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January 2nd, 2009

Designers May Shorten Heels in 2009

Librarian chic.

There’s a certain axiom among economically-minded fashion gurus: during a recession, hemlines and heels rise. That was certainly been the case in 2008, with designers offering heels so high that many a model suffered literal falls from catwalk grace.

For those with a penchant for sociological examinations of fashion, I have a few theories. Psychologically, it makes sense for women to opt for gravity-defying styles when the whole nation is feeling down in the dumps. A particularly sassy pair of pumps can lift your mood and your height. Plus, there’s nothing like a slightly shocking accessory to increase confidence.

Even fashion, however, must be reigned in by reality. The Boston Globe‘s Christopher Muther recently offered a fascination explanation of the limits of fashion’s extreme fads:

“…The new, lower direction has nothing to do with the bad economy. The truth is, heels simply can’t get much taller.

“Neither hemlines nor heels fall in a bad economy,” explained Steele [author of Shoes: A Lexicon of Style]. “That’s your standard pendulum effect in fashion. It goes up as high as it can, and then it goes right down again.”

Historically, she compares the trend to petticoats. There was a time when crinolines were so large that women could no longer fit into their opera seats. Eventually, they shrank to more manageable levels.

“When someone who’s a professional fashion model starts falling down all over the place in these shoes, then you know you’ve probably reached your limit,” she said.

In anticipation of lowering heels, I’m featuring the Wing Tip. The best reasons to sport this professorial pump? 1) They’ll make you feel smart. 2) You ARE smart to opt for reasonably high heels– you won’t have to worry about hobbling around with bunions and hammertoes. 3) They’re trendy country life style shooties, representing two of the biggest shoe trends in 2008.

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