Two totally different people: How do their needs for shoes differ?

Imagine, if you will, this man.

He’s 71 years old. He retired from his career as a construction worker 5 or so years ago. At his job, and for most of his life, he’s worn heavy work boots. These days, out of habit, he continues to wear heavy-soled boots most days. He’s worn them for years and they are comfortable and what he’s used to.  This man has never had a particular sense of his own style, at special occasions in previous years he’s worn whatever his wife told him to.

A total shift from this man is this professional woman running her own business at 23 – an internet-focused lifestyle blog. She’s got a huge following on various social media platforms, and works hard to maintain it. A large part of her brand is herself, and her style. She’s motivated by style, and loves putting together outfits for herself and sharing them on Instagram every morning.

Below you’ll find a table of sorts comparing their attitudes toward fashion generally, and shoes in particular.

Factor Young woman Old man
Gender Female – she’s expected by society at large to be well put together and present a beautiful and desirable face to the world. This is one of the main reasons that she gained her instagram following, which led her to where she is today. Her shoes and her clothes are a reflection on her, sometimes because a particular brand has paid her to feature their shoes, and sometimes just because she loves them!  Male- in the 1950’s, when this man grew up,  men were expected to be polished and well presented, but as time has gone on, caring about how you look as a man has become less important. This man, being a laborer for most of his life, has just worn uniforms at work and comfortable clothes and shoes on the weekend. When he worked, we wore steel toe caps, which he still wears most of the time out of habit.
Age group  23 – Growing up with access to the internet, this girl has been able to develop her style with reference to other people’s style – look up photos and work out what she likes from there. Magazines in full colour have been part of her life since she was a child, and this helped to foster her interest in fashion.  71 – born just after the end of WWII, he’s a part of the baby boomer generation, and as such, he embodies much of that generation’s values – being taught by his family the value of items that they didn’t have access to during the war, so he’s always worn his shoes and clothes until they have totally worn out. His wife, would often mend them to stretch them even further.
Nationality  Australian  Australian
Religious affiliation Fashion is her religion! She’s constantly researching and poring over the latest trends  Raised Catholic, lapsed for a while after his children left home, getting back in touch with it in the face of his own mortality. This hasn’t affected his fashion choices beyond his opinions on modesty – he’s always worn long pants and covered shoes, as soon as he wasn’t a small child.
Career  This woman’s career is based around her style, what she wears, when she wears it. She’s expected to go to fancy events every other week if not more, and people (and the media) care what she wears. Retired now, but he was a laborer. This forced him to mostly wear safety boots with steel caps, and uniform. Nowadays he wears comfortable clothes around the house, and has one pair of dress shoes and a suit that he wears for fancy occasions.
Social, economic and marital status She’s made a lot of money from her online presence, and shoes and clothes are also often gifted to her by brands to be featured. She began from an upper-middle class background, and hasn’t ever really experienced not being able to make ends meet. She’s had a serious boyfriend for a few years, but their finances are still totally separate.  Married for 50 years. His wife’s sensibilities have influenced his fashion choices since he was a young man. He never particularly had an interest, and so always wears what she tells him to.
Personal achievement She considers her online brand to be her greatest personal achievement.  He’s proud of his family, and that he’s earned enough money to support them. This is largely because he and his wife have been thrifty and spent their money on things more important to them than clothing and shoes.
Loyalties She has some brands that she works with often, promoting their products. This is a large part of her income stream, and as such, she tends to wear these items even when she’s not doing a particular promotion.  Has the same brands of clothing that he’s bought his whole life, and often knows the proprietors of the relevant stores, and has for years. He tends to be a creature of habit and buy from the same places when he buys new items.
Beliefs She believes that her clothes, shoes, and accessories reflect her personality to the world. She wants to present herself as cool, calm and collected, her style appearing effortless, even though she spends most of her time curating her wardrobe and staying ahead of the trends. His religious upbringing has affected the way he views clothes and shoes, which is that they are essentially functional and shouldn’t be showy or over the top in any way. He dresses simply and always has.
Family connections She loves to wear things that make her boyfriend happy. He loves her in sky high heels, and as such she has a wardrobe full of them.  His wife and daughter have tried more than once over the years to get him to wear fashionable clothes, or to take an interest. He cycles the clothes into his regular wardrobe and wears them, but only to make his girls happy. Family is most important to him.

images from shutterstock (all rights reserved by shutterstock, hence the watermarks)

woman legs red high heel shoes , n.d, Shutterstock, photograph, accessed  April 2017,<https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/woman-legs-red-high-heel-shoes-145396549?src=8JU8thApaL6Ms8cwSidIFQ-1-29&gt;

A well worn pair of classic Australian work boots, n.d, Shutterstock, photograph, accessed April 2017,<https://www.shutterstock.com/image-photo/well-worn-pair-classic-australian-work-67580515?src=wxRSA8Gu3OJ5E-ihrn-SGw-1-61&gt;

One thought on “Two totally different people: How do their needs for shoes differ?

  1. Interesting comparisons made here. Perhaps we imagine ourselves to be making unique choices regarding fashion and footwear but this comparison reminds us just how many of our choices are influenced by context, generational influences and profession.

    Liked by 1 person

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