Oct 23, 2012, 06:51AM

We Suffer For Fashion

The art of wearing high heels.

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After Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s recent high-heeled topple went viral, I decided to revisit my longtime desire to teach High Heels 101.

I adore high heels and walk rather well in them. My closet is full of these shoes. Reality is, my feet are usually in tennis shoes, working out, teaching yoga or sitting at my table writing. Instructing women on how to walk in heels would be my opportunity to give my lifted gams a good gait. When I’m in the city, I can observe women struggling with heels. It’s painful to watch. It’s more of a small stepped stomp than a graceful stride. Most of them wobble trying to find their balance. Their upper bodies are leaning forward trying to compensate and they don’t look very happy.

Despite the suffering, according to the retail and consumer information firm NPD Group, U.S. women found $34 million in their stretched wallets to spend on shoes last year. A big wad of it going to heels. So, what’s with this shoe obsession?

High heels signal power. Many women subscribe to this theory, especially our shorter sisters. Often people bestow status to those who are bigger—more specifically, taller. Many animals puff themselves up to appear larger than life when faced with a power struggle. Humans have lost this throwback ability but heels can add two-three inches of height to a woman. If she wants to be a badass, she better be in them.

There’s no denying wearing stilettos has something to do with sex. High heels force a woman to tilt her pelvis forward and stick out her breasts and derriere. This position makes a woman look elongated and creates a rather alluring stance. It’s a primal position that many female animals take to entice and stimulate attraction in their mate. Heels also make the muscles in the calves and thighs appear toned, so if you’re not a gym rat on the Stairmaster, slip on some Louboutins. High heels are a great anti-gravity device as well. Heels raise buttocks by around 20-30 degrees. I don’t know about you, but when I feel sexy, I feel pumped up! Runway models and porn stars make good money working this angle.  As in humans, this caters to men’s evolved visual preferences.

How do women master this art? Take it from a veteran. Stand in front of a full-length mirror and notice your posture. Walk on different surfaces and up and down stairs. Try to keep your toes pointed straightforward. In other words, don’t walk with the weight on the back of the heel, walk on the ball and go forward. An inexpensive but practical investment is heel protectors. They easily fit on the bottom of the heel to prevent it from getting stuck in the grass at outdoor events, as was the reason for the Prime Minister’s fall from grace in New Delhi.


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