[x]Blackmoor Vituperative

Sunday, 2012-04-15

Goatee vs. Van Dyke

Filed under: Fashion — bblackmoor @ 21:09
Goatee vs. Van Dyke

Van Dykes are not goatees. Goatees are not Van Dykes. For pete’s sake, use the right term. Calling a Van Dyke a “goatee” is like calling your beard your “eyebrows”.

Sunday, 2011-05-01

How to walk in stiletto heels

Filed under: Fashion — bblackmoor @ 01:31
Sexy heels

I have mixed feelings about high heels. On the one hand, I think they are ridiculous. By any reasonable standard, wearing high heeled shoes is impractical, if not outright self-destructive. I have to wonder why on earth would anyone wear anything so stupid.

One the other hand, they are sexy. It’s kind of like cigarettes: I do not smoke, but it looks cool when other people do. It just does. I’d smoke , too, if it didn’t kill you. And if cigarettes still cost $1.00 a pack. But I digress.

So, in an effort to ameliorate the damage that high heels do, I present this “how-to” on how to wear them without causing undue pain or injury. (This was not written by me. It was a “How-to of the day” on wikihow.) Incidentally, I do not like the thick-soled pumps that are reminiscent of the shoes worn by Frankenstein’s monster. Those are just clunky and ugly, despite currently being in style. Having a club foot is not sexy (much less two of them). I do have to say that they are an improvement over the ludicrous clown shoes that were in style a few years ago.

And now… from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

Stilettos are not your everyday shoe but they are definitely the shoe for parties, especially the cocktail soirée. Walking in stilettos can be a challenging experience for the novice though and it can lead lesser mortals to squeal in pain and giving up on the stilettos before they’ve grown used to them. Balance really matters when wearing stilettos; all of your body weight is placed onto the balls of your feet when wearing high heels, so walking well matters![1]
Fear not, gracefulness and confidence will win through, provided you’re determined. All you need is a little know-how on choosing the right stiletto and walking in it “just so”.

Steps

  1. Select a decent pair of stiletto heels when purchasing them. Avoid buying cheap stilettos because they’ll never look anything but cheap and they may just break when you least expect it. More worrying is the fact that cheap stilettos tend to be incredibly uncomfortable no matter what you do to them.[2] When getting the stilettos fitted, apart from color, beauty, and style, there are some key things to check to ensure that you won’t be wincing in pain for the hours you intend wearing them:[3]
    • Prefer the well-made stiletto because it will reduce the chance of feeling pain. It won’t necessarily be entirely pain-free (there is small price for some beauty) but it should feel comfortable as a whole.
    • Check the fit of the toe. It should not be too tight when you apply pressure. If your toe feels crammed into the end, it’ll feel worse after several hours of that pressure.
    • Check the width of the heel. It should not be too narrow. A heel should fit snugly and if it is narrow, add a heel liner.[4] The heel should be reinforced, usually by a steel tube inside of it.[5] Ask the retailer for advice on the heel’s make-up. Keep in mind that a plastic heel tip can be replaced with rubber for a softer walk.[6]
    • Check the centering of the heel. Ideally, the shoe’s heel should be centered under your own heel.[7]
    • Check the placement of the arch. Your foot arch should be completely supported by the shoe sole. If there are any gaps in the arch, the shoe is not fitting properly and will cause you pain.
    • Buy your proper size. This should go without saying but sometimes a moment of weakness can cause you to think that the half size smaller than what you normally wear won’t matter. It will, and sooner than you can possibly imagine from just trying them on.
  2. Before all else, proceed with caution. The higher the heel, the less sturdy you will feel, and the greater the chance of a fall. When learning to walk in a stiletto heel, take it easy and slowly to begin with and practice in short bursts to allow yourself rests between tries.
    • If you’re not already familiar with walking in high heels, it is suggested that you try shorter heels before progressing to stilettos, increasing by half an inch (1.27cm) after mastering each height.[8]
    • Consider stretching before wearing stilettos. This gives your legs a chance to limber up and be warm before the stiletto stretches the muscles.
  3. Begin by standing in the stilettos. Simply allow yourself to get used to how it feels to have the stilettos on your feet initially. Since the feeling is likely to be new, only stand for a few minutes at the start, gradually increasing the time you stand in them, up to an hour.[9] If that seems like a long time practicing, get a good Jane Austen novel and suck it up because that’s precisely what you and your stilettos will be doing at the party!
    • It is recommended that you stand in front of a mirror so that you can assess your posture and adjust it as needed. You will probably notice any compensatory mannerisms your body is trying to adopt to cope with the height and sway created by the heels, the more so the longer you stand, so check and readjust every few minutes.
    • The surface of the floor should be non-slippery to begin with but not too shaggy or your balance will be difficult.
  4. Start practicing walking in the heels. Initially, stay in the same area you have been practicing standing. Walk to and from the mirror to see how you’re coping and what your gait looks like. Adjust accordingly. When practicing walking, keep the following tips in mind:
    • Step with your heel first, ball of the foot second, toes last. Follow a heel-ball-toe, heel-ball-toe rhythm, while distributing most of your weight on the ball of your foot, and toes, not over the heel.[10] The higher the heel, the more your center of balance is shifted, so that your backside and breasts (if relevant) are pushed out.[11]
    • Stand straight, even if it leaves you feeling unbalanced. High heels tend to give a sensation of being unbalanced, causing the wearer to lean forward to compensate.[12] You won’t fall backwards when standing straight because the heel is anchoring you, so straighten up with confidence! Keep your stomach in and your chest out to help ensure good posture.
    • Place one foot out in front of the other. Always lead with the foot you’re most comfortable with, the one that feels naturally inclined to step forward first. Take short steps rather than long strides.[13] Keep your legs together as you walk and avoid bending any more than is usual while you walk.[14]
    • Don’t spend all your time looking down! Keep your head up and your eyes focused on where you’re headed.
  5. Change surfaces. Once you’re comfortable walking in the initial space, start walking on different surfaces (hardwood, tiles, carpet, etc.) to notice how it feels and to learn how to cope with changing surfaces underfoot. Try to stay off soft surfaces like cork though, as the heel will leave indentations that are permanent. Challenge yourself a little more by carrying things such as a bag, a cup of tea, a book, etc. Move about the house and simply get used to how it feels as you go, correcting your posture every now and then.
  6. Take a walk outdoors. Get used to the feel of concrete, gravel, and other outdoor surfaces. You’ll find you sink into some surfaces, such as grass, so either avoid them, or learn to glide over them quickly using the ball of your feet only (hard work). Avoidance of soft surfaces is much advised!
    • Outdoor surfaces to beware of include cobblestones, steel grates, grass, soil, holes, and boardwalks.
    • Stairs require learning of their own. Always land on each step in a sideways or sidestepping motion when descending, with all of the foot landing on each step at once (heel, ball, and toe).[15] When ascending, only use the sole/flat area of the shoe to power up the stairs.
  7. Attend the party in your stilettos and enjoy yourself. Your hard work to get to this point has paid off, and now it’s time to party! One neat trick that can come in handy for the novice stiletto wearer is to take along a spare pair of shoes in case the stilettos really begin to hurt you. Quietly change the shoes unobserved toward the end of the occasion so that you can either dance, or go home in complete comfort. Having a little shoe bag for containing the shoes discreetly is a wise option.
  8. Stretch after removing stilettos. Stilettos can stiffen calf muscles and when worn too much, all high heels can shorten your calf muscles and Achilles tendons permanently.[16] As such, it is advisable to do toe touches and other stretches after wearing your heels.
    • Regular stretching exercises should be a part of the daily heel wearer’s routine, as well as interchanging with flats. While flats aren’t as flattering, they’re prettier than hospital bootees and a walking cane.[17]

Video

This video explains how to transition from kitten heels right up to stilettos so that you feel confident in stilettos, as well as showing a clear walking demonstration in stilettos.

Tips

  • It is recommended by medical experts that you don’t wear a heel that is higher than 3/4 of an inch or one inch (2.5cm);[18] this will allow for the maximum amount of gracefulness without falling over and injuring yourself.[19] However, stilettos can go higher than six inches (15cm), so recognize that the higher the heel, the more precarious it is to walk.
  • Practice a lot.
  • Learn how to walk in long clothing and stilettos if relevant. Long clothing, such as evening gowns and pants suits can catch on stilettos and cause accidents, or damage to the clothing, so it’s important that you know how to walk in such clothes when wearing stilettos.
  • There are classes offered in some communities or shoe stores for walking in high heels. Have a look online or ask around. You might also ask a friend or someone who sells shoes to help you learn.
  • Good posture is absolutely vital for successful stiletto wearing; whatever else you do, make sure good posture is maintained at all times.
  • Calf muscle strengthening exercises can help you if you plan on wearing stilettos regularly.
  • Always break in new shoes before intending to wear them for a party, especially if you’re expecting to dance and stand for hours.
  • Take some pain relief tablets with you in case you end up in agony by the end of the event.
  • Vary heel heights through the day for kinder treatment of your legs and feet.[20][21] Leave the stilettos for short stints, such as the cocktail party, and always have flats on reserve. It is also recommended that heels only ever be worn part-time.[22]
  • Thin liners for the ball area of the shoe are available. These provide a “cushioning” effect and will help prevent your foot from sliding forward in the shoe and getting crushed, cramping your toes.[23]

Warnings

  • Running in stilettos is not recommended. You could try but it’s not likely to end prettily.
  • Never drive in stilettos or high heels of any kind. Always keep a pair of safe driving shoes in the car and change into them for driving.
  • High heels can damage your feet and legs if care is not taken. See your doctor if you experience pain as a result of wearing high heels. Problems that can occur include DVT (deep vein thrombosis), broken bones or fractures from falls, ball-of-foot pain (metatarsalgia), cracked skin, and unidentifiable pains.[24]
  • Don’t try on new shoes first thing in the morning or after you’ve been on your feet all day. Your feet will be at their worst at these times.[25]
  • Not everyone can walk in stilettos. If you have tried and continue to feel nothing but pain, or you totally lack confidence that this is ever going to work for you, then don’t fret. There are plenty of fantastic shoe alternatives in the world to keep you appearing just as beautiful as ever, and they don’t have to be stilettos. Hand your failed pair of stilettos over to a friend who can make use of them and use this as an excuse to go out and buy a chic pair of shoes with a heel size, or even no heels, that you know you’ll love walking in. It is just not worth getting into a tizzy over – if stilettos aren’t working for you, they’re just not worth persevering with.
  • Some people espouse looking gorgeous over feeling comfortable by accepting that looking good isn’t always about feeling good.[26] For a big event, this is an okay attitude but don’t take it to extremes and consider it’s the norm for all occasions. Elevated heels can result in foot, calf, hip, and back pain.[27]

Things You’ll Need

  • Stilettos
  • A safe place to practice

Related wikiHows

Sources and Citations

  1. InStyle, Secrets of Style, p. 124, (2003), ISBN 1-932273-04-2
  2. Nina Garcia, The Style Strategy: A less-is-more approach to staying chic and shopping smart, p. 54, (2009), ISBN 978-0-06-183401-1
  3. Nina Garcia, The Style Strategy: A less-is-more approach to staying chic and shopping smart, p. 54, (2009), ISBN 978-0-06-183401-1
  4. Chic Simple, Women’s Wardrobe, p. 183, (1995), ISBN 0-500-01681-X
  5. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A3724977
  6. InStyle, Secrets of Style, p. 124, (2003), ISBN 1-932273-04-2
  7. InStyle, Secrets of Style, p. 124, (2003), ISBN 1-932273-04-2
  8. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A3724977
  9. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A3724977
  10. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A3724977
  11. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A3724977
  12. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A3724977
  13. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A3724977
  14. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A3724977
  15. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A3724977
  16. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A3724977
  17. Chic Simple, Women’s Wardrobe, p. 89, (1995), ISBN 0-500-01681-X
  18. Chic Simple, Women’s Wardrobe, p. 183, (1995), ISBN 0-500-01681-X
  19. Nina Garcia, The Style Strategy: A less-is-more approach to staying chic and shopping smart, p. 54, (2009), ISBN 978-0-06-183401-1
  20. Chic Simple, Women’s Wardrobe, p. 183, (1995), ISBN 0-500-01681-X
  21. InStyle, Secrets of Style, p.124, (2003), ISBN 1-932273-04-2
  22. Chic Simple, Women’s Wardrobe, p. 89, (1995), ISBN 0-500-01681-X
  23. Chic Simple, Women’s Wardrobe, p. 183, (1995), ISBN 0-500-01681-X
  24. http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A3724977
  25. Nina Garcia, The Style Strategy: A less-is-more approach to staying chic and shopping smart, p. 53, (2009), ISBN 978-0-06-183401-1
  26. Rachel Zoe, Style A to Zoe, p. 72, (2007), ISBN 0-446-57999-8
  27. Chic Simple, Women’s Wardrobe, p. 183, (1995), ISBN 0-500-01681-X

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