Accessories, Fashion Tips, Features, Footwear, Opinion, Opinion peice, shoes, Trend Alert
By Lauren Bravo on May 17th, 2013
When even Victoria Beckham hangs up her heels, it might be time to come back down to earth…
There’s a thing in fashion, and actually in lots of other things such as water features and Mr Whippy cones, known as the ‘trickle down effect’.
Most people will tell you this is the process by which trends work their way from the catwalk down through the rungs of the fash ladder until they reach the high street, the market stall and eventually the bargain bin. But I prefer to think of it as the process by which the powers that be decide on the next big thing, and then we steadfastly ignore it for five years until we’re ready to accept it into our wardrobes and lives.
Midi skirts, for example, were pushed doggedly season after season, while we all stuck our fingers in our ears and sung “la-la-la-la-la” like an obnoxious toddler, our thighs still in chilly minis until 2011. At least they finally got their moment in the sun, though – wide-legged jeans have been supposedly ‘on their way back’ for almost a decade now, peering through the windows like an uninvited loner at the skinny party, and they’re still showing no sign of getting an invite.
So it’s in light of all this, and with a big whoop of much joy on behalf of my bunions, that I tell you stupid heels are finally going. BUH-BYE, bizzarro-stilts! So long, pain trotters! When even Victoria Beckham – the woman for whom being eight months pregnant in Westminster Abbey called for a pair of brutal six-inch stillies – is proudly showing off her flat Church’s boots on Twitter, we can confidently call time on the reign of the Ridicu-Shoe.
And ohhh, what a tedious reign it has been. Excellent for Compeed and gin distilleries, less successful for feet and female moral. What looked edgy and daring in about 2007 has now become the hallmark of the identikit, hobbling lady on every high street from here to John O-Groates. I’d like to present a graph showing the inverse relationship between average heel heights and the number of us chasing down criminals in the street to perform a citizens arrest, but I’ve been too distracted by my throbbing toes to collect the data.
Of course I’d like to stress firmly here that I am not anti-heel. No siree. I’m not heelist, or indeed heelphobic. Some of my best friends are heels. I’ve worn heels in the snow; heels on the beach. I’m the patient who once held up a trip to A&E because I didn’t want to arrive in flats.
Millie sandals, £129 Hobbs
But there is a big difference between the sexy, percussive stride of a really great heel and the debilitating totter of a ridicu-shoe. For if a shoe fails to do its one, basic function – being a thing you put your foot in and walk on – then it’s not really a shoe. It’s like buying a cup with a hole in it, or a house with no roof. It’s little better than the £400 Louboutin equivalent of those yellow buckets from the Early Learning Centre we used to hold on our feet with string.
But the perfect heel is a rare and wonderful thing – and of course, different for every wearer. For some, it’s one you can dine in, dance in, then march to the kebab shop in; for others, one you can run for the bus in without any fear of stacking it down Kingsland Road (I still have the bruises); for some it’s the barely-there elevation of a half-inch pump, for others a stomper with a whacking great platform.
Personally I’ve always been obsessed with two-inchers. Not mimsy kittens, but sturdy, elegant mid-height heels with a good amount of clop that make your calves look really great. T-bars, Mary-Janes, that sort of thing. On top of a good pair of two-inches I feel powerful and important, like having my own little stage.
Molly T-bar shoes, £35 Topshop
And then of course there are the flats, which finally trickled down and are now set to woosh like a lovely, soothing river into our wardrobes. Brogues have lasted the distance and been rewarded with every colour, fabric and finish under the sun, while jazz shoes, plimsolls, moccasins, proper sporty trainers and Jesus sandals are all still loafing about to help see us merrily through summer.
Just think of all the things we’ll be able to do, now that we don’t have to do it on ridicu-shoes! Maybe we’ll start running for buses when we don’t even NEED to. Maybe we’ll start running, generally. Maybe we’ll just dance harder, faster and longer, then march to the kebab shop without ever having to make foot-pavement content. Maybe giant heels will start looking edgy and daring again, rather than just default.
I wouldn’t hold my breath on the wide-legged jeans though, if I were you.