It wasn’t terribly long ago that ladies trekked to and from the office in tennis shoes and athletic socks pulled casually over nude-colored hosiery. It was the eighties and women were fully in the workforce. Power suits in vibrant colors hustled and bustled through the subway doors just in the nick of time, all thanks to a little luck and springy footwear.
Thanks to the relatively recent comeback of the ballet flat, we may have come a long way from sporting our Nikes during rush hour. But, as I make my way to the office, I can’t help but notice the number of shoe changers I see on the sidewalk. Balancing with the grace of a prima ballerina, we make our footwear swap outside our buildings, throw on our more uncomfortable choice for the day, and head into work without a hair out of place.
We buy our new kicks with excitement, building outfits in our heads, dreading the thought of an unfortunate encounter with uneven concrete, a scuff, or fashion gods forbid, a stain. With that, it makes sense that we would have our handy standbys to get us places quickly, comfortably, and without causing great loads of concern. However, is there an alternative? Is the perfect shoe out there that can put that extra punch and pizzazz in our step, while causing that giddiness my footwear fanatics know only too well? This past season, a relatively controversial shoe stomped, sashayed, and swirled down the runway: the kitten heel.
At first mention, you may get flashbacks to that 1950s Halloween costume you were forced to wear in the sixth grade, poodle skirt, et al — I know I do. Or maybe they remind you of Molly Ringwald in any of the 1980s John Hughes classics. Either way, the kitten heel typically brings back terrifying memories. But with everyone from Marc to Marni showing low heels this season, should we drop our prim heel prejudice and give them a chance?
For Stella McCartney’s Fall 2010 collection, the dresses and pantsuits were seamlessly simple. Through the use of repeated colors in her low-heeled footwear, the look was both polished and practical. On the other end of the spectrum, we have Vivienne Westwood who, with her sumptuous silhouettes and decorative patterns in her garments, looked to Victorian-inspired footwear this season. With standard Viv vivaciousness, classically miniature heels enhanced by prints throbbed with energy as models tromped down the catwalk. In New York, Anna Sui’s answer to the rediscovered trend was presented in gently elevated oxfords and knee-high lace-ups -– both of which allowed the models to be beautifully breezy on the runway.
Alas, the real world isn’t a runway. We have to jump, duck, and shimmy in our morning commutes to get to work on time. But, if you ask me, these fabulous and functional kitten heels may have us purring our way into the office.
Liz Doupnik began her career at WGSN.com (Worth Global Style Network), the global leading fashion forecasting and trend analysis as a Market Editor. Always searching for inspiration, she became involved as a brand ambassador and contributing editor for stylelikeu.com, a new personal style website. Liz has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the College of Charleston and has earned a second degree in Fashion Design from Parsons. Fashion aside, Liz is fascinated by astrology (she’s a Leo) and unicorns.