By Sylvia Obell
Every convention it is expected for NABJ members to bring their freshly made business cards, newly updated resumes, and their very best clips. One item that isn’t required, but appears to be just as strongly suggested, is a stylish pair of shoes.
One should note that there is a difference between shoes, and stylish shoes. A stylish shoe will turn heads as you walk through the hotel lobby. They are unique in some way whether it’s because of their color, texture, or cut. Over the past two days, I’ve staked out the convention in search of such shoes, and I’m happy to report quite a few of NABJ’s members’ footwear fit the bill.
Many of NABJ’s female members are very attentive to their footwear. Take Silva Harapetian of WFOR- TV in Miami, who loved her Nine West sling backs so much that she bought them in four different colors.
Rebecca Roussell of Nielsen said her heel has to be at least four inches tall. Amanda Fitzpatrick, a freelance writer in Dallas, said, “I like flash, a good heel, and good color.” Her very high, cherry red Joey heels caught my attention a mile away.
Elka Battle knows a thing or two about eye-catching shoes as well. I found the Philadelphia Multicultural Affairs Congress director of communications sporting white and blue stripped Michael Kors on the career fair floor.
Jade Hindmon of Fox Carolina noted the importance of durability. “A solid sole is important,” said Hindmon. One often overlooked aspect of a stylish shoe is texture. That’s exactly what made Jummy Olabanji white pumps stand out.
Many men are just as passionate about a good shoe as women. Andre Whitehead of The CW said it’s all about a conservative style of flair. His two-toned Bruce Neckridge gators managed to be eye-catching but not flashy.
NABJ’s Scott Berry also managed to be stylish yet professional with his light brown ALDO shoes.
The younger generations of NABJ men are also into their professional footwear. Montezz Allen says he likes his shoes to be unique. The Oakland University graduate was sporting gators when I walked by him in the hotel lobby.
My stylish group also shared some tips for those attempting to navigate the convention in a great pair of shoes. All of the women agree that comfort is important. However, most of them have a deep love for high-heeled shoes. This is a struggle most women have, especially at a convention where you can find yourself walking up and down long convention center hallways.
Most of them solve this problem by carrying a spare pair of flats with them at all times. “You don’t want to be that woman duck walking around the career fair because your feet hurt,” said Fitzpatrick.
Hindmon and Olabanji both like to wear platform heels in order to get the height they’re looking for and comfort. Daralene Jones advises women to curb their appetite for a high heel and wear a sensible length while at the convention. “These shoes are low for me, but I know I’ll be able to walk around for a while in them,” she said.
She also says women should bring shoes that they know will work with multiple outfits in order to pack efficiently. Tandra LeMay also advised that strappy heels are best in this New Orleans heat.
Roussell’s tip is for her fellow tall women, “Don’t be afraid to wear high heels too! I stand at 5’11 barefoot and my heels are all four inches and up,” she said.
Overall it’s about finding a unique, but comfortable, pair of shoes. Whether they’re bold, fire engine red stilettos, or a classic pair of three-inch heels, anyone can find the right stylish pair of shoes for them.
When you do, be sure to bring them to the next NABJ convention. I’ll be looking!