The ugly shoe Comfort over fashion
CLUNKY, CORK-AND-RUBBERY) COMEBACK. BUT IF ‘UGLY’ IMPLIES OVER FASHION?
because only women who don’t have to bother much with physical labour can tolerate wearing heels all day. Hollywood stars, as our modern-day versions of aristocracy, wear their highest heels for brief moments on the red carpet, and we – the common folk – want to mimic them. Except, instead of posing on red carpets, we hobble from train station to station, taxi to bus, and car to office before we head home to ease our heels off and give our aching feet a rest.
It’s for this reason that the high heel makes some feminists despair. Why do seemingly smart women want to cripple their feet by walking in shoes that are damaging? It seems that the higher up the ladder women go, the higher their heels get.Are we teaching young girls that to dress for success you have to squeeze your feet into vertiginous heels? Feminist writer Caitlin Moran was once asked (by Stylist magazine) if there was one thing, above all else, that she would take as an indication that feminism was succeeding. ‘When a woman goes up to collect the Oscar for best actress in shoes that aren’t killing her,’ she responded. ‘Nicole Kidman in flip-flops. That’s my end-point.’
The first high-powered woman to change the game recently was Michelle Obama, who always chooses low pumps and kitten heels, even for dressy and formal occasions. Through her wardrobe, she shows that style and comfort can meet. However, it’s significant that it’s not the First Lady’s simple and sensible (but still chic) sense of style that has caught on. It is the downright dowdy shoe that’s being replicated on the streets.It’s an indication that there’s something tongue-in-cheek about the present trend, but also that ugly shoes are being worn to make a statement: my shoes don’t need to be secretly, compromisingly comfortable; they can be openly, emphatically so.
Perhaps fashion-forward women are tired of dissing Crocs only to go home and slip their feet into them when no one’s looking. There’s a silent agreement among womenfolk: packed away in our wardrobes are all the comfortable slip-ons and fluffy flats that we dream about while we’re towering over everybody in pinching stilettos at work and at parties. Now that stars and models have been seen about town in the shoes we usually keep hidden, our cupboards might start to rearrange themselves too.
Are we ready to follow suit? I admit to the world that every winter, as I look for that coveted high-heeled ankle boot, one of my stops is always the Aerosole shoe shop.Yet I’ve never bought a pair because I’m afraid they might be judged for looking frumpy and not sexy enough. So I find myself, again, at a shop whose shoes I know will hurt and most likely won’t even keep my feet warm. Who knows how long the ugly shoe trend will last. But it feels good to finally come clean, because in truth: the ugly shoe never really went away. It’s been sitting at home, where no one will see us wearing it and accuse us of being common.