• Ashley Urban

If the shoe fits...or doesn't.

Let’s talk heels: are your heels beautiful AND practical? Long gone are the days of me buying shoes just because they’re gorgeous. I absolutely refuse to waste my time or money on uncomfortable footwear. To me, there are few things more embarrassing and ridiculous than to watch a woman who has subjected herself to cautiously teetering around dangerously and painfully on ridiculous sky-high heels. Heels that make it obvious that they control the woman wearing them, instead of the inverse.

Even more painful to witness is seeing a woman half way through the evening having to change into the dreaded flip flop, or worse yet, the public bare-foot (hepatitis, anyone?), a major fashion faux pas, my dears! First off, if you require a shoe change mid way through your evening, you’ve likely ruined the entire visual harmony of your outfit with these supplemental shoes, and secondly, you’re calling attention to your poor choice in footwear and likely making other people uncomfortable for you. NOT WORTH IT.

A sensible and beautiful pair of mustard yellow suede 1" kitten heels

In my experience, the perfect heel height for comfort and agility is 2 inches, sometimes 3 inches if it is a truly perfect shoe. At this height, you’ve created a beautiful and feminine silhouette for yourself and you can be on foot all day; you can run to catch the train, you can function seamlessly through all of your tasks, you can dance, and you can go about your business without making a scene about your feet. If your 5+ inch heels make you awkwardly stagger around in pain or navigate your legs like a flamingo, making people wonder if you have a spinal disorder...you are not wearing SHOES you are wearing beautiful sculptures that have no functionality. Now, if you can wear sky-high pumps appropriate to your ensemble without fuss, without pain, and without walking like a baby gazelle, I commend you fully. Keeping in mind too however, that just because you can wear them, doesn't mean you should....

As a rather embarrassing yet hilarious example, I used to think it rather cool to wear 7" dancer's platform stilettos in the middle of the Colorado winters of my youth...pairing them with god knows what remarkably inappropriate accessories and clothing, as I trapesed quite effortlessly through the snow and down the hallways to English class. I prided myself on being able to walk seamlessly and comfortably in them without falling to my death. Though what shocks me to look back upon is not the surprising lack of foot pain or shame, but the complete fashion ignorance I had exhibited...my ignorance being that I had no concept of what attire was appropriate for what setting. I hadn't considered that just maybe a pair of see-through acrylic 7" heels belonged on a dancer's stage, or in the bedroom of a fetishist, rather than on the feet of a disgruntled youth in a snowy mountain town, on her way to take an honors English exam (despite my unintelligible footwear choice, I likely aced the exam, I'll have you know). But I digress, making sure your attire is complimentary to your setting, is just as much of the style equation as making sure your attire creates a harmonious composition. I suppose the best part of that angry youthful fashion faux-pas is the laughable memory I'll keep as a lesson. I had used fashion as a middle finger to the conservative town in which I was forced to reside. I suppose I felt a certain power over the sleepy mountain town in my efforts to make the tiny populus endure the confusion and shock of such an odd shoe choice...among many other concerning choices I made in that era. To say 'fuck you' with fashion can be such a satisfaction, but keep in mind, that to rebel in fine form, takes a certain level of grace, strategy and composition. None of which I could find in any inch of those absurd shoes.

If you must rise to any occasion, whether to prove the anger of your adolescent existence, or to exhibit the femininity and allure of your adulthood, please do not do it on the soles of inappropriate footwear.

So back to my point....you'll notice I'll always have quite a lot of material to stray off with...BUT, enormous stilettos, while luscious to the eye, are best left in the bedroom or on set of your next photo shoot...because outside of that, they are useless and distracting. Who has the energy to worry about the comfort of their feet and the fate of a potential sidewalk faceplant, while trying to build her empire?! I say save your efforts for the things that really matter. The less time we have to fuss with our wardrobe, the less pain, poking, pulling, adjusting and futzing our minds and bodies and accoutrements require, the more efficiency we can apply to the grander things in life. How can a woman be confident in her abilities to achieve her higher goals and stay true to her values, if she can't be confident in the idea that she is able to move about the motions of every-day life in relative comfort and poise? A shoe is more than a shoe, my dears. A shoe is made to protect and comfort each step we take toward our goals. Take care of your one single body, including those feet, the underdogs, the mechanics of your beautiful anatomy that escorts you throughout every step of your journey. Keep your feet happy, your style sharp, your mind sharper, and your choices aligned with your values. And for the sake of your sanity and physical health, keep the god damned killer heels at home.

Style is when design meets functionality without dramatics. Style is grace in our movements. If your shoes disable you from moving fluidly, they have effectively destroyed your efforts of style and good taste. From shoes, to your fundamental values...if your foundation is garbage, what have you to stand on?


Yours truly,

AU


Some truly remarkable heels from a vintage Vogue ad. Notice how none of the heels exceed 3"

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