Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Climb down off the stilts girls, fashion's going flat

Victoria Beckham
Victoria Beckham

Four from the top and two from the bottom – the numbers just don't add up for former Countdown co-host Carol Vorderman, who has just broken her nose in a horrific clash with a wall after a tumble down a flight of stairs.

The brainiest of Granada's army of mid-morning lipstick hosts now seems anything but smart. By her own admission, she ran down a stairwell in four-inch heels – with her hands in her pockets.

Many are wondering if the Loose Woman had a greased wheel at the time of her fall, or if the whole thing was a nose-job cover-up.

The bigger issue, though, is the rise and fall of the high heel. We're sorry to say it ladies, but in the name of health, safety and dignity, stilt-walking in the name of fashion is on the out.

If we can't walk in them, are likely to sustain injuries and can't really afford them, why on earth do we wear them?

Like men following a football team destined to fail, many women experience twisted enjoyment from the physical and financial pain of association with their skyscraper heels.

Egged on by chauffeur-driven celebrities who only actually stand for half-an-hour a day, women have been fooled into thinking that the pain is worth the prestige.

Admitting to a shoe fetish delivered instant sophistication in the early-2000s. The retail antics of the Sex And The City TV version of Imelda Marcos, Carrie Bradshaw, imparted upon a generation that a wall of designer shoe boxes is the ultimate personal goal. What the lovers of hiked-up fashion didn't seem to get is that they look ridiculous. They might look good for five minutes at the top of the stairs, before a literal or figurative tumble in self-respect.

Fear not, even before Vorderman had her senseless mishap, fashion and celebrity were waving the flat pump. In 2009, Posh professed her love of high heels, in spite of a reported case of bunions.

But cut to 2013 and you'll find pared-back fashion designer Vicky professing her love of a simple flat Chelsea boot and more evidence of a sartorial transformation courtesy of a heel-less collaboration with Manolo Blahnik.

Stylists have been steadily taking the height down a few notches, as the likes of Michelle Obama and Marc Jacobs dictated the new wave.

While Mrs Obama has single-handedly okayed it for the working mothers of America to embrace a ballet flat and kitten heel, this season Jacobs reinvented the 1960s winkle-picker for the new Millennium.

So while, in theory, high heels are the embodiment of power, style and confidence, no other accessory or garment causes as much damage to the feet, bank account, gait and ego. It's time to give up the ghost, girls.

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