Flat out? Ac­tu­ally, it’s in...

Heels are not com­pul­sory this sea­son, writes Debra D Bass

Townsville Bulletin - - Savvy -

It’s rare when a trend to­wards com­fort is greeted with less en­thu­si­asm than the lat­est trend in flat footwear. Low heels graced dozens of run­ways re­cently from the likes of Chanel, Lan­vin and Michael Kors.

In Amer­ica’s March is­sue of In­Style mag­a­zine, fash­ion icon Al­ber El­baz of Lan­vin im­parted some wis­dom about what he’s learned from years work­ing in fash­ion. One of the tid­bits he shared was to buy shoes you are com­fort­able in.

For his spring 2011 col­lec­tion, he de­signed ‘‘ these in­cred­i­bly high shoes. I wanted the mod­els to stride down the run­way with real power. But when one af­ter the other stum­bled, I could see fear on their faces.’’

He quickly or­dered up flats for the mod­els to wear, and he said sud­denly the mod­els looked re­laxed and, yes, pow­er­ful. He said their bod­ies moved with con­fi­dence and strength, and the clothes looked more fluid and nat­u­ral be­cause the mod­els felt at ease.

Ju­dith Baumhauer, the in­com­ing pres­i­dent of the Amer­i­can Or­thopaedic Foot and An­kle So­ci­ety, said that high heels are ‘‘ like a tick­ing time bomb’’.

‘‘ By the time you’re 40, you’ve worn out your fore­foot pad­ding and your feet just can’t take the abuse any­more,’’ she said.

She sug­gested de­creas­ing your time in heels as an act of self-preser­va­tion. De­sign­ers, no­to­ri­ous for pre­sent­ing ridicu­lously high heels on the run­way, seem to have taken a turn, prob­a­bly tem­po­rar­ily, to­ward the prac­ti­cal.

Donna Karan showed flats, as did Proenza Schouler. And then came the low heels, kit­ten heels and ba­sic 2-5cm plat­form shoes that added height with­out stress­ing feet on run­ways with fash­ions from Os­car de la Renta, Derek Lam, Tory Burch, Anna Sui, Bal­main, Ba­len­ci­aga, Alexan­der Wang, Ralph Lau­ren, Michael Kors and Marc Jacobs, among oth­ers.

Here’s our hum­ble opin­ion on how to wear flats with your ba­sic wardrobe items.

Jeans For a ca­sual preppy look, pick an an­kle-length jean and wear bal­let-style flats or low heels. You can opt for a 3cm plat­form and boot-cut jeans to lengthen your leg. For a dressier look, opt for a kit­ten heel or a stylish patent-leather thong and slim, trouser fit jeans.

Skirts Long dresses or skirts with a gla­di­a­tor-type san­dal or thongs is a great look. For shorter hem­lines, you might want a shoe that’s closer to your skin tone or neu­tral to keep your leg look­ing longer. The shorter you are, the slim­mer your skirt or dress should fit to give you a longer, slim­mer line. Be mind­ful of an­kle straps, which can draw at­ten­tion to shorter legs, and watch out for ul­tra-clunky thongs that can look stumpy.

Trousers Un­less you have an an­kle-length pant ( never cropped), make sure your pants fall half-way be­tween the back of your heel and the bot­tom of your shoe. There are tem­po­rary tape op­tions to al­ter your pant hems eas­ily. If your shoes are com­pletely flat, they should fall to just over a cen­time­tre above the ground. Evening at­tire Thongs gen­er­ally don’t cut it for evening, but a low heel with a lit­tle em­bel­lish­ment or an un­ex­pected colour can eas­ily com­ple­ment a night-time look. A green dress and yel­low 2cm pumps or white trousers and red gla­di­a­tor heels make a state­ment with­out the need for tow­er­ing heels. Find a great black shoe with prom­i­nent gold or sil­ver hard­ware, and you’ve got a go-to op­tion for a wide va­ri­ety of evening out­fits.

Ca­reer cloth­ing The kit­ten heel is your best friend, and it doesn’t hurt to have a cou­ple of colours to choose from. And there’s a trend for suede lace-up ox­fords that can be a stylish ad­di­tion to a busi­ness suit or skirt. You don’t want to look too ca­sual, so a gla­di­a­tor-shoe might not strike the right tone at your of­fice, but a low heel, patent-leather thong or peep-toe heel un­der 5cm can give your out­fit the right lift.

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