoes are the most influential way to make a clear cut statement of who you are and how you see yourself, as well as how you want others to see you. In the movie there is a scene in where the demanding editor-in-chief comes back to work and one of the workers hears the news she changes from her flat in to her high heels. As this scene shows how the importance of what you wear can say a lot about someone, whether it is your clothes or more important in this case your shoes. Have an outsized control of how you want to be perceived versus how you are perceived by others, although this perceptions may not necessarily be the ones that you are trying to give (Frankel).

Photo by tite_mayon

Continuingly, just like Castile asserts that just by looking at someone else’s driver’s license there is a lot that can be said about that specific person. Castile mention in chapter 3 title “Design” of her book Driver’s License some of the categories such as: name, last name, address, height, eye color, hair color, signature, sex etc. that are listed in everyone’s driver’s license who lives in the United States (Castile). As this categories that are reported in our driver’s license say what we are as a person but do not mention anything of who we are as a person. We cannot decide what categories we want to have printed on our license to help us indicate who we are as an individual. In the same manner these clear-cut categories limit our self-identification and give room for judgement and permission for other people to perceive us a certain way based on what they see on our driver’s license. Moreover to that coequal extend, the same leeway to critique us based on what we wear (in this case our shoes) is given to a stranger when they see us and pay attention to what type of shoes we are wearing.

Concluding another piece that greatly contributes to the idea that it is often times believe by people that the way you present yourself says a lot about you is chapter 5 title “Identity” of Castile’s book Driver’s license. Castile makes a remarkable comparison when she explains an art piece created by Rene Magritte title “Ceci c’est ne pas une pipe” in which Castile goes more in depth into explaining why the painting of a pipe is not a pipe but a painting (Castile). Likewise, Castile addresses the fact that just like Magritte’s painting the driver’s license is not a person but it is a driver’s license, more specifically it is an identification document, a piece of paper that says what we are not who we are. Hence, next time you need a new pair of shoes remember that something as simple as a pair of shoes can give someone an impression of what you are as opposed to who you are. So remember to ask yourself who am I as person, and what will people think I am if they see me wearing these shoe. Will I come off as who I am or as what they think I am?


Bells, Mary. The History of Shoes. n.d. Web. 14 April 2015. <http://inventors.about.com/od/sstartinventions/a/Shoes.htm>.

Castile, Meredith. Driver’s License. New York: Bloomsburry Academic, 2015. Book.

Garis, Mary Grace. Marilyn Monroe’s Best Quotes Wasn’t By Marilyn Monroe. 1 June 2014. Web. 12 April 2015. <www.elle.com/culture/celebreties/a15424marilyn-monroe-misquotas>.

Invisible, 99%. The Slate. 19 June 2014. Web. 17 May 2015. <http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_eye/2014/06/19/_99_invisible_roman_mars_the_gender_bending_history_of_the_high_heel.html>.

The Devil Wears Prada. Dir. David Frankel. Perf. Anne Hathaway. 2006. Film.