Wednesday, April 22, 2015

This Charming Dame Lesson 10 - Walk the Walk

"I don't know who invented high heels, but all women owe him a lot."
     -Marilyn Monroe

photo credit
I have very distinct memories of trying on my mother's heels as a little girl.  Doing so always made me feel so glamorous and I would dream of the day that I would be old enough to have heels of my very own!  Many, many years later, I am still a huge fan.  To me, they're absolutely magical!

While getting my hair done a while back, I was flipping through a magazine and came across an article: '10 Things Every Woman Should Have' by Oscar de la Renta.  One of the items on this list was A Confident Walk.  The quote that accompanied this was "You have to walk like you have three men walking behind you."  Some of my friends were offended and/or upset at this assertion, stating that the sentiment was sexist, kinda creepy, and just plain wrong.  While I can see where they were coming from, when I read this quote, I immediately knew what de la Renta meant by it.  There is something about a woman who inherently knows how to walk in heels.  She exudes a certain something.  A power.  A confidence.  She has an air about her that not only men, but women as well, can quickly identify and most certainly notice.  Quite simply, she casts a spell.

photo credit

Coco Chanel once said, "A woman with good shoes is never ugly."  I disagree.  Marilyn Monroe also had a love affair with the heel and at one point said, "Give a girl the right shoes and she can conquer the world." but that's only half right.  The other half of the equation is a woman's ability to REALLY walk in them!  A woman who stomps around or wobbles like a newborn calf in heels is not powerful or sexy - no matter how fabulous the shoe.  Can every woman live in heels?  No.  Can every woman pull off a stiletto?  Absolutely not!  Is there anything wrong with that?  Again, I would say no.  You do whatever it is that you CAN do.

photo credit
Audrey Hepburn made the Kitten Heel her trademark.  If she wasn't in ballet flats, you could bet she was in a Kitten Heel - and it is widely accepted that she is one of the most glamorous women of all time.  The lesson with a high heel is this: if you can, go for it.  If not, find whatever it is that works for you.  (Perhaps that's really the lesson when it comes to most things.)  It's best to avoid the heel altogether if you find yourself unable to feel safe and comfortable and ESPECIALLY if you are not one of those women who feel like a million dollars in them.  Because I've been wearing them for so long and have a lower center of gravity due to my smaller stature (translation, because I'm short), I won't give a pair of heels under 4-inches a second look.  I'm steadfastly a 4 to 5 inch heel kinda girl!  Manolo Blahnik has said that "the height of a heel should depend on how dangerous you are feeling."  So, by that logic, I suppose I'm always feeling pretty ballsy!

photo credit
"People walk differently in high heels.  Your body sways to a different kind of tempo."
     -Manolo Blahnik

So, what do you do if you have simply never given the whole heel thing a proper try?  Well, I'm glad you asked!  Years ago, I was in Z Gallerie, arguably the happiest place on earth (for me).  For many, it's Disneyland, for me it's Z Gallerie.  Just thinking about it makes me happy!  They always have so many gorgeous, glamorous things and a truly fabulous book selection to boot!  Their selection consists mainly of novelty or coffee table books.  I LOVE going to someone's home and finding books stacked or strategically placed, you get such great insight as to who they really are.  Wow - I have REALLY digressed....

So, long story long...I found a super fun book at Z Gallerie many years ago entitled How to Walk in High Heels: The Girl's Guide to Everything.  It pretty much covers it all - from how to get ready in 5 minutes to how to deal with a bad hair day, hangover, or locking yourself out of your house to how to catch a mouse, hang wallpaper, or feng shui your home to the MOST IMPORTANT thing (and also most relevant to this conversation) - how to walk in high heels!  Bet you didn't see that one coming.

photo credit
This little treasure covers every aspect of learning to walk in high heels from starting at the grocery store using the cart for balance and leverage to the type of heel that is right for you to how to walk on varying surfaces (ugh, cobblestones are "the HORROR of all HORRORS"!) and how to navigate stairs.  I do not agree with every point the author makes - for example, I would disagree that investing in a pair of Manolo Blahniks is necessary or even possible for most women, but by and large there is some really great information here to ultimately get you to the point of strutting in your stilettos - it truly is an art!  

Something else to keep in mind - while I can spend all night in a pair of 5-inch stilettos, I know my limitations.  There are simply some things that most women will NEVER be able to do in heels.  Running down the street à la Carrie Bradshaw is one of them.  I have made peace with the fact that I am one of these people that will never be able to pull that off.  And you probably should as well.  If there is only ONE piece of advice that you take away from this post, let it be this: most people will never be able to run in heels without falling down or breaking something (and doesn't that really defeat the whole point of a fabulous shoe?).  So take comfort in knowing that if you've got a great strut, one where your hips sway gracefully and confidently from side to side, a walk that you indisputably own, one that makes you feel powerful and beautiful, taking a little bit of extra time to get where you're going is totally worth it - and the added time gives those around you more of an opportunity to appreciate your ability to navigate in a great pair of heels.  Everyone's a winner!

photo credit
Ladies, OWN your walk!  Learn how to do it right and make sure you've got the right shoe.  Like Dita Von Teese has said, "Heels and red lipstick will put the fear of god into people."  But carrying your shoes home (and potentially stepping on something and contracting some weird foot disease) will not.

photo credit
So for all that is good and holy, do NOT be this girl.  You're better than that.

If you still need some more help, consult Google.  There are TONS of YouTube videos that will teach you how to walk in heels and I've also seen classes on the subject.  You've got options to help get you there!

Happy Strutting, Kittens!

1 comment:

  1. I loved this piece on your love affair with the high heel. Or in your case, VERY HIGH HEELS! I agree in that wearing high heels, I feel more empowered. I also feel like a woman to be reckoned with at work. When I wore flats at work, I felt like my bosses didn't take me as seriously, but maybe it was the state of mind the flats gave me instead? And thank you for mentioning kitten heels and Audrey Hepburn. I'm tired of all the kitten heel haters out there and if a woman world-renowned for her style wore kitten heels then maybe haters should re-evaluate why they loathe them. I do wish I could get behind 4" heels though! I tap out at 3" and that's only for occasions. I hover on 2"ers!! Brava to you Melinda!