Fashion Friday: Love affair with the heel.

I know, I know. Heels are evil, you say. Health problems! Oppressive and restrictive pictures of what it means to be beautiful! I know.

But I love mine.


(Skirt: A recent Banana Republic sale find. Tee: Also Banana, can’t find a link now though. Sandals: Born.)

Heels visually stretch out my foot and make it part of the leg, which makes them appear longer than they are and brings my lower half closer to balancing my top half. (My legs are athletic, thick and quite short for my height–I am 5’6”, have a 27” inseam, and a 17” calf.) Heels are an integral part of my wardrobe, so this week I thought I’d spend some time talking about how I work them into my daily life without getting sore feet.

First, as you saw in the first Fashion Friday, sometimes my “heels” are essentially just platforms. I love my clogs, it must be said, and wear them all over the place. Something with a little bit of heel that I can run in? Sign me up!

But I also love proper heels–the chunkier the better, to balance out my wider legs. And at least for me, at least so far, I’m completely comfortable in my heels all day without any of the nasty side-effects one reads about. Dansko makes some of my faves, but I’ve also had great luck with Clarks, Sofft, Ecco, and Born. I hear tell of these glorious Fluevogs that are comfy enough to do Disneyland in, and someday my budget will let me verify. There are some things that all of my heels have in common, though:

My daily-wears have a maximum of about a 2” heel and a nice solid foot bed. Nothing precarious for me, thanks! My Danskos came with me on a recent trip to NYC and we walked all over Midtown, with nary a problem.

I do sometimes extend this to about 4” with platforms, like the Born sandals I’m wearing above. I don’t think I’d do Manhattan in them, or a day with the kids, but I find them completely comfortable for an average all-day wear.

I love putting them with a super-long pair of jeans or skirt:


This whole outfit makes me feel about ten feet tall. (Skirt: Boden from a few years ago. Shirt is Gap from 2010.) I have another, similar pair from a couple of years ago from the brand Naya, and they’ve been quite comfortable too. No matter how tall the overall shoe is, for me to be really happy at the end of the day the arch in my foot needs to correspond to no more than a 2” heel. I have no idea how widely-applicable that number is, but thought it worth sharing. It’s probably also worth noting that we have a shoes-off household, so I spend a decent portion of every day with bare feet and do stretch my calves daily.

I feel like I should close this post by reiterating that I believe fashion should be subordinate to our lives, rather than the other way around. For all that I love heels, and am very comfortable in them, I spend a fair amount of time being active outside with the boys. And no way are my clothes going to get in the way of that. So when you see me at the playground, I’ll be looking like this…


…and totally happy with that. How about you? Do you prefer heels, flats, both? Does it depend on the outfit?

(And yes, before someone asks, I have two kinds of jeans–ones hemmed for heels, and ones hemmed for sneakers.)

(…and yes, the ones I wear with sneakers are capris. Hah!)

10 thoughts on “Fashion Friday: Love affair with the heel.

  1. You’re adorable.

  2. I almost never wear heels anymore. Ever since I started running a lot, I’ve given them up. I find that when I’m not wearing heels (or flip flops, either), I have WAY fewer running issues. I’m prone to knee issues and shin splints that can make my runs pretty miserable, so if giving up heels is the thing that helps me avoid that, I won’t even hesitate! That being said, I completely agree with you about the fashion benefits of heels, and I DO still wear them for special occasions, as long as I won’t have to be in them for more than 2-3 hours!

  3. I love this post! I used to wear heels a lot back in highschool, under long pants (I also have short legs and never bothered hemming my pants) but then I started buying flatter shoes, and chose shorter pants to fit (or was it the other way round – not sure). Just recently I was thinking about buying longer pants and new heels…and keeping my short pants for flip flops. I’m glad I’m not the only one!

  4. I like the red skirt for the summer,in cotton.I wear the same,but in dark bleu as your t-shirt.The clogs you wearing,almost the same.I have them without heel strap and a wedge heel.But now I need shoes with a lower heel,getting older :-).
    I prefer a jeans than a long skirt.clothes must be easy to wear and not to tight.But you look great in all those outfits.The deep round neckline make you looks longer.

  5. I live in Dansko Professional clogs most of the year! Love, love, love them! The rest of the year I wear a Dansko shoe that also feels terrific. Which style I wear depends on the thickness of my socks. I’m fortunate to live near Dansko’s headquarters, so I can shop at their outlet. Anyway, nothing precarious for me either!

  6. Hi Amy,

    Thank you for this weekly post. I really enjoy it and have learned some really useful tips. I have short legs and athletic calves and while I love the look of heels my feet are happiest in flats — lace-ups, if possible. I really like jeans but have discovered coloured denim an option.

  7. You always look cute as a button with your big smile and swingy curls! The long skirt and draped top are so elegant on you!

  8. Glad to see I’m not the only one around with a short instep (mine’s 24″). Being vertically challenged, even buying short length pants will cause me to wear heels (can’t stand taking all my pants to be shortened). The height of the heel is dependent on the length of the pant leg…

  9. Sneakers for me – I did go through back surgery and have had problems with my back since I was teenaged. But I absolutely agree with you on all you wrote about heels stretching the legs. I have the short legs/long torso figure also. Sometimes I wear just small heels (like an inch or even less). I do have another problem with heels: I never get around to having more than two pair of jeans that fit me and therefore have no extralong in storage for wearing with higher heels. Maybe I should buy at least one and keep it for special ocasions. With high heels, than.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts!

  10. I love this post. I have short legs and a very muscular calf so I could totally relate and I hate precarious shoes!

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