Thursday, March 27, 2014

To heel or not to heel?

This history the of the high heel is fascinating! First off, high heels were originally worn by Western culture by men as a way to look more masculine(!!), something they got from the Persian army. The heels allowed the Persian cavalry to be more secure when they stood up while riding, not unlike the purpose of the heel on cowboy boots. So, to look like warriors men in Europe wore heels.

Women started following the trend so for awhile, both sexes were sporting fabulous (and impractical) footwear. I say impractical because of course this fashion trend was limited to the privileged who didn't have to do manual labor. But, as usual, trends changed and men stopped wearing heels during the Enlightenment when society started embracing education and rationality over opulence. I imagine women continued wearing heels because they do enhance what is generally associated with the feminine and beautiful. They lengthen legs, they accentuate the leg muscles, they push out the butt and the chest, and straighten posture. They may be impractical, but they do have an effect.

I have a mixed relationship to high heels. Like most women I love them because they make me feel sexy. But, I also don't have much reason to wear them. I work at home so I don't need to dress-up to go into an office. And maybe it's just LA (or my LA), but not a lot of people I know really even wear heels to social events. So, outside of special occasions I don't really wear them. I have what I consider a great collection of shoes, that sit idle.

And speaking of men in heels, have you seen the work of choreographer Yanis Marshall? I would love to be able to move like that in 6-inch heels.

Top image via. Bottom image via.

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