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.