I wish I could wear flat shoes. I own a glorious pair of Marc by Marc Jacobs Moccasins that are fur lined and feel like I’m walking on clouds. They’re nice for knocking around the house and hitting up the park with my small person, but I couldn’t go too far in them, despite the fact that they are a joy. The last time I wore a pair of flats for a reasonable length of time, I ended up changing into one of my four pairs of Emergency Heels that I keep in my office. Yes. I am aware that this makes me sound like a fucking crazy lady, but my calves were KILLING. I have finally broken my body and now it expects nothing less than a three inch heel.
My gnarly old extremities have worn everything from the incredible (towering Vivienne Westwood patent platforms) to the elegant (YSL stilettos) to the downright ugly (brogues. Who invented brogues. They’re fucking DISGUSTING) and the incredibly functional (my teenaged self ADORED Nike Air Max). As a result I have proper Vicky B feet – world weary and requiring plenty of TLC so that they don’t look like the hooves of Zelda from Terrahawks. I am resigned to the fact that unless I spend an obscene amount of money on a pair of shoes that I will have to experience two solid weeks of ‘breaking in’ agony and the mummification of my feet with Elastoplast. But scraping in at a towering and tubby five foot zero means that it’s something I have to live with, lest I eternally stare at the insides of people’s nostrils whilst my clothes drag along the floor.
As I pointed out to a friend only the other day, I have never climbed a mountain, but I’ve worn pairs of shoes worth £500. I sense that my priorities require some serious fucking realignment. I’d really love to be one of the worlds great highbrow thinkers, with an IQ the size of a continent and an absolute grasp of world politics, economics, physics or some super-clever shit. Or maybe I could be a peace envoy or volunteer in a hospital in a war-torn country. But the reality is…I also really really REALLY aspire to owning a pair of YSL Tributes in every colour. And when people mix gold and silver hardware in the same outfit, it really bothers me. The closest I come to highbrow is when my threading lady attacks my arch. I am clearly as shallow as a fucking puddle.
I have defended my passion for beautiful footwear by using arguments one would normally reserve for architecture. A well-designed pair of heels will require very little effort to walk in, crafted as they are for perfect weight distribution. High quality materials ensure that you’ll never suffer a blister. They can enhance the way you walk, purely by the correct placement of a stiletto heel. This can make you feel confident, sexy, feisty or just feel plain good old-fashioned ‘a bit nice on a crap day’. When you see a woman walking like they’re struggling to stay upright, sticking out their arse to keep balance, then you know without even hearing that nasty ‘clack clack’ noise that they are wearing A Fucking Shit Pair Of Shoes. They might look glorious on the shelf, but they’re essentially porno shoes. Because the only way those heel-stripping bastards are going to make you look hot is if you’re lying down in them.
However, my love and desire for glorious shoes has, at points, put me on an absolute war-footing with myself. Which is a bloody weird place to be in anyone’s book. There’s the obvious frivolousness of spending daft cash on a cheeky little platform sling-backed stiletto when there are people who cannot afford to eat. I am endlessly confronting that particular shitstorm and attempting to redress the balance with all sorts of activities and donations. There is also a train of thought that suggests any woman who spends any significant amount of time on her ‘look’ is at the mercy of the patriarchy and therefore a ‘crap feminist’. I can be conned into buying most things (the less said about my mock-croc Mary Janes, the better), but I don’t buy that shit. Show me anyone, male or female who swears blind that they don’t give a fuck what they look like and show you a bone fide, 100%, dyed-in-the-wool big-time bullshitter.
It’s really all about why you choose to look the way you do, not who you do it for. If your intention is to make heads turn because it makes you feel good about yourself then all the convoluted arguments about patriarchal society dictating that women must look attractive mean nothing. I’m perfectly happy to check-out a woman who is rocking a superb ensemble and I feel awesome when occasionally women do it back to me, so that somewhat fucks that particular argument straight back into the arse it came from.
Surely feeling great about yourself is the ultimate in feminism. As is choosing how and where you spend your money to do it. So yeah, I may not be saving lives or doing my foreshortening calves any favours, but this is my way of being part of the sisterhood AND uplifting the economy every time I step out the door. Plus pointing out the mismatch thing to people is practically humanitarian, right?