Fashion by Felicia
Felicia Caponigri | Monday, February 21, 2011
Billy Ocean once sang “When the goin’ gets tough, the tough get goin’.” Well, where I come from when the going gets tough, the tough get their stilettos.
Yes, I can just hear your mind, dear reader, screaming in collegiate fashionista fervor as it finds itself at this crossroads of the fashion jungle. You can feel your feet throbbing in pleasure and pain even as you imagine that most amazing, jaw dropping high-heeled creation you coveted on your last weekend jaunt to the Mall. You say: But high heels are for crazy nights dancing away my latest exam cares, for interviews in which they must be a sleek counterpart to my boring, “take-me-seriously-even-though-I’m-a-secret-glitter-nail-polish-wearing-die-hard-fashion-worshipper-who-hopes-she-fails-this-interview-so-she-can-go-work-at-VOGUE” black suit.
Sashay into class in a high pair of heels that proclaim my embrace and presentation of my aesthetic appearance to be just as important as my mind which I spend evening upon evening cramming with historical, mathematical and scientific facts? Actually, why the heck not?
If there was ever one kernel of inspiration we could take from our European counterparts it would be their dedication to their entire selves: the dedication to put on that extra layer of red lipstick when running to the open-air market, to spritz on Chanel No. 5 while on their way to swiftly pick up a bottle of wine for dinner, to put on killer heels even though 17th century cobblestones threaten them on every street.
Now, mind you, I’m not saying these same counterparts are elegant all the time. I myself was once part of a dastardly tumble involving high heels, a very eye-catching orange straw bag, a fruity drink and an Italian pop star — all in front of a beach full of people (feel free to pester me for more details). But they can, like the paintings of the Louvre, inspire us to do it our own high-heeled way, the American way: bigger and better!
When choosing a stiletto there are two things to consider: fit and height. Never buy a high heel too small or too big. No more than half an inch should be between the toes and the front of the shoe — this will be highly evident if the item in question is a peep-toe or a sandal. No more than a quarter of an inch between your heel and the back of the shoe — this avoids uncomfortable blisters on the balls of your feet. Never buy a pair of heels that is too high for you. The smallest stiletto will usually be about 3.5 inches high, while for the sky-scraping desirous among us, 5 inches should do. Examine your calf muscle while trying it on — too much tension (i.e. looking as if you are about to sprint) is not good, but “relaxed tension” is the look we’re going for. A platform stiletto may give you a better sense of security.
Wear a pair of stilettos with jeans and a sweater to spice up a casual look, pair them with fishnets to toughen up an elegant walking short, or go all out and pair them with your best dress. Color is a free-for-all. Match them to your bag, don’t match them to your bag, whatever you choose no one will be able to look away as you make campus your own catwalk. Forever 21 currently has a pair of red stilettos with a flirty bow for a cool $26.80. Tough never looked so chic.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer. Contact Felicia Caponigri at firstname.lastname@example.org