Rekindling My Love For High Heels

‘These expensive, these is red bottoms. These is bloody shoes, Hit the store, I can get 'em both, I don't wanna choose’.

Rekindling My Love For High Heels

by Lucy Morris |
Published on

Ever since temp worker Nicola Thorp, a receptionist at PriceWaterhouseCoopers, was sent home from work for not wearing heels I’ve had a tumultuous relationship with the shoe myself. Even though Thorp has gone on to bag a part in Coronation Street and successfully draw attention to the sexism that’s rife in the City, the concept of heels has left a bad taste in my mouth. Coupled with the fact that over the last few years fashion has shifted dramatically towards athletism and comfort, this style of footwear has been easy to ignore.

However, slowly but surely ludicrously impractical footwear has found its way back. The ugly shoe trend that rose the ranks to haute couture standing, courtesy of Céline, Prada and Chanel, is having its watershed moment. Birkenstocks and Crocs are no more uncomfortable than kitten heels; just nobody talks about it. The excessive expenditure of sneakers for purely fashion’s sake is no less vain than investing in a wedge. Quelle surp, like all trends, when the pendulum of fashion swings away it will almost certainly swing back at some point. And, that point is this winter.

This season, footwear isn’t an afterthought. The trends that came out of the autumn/winter 17 shows started foot first. Saint Laurent’s epic eighties disco boots, Off-White's tulle-wrapped pumps and Gucci’s raised cowboy boots were a visual validation of the heel’s return.

More idiosyncratic than before, the humble heel now comes tilted, bent or in a geometric shape. Designers have let their creativity loose and reconfigured them into surreal and distinctive new shapes. Soft spandex sock shoes with knife-point heels were debuted at Vetements and Yeezy. Thick rubber soles held chunky boots aloft at Louis Vuitton and Coach. Go-go boots with tiny princess heels were the order of the day at Miu Miu, Chanel and Gucci. Translucent crystals and perspex cages elevated Dries Van Noten and Marni’s pumps. With enough pomp to rival Marie Antoinette’s dressing room, Mary Katrantzou and Céline showcased the little-known ‘fluevog’ heel for winter. Initially, its sumptuous curved silhouette looks preposterous, but the reality is it’s sturdy and every inch a scene-stealer.

Rekindling My Love For High Heels

But really, the heels comeback moment came at the hands of Cardi B who shot to number one while spitting about her love of Louboutins. ‘It’s a status symbol that the masses can relate to’, the rapper’s stylist Kollin Carter explained in an interview with Billboard. But, it’s more than just a status symbol. Type the word shoe into your phone, what comes up? A red stiletto. If this isn’t a vertiginous sign that it's a design classic, I’m not sure what will convince you.

I understand the argument for abandoning this style of footwear. They aren’t practical. They cause blisters. They are designed by and to please men. But, I feel elegant and put-together in them. At just 5ft 2inches my stature isn’t what anyone would deem mighty. But, with a pair of heels on my feet I suddenly enter the world at eye-level. The groceries I can never normally reach are within grasp. My stature changes. Renee Engeln, a professor of psychology at Northwestern University told the New York Times that they are designed ‘to lengthen your legs and change the way your shape looks from behind. That’s not accidental.’ Echoing this, Valerie Steele, the director and chief curator of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, explained, ‘High heels are the number-one sartorial symbol of erotic femininity, and that’s not changing anytime soon’. They are the final flourish that adds interest and excitement to even the dullest of ensembles.

Attire is commonly mistaken for self-expression, which means it's something that can then be wielded as a chalice of judgement. Wearing flats or the ‘ugly’ shoe trend makes me no less a feminist, in fact, it’s got nothing to do with it. My principals are not related to my footwear. Those that perceive my feminist credentials to be weakened by the decision to wear heels need to have a stern look at the reason they are appraising women in the first place. My love for heels is back, and I won't let anyone judge me for it.

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Follow Lucy on Instagram @lucyalicemorris

This article originally appeared on The Debrief.

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