Platform Heels have surprisingly historic roots. They were used in Ancient Greek theatre to increase the height of prominent characters and are purported to have been worn by 18th Century Europeans hoping to avoid the muck of urban streets. Of similar origins are Japanese getting a Roman buskins, and the jildor shoes of Venetian Courtesans, all of which protected the wearers foot and elevated his/her stature. Today's Platforms are made of wood, cork, or synthetic materials and add height by simultaneously elevating the front and back of the foot.
Alongside John Travolta and the Bee Gees, Platforms are the signature symbol of the disco era Disco eventually died and, with it, the popularity of Platforms. Twenty years later, however, they reemerged on the famous feet of UK pop group The Spice Girls. English Designer Vivienne Westwood also had a hand in their resurrection. It was in her five inch platforms with nine inch heels that Supermodel Naomi Campbell took her infamous tumble on a New York runway. But humiliation and threat of injury has done little to deter women from wearing Platforms.
They add height without stressing the heel and instep and make their wearer appear leaner by balancing the hip to ankle proportion. So long as thin is in, so too will be Platforms.
The definition of a Wedge seems straightforward: A heel that runs from the back of the shoe to its middle or front edge. Easy enough now consider this: Wedges can also be, but are not always, high heels and/or Platforms. They cannot, however, be Stilettos or Kitten Heels. If you understood that, your honorary Shoe Ph.
D. is in the mail. If you didn't, don't fret. You are not alone.
On most shoes the "heel" extends vertically beneath the heel of the foot. On a Wedge, the heel runs its entire length, dissecting myriad vertical and horizontal planes as it goes from vertical to flat. If that explanation didn't help, and it probably didn't, check out the photos at right/left. The woman who wears Wedges is both feminine and strong. Claudette Colbert played Cleopatra in the 1934 film of the same name and dawn a pair of pave Wedge sandals and ladies footwear with tubular straps. Ten years later, inspired by advertising icons like Rosie the Riveter, American women "made do and mended" by wearing sturdy Wedge soles that needed minimal repair.
War-related shortages of leather in the 1940s spawned the now ubiquitous cork wedge. Their reputation for practicality exists today and adds to their allure. Wedges are fantastic with either crisp white shirts and wide leg trousers or bohemian tunics and breezy skirts. They define heavy ankles, are never so trendy as to be out of season next year, and elongate legs without the discomfort of Stilettos by distributing weight over a much larger surface area.
Amanda Cargill is a freelance writer based in Brooklyn, NY. She blogs about the urban-western fashion nexus at WesternBeltBuckles.com women's designer shoes, women's shoes, designer shoes, women's designer shoes, jildor shoes, stuart weitzman, michael kors, marc jacobs, ladies shoes, ladies footwear.