Can YOU walk in high heels?

As some of you may be aware, I am just a tad obsessed with high heels. On my return home from Uni, my shoes had to be transported in two 30" by 20" suitcases. Needless to say a post about these fabulous darlings is long overdue.

Christian Louboutin once said; "When a woman puts on a heel, she has a different posture, a different attitude. She really stands up and has a consciousness of her body." I think this is so true and accurate, and indeed no one is more suitable than Louboutin to comment on all the subtle reactions the heel stimulates and evokes both in the wearer and in passers by. I strongly believe that high heels are a very powerful tool, so if you too believe this, if you are a lover of shoes, or if you have ever experienced the warm flutterings of sexy confidence when you slide your feet into a gorgeous pair of stilettos, then my fellow ladies this blog post is for you! After waffling on a little longer about the sheer amazingosity of heels, as an experienced high heel walker (should be an Olympic sport) I will break a huge taboo by discussing how difficult it actually is to walk in heels and share a few of my personal tips with y'all. Time to feel empowered!

A photo from a shoot I did for my Final Major Project magazine at Uni

*warning: before proceeding I strongly advise you to pop on your favourite heels for a full experience and maximum effect!*

With a formal dress code at my Sixth Form school and working in a central London office as my first main job, I have developed a real attraction to stilettos. I used to go to lectures in a pair of heels almost every day for the three years I was at Uni and my Final Major Project was a Manolo Blahnik magazine prototype. I just absolutely adore how they make me feel: stronger, more confident, empowered, untouchable almost. They transform everything about me from how I hold myself physically to my mood, and most importantly, they change my perception of myself. Putting on a pair of heels when I'm feeling under the weather suddenly makes me feel like I'm worth something. Stepping out in flats makes me feel awkward, stumpy and ploddy; somehow by lifting my heel a few inches off the ground my whole being is elevated.

A photo from a shoot for my Final Major Project magazine at Uni. The shoes, apart from
the sole and the heel, were made by hand. As something I'd never done before it was quite
a challenge!

You know that feeling when it's been raining but you forgot your umbrella so you're soaked wet through and just as you're walking back from a food shop your bags rip open and everything spills out onto the pavement? It's moments like this when I need my heels the most; the times when I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself and need something that not only acts as a 'pick-me-up' but makes me feel a million dollars. My addiction to heels has become so severe that I try to avoid driving so that I can wear them (I do drive in heels but it can be quite uncomfortable so I keep a spare pair of flats in my car, but it makes the whole situation pretty absurd when the first thing you do when you pull up is change your shoes)! Not only do heels make you feel great, they're also really good at toning your legs and making your muscles firmer. They also improve your posture because your body has to compensate for the shift in balance, and make your legs appear longer. What's not to love?!

Are you excited yet? You haven't put the heels on have you. I did say you wouldn't get the full experience without them. Go on, take your slippers off and have a little strut about!

Women don't talk about not being able to walk in heels because for some reason it is assumed that this is a skill we are born with, and even when you've got the hang of it there are so many contributing factors that can cause you to get a bit wobbly. The world isn't kind to our stiletto-clad feet and instead of lovely red carpets unrolling wherever we roam, it presents us with little obstacles from surfaces and textures to changing weather conditions. So the next time you're meeting for drinks in Covent Garden or you need to pass through a marble-paved shopping centre, consider this advice from "the girl rarely seen wearing flats" to help keep you walking tall and strong!..

1. Plan the route ahead
One of the most important things when wearing heels is to be aware of where you're next step is going to be. Anything from a pebble to a wet patch of pavement can cause you to tumble so you need to be surveying the path ahead of you. I'm not saying don't look up, just keep it casual! Simply glance down and forward every now and again so as to avoid any unfriendly cracks or bumps in the road.

2. Feel the beat!
Get a rhythm going! I always find that it's easier to walk in heels if I'm listening to music because it helps to keep my steps regular. If you're listening to music try to keep your pace in time with the beat (obviously don't look like an idiot and walk stupidly fast - do a pace per 2 beats if you need to!), but even if you're not try to keep it steady. Walking irregularly can cause you to start bending your knees too little or too much and often increases the chance of you scuffing your heels and making that horrid scraping noise which is something we all ought to try to avoid!

3. No straight lines
Walking in heels can sometimes require a lot of concentration and this has the tendency to make us seize up. Remember to keep it fluid; try not to suffer from rigid arms and a stiff neck! Yes, in some respects your body needs to be taut to carry your weight on two thin pins, but it's important to relax as tensing up actually has the opposite effect and will make it harder for you to walk. Chill; it's no biggie!

4. Keep yourself distracted
It sounds simple, but the easiest way to walk in heels is to not think about it too much. The more you analyse what your legs and arms are doing the more awkward it will feel. Shrug it off, think "I'm amazing at walking in heels, I don't need to think about this!" and have a little mull about what to make for dinner. Easy peasy.

5. Your handbag is a tool box
If you do feel that you've lost your rhythm or your arms are starting to do something weird, don't panic because - hey! someone's calling you! Or you suddenly remembered that you urgently need to check the time or re-apply some vaseline or have a mint. Slow down or stop if you need to. Take a beat, then start again. Nailed it.

6. Alternate
When standing, try to keep a certain amount of weight on both feet; wearing heels is a game of balance and it doesn't require much to tip the scales. Resting on one foot but keeping a bit of pressure on the other ensures that if something were to change your balance, you have a better chance at recovery. This may sound like a silly exaggeration, but it's only too often that I stand too close to the tube when waiting at a station and its huge metal proximity takes me by surprise. With pressure distributed between both feet your body is more grounded and your stability is stronger.

So there we are; a few words of wisdom on how to perfect walking in heels. Be sure to let me know if these helped you or if you've got any tips of your own in the comment box below!

A photo from a shoot for my FMP magazine at Uni. Model: Smudge.

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