Are high heels dead?

It’s the sort of question that 2017 Carrie Bradshaw might ask in her column… are high heels dead?

After decades of towering stilettos, flatforms, and even armadillo heels (thank you McQueen…), we are trading in couture for comfort. Yep – flats are finally ‘in’. At least according to Harling Ross at Man Repeller.

Are high heels dead?

“I blame the sneaker craze of 2014,” says Ross. “Well actually, “blame” is the wrong word. “Credit” is better, because I’m grateful the craze occurred. To recap: Sometime around 2014, street-style stars and high-end brands magically colluded (a.k.a. it was a chicken-and-egg situation — I’m not quite sure who had the idea first, although Isabel Marant’s wedge sneakers might very well have been the embryo) to enforce the concept of wearing gym sneakers with non-athletic attire. All of a sudden, sneakers were not only acceptable every-occasion footwear, but they were also COOL.

“Up until then, fashionable footwear and comfort were treated as mutually exclusive, so it makes perfect sense why the trend caught on so quickly and so universally. The comfort was addicting. Walking ten blocks didn’t feel like an experiment in pain tolerance. Bunions were no longer de rigeur.

“The sneaker trend had a good run (pun intended), but it maxed out after a couple of years. It was inevitable, given how homogeneous it became. The habituated comfort of forgoing high heels, however, was seared permanently into our psyches. How could it not be? It felt so good!!

“Other high heel-less shoe trends trotted in to fill sneakers’ place. Slides have been a predominant contender of late, but loafers, ballet flats and espadrille wedges form a solid supporting cast of comfortable footwear options.

“We’re fortunate to live in a time when designers are producing an abundance of cool shoes that don’t have high heels — casual ones, fancy ones, in-between ones — leaving us with comfortable and attractive options for almost any circumstance, from leading a board meeting to going out to a fancy dinner. They’re responding to a consistent, consumer-driven demand, no doubt — because now that we’ve tasted the sweet, smooth, buttercream frosting of shoes that not only get you from point A to point B pain-free but also look great simultaneously, why would we ever go back to fondant?”

So should you ditch your Manolos?

Ross makes a good point, but here at A Perfect Look, it will take a lot more than a pretty ballet shoe to wean us off our heels. However, there is no denying the fact that women deserve to have more choice when it comes to our footwear. After all, even Carrie broke the odd heel while running for a cab…

Ten ways to wear a plain white shirt

The plain white shirt is one of the unsung heroes of the female wardrobe. Once you find your perfect fit, you will be amazed at how many outfits can be anchored around this simple staple.

Here are just ten of our favourite outfits for white shirts..

1. Tucked into blue jeans

Without a doubt, the most popular way to wear a plain white shirt. This all-American, girl-next-door ensemble suits just about everyone, and can be worn with boots, heels or flats – whatever the occasion requires.

2. Belted as a shirt-dress

Of her many memorable outfits, one iconic Carrie Bradshaw look is the plain white shirt, belted at the waist and worn with nothing but stilettos. It’s a look that exudes confidence and sexuality (especially since Carrie championed the look during the ‘walk of shame’). Choose a man’s shirt, extra-large, or nod to the look with a classic white shirtdress.

3. Over cigarette pants

With most pantsuits, shirts are tucked neatly into the trousers or skirt. But with cigarette pants, the rules are different. By mixing the propositions of the short trouser leg and the long shirt, you can create a cool new silhouette that is still appropriate for the office.

4. With a faux collar

Update any plain white shirt by changing up the neckline. This might mean adding a statement necklace or placing a bib necklace just under the collar. Alternatively, add collar tips to the edges for a unique take on a traditional neckline.

5. As a beach cover-up

Forget kaftans or kimonos, all the cool girls are wearing white shirts over their bikinis on the beach. Linen shirts are best for sandy, sunny weather, and the bigger the better! Accessorise with wedge heels or flipflops, and a wide-brimmed hat.

6. Under a pinafore dress

Pinafore dresses look great with a plain white shirt underneath. Just make sure your shirt is buttoned all the way to the top, and stick to an elegant monochrome palate.

7. With sweats and sneakers

A white shirt with white sneakers and slouchy sweatpants is a great ‘casual-but-not-too-casual’ look. Tuck the front of your shirt into the waistband of your sweats to add some shape.

8. Tied at the waist with a maxi-skirt

Rather than tucking your shirt into your skirt, leave the last few buttons undone and tie the ends together at the waistband. Think Grace Kelly with a 50s pin-up edge. This looks amazing on curvy women, as it accentuates a tiny waist.

9. Under a preppy sweater

This look has been popular for a while now, but the latest version pairs a longline white shirt with a thick knit jumper, and allows the hem of the shirt to peep out at the bottom.

10. Unbuttoned to reveal fancy underwear

This doesn’t need to be as racy as it sounds, but you do need to be brave to try it. Roll up your sleeves and unbutton your shirt until you are showing off a pretty cami, vest top or bustier underneath.

Photo credit: Tradlands via VisualHunt / CC BY

The ultimate investment shoes

Great shoes are a woman’s best friend. They lift any outfit, they make you feel taller, and best of all – if they fit you once they’ll fit you for life. The best shoes – designer shoes – can be prohibitively expensive. But choose the right pair and they will more than earn their worth. That’s why we like to call them ‘investment shoes’.

Here are five iconic pairs that you won’t regret investing in.

1. Gucci Jordaan loafers

You’ll likely be familiar with Gucci’s iconic Horsebit loafer. But Alessandro Michele’s arrival at the helm of Gucci in January 2015 signalled a renaissance for the style. Reworked with a slimmer shape to create the Jordaan style (pictured above), the horsebit-adorned loafer is once again a must-have.

Whether you go for the classic loafer or the ever-popular backless version, it’s a buy you will never regret.

From £410.

2. Chanel two-tone slingbacks

First created by Coco Chanel in 1957, there’s more to Chanel’s two-tone slingbacks than meets the eye; the nude upper lengthens the leg, while the black toe shortens the foot. Genius.

If you can’t find a pair for love nor money, Chanel’s two-tone flat ballet pumps are just as iconic and the colour-way has the exact same effect, even without a heel.

From £540.

3. Christian Louboutin Pigalle pumps

With it’s pointed toe and pencil-straight 120mm heel, the shoe is loved for it’s posture-correcting and leg-lengthening abilities. Kate Moss has countless pairs, and you’ll rarely see her on the red carpet wearing any other shoe.

Black patent is the signature fabrication but due to their popularity they are available in a plethora of fabrics and treatments.

From £475.

4. Chloé Susanna boots

These studded ankle boots, featuring three buckles and a subtle floral motif, captured the zeitgeist with their rock and roll vibe. Eight years after their launch, they still sell like proverbial hot cakes, and they are available in a range pf luxurious fabrics such as calf skin and suede.

Approx. £850.

5. Manolo Blahnik Hangisi pumps

When Carrie Bradshaw chose Manolo Blahnik’s jewel blue Hangisi pumps as her ‘something blue’ when she (finally) married Big in the first Sex and The City film, she unwittingly (or perhaps not) bestowed icon status upon the shoe.

Satin-covered with a 105mm heel, the Hangisi was inspired Napoleon I, Josephine and Pauline Bonaparte. The signature Swarovski-embellished buckle on the toe, meanwhile, was inspired by a vintage piece found by Blahnik, a lover of accessories, in Italy.

From £745.

OK, so just one pair of these shoes might be the equivalent of your whole year’s fashion budget, but that’s why you have to treat them as an investment. Investment shoes are shoes that have already proven their fashion kudos, and they are made to last. Spend a few hundred pounds and you will feel like a million dollars every time you wear them. Now that’s just good maths…