Height is power “ at least that’s what we’ve been telling ourselves when walking home with blistered soles after a late night out. However, this season, heel heights are all over the map, and while some of us may breathe a sigh of relief, others may be wondering if it means a break from their beloved stilettos. Here’s our guide to heel heights for the fall and how to make them work for you.
The tried-and-true favourite of every season, flats have established themselves not only as a comfortable go-to, but as timelessness realized, with their adaptability and ever-changing aesthetics working alongside nearly every outfit. Few things look as sharp as oxfords and skinny jeans or penny loafers and tights, and with these lace-up or slip-on classics, regardless of natural height, you’ll be ahead of the curve.
However, the same cannot be said for flat boots “ at least when it comes to looks good with anything. As boots already serve to dress down an ensemble, pairing them with a delicate dress or anything beyond jeggings, tights or jeans will make you look mismatched and unpolished. And while the grunge look may still be in full effect, it’s the intention behind it that pulls it together.
Mid-Height and Chunky
True to fashion’s affair with the 1990s, chunky heels are in full effect “ but unlike the dated platforms you skim over at the vintage store, this season’s efforts are a little more streamlined. When it comes to boots, opting for a barely-there heel will allow you to maintain a low-key look without committing to the casual title, and since the heel “ regardless of height “ adds some definition, your ensemble will automatically become a little more streamlined.
However, while you may think the combination of increased substance and heel height will leave you clomping around the sidewalk, the lace-up or slouchy qualities of this season’s footwear will balance it out and make your style completely adaptable. And with vintage looks being so prevalent, not all heels are staying true to their Courtney Love vibe (case in point: Mad Men inspired kitten heels and 60s-influence ankle boots). So whether worn with a dress, legging and sweater combo or skirt and cardigan, you can rest assured mid-height heels are this season’s bona fide go-to, taking you from casual to upper class in a single step.
Now here’s when things get a little tricky. A cross between a standard stiletto and a flat, the kitten heel is the eternal throwback to 1950s fashion, with its delicate shape acting as the essential counterpart to all things feminine. However, because of its small heel, to wear it with a heavier piece will leave you looking off-balance, so while you may think shorts, tights and a sweater will work with its classic shape, the burliness of your top requires something like oxfords or old fashioned Docs.
Instead, pair your kitten heels with a full skirt ala Mad Men, or a 90s mini floral print and cashmere cardigan. This type of shoe allows you to experiment with all things girlie, so instead of playing down your femininity, use them as an excuse to wear your pencil skirts, dresses and printed tights.
Regardless of season, height will always remain en vogue, but unlike the accessibility of the flat shoe or chunky middle heel, the super-high stiletto heel is not one to be taken lightly. While not all heels are super-skinny (this season’s clog boasts an incredibly chunky heel), their repercussions tend to be the same, meaning the balls of your feet may become strained if you opt out of insoles and you’ve been on your feet all day.
That’s why it’s best to reserve this type of footwear for formal occasions where sitting takes precedence. Unless you’re well-adjusted to strutting your stuff ala Carrie Bradshaw, by the end of the night “ regardless of pump, clog or thigh-high boot “ you may wish you wore slippers instead.