Once upon a time, there were no shoes. Then Mrs. Joe Neanderthal had a pedicure and refused to walk on her smooth, leathery feet until she had appropriate footwear. Shoes were invented.
Not too long thereafter, the designer shoe category was created when Blorg accidentally chewed on one of Mrs. Joe’s shoes giving it an edgy appearance. Everyone wanted Blorg-chewed shoes and an industry was born.
As you know, I belong to the cult of DSW (patron saint Imelda Marcos), but there are some things in the history of shoes that seem to me have been major fashion faux pas.
The French phrase faux pas (literally false step) is a noun meaning a social blunder or indiscretion. The plural form is spelled the same, but while the singular faux pas is pronounced foh-PAH, the plural faux pas is pronounced foh-PAHZ.
For example, in the ninth and tenth centuries, the greatest princes in Europe wore wooden shoes. The shoes were not known as Splinter Spitters, but they should have been. They may have, however, been the inspiration for the story of Androcles and the Lion. (Try not to get caught up in the timing which clearly doesn’t work.)
Presumably, Catherine de Medici (of those de Medicis) invented high heels for women. Not sure whether to adore her or loathe her but I’m strongly leaning toward adoration.
In the seventeenth century, the European upper crust wore six-inch heels. If you are thinking that would be difficult to walk in, you are quite correct (give yourself an extra point). The elite needed a servant on each side to hold them up. The shoes were not known as Two Servant Shoes, but they should have been.
My rule: If you can’t walk in them, don’t wear them.
The corollary: If you can’t walk in them without looking like a colt trying to stand up for the first time, don’t wear them.
The corollary to the corollary: If you’re even slightly concerned that they make you look like a hooker, they do.
During Richard II’s reign, shoes got slightly out of hand (or out of foot). They were supported by being tied to the knees with chains because they were so long. They were not known as Pinocchio shoes, but they should have been.
In 1463, the English parliament passed an act forbidding shoes with spikes more than two inches in length being worn. These shoes were not known as Attack shoes, but they should have been.
If you ever have more money than you know what to do with, you may feel free to consider buying me these stork shoes from Kobi Levy. Just a thought.
Former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos owned 1,200 pairs of shoes.