Middleagedmum.com: Heels, why would you?

There are a lot of great things about getting older – afternoon napping (actually my twenty-something daughter does that too), only hanging out with people you really like, having the confidence to say no to stuff you don’t want to do (I’m still working on that one), not feeling guilty about everything (ditto), taking time for yourself now and then, and dare I say it – not having small children.

Is it just me or do other people feel worn out and slightly impatient around small children (not babies – they can’t help it) unless they are connected by actual blood. All that mess, repeating yourself and explaining things, make me want to lie down in a darkened room with a box set.

One of the best things about ageing has to be wearing exactly what you want when you want – although anyone who knows me IRL, knows I have never been one for sticking to convention when it comes to clothes. From punk inspired plastic and 50s rockabilly to New Romantic, you name it I have tried it – lookwise. And I’m still not adverse to a spotty Adidas track bottom and an MA1 flying jacket when pressed!

The one thing I have steadfastly refused to wear over the years however is heels – apart from the odd really dressed up occasion where it felt wrong not to – but I inevitably ended the night feeling like a cross between a drunken Rue Paul and ancient Dick Emery.

When women say they feel empowered by heels I simply don’t get it – how can sticking the equivalent of a five inch pencil on the end of your foot be empowering. I am just over five feet and have never ever in my life used heels to make myself more powerful/sexy and never will –  isn’t empowerment about what you do, rather what you look like?

Social media was up in arms recently when Londoner Jo Beattie was refused a job on the front desk of an investment bank because she was not prepared to wear a skirt and high heels. Her story came after Nicola Gavins, a waitress in Canada, posted a photo on Facebook showing a waitress’s bleeding feet after she was forced to work a shift in high heels.

Its unbelievable to think such blatant sexism could happen today. We have come so far to shift perceptions around gender and women’s rights – yet employers still think its ok to impose such ridiculous requirements. Beattie has since launched a petition calling for the law to be changed so companies can no longer force women to wear high heels to work. It has so far received more than 140,00 signatures.

I feel sad when I see women tottering around on heels – sad that they feel they have to put up with being uncomfortable and unable to walk properly in the name of fashion, or an attempt to improve their self esteem. Surely the men in the above video by Stylist magazine illustrates just how ridiculous heels really are!

Birkenstocks, mens brogues and trainers are my footwear of choice and will be until I go to my grave wearing (flat) red glittery Mary Janes.

“These five inch heels are really comfortable” said no-one ever, at the end of a night out!


  • Jan says:

    Agree absolutely. Found the story about Jo Beattie incredible. Didn’t hear whether she was taking her employer to a tribunal. What would our suffragette sisters make of it. I was a teenager in the 1960s and heels weren’t fashionable. I wanted to look like Twiggy and that didn’t involve wearing high heels. As a young woman in the 1970s I wore platforms. I have to confess to buying a pair of beautiful plum coloured, suede heels recently. I take then out of the box occasionally to admire them!

  • sue evans says:

    I tortured myself for years thinking I had to wear heels and was only liberated 4 years ago when I gave in and discovered trainers ( and dare I say it Uggs. Sorry Fashion Police). Coincidently I spent yesterday unpacking a load of packing cases still intact from our move 18 months ago and discovered a pile of wedges and platforms I had forgotten about. I can’t believe I ever thought they’d be wearable let alone comfortable. I still love them though I know I’ll never wear them again so they’ve gone back in the attic “just in case” ……..

  • Jane says:

    Im exactly the same Sue and Jan. I have very high Miu Miu gold sandals in my cupboard that I get out to look at every now and again – never to be worn again though after being crippled at a birthday party.

    Also Uggs are actually slippers – therefore very Hygge which is a trend Sue xx

  • ‘how can sticking the equivalent of a five inch pencil on the end of your foot be empowering’
    Whenever I’m in London I see women tottering on the tiled floors of tube station entrances and wonder how on earth they can set out for the day with any confidence whatsoever with that strapped under their foot.
    And then there’s that peculiar feeling of walking on a carpet that’s moving backwards, lots of effort for so little forward movement! To be reserved for occasions with very little walking or even standing!

  • Sarah says:

    Brilliant. But I don’t think it will deter the die hard young uns! It is so empowering being older, wiser and (finally) assertive enough to say ‘no’ to things you don’t want to do – heels, fancy dress or any ridiculous dress code on any occasion.

  • JS says:

    Many of the things discussed — not hanging out with people we dislike,not wearing high heels– can be done when we’re young. It just requires backbone.

  • Steffi says:

    Goddam I love how you write!!! I can’t get over that today, in our very own modern world we are still telling women what they can and cannot wear to work. WTAF? I know we’re having another 70’s moment in fashion but really that’s where it absolutely needs to end. Hold the 70’s attitudes, please. Not when we have worked so hard to free ourselves of all the sexist “control” issues and are finally emerging stronger, more beautiful and older than before, in all our silver sexy glory.
    I believe that it really is all about freedom. If a women loves high heels, she should wear them whenever and wherever she desires. It’s her choice. Same with flats, same with make up, hair and whatever else. I make no excuses anymore. I can be whoever I want to be, at any age. If only men were that liberated. X

  • DKUK says:

    Yeah but you have to admit, those guys looked so helplessly, vulnerably SEXY in those shoes! Didn’t’ you just want to sweep them up and be their lady in shining armour?!

  • Annie says:

    New to your blog – lovely to read. Have to disagree with the outlook on heels. I own heels, flats, converse, runners, sandals, etc etc. Heels, when I feel like wearing them, they are a fashion choice, like leather, studs, tull, hats, scarves…they convey something (what that is is as diverse as the wearer and the beholder!). When I’m facing a dull Monday, sometimes I’ll plan my outfit around black patent heels ;) Or the colour purple… or a blazer. Heels can be torture (agree it should be against the law to make someone work in them!!!) if bought in a haze of shoe-lust. I’ve pared my collection down to a much-loved, much-comfy family of footwear.

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