All Articles Tagged "high heels"
There might be some correlation between the size of my shoe heel and my current trajectory through womanhood.
I was 15 years old and at an age where a girls most important fashion aim to look as womanly as possible. Coming cool off a tomboy phase, which back in the early 90s meant oversized shirts and jackets; baggy jeans and timberland boots, I was learning quick from my more “mature” peers that there was nothing less womanly than a girl parading around in sneakers or flats. My introduction to heels came by way of a lipstick red Mary Janes. I had gotten them because they were just like the pair that my best girlfriend had and she was as girly as they came. Plus the shoes were the most comfortable looking pair of all of her repertoire of pumps. Flexible enough to give the foot some room to bend and with a chunky heel, Mary Janes actually felt a lot like how they looked. Plus they were cute and could be worn and pretty much went with anything. I liked the shoes so much that I got another pair in white patent leather and then another pair in black. By my fifth pair, I started noticing that the heels on the Mary Janes started getting higher and thinner and eventually I abandoned the Mary Jane design all together…
According to science, the feet contains 26 bones, 107 ligaments and 19 muscles and tendons. By the time that I had reached 25, my various heels had managed to irritate the hell out of all of them. I was in the midst of my personal fashion era, where style mattered over comfort. Heels, I felt, gave my legs more contouring. They also made me look sophisticated. Plus they were more fashionable than flats. Most non-flip-flop and sneaker flats looked like the shoes that middle-aged moms wore to work as an administrative assistant at the DMV. No young and virile young woman wants to look like their mom-at-work. This led to many evenings out, where the pain from my heels would either relegate me to a chair, watching everyone else have fun, or holding on for dear life to some random guy I was supposed to be dancing with. While years of practice eventually got me over my balance issues, I could never get to the point of foot nirvana, where I could withstand the discomfort of wearing heels for an extended period of time. Even kitten heels were beginning to feel cumbersome like the time my boyfriend and I ended up on the wrong bus and I had to walk 7 long city blocks in these really horrible heeled cowboy boots to get to our destination. I tried soldiering on but after the third block, it literally hurt my entire foot to take a step. Eventually I kicked them puppies off and opted to walk carefully the rest of the blocks in my socks – much to the embarrassment of my then-boyfriend. But I rolled my eyes at him. The only reason why we were walking was because he didn’t have a car.
After a while heel spurs prevented me from wearing most heels and the kitten ones. At the same time, ballet shoes started making their appearance on runways and on the foot of celebrities at red carpet events. It wouldn’t be long before the style made it ways to malls and discount shoe warehouses, and only to the foot of the average girl about town. For once, it would seem, fashion had done something that I personally needed it to do for years: be stylish yet comfortable. These were not your mom-at-work-flats. The new generation of flatties had bows and ruffles; closed and peep-toed; pastel, neon, glimmered and zebra-print too. The style possibilities were endless. Combined with the right outfit, your flats now could go from casual-chic to playful to sexay. Pretty soon women started showing up at nightclubs and other evening events in flats.
Some economist believe we had the recession to blame for the period in which the catwalks of high fashion went main street. If that is true, than truly thank you George Walker Bush Jr. because finally there were some shoes I could not only walk for extended periods of time but damn near skip down the street in if I wanted too. I began to realize how little I walked prior to the popularity of the ballet shoe. Now, instead of rushing from car to seat-in-venue, I could actual enjoy the moments I had on my feet. In fact, in the most identical situation, one day I found myself having to walk almost ten blocks towards my destination after again getting off at the wrong bus stop. This time, however, I had on a cute little pair of snakeskin pointy-toed flats, which meant that I was free from the time restraints that my heels would give my pumps. Not only was walking those blocks a breeze but I actually stopped a few times to do some window shopping and take in the sights and sounds of my journey along the way. For me, the flats era of shoe fashion were about options.
As I went shoe shopping this weekend, I noticed that the selections of ballet shoes and other flat heels are not as plentiful and diverse in style as they were last Spring. The rise of platform pumps and sneakers has repositioned the heel back to its rightful place at the top of the shoe hierarchy. Just out of curiosity, I tried on a pair of those platform heels. They were a pair of mean black leather with five inches of heel and metal spikes along the back. All this working out I have doing has basically ended all my heel spurs, perhaps it brought some heel-tolerance back to my feet again. Immediately after putting them on, I started casing the department store for all available seating like they were emergency exits. I thought about it and then I wrapped them up, put them back in the box and handed them back to the sale man. Flats had certainly spoiled me. And as sexay and sophisticated as they looked on my foot I didn’t have the same desire to put on airs about what I thought being a woman meant. Now I am a woman. And my shoe styles will only serve are reflection of that: stylish, comfortable and free from unnecessary pain.
I didn’t watch the Golden Globes over the weekend. But if I knew how entertaining they were going to be… I was just about to lie; I still probably wouldn’t have watched them. But anyway, on Monday when clips of the most memorable moments from the show were being played, I noticed that there was a clip of Girls creator Lena Dunham hobbling up the stairs and across the stage to accept her award. As my coworkers and I watched the painful footage, someone mentioned something about the matronly nature of her dress; but all I could think about was her walk. No bueno.
I shook my head, knowing that the dress and certainly the shoes were just not Lena’s style. And not because I would argue heels aren’t her thing– but because if you’re visibly uncomfortable and uncoordinated in a shoe, then it’s not for you.
Aaah but as I write about Lena Dunham, I also speak to myself. As a woman who’s just over 5 feet, heels can seem like a necessity more than an accessory. When you’re as short as I am you don’t want to go to the club to be bumped and bruised as people, who can’t see you, try to move past you. So what’s the solution? Throw on some heels. Yes my toes will be a little numb by the end of the night but at least that way I can be at least shoulder level with most patrons, even if I’m teetering the whole time.
Wearing heels for long stretcches–and maybe alcohol–is the reason we women have watched in horror or embarrassment as so many of our girlfriends, or we ourselves, have made contact with the sticky club floor or the unforgiving cement on our way home. Heels, unlike boots, are not made for walkin’.
And yet we still love them.
I remember the debate I got into with one of my male friends one night. We were on the subway one evening when we noticed a group of girls in short freak em dresses and high heels. He looked at them and sized them up before leaning over to suggest that women who step out in high heels were somehow desperate for attention, even at the expense of being unstable and therefore unsafe in case anything popped off.
Even though I can recall several instances where I almost busted my face open walking down cement steps in heels, I found myself getting very defensive. Because sure heels aren’t the best in a pinch but just because a woman chooses to wear them on a night out doesn’t mean she’s desperate. It means she wants to feel pretty. It means she doesn’t want to be the short one in her circle of friends. It means that she wants her freshly shaven legs to glisten when the street lights hit them. It means she wants to feel powerful. And yeah, she might even want to be noticed. I was defensive even though I knew and my feet confirmed that heels have never really been our friend. Instead heels are like that girl you call a friend who’s not so secretly jealous of you. You can’t stand her but you keep her around and always defend her because she’s fun and you need someone to hang out with on the weekends.
That’s probably what Lena told herself as she slid her feet into the $945, black, peep-toe Louboutin pump that had her wobbling last night. I want to feel pretty. I want to feel powerful and that’s what women are supposed to wear.
Honestly, for a lot of women, myself included, there’s a sense of unspoken shame about not being able to walk in heels. It’s somehow unladylike. A true lady knows how to not only walk but strut in heels. It’s a skill we’ve tried to master since childhood. Beyoncé brags about having her first pair at the age of 13. Men ask us to keep them on in the bedroom and shoes with no heels are often regarded as casual, dressed down. Comfort be damned.
I remember during my senior year of college, in my African Literature class, we read this book, Praisesong For The Widow. If you’re not familiar, basically it’s a book about Avey Johnson, a woman in her sixties, who has to disconnect from her pristine image and adherence to societal constraints in order to find her roots and discover who she really is. Several times throughout the novel, they make mention of Avey’s high heels and how when she’s wearing them, she’s really not herself, not really seeing and relating to the world as she should. “”Freed of the high-heels her body always felt restored to its proper axis.”
If you’re one of those women who is as comfortable in heels as you are barefoot, then by all means continue to do you boo. But for the rest of us, let’s not always give in to the pressure to wear heels just because we’re expected to. There’s nothing wrong with staying grounded every once in a while.
Heels have taken on many fashionable forms since the classic stiletto. But as heels continue to soar to new heights and most recent, vanish into thin air with the heelless shoe craze, there’s no doubt that taking major strides in any heel height can pose a serious challenge. There goes balance and comfort right out the window, a sacrifice we often don’t mind making for the love of fashion. But thank goodness our shoe prayers were answered and the fashion gods have given us chic stacked heels.
Now we can hit the pavement, take big steps and go the distance in style with some of today’s most fashionable chunky heel shoes…
Heels, heels, heels..we love them! There is something about great legs in stilletos that has us talking more on the street. The average (red, black, or brown) pair is easily susceptible to conversation, late night dinners or a fine gentlemen’s interests. They are infinitely one of the most desirable pieces in the closet (not including the diamonds and pearls). Yet, the reasons we love them doesn’t give justice to how we feel about them. They’re sophisticated, feminine and Hot! But the three, four, and five-inch heels we signed up for, may no longer be the tallest ones on the market. Fashion designers are creating the new and improved pair for women to squeeze into these days. Try seven, eight, and nine inches!
If you think you can handle any size, then take a look at these insanely crafted heels…