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?