Monday, September 14, 2009

Grounded (Again)

I’m reposting this piece, in response to positive feedback from several gentle readers. Do let me know what you think.

After a summer of wearing flat sandals, I was mentally ready to climb back into my heels and lengthen my legs with some pencil skirts. I wore 4-inch heels on Monday for two hours, Tuesday for three hours, and by Wednesday I was having pain and difficulty walking, so I wore flats yesterday and today.

I’m always amused by how the eye trains itself to accept new silhouettes. In the 1990s in graduate school I loved cigarette pants à la Audrey Hepburn, and wore them long and lean, grazing my ankle but firmly cinching my waist. I was none too pleased when the waistbands across the country; indeed, the world, inched downward, with their 70s bell-bottom vibe and, thought I at the time, their unflattering lines.

But my eye adjusted and I suppressed my desire—no: the desire actually vanished—for high waisted cigarette pants.

The same has happened with heels. I have some kitten heels in my closet, but find that they look comical on, even clownlike. And my 2-inch heels are veritable stubs, relegated to the back of my wardrobe or for schlepping days. It’s my 4-inch heels that are the stars, the shoes that make my clothing look “right,” even though I can only bear wearing them for short periods of time.

But what hath this upward mobility wrought? At the moment: pain, fear of not being able to walk for exercise, irritation at being unable to wear my expensive shoes, and general fury at having bought the expensive high heels in the first place.

I’m no longer in my tender teens, twenties, or even thirties, and last night I started to worry about the lovely young women who wear skyscraping heels and lovingly post images of them on their blogs. I’m concerned that they might be setting themselves up for decades of foot pain, pain that can hobble young legs not ready to sit out the dance on a chair.

I decided to look at shoes online last night, seeing these vertiginous high heels in a new light—as crippling rather than enhancing. Strong language, I know, but I think it’s time for me to re-vise my attitude toward high heels.

To wit, I cancelled the treadful Prada Mary Janes that I had placed on advance order (with their leg-lengthening 5-inch platform treads) and I’m going to look more deliberately for 3-inch heels (and under, if they exist).

I’d rather ground myself than have some heel do it for me.

11 comments:

Make Do Style said...

I killed my feet last Thursday stomping round London and I'm thinking kitten heels seriously need to come back!

Thumbelina Fashionista said...

I can completely relate to this post. My solution nowadays is to wear my 2/3 inchers around town and to switch to the higher ones when I get to work. But now I am putting a freeze on anything 4" up (unless there's a platform).

Red Lipstick Style said...

I love the picture - she is sooo elegant. I do the switch thing inside the office. I have cute ballets to go for walks at lunch time to the farmers market, Target or wherever. I love heels, but have to agree, my feet bones ache after 4+ inches.

wild thyme flowers said...

Alas, I too love high heels. I always feel more pulled together and elegant. And for a few hours I'm ok. Must admit I've never much liked kitten heels. They always felt, well....kittenish. Not really my style. But with the fall and winter coming in I look forward to some really cool riding boots or great wedge styles (especially with the 40's vibe being so in at the moment) but not too wedgy (don't want to look like an 80's disco queen), to help complement some outfits nicely and keep me comfortable.

pve design said...

My Aunt Kate told me that "High Heels are the best revenge, nothing makes a leg look better"
I love heels, but they do not love me back.
pve

Mardel said...

I'm glad you reposted this. Very nicely said.

enc said...

I know I was one of those who mentioned that I really liked this post. I'm so glad you put it back up! Thank you!

The Mighty J said...

Can't walk in them and there fore, all the heels I own and continue to buy, are always relegated for nights when I don't have to walk much at all. Never leared how to master them at all and I am ok with it LOL I look in awe at ppl like Beyonce who dance and flounce in crazy shoes, can't imagine what that does to your feet.

Mary-Laure said...

You know I agree that it's funny how the eye gets used to some styles and ends up fond of them...

As for kitten heels, I really don't find them clownlike but rather very alluring. They say, I don't need a stiletto to look chic and tall.
It's rather wedges and platforms that I often find comical and orthopedic.

LPC said...

I have made a profound commitment to flats, and I tell myself they are just as stylish and desirable as heels. I am very convincing to myself. Lack of foot pain helps. I hate having sore feet more than I hate looking slightly less fierce.

*gemmifer* said...

Great post, but I'm with LPC! I fear breaking my ankle if I wear heels, or at least having extreme foot pain. But I'm all for any ladies who love heels to enjoy them every day.