Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

How to make yourself look short and fat


This girl called Alexa Chung went into Russell and Bromley and bought a pair of black loafers and now Agyness Deane has a pair too and so we all have to wear them.

In my own quest for shoes I could walk in, I tried a pair on a few months ago was too depressed by the vision of myself in the mirror to buy them.

My legs+flats=low self-esteem.

Jess Cartner-Morley has also given them a whirl. She points out that if we must suffer to be beautiful, we also have to suffer to be fashionable. With sky-high heels the suffering is physical, with loafers, its psychological. Which is worse? The pain of heels is temporary, mental anguish can scar you for life:


If ballet flats can feel a bit twee and mousy, loafers have about them a strident air of the fifth form prefect. They make my legs and feet look about as delicate as hockey sticks. But this season, fifth form prefect has come over all sixth form common room cool. Hey, you have to suffer to be beautiful; you have to ditch your vanity to be comfortable. For once, it all makes sense.




Pass.

17 comments:

Rosaria said...

Ballet flats make me look as though I'm retarded, and loafers shorten my legs by, oh, about a third. I also tried nearly flat, sort of like a slight pump,and looked like my mother on a good day. So here's the thing. We had an absolute bitch as a story editor, and one day I decided that nothing less than killer heels would do as a way to stomp her into her corner. I wore sports shoes on the commute to work, as do many women, I noticed, then slipped into the ab fab shoes just before I walked into the office. It made such a difference to my attitude. And the office dragon was sent packing.

I won't give up killer heels, they are excellent weapons and morale boosters when needed, but oh I wish for sexy shoes that I can wear down the street.

Toby Wollin said...

The way I handle the 'low shoes make me look short' thing is this: low shoes go with pants of the same color; if I want to wear a dress or skirt, it's heels. I seem to also have an odd proportion to my legs(case of 'low knees' perhaps?), so I tend to look more stumpy than the usual.

lagatta said...

I just wish I could find pretty shoes that don't kill my feet (I have arthritis).

rosaria, I don't mean to be PC (not at all offended by the post title, and I'm not tall and model-slim) but I do find "retarded" a rather offensive term, no?

And I would certainly never wear white trainers with office clothes.

Deja Pseu said...

I mostly wear trousers, and have a pair of "1803" black walking loafers I absolutely adore (in fact I'm on my 2nd pair); they carried me all over Paris last year with nary a blister or tired foot. You can get them here. But with skirts, or as a fashion statment, bien sur que non.

When I care more about style than logging 10 miles a day on cobblestones, but don't want to wear heels, I go with low heel pointy-toe skimmers.

Deja Pseu said...

rosaria and lagatta,

Regarding the use of "retarded," as the mother of a mentally retarded kid, I've learned to turn a "blind ear" when I people use the word to describe someone stupid or something they don't like. I think it's just become part of the lexicon, but that doesn't stop me sometimes from wishing people would be a bit more selective in its use. No one chooses to be mentally retarded, so there are better words to use to critique people's choices or behaviors. Still, I don't mean this as a rebuke, just wanted to share my thoughts.

Elaine said...

I do occasionally wear flats even though I'm 5'2" and they tend to make me look dumpy. I wear something really smashing on top and tell myself that no one will notice my lower half but deep down I know I'm not fooling anyone. A wedge with a 2" or 3" heel is a nice compromise. I get just enough height that I don't look out of proportion (I'm all torso and no leg) but they're still comfortable enough to wear all day.

miss cavendish said...

I just can't bear loafers, especially loafers with high heels. They are the epitome of dowdy for me.

greying pixie said...

I have not worn heels for about 15 years, but I do remember in my 20s and 30s that when I wore flats during the summer I would also lose a couple of kilos in weight due to the fact that I could run around and walk quickly.

I would never bother with heels now at 47. If I wear a skirt or dress I wear opaque tights and flat Ferragamo court shoes which I think of as a French look. It helps to elongate my dumpy leg. I also find flats help me to stand tall with stomach in and being able to move in an agile way makes me look and feel young and fresh.

I think length of skirt and colour of tights has a lot to do with the problem of flats. Unless you have really good legs it just isn't possible to do a straight swap of heel height.

greying pixie said...

Dear all, in relation to your comments on 'retarded' and clothing, I am reminded of the work of the late Diane Arbus, a wonderful photographer years ahead of her time, who visited a home for children and adults with learning difficulties. The photographs she took during these visits are haunting and inspiring in their beauty, simplicity and frankness. And the choice of clothes of the subjects really brings home the strength of the human awareness of self-presentation.

Duchesse said...

I once read in interview with Claudie Pierlot, and she said she never wore heels because "At one point, I had to choose between my heels and my smile". This is the case for me too. I don't have nice legs- they are long but no ankles. So I 'cheat' for heels with a mid-wedge and keep the throat on any shoe cut fairly low.

Duchesse said...

Lagatta- I am not sure if Arche shoes are your style but they are wonderful to wear.

lagatta said...

Yes, duchesse, and I do have a pair of Arche shoes. No, not exactly my style, but less ugly than say Mephisto (even the more stylish ones are rather mumsy, alas!).

And such shoes cost as much as fashion footwear...

Hester said...

I am in college, not the office, so maybe this is a bit more permissible than if I were older, but I have a fantastic pair of moccasins. They provide the same amount of comfort as loafers, are much more original than ballet flats, and best of all the light tan color matches my skin to keep my legs from looking short. For a petite gal like me, this was definitely a great buy.

villanelle said...

Ugh - loafers. Having believed the hype, I tried on several pair of loafers in Selfridges last weekend. Foolish of me. It should be impossible for shoes to make one look older, but these did -not to mention squat, round-shouldered and generally depressed.

Once he'd stopped laughing, though, my husband felt moved to assuage my trauma by buying me a pair of killer 5" plaforms. So all's well that ends well.

Stephanie said...

A few years back I jumped on the Todds bandwagon, thinking that a pair of driving mocs would be just the ticket for a new mom on the go. Ugghhh. I looked like a dork. A flat footed, dumpy dork. I can not wear heels for any length of time, as I have pins and rods and plates holding my leg and ankle works together, but with dresses I opt for a mid wedge and opague hose or tights. Otherwise, lovely sandals or a CONSTRUCTED flat. That is to say that kid soft ballet flats have a tendency on my size 11 feet (thanks to my 3 kids for that...I started out a 9)to curl up at the toe, lending an unwelcomed elfin air to my feet. A pointy toed leather flat works well with jeans and pants.

And also, my cousin is retarded and has a heart as big as Montana sky; surely with all the words available in the English language, one can do better...

rb said...

1) I hate loafers. I think they're far to masculine for most women to pull off.

2) I thought we weren't supposed to call retarded people "retarded" anymore?

tynegal said...

Paloma Picasso once said she would rather go barefoot than wear flat shoes. I'm in that club.