michele@mbenza.com

Monday, October 12, 2009

High High High Heels!

What are the fashion designers doing to us?

Shoes appear to have replaced bags as the driving force in the fashion accessories department and extreme stiletto heels are the fashion statement of the season.

I have a love-hate relationship with stilettos. I love them because they make women look sexy and powerful. I hate them because I can’t wear them as often as I wish and that makes me feel nostalgic.

They certainly enhance our legs and help make us look slender and taller. And as we all know, they seem to impact men’s libido and elicit many more compliments from the male of the species.

However, these perilously high heels make it hard to walk with ease and without breaking an ankle. Even the professional models find these stilt-like heels difficult as evidenced at the recent fashion shows.



But as treacherous as the current crop of stilettos may be, retailers claim they remain a much sought after fashion staple.

Fortunately, as always happens in the rarified world of high fashion, the extreme styles on the catwalk will be somewhat watered down by the time they reach the retail floors. Like the mini-dresses seen on the runways, these same dresses will have longer hems to make them more appealing to the public at large and thereby increase retail sales. Money rules!

With all of this said, don’t write off the sky-high heels entirely. To be sure, it requires effort to wear them. And those extreme heels with ankle cuffs can make us look strong and authoritative. However, if you choose to wear them, be sure to wear them with a simple dress.

Here are some more pointers to guide you if you decide to splurge on this extravagant trend. (Remember though, heels do not need to be long and thin to be considered fashionable.)
  • Buy the proper size. I so often see women wearing high- heeled shoes that are too big. There should be no space between the heel of the foot and the shoe.
  • Be aware that when wearing hosiery, the foot will easily slide out of the shoe and very likely lead to a fall or twisted ankle.
  • No matter how high the shoe, take extra caution to keep your balance. A graceful or sexy shoe is pointless if it causes pain or makes you walk in an ungainly manner, or worse, makes you fall.
  • Practice at home before venturing out in your heightened state!
  • Wearing high heels is all about femininity. When you walk in these heels think about a giraffe, not an elephant. Stand tall and upright. Elongate the waist, relax and rotate the shoulders towards the back and drop them down. This will open up your chest and help lengthen your neck. Make sure the chin is parallel to the floor.
  • Take small steps. Place your heel down first then your sole. Pay attention to your foot alignment. Toes should be pointing straight forward. As you walk be sure your legs are parallel and close together. Try to walk a straight line. And for a more sensual walk, move your hip slightly forward as you take a step. WALK SLOWLY AND GRACEFULLY.
I must confess I have been known to buy a pair or two of super high heels just to own and admire them. Once in a rare while I’ll cautiously wear them in my studio or at parties when I know there is valet parking. And I mean cautiously because a few years ago, I twisted my ankle in a pair of high heels and broke a bone in my right foot! Bummer! Since then I've been wearing mostly flats, which do not match my usual feminine style.

However, I am happy to report that those of us wary of extreme heels will at last be able to find moderately high heels that are attractive and très chic. The latest trend among shoe designers is to make the same shoe available in two, sometimes three, different heights. Prada seems to be the originator of this long-overdue sales trend. Our feet will thank these designers for many years to come.

Ah, I can hear you already saying to me: “Michele, what about cost per wear?” To which I reply: “Aren’t rules made to be broken?”

Viva la femme!
A là prochaine.

Michele



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