BBH's chief strategy officer smashes pitches with a little help from her armoury of shoes

Alison Hoad's secret work weapon is her "shoedrobe".

Alison Hoad: the chief strategy officer at Bartle Bogle Hegarty
Alison Hoad: the chief strategy officer at Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Marilyn Monroe once said "Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world" – and our cultural myths, from Cinderella to Sex and the City, bear witness to this truth.

Shoes certainly help me conquer my world daily. Sure, sometimes that means the standard cliché of killer heels. I remember pitching to the owner of a French luxury fashion house, in the swankiest of offices, in my (only) pair of Manolos and they definitely made me walk taller in every way that day.

But just as Cinderella isn’t the only fairytale to fetishise shoes, so heels aren’t the only shoes to serve as weapons in my working armoury. Like the Marquis de Carabas, my apparently "trademark" knee-high boots never fail to put a stride in my step during winter.

So far, so Devil Wears Prada. But what about those days when I don’t want to conquer the world but do need to nail a brief? I find there’s nothing more scholarly to think in than a pair of proper old-school brogues (or, come summer, old-school Birkenstocks).

And for those days when we’re a week out from a big pitch and it’s seemingly going to hell in a handbasket, there is something supergrounding about donning your favourite trainers. Shoes that don’t just say "Just do it", they shout "Yes, we can".

Then there are "happy shoes", those that simply fill you with childlike joy (imperative when hungover from the previous night’s awards do), and "Dorothy" shoes that, no matter how jaded you are come December Silly Season, instantly make you want to click your heels and party on again.

Nothing in my wardrobe can set my mood and signal my intent as fluidly as my shoes. So instead of storing these "weapons of self" in the dark recesses of my wardrobes, I converted an entire wall of wardrobe space into a shoedrobe. Best decision ever. Some in my household might call it a shrine but, to me, it’s an armoury.

Alison Hoad is the chief strategy officer at Bartle Bogle Hegarty.

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