Meow! Kick up your heels and educate yourself on purr-fect pumps. What are Kitten Heels and why are they a must have for every woman’s shoe closet
Designed For Greatness
If you’ve ever wanted to take a break from teetering in your sky-high stilettos and found the reprieve that is the kitten heel, then you’re no stranger to the strength summoned by a slightly shorter heel height. With a gently curved heel angle and a serenely shortened heel, kitten heels are small in stature—but big on style. This iconic footwear item has weaved its way through history, into the hearts of shoe-lovers everywhere, bolstered by their appearance on the big screen—and in the White House.
While it’s hard to say for certain when the iconic shoe style first made it’s way into the fashion scene, kitten heels seemed to cartwheel into the American fashion scene in the 50s, when aspiring fashionistas took to the pairing with great excitement. The style came on the heels of the advent of the stiletto, designed by Roger Vivier for Christian Dior, earlier in the decade. However, as you probably already have experienced, while stilettos are stylish and suave, they’re height and cost are both a bit sky-high. This was also the case in the 50s. When the kitten heel came on the market, it was a welcome reprieve from the loftiness of cost and elevation.
Another purveyor for the shoe’s purr-fect success was its affability for young shoe lovers. Dubbed “the training heel” for young girls, kitten heels were also excited eager young shoe-lovers. And with a shorter heel height, the shoes were much less “vampy”—and more acceptable for parents whose pocketbooks purchased the petite pairs. As young girls across the country got their first pair of “trainers,” sitting at their mother’s make-up stand, powdering their nose and playing dress-up, the kitten heel’s height of popularity continued to surge.
Cinematic And Political Icons
The kitten heel took the American fashion scene by storm, and the rest, they say, is history. However, the shoe could have easily been a long-lost notion of the 50s had it not been given several stylish interpretations over the next decade. When Audrey Hepburn took to the silver screen in the 1961 cinematic classic, “Breakfast at Tiffanys,” her footwear styling– pair after pair of kitten heels– left as strong of an impression as her strands of pearls, elegant gloves, smart black shifts, and svelte twist hair-do.
That same decade, Jackie Kennedy, arguably the most fashionable First Lady of the century, entered the White House, clad in her famous dress code; glamorous black sunglasses, pill box hats, smartly chic suit dresses… and kitten heels. Her demure presence gave kitten heels a whole new spin. Eager to emulate Ms. Hepburn and Jackie O, the kitten heel saw continued appeal that allowed its initial success in the 50s to carry through another decade.
Heel Today, Donned Tomorrow
Long after the days of Jackie O and Holly Golightly, the kitten heel had its toe set firmly as a classic fashion staple. Over the decades tying the 60s to the new millennium, the shoe remained a constant, getting several new twists, interpretations, and rejuvenations. `Really, it’s no wonder that kitten heels are a present day fashion staple. We’ve seen them on the runways of Prada, Valentino, and of course – Dior. With celebrity fans including Michelle Obama, Alexa Chung, and the Olsen twins, it’s no wonder that kitten heels are here to stay.
How do you feel about the kitten heel? Fanatic or faux, we’ve got some tips on donning these heels with some real kick. If you’re not sold on the silhouette, read on for some of the kitten heel’s best selling points, and take the trend to the streets with our tips.
Smitten With The Kitten
Statuesque solution: Are you a long-legged beauty? Lucky you, right!? Well, that is, until you go to dress for a date, and peer over your peep toes, eliminating pair after pair, lest you be taller than your date (trés embarrassing, right?!) Lovely, lanky ladies, meet your new best friend: The kitten heel.
Be a profiler: With their decidedly shorter stature, it’s important to keep the proportions of your ensemble in mind. Some outfits are meant for a sky-high platform, but plenty of pairings are just waiting for the perfect kitten heel to seal the deal. We like the look with a slim-legged crop pant, especially in a smart suit.
Use to schmooze: If you’ve been coquettish about the kitten heel, perhaps it’s because you’re not only sure how to wear the profile, you’re also unsure where to wear it. We love these shoes in more serene settings (think job interviews, first-meets of the boyfriend’s parents, or any setting where a stiletto may send the wrong memo). Embrace the kitten heel’s ability to allow you to show your shoe chicness in an appropriate manner.
Heel’s the deal: Maybe you’re just not sold on the spike-like heel that so many kitten heels showcase, in an effort to mimic their big sister, the stiletto. That’s fine! Just keep in mind that kitten heels come in all shapes and sizes. Perhaps a boxier platform would provide better balance. Expand your idea of what the kitten heel can look like—and how it can be a short choice to expand your collection in a big way!