Go Low: The New Kitten Heel

Post by TM

Most times, when I pass an open charity shop, I’ll pop in. Although I’m certainly not one of those people who frequently find needles in haystacks (I avoid TK Maxx like the plague when it comes to buying clothes) I have been known to pick up a bargain or two.

I have NEVER found a good pair of shoes in a charity shop but of course I always have a gander at that section. More often than not, the shoe area in charity shops makes my skin crawl. There’s an acceptable reason; the rows and rows of grotesque kitten heels.

Ugly Pink Kitten Heel

The example you see above is typical of the models cast off to charity shops.  That extended front, the garish colour, the embellishment. Eurgh.

But don’t agree with me too soon – ah, the fickle nature of fashion.

I remember stumbling across a Facebook page dedicated to hating kitten heels. It was pretty funny and showed mean-spirited images of ordinary women caught wearing a particularly offensive pair of kitten heels, usually styled with boot-leg jeans or a pencil skirt. Perhaps these scathing shoeinistas would change their tune after seeing this:

Prada kitten heel with sock
Prada a/w 2010/11

Yes, the style above came from Prada’s a/w 2010 campaign but it marked a turning point in winter fashion. Suddenly, those stripper heels too many of us were far too fond of wearing could be reserved for the kind of nights out where it’s freezing cold but a tight, short dress is definitely best worn without a coat.*

I know plenty of tall women and women who can’t / don’t want to wear shoes with a heel height of over 2 inches. A low heel is the solution but with the fashions of today, they can be tricky to style. Luckily, because the trend for super high heels has eased off, there are loads of very chic shoe styles out there that can be worn with what you already have in your wardrobe: this is the best way to wear them.

Town Mouse Country Mouse kitten heel 1

I often wear a look similar to this to work. It’s so easy to do, looks smart yet put-together and is comfortable. I have a pair of ancient (dare I admit it?) boot-leg jeans that have a hole at one of the knees and the material has gone all soft – and the softer the better – but they are perfect for this look. I roll them up haphazardly, add a shirt or, these days, a jumper, pop on my low heels and there you have it!

TownMouseCountryMouse kitten heel 2

The key to the new low kitten heel is that it looks like a higher shoe from the front. The front angle is the most important and if that looks good, there’s no need to worry about the (short) back or sides. Although a nice slipper-shoe or loafer would also look good, that little bit of height can make a big difference.

Emmanelle Alt Kitten Heel

Emmanuelle Alt is the queen of this look. It looks effortless but so stylish. The French Vogue editor usually leans towards a grey palette, which is fine, but the colour or print of your shoe could liven up a darker ensemble. I have a pair of houndstooth print low heels from TopShop that are perfect for this reason.

Alexa Chung Valentino kitten heel

Alexa Chung also does good kitten heel. Here she is showcasing those famed Valentino numbers – that actually come in a variety of heel heights – that she was pretty much glued to a few seasons ago. On Alexa, she of the impossibly long legs and tall, skinny frame, the cute dress and flats look is fabulous. It can be done by us mere mortals too, just be careful of balance. Take inspiration from Hitchcock beauties if you like this look.

Tippi Hedren Suit The Birds
Tippi Hedren – The Birds

Last winter, the block heel made a come back and oh, how tired tootsies rejoiced! A year later, there’s no need to put those heels away, they can certainly come out of the closet for a/w 2014. If you want to invest, they are still on sale. Comfortable, stylish, flattering and on trend? They are the shoes that will see you through the sparkle season, I promise.

block heels

*Disclaimer: TMCM are strictly tights, coats, scarfs, hats, coats, gloves and one more layer kind of gals on days when breath can be seen.

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