First there was Cinderella, then there was Carrie Bradshaw. We explain the fascinating reasons why footwear is seducing our imaginations — and emptying our wallets — more than ever.
High heels are definitely one of the most important items in any girl’s wardrobe. A good pair can make any woman feel elegant, slender and very glamorous. I’m a huge fan of high heels and like to wander around in 4-5 inch heels. They actually have a long and really remarkable history behind them.
The history of high heels can actually be traced back to Egypt, 3500BC, where murals on walls show upper class citizens wearing heels for ceremonial purposes.
However, it wasn’t until the 16th century when it is claimed that high heels were properly invented. It was in 1533, when Catherine de Medici decided to wear heels on her wedding day to Henry II, a Duke and the future King of France. She was 14 and quite short (not more than 5 foot), so asked a cobbler to make her shoes that would make her appear much taller on her wedding day.
Apparently, she wasn’t really a beauty and her husband had a tall and really pretty mistress. She wanted to dazzle the French on her wedding day, so opted for 2 inch heels to make her appear slightly taller, and appear to have a more towering physique. It is claimed that she is the original inventor of the high heel, and she did set the rage in Paris for heeled shoes.
It remained that only the rich wore heels for quite some time, and even in the early 1700′s, Louis XIV (King of France) decided to wear very high heels (often up to 5”), which had decorative patterns on them, such as miniature battle scenes. It was Madame de Pompadour who helped Louis popularize high narrow heels, which are often referred to as either the ‘Louis’ heel or the ‘Pompadour’ heel.
It wasn’t until my favorite period of history, the roaring twenties, that the heel regained it’s full glory again. Hemlines became much shorter, and this encouraged very high and slender heels.
Both the 30′s and 40′s were tough times, so the heel became more moderate, with lower and wider heels. At the same time, though, Hollywood gave the heel a new edge, with many actresses wearing sparkly and glittery heels, which challenged the traditional French heel.
Today, all women love to shop – it’s a fact, there is not a single female out there who does not like to go out and spend money on herself to boost the ego or treat herself to a reward for something or another.
All those wonderful feelings are intensified when you choose to put on high heels…but, it’s biology, not Jimmy Choo, at work. “Like most animals, we’re wired to associate height with power,” says Helen Fisher, PhD, professor of anthropology at Rutgers University.
“High heels can literally raise your status because you’re taller when you wear them,” says Helen Fisher
Heels carry historical significance as well, adding to their appeal. In previous centuries, only the wealthy wore high heels — everyone else had practical footwear to do manual labor. “Shoes were a measure of class,” says Fisher, “and we still have a bit of that mind-set ingrained in us.”
Now go even higher — to stilettos — and another element rears its head: sex. Stilettos are undoubtedly foxy, but why, exactly? “When a woman wears them, she assumes a primal mating pose called lordosis,” says Fisher. “Her butt lifts, and her back arches.”When it comes to a physical appearance it is easy to understand why a woman will love the way a stiletto will make her feel because how she is viewed physically. Wearing a high heel elongates a woman’s leg, making her seem taller and in some weird way, a taller appearance tricks the mind into seeing a thinner physical appearance.
But there’s more to it than how hot your ass looks. According to Daniel Amen, MD, author of The Brain in Love, our minds are structured in a way that may associate feet with sex. “The area of the brain that communicates with the genitals is right next to the area that deals with the feet,” says Dr. Amen. “These regions share neural crosstalk, which may be why shoes can be erotic.” And we thought it was just our lust for high style talking.
written by: Aneliya Vassilieva, Partner/Senior Editor