Fashion newsflash. Rumours of the death of heels may have been exaggerated.
If you have a large carrier bag sitting in your hall waiting to be taken to the charity shop, you might want to pause and rifle through it, just in case there are some strappy sandals in there worth keeping.
It’s even possible you’ll want to buy a new pair of heels for summer. Or two.
If you’re confused, who can blame you? We’ve spent the best part of a year waving goodbye to heels, pronouncing Melania Trump to be the last woman standing in 90mm Manolo Blahniks, and declaring the triumph of white trainers and lug soles over anything high.
Going nowhere and the unstoppable rise of sporty-casual has been bad business for heels, and we all assumed flat footwear had seen off the competition. That was right up until we were getting dressed to Actually Go Out.
Shane Watson takes inspiration from Sarah Jessica Parker (pictured) for embracing the return of wearing high heels
Because, what do you do to change up a gear? What flicks the switch from wine o’clock around the kitchen table to woo-hoo party time? Is it a pink blazer, a midi-dress, a fishtail skirt, a jumpsuit?
Yes, any of the above, plus a spirit raising block heel. Or maybe a dull silver vintage-style sandal like those Gucci ones that are top of every fashion girl’s summer party list (for something similar try laredoute.co.uk).
Going out to dinner last Friday I reached for the trusty Me+Em jumpsuit. But what marked the No More Kitchen Parties moment were the shoes I haven’t worn since 2018 (silver Zara slingbacks), and apparently I’m not the only one with the ‘bit of a heel’ urge.
Lyst reports that sales of heels are up a whopping 163 per cent since January, and sales of court shoes in John Lewis are up nearly 80 per cent since stores reopened.
We didn’t plan to revert so quickly — it’s been liberating not wearing heels — but what we may have forgotten is that us grown-ups need some extra oomph with our smart-casual.
The young, leggy and flawless-skinned will wear flat boots and bare legs with their midis; clogs with their cropped white jeans; flat mules with their jumpsuits. It’s a celebration of long limbs to not need anything extra.
Shane said resist high and spindly styles; this is a mid-heel moment. Pictured: Ulla Johnson
And we could do that, too, but we won’t. When you want a lift, a heel really helps.
Not too much of one (the high spike heel still has more than a whiff of ‘I really don’t care’ about it), and anything too spindly or unwalkable-in does feel out of touch. We’re looking for just enough to feel the difference and flatter the figure. With that in mind, these are the five heels you may need in the months to come:
1 A solid, mid-to-low block heel sandal to wear in the day. There’s Dune’s Memee in tan with a 6 cm heel, slender ankle strap and chain (£32, dunelondon.com), or the slightly higher and chunkier Inkey (£42).
HEELS: THE NEW RULES
- Wear an open-toed mule to smarten up jeans.
- Antique silver or gold sandals go with everything.
- Resist high and spindly; this is a mid-heel moment.
- Be open to rhinestones and decoration.
My current favourite is the pricier Florentine sandal by Soeur (£238, en.smallable.com). It’s a slingback with a 5 cm heel and thick cross straps linked with a gold-coloured metal ring that will make everything from denim skirts to wide cropped trousers look chic and polished.
2 An open-toed chunky mule. People are wearing these to the office already as a kind of summer alternative to ankle boots. For a selection, try na-kd.com. Alternatively, there are plenty of homages to Miu Miu’s decorative mules with solid wearable heels, including Whistles’ gold cross strap pair (£129, lyst.co.uk).
3 A mid-stiletto mule. Zara does one in black with a pointed velvet toe and a rhinestone strap on the instep (£29.99, zara.com) which is just the right height to dress up ankle-cropped trousers for evening. Elegant dressy mules are big news for summer. Or, if you prefer a low kitten-heeled slingback (£29.99, zara.com), they come in every colour. Wear them with tailoring, but never a pretty dress.
4 A slip-on cork wedge. Just because they add a satisfactorily chunky, grounded vibe to wafty midi-dresses and skirts and inches to your legs under wide-leg jeans. In both cases a regular heel would look all wrong. Tamaris does a comfy, mid-height cork wedge slip-on (£49.99, zalando.co.uk).
5 In deference to court shoe buyers, if a court is really what you want, try something metallic with a block heel (£99, ladredoute.co.uk).