You know those features where writers reveal the advice they wish they could give their younger selves? And they are always really erudite and wistful, poignant and touching? Well, this is sort of one of those. Sort of. OK, without the erudite, wistful, poignant or touching parts. But still important.
I am talking about high heels. Specifically, how much I wish I could give my younger self a talking to about not spending insane amounts on shoes I couldn’t walk in. As heart-swelling, motivational speeches go, this is not, admittedly, up there with Robin Williams imploring us to carpe diem in Dead Poets Society. But I really wish I had known then what seems obvious now. Which is that good-time shoes that you can’t have a good time in because your feet hurt are a total waste of money.
As my 20-years-ago self would have said: like, duh. But I’m not the only one with a blind spot for heels. Walk into a shoe department at this time of year and you’ll find an average heel height of around 10cm. But walk into a party and you’ll see women in proper heels outnumbered by sensible ones in smart, low-heeled and flat shoes, and less sensible ones barefoot with their shoes discarded in a corner. There’s a disconnect between the shoes we buy for nights out and the shoes we actually wear on nights out, which suggests I’m not the only one whose shoe-buying cortex required rewiring. I have finally graduated from being the barefoot woman who has kicked off her expensive new heels to the one in the sensible jewelled flats.
The trouble with high heels is that they are such gorgeous objects to look at. The slender curves of a dagger heel, the thrill of a precipitous angle, are irresistible. But we are not buying sculpture, we are buying footwear. And while it is seductive to identify with the high-maintenance attitude of a high heel, unless your credit card stretches to a chauffeur service, it is a waste of money.
The need to winch yourself up on a stiletto to look glamorous is fading with the advent of the low-heel party shoe. The renaissance of the kitten heel has been followed by a new generation of block heel shoes that give you a tangible boost that doesn’t spiral into agony. It is time to break free of heel dependency. Carpe diem, two and a half inches at a time. We can do this.
Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and makeup: Samantha Cooper at Carol Hayes Management.
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