Most of us assume that clothes have always had the same social meaning, but that's not accurate. Over time, the significance of clothing has changed, sometimes radically. Several bloggers have noted that a century ago, pink was universally considered a boy's color. Now it's reserved exclusively for girls (and becomes a scandal when a boy wears it).
My friend Gracey just tweeted a link to a BBC news article which describes how high heels used to be a status symbol for MEN. For centuries, high heels served a purpose for male horse-riders: it secured their foot in the riding-harness. Later, in the 17th century, high heels became popular among men in Europe as a way to show how rich and connected they were. The impracticality of the shoe emphasized their social position -- it said they were above having to work in the fields. Shown below is a picture of Louis XIV wearing high heels (and stockings).
It wasn't until the 19th century that women started wearing high heels. The shoes eventually acquired erotic associations which have been well-analyzed. Now, high heels are so common among women that those who don't like the shoes feel a need to make excuses for why they avoid them.
How do you feel about high heels?
I hate high heels. But those above aren't very high. I mean I hate those 5 inch things and the ones that have a huge platform. However, I'd wear a pair like in the pic. I mostly wear flats because of back and knee problems. I'd suffer for a heel if there were some really pretty low heel offerings. The shoes from the 20's and 30's rang my chimes. I'd love to have some.ReplyDelete
Very interesting article! I guess it kind of makes sense when you look back to earlier centuries and the types of clothing that were worn.ReplyDelete
I like high heels for the extra height they give my petite frame but I also do not walk very gracefully in them! And I know I'm going to inherit my mother's bad knees, so I try to stick to flatter shoes for most days!
Heels are great for some occasions, but I'm usually so awkward walking in them!! I have a hard time looking sober in them, haha. They're cute for work though, if I know I'll be sitting at my desk and not schlepping to any meetings :)ReplyDelete
I used to wear 4-inch heels every day when I worked in a corporate office. It was expected because the women had to portray this powerful image. But honestly, I much prefer dainty ballet flats in pretty colors. They're more comfortable and I don't feel like I'm going to trip all the time.ReplyDelete
Strangely, I have always gotten more attention from men when I wear flats. Not sure why. Maybe because being shorter emphasizes the fact that I'm a woman? That I'm not a threat? That I'm low-maintenance?
Having worked in the footwear industry I already knew this about men & heels! I love high heels, preferably with a slight platform which makes it a little easier to walk in them.ReplyDelete
Happy Monday Hun xoxo
I've never worn heels because I'm already tall and they're hard to walk in. I like the style on the man in the photo but not for a man to go with men's clothing. I'd wear them though!ReplyDelete
In my own blogging work, I discussed fashion freedom. I pondered if high heels and/or skirts can ever be accepted among males and society as in the past. Both have been worn by males even before both became feminine fashion staples. I don't see myself sporting high heels, but I do think a number of double standards are in play regarding certain feminine-type fashions.ReplyDelete
How interesting! I didn't know the bit about them serving a purpose for horse riding.ReplyDelete
I love heels, but can't wear stilettos or super high ones very well anymore. Back problems and stability have made me tend more toward the 30's & 40's style heel.
Good post to share. Yes, this is true. In the 18th Cent. there were "heels" that men wore as well some even with embroidery and buckles,etc. a lot of the dress then is had embellishment,, from frills to ornate trim on shoes, loads of it allover! I do love high heels or some type of heel ... not for everything, but most things. haha!:)ReplyDelete
Interesting post. This is part of why I love blogging; I learn something new every day.ReplyDelete
I continue to wear heels, even though it may be irrational. I usually wear them when I won't be walking or standing for periods of time. I enjoy them and will wear them as long as that remains true.
That's so fascinating!ReplyDelete
I'm sort of iffy on high heels. I have always been so tall that I never felt comfortable wearing them growing up and now that I might be more comfortable wearing them I have no idea how to walk in them! Plus, they always end up feeling really uncomfortable after a little while. I think I have strangely shaped feet.
High heels are a firm personal favourite of mine - and not just because I'm petite (5'2"). I love the way my posture changes in them, how my legs feel when I wear them, the way they make my hips swing, how they instantly convey a sense of femininity. Plus, and I really cannot offer up a medical explanation for this, so long as they're comfortable, I actually find heels easier and less painful to walk in most of the time than flats. I've never gone on a long trip (by car, train or plane) without wearing heels for that very reason.ReplyDelete
Dear Ally, I truly want to say thank you for your beautiful compliment on my outfit post today. It is, bar none, one of the loveliest things anyone has ever said to me.
That chap has lovely legs and the heel just sets them off. That is the benefit of heels, they give such a nice shape to the leg. I do tend to skip about in flats mainly, though. I seem to have a lot of ground to cover..ReplyDelete
I've never thought about it like that but youre right that women make excuses for why they don't wear heels! I love the look of heels, how they make your legs look and how sassy your stroll becomes and I don't think anyone should be denied of that!ReplyDelete
Wow how fascinating, I had no idea about the history of heels! I think if a guy wants to wear heels, do it. Wear whatever makes you feel good.ReplyDelete
They sure make me feel good!Delete
Lol so true. I seldom wear high heels and I have been questioned for that several times. My only reason is that I walk everywhere and I don't want to screw my feet and back and rather save the heels for special occassions, but still some peeps thinks that due to that detail I am an unfeminine sloth.. :D Screw 'em :DReplyDelete
Be true to yourself, buddy, and ignore what others think.Delete
Haha! Just like pink used to be a masculine color. Ah it all circles around eventually. I say wear what you like.ReplyDelete
I love the look of high heels, but my knees have made me swear off them. Nothing can make me feel sexier than slipping on a pair, but it does crush my pride when I fall face first out of them. ;P Lol! I'll stick to my flats.
Men would wear stockings with their heels, too... How pretty we all once were. I LOVE heels, the added height and leg lengthening qualities are so much fun, not to mention they can be made to look like little pieces of artwork.ReplyDelete
I always loved finding heels on portraits of powerful men of before. Nice to see you shared it in your post.ReplyDelete
I love heels... I just can't walk in them. ;)ReplyDelete
i think i was born with heels. i actually think it takes more effort to walk in flats because i feel like i have to thrust myself forward with each step. but....that doesn't mean that i don't love a comfy flat. my knees need a break every once in a while!ReplyDelete
Oh I LOVE heels. I am already on the taller end of the spectrum being 5'8" (I realize that's not tall tall, but still above average) and when I wear them I feel like I'm soaring. It's also just a thing with ballerinas. I always see the Prima Donnas in heels looking fabulous.ReplyDelete
I have a love-hate relationship with them and not for the usual reasons. I love them because they're beautiful...sculptural. I am drawn to them visually. I hate them because my feet hate them. I really and truly think I am not able to wear them. Maybe my feet are wonky. :( I also think they make my legs look kind of weird; they totally change the shape of my calves, and not in the normal, flattering way. I wish I were one of those women who could have that perfect pair of pumps!ReplyDelete