I was perusing the addictive world of Instagram the other morning, procrastinating getting out of bed to actually start my day, when a Brian Atwood post forced me to ponder his craft. The popular shoe designer is known for his sought after, super trendy footwear for the ladies that truly believe "the sex is in the heel". Atwood is tall, dark and handsome with an equally attractive partner and quite the celebrity on the A-list party scene with besties like famed stylist Rachel Zoe and actress Melissa McCarthy, whom he grew up with in LA. Therefore, while the shoe designer might not be wearing his own heels he certainly rubs elbows with the fashion-forward ladies that covet his killer styles. This prompts me to beg the question, does he realize just how high some of his HIGH heels are?? The photo that caused me to linger on his post for a minute, wincing in pain at the mere thought of walking even four steps in these particular killers was the very culprit for this post. Ow!!
Before I come off as a total fashion prude, let's discuss, shall we. Okay, first off, it's an absolute fact that every woman looks better in a pair of heels. After slipping a good pair on they elongate the legs by adding height while dramatically slimming the thighs. High heels make any woman feel instantly sexier. The calves and buttocks also get a tremendous workout when worn regularly (looking at you, Jessica Simpson). But this fashion habit can also dramatically wreak havoc on the female form, causing podiatry pain for life, arthritis, nasty varicose veins, lower back and pelvic problems, and bunions that are so severely painful surgery is the only option. Hey, no one ever said being beautiful was an easy, painless job.
Longterm health consequences aside, my main beef with heels that are ridiculously high is what they can do to a woman's walk in them. Ever see a gal take an embarrassingly obvious forced stride in a pair of ankle-breakers while you look on in sheer horror, feeling both terribly bad for her but also dying inside at the hilarity of desperation? Like a baby giraffe taking its first, wobbly steps. Ladies, here's one serious rule about fashion--never, EVER let the shoes or anything else for that matter, wear you. Very few things are as sad as witnessing a woman trying her damnedest to make it a block in a pair of high heels that picked a fight with her before she even committed to their abuse. Don't be that victim. Save yourself the embarrassment and figure out what styles work best for your feet. If you plan on sitting all night, wear those killer heels and be proud. But if you already know you'll be standing and/or stepping more than lounging, don't slip those bad girls on without a little help. When the shoes are just too fine and worth every bit of the pain, add at least a little protection with Dr. Scholl's gel inserts made specifically for the highest heels. These secret weapons will grant you a couple of hours without the excruciating pain sans the additional padding, and no one will know you cheated. Also, a slight platform built into the shoe under the balls of the foot make every heel more tolerable. At first glance, a platform can seem daunting given its added height, but do not be fooled by the extra inches. That thick sole is your friend. Just be careful that platform isn't too narrow, or you may have an opposite problem--staying vertical.
For those of you ladies that were born to wear the highest heels with pure finesse, and can run in 6-inchers through the streets like a graceful ballerina a-la Carrie Bradshaw, well, I salute you. Be proud of your honed swagger on stilts. Just be good to your feet and back when off duty, for the older you get, the more you start to pay for your fashion choices or lack thereof. My mom used to try and persuade me to wear "support hose" during my early 20's when I worked high-end retail and schlepped hot plates in restaurants. She's cute, my mom. I kindly laughed away her advice since she only hoped to help me stave off ugly varicose veins in my future, and instead opted for foot cushions or cute and secretly comfy styles (these do exist!). Either way, know your body and what works best for you. No styles should be off limits if you're crushing on them, just know there's ways to make them work without regretting them later.
In the meantime, I'm all for shoe designers that tap into making a seriously sexy heel super comfy, without losing its va-va-voom appeal. Hey, anything is possible! Especially in the name of fashion. x