Yeah, yeah, sure, sure. We’ve covered The Great Debate — most recently last December when Amelia waxed mind-numbing poetic on a pair of violet-colored shoes that she was too pretentious to just call purple. She went on to mention Jackie O and Betty Boop (impressively in the same sentence) but ultimately reached no conclusion on the topic of a conundrum that has been permeating genres within the fashion industry since long before the progeny of Stan Smith — white tennis sneakers marked with a silhouette of his face — first stepped foot (pun wholly intended) on the Upper West Side last February.
So, what’s it gonna be? Heels or flats?
According to a story in T Magazine’s September issue, the rage is on in the direction of flat footwear, which, according to the story’s author, is superseding the symbolism linked to the high heel in one very critical way. The humble former has become representative of power while the latter, a past talisman of polish, strong work ethic and elegance — attributes that when rolled into one make up the physical manifestation of power — slips to the sideline.
The question of why this is happening has largely been answered with the simple concept of a) the cyclical nature of fashion and b) wearer resentment toward years spent enduring the pain to appropriately dress the part.
But here’s what I don’t get: have we really been enduring pain on a historical scale here? Enough to credit the current pervasiveness of sneakers? Until about five years ago, the heels weren’t so high that we were conclusively unable to walk. It was only after the resurgence of heels in popular culture became so mainstream that in order to trigger higher pressure valves, there was only one direction in which to move — and that was up. Way, way up. Some might credit Christian Louboutin, a champion of the 5+ inch heel within the high fashion world, for the proliferation of this trend and his success has only really exploded on a widely global scale in the last decade.
Don’t get me wrong here — I see what’s happening, I’m participating in what’s happening, I’m just not quite sure it’s fair to blame heels for the recent popularity of flat shoes. And because, you know, this is the cogitation station, I would love to hear not whether you’re choosing flats over heels, but why you’re choosing flats over heels?
If you don’t feel like talking, just settle on clicking.