Ode To The Wedge
By Stephanie MacKinnon, Personal Stylist, Photo Mika Loponen
Who doesn't love a wedge heel? Ladies, if you've never tried on a pair, you're missing out! Once you have spent time wearing this fabulous design feature, you will never look back – it will most definitely become a wardrobe staple and take pride and place in your shoe collection for many years to come.
So what's with the wedge?
Italian shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo developed the wedge heel back in 1936. Due to a shortage of steel during the war, Ferragamo was forced to find other materials that he could use to develop a stable heel, and through the use of stacked cork and wood, the wedge heel was born. As with most fashion innovations, it was initially ridiculed by the fashion world. Over time, however, the style was eventually accepted and soon became the fashion staple that it is today, renewed each season in accordance to current trends.
What's so great about them?
The most wonderful thing about the wedge is that along with height, they add all-important stability! With the entire sole of the shoe touching the floor, your foot is more supported, making the shoe so much easier to walk in and generally more comfortable to wear.
The wedge heel makes a perfect option for women who need a lift but don't fancy the potential discomfort a regular stiletto may bring. Due to the balance of the shoe, most women tend not to wear stilettos for too long, but when it comes to a wedge, you'll be able to wear them all day long, as the design supports the whole foot as opposed to just the ball of the foot and the heel. Though as fabulous as they are, do keep in mind that wedge heels are still fundamentally heels. So even though they look great, don't be fooled into thinking you can run a marathon in them.
Today, wedge heels are very much the stylish choice; just by choosing to wear them, you instantly open up your fashion quotient. Sophisticated and eye-catching, wedges have a very cosmopolitan look and they can be worn with almost any outfit. Ranging from casual to formal, wedges are everywhere at the moment, so there are plenty of options if you want to get in on the action.
Explore different textures and designs
Wedge heels are found in an overwhelming array of colors, styles, and materials. You'll find these heels in every form, from low-cut boots and espadrilles with minimal lift to sky-high sandals and pumps in all kinds of materials. For a more casual feel, look for sandals in neutral shades of taupe, tan and mid-brown leather to work with the soft pastel colors that have been highlighted this summer season. If it is a bold statement you're after, then go for a 'super wedge.' Found in vibrant, contrasting colors and strong print detailing, these wedges are attention-grabbing and completely on trend. If it's a more demure feel you're after, use a sculptural wedge heel to full effect, teamed with feminine knee-grazing skirts and dresses. With so many choices out there, be sure to consider all of your options before making your selections.
How to wear the wedge
Consider your build
A wedge heel is one of the most flattering shoe styles for women, as this type of heel tends to balance thicker thighs and ankles. If your calves are bigger than you'd particularly like, try this shoe style with full length, flowing skirts and dresses. If you have thinner calves and legs, try to avoid excessively chunky, heavy styles, as they can tend to overwhelm your legs.
How to wear wedges with skirts
The maxi skirts and dresses you see everywhere this summer are a natural choice to team with wedge-heeled shoes, as they will give you the height and support you need and provide a nice balance for these skirts. They will also coordinate beautifully with light, gauzy peasant skirts, tunics, and wrap dresses. They're also a perfect choice for a casual, summertime party or get-together.
How to wear wedges with trousers
Wide-leg pants are prominent this season, so you'll want to have the right shoes to go with them and a wedge heel shoe will add serious style to these pants, giving you the extra height you need to prevent the leg-shortening effect these pants can sometimes have. These shoes can also look super chic with a pair of faded cuffed jeans for a casual day of shopping. Though, do use caution when wearing wedges with slim-cut trousers. It always looks hot on the catwalk, but they do tend to make you look 'foot heavy.'
If you've always wanted to wear heels but loathe the thought of tottering around in stilettos, then give some wedges a try. High Summer 2012 is most definitely the season of the magnificent wedge heel.