Of High Heels, Self Acceptance and Growing Older

No one loves a good pair of high heels more than I do.

I wore my first real pair at a school bazaar. I was 16 and in love with a boy. I sneakily tucked my mother’s cream leather pumps into my bag and slipped into them as soon as I saw him waiting for me at the entrance of the school hall.

He was tall; my heels were perfect; we danced all night long. And just like that, with a Halle and Oats song playing on a vinyl record, my romance with 5-inch heels began.

And it pretty much remains to date, the longest love affair I’ve had.

In my mid-20s and 30s, my heels were not necessarily about romance, as I became concerned about the upward progression of a career. As a young journalist just out of grad school, and working in Boston, I wore heels on the beat, much to the consternation of my colleagues.

I didn’t care though.

All the other producers in the newsroom were male, I was on a fast track to getting a show of my own and if tall was associated with masculinity, and masculinity with moving upward, then towering height was my kryptonite.

And it didn’t just come in green.

My favourite pairs of stilettos were not just stylish, they were brightly-hued and included a pink leather 5-inch sling-backs and a polka-dot 4-inch stacked heel whose pointy, curved tips you saw before you even noticed me. Both had something in common. They lengthened my legs, injected swagger into my walk, and made sure I stayed in step with the unspoken rules about beauty outlined by pop culture and seen on the covers of magazines.

Ahhhh to be young and foolish!

Because by the time I hit my 40s, years of dancing, walking and running up and down stairs and everything in between in my skyscrapers had taken their toll.

My pain began with niggling knee problems that made me reach for flats for the first time. And then came a certain awareness that I guess only comes with age. Why was it that along with my bra, my high heels were the first things I took off when I came home? How much was my love for them linked to how I wanted to be publicly perceived? If these questions seemed too pesky to really make me stop, they did make me re-evaluate my long-term affair with my stilettos.

These days my knees have forced me to a new reckoning. With some trial and error testing, I now know that not all shoes have to be over 3.5 inches to look good and that low heels can look fancy once dressed in fabrics like satin or velvet or decked out with rich details like crystal embellishments or bows.

Maybe I will never give up high heels. I’m too attached!
But I have come to the realisation that my shoes fit best, whatever their height when I am unabashedly expressing my own views, aims and aspirations, whether that involves a career ladder or not.

And that’s what growing older with grace looks like.


Judette Coward

A fierce entrepreneur always in high heels, I’m a producer, writer, entrepreneur, educator, digital strategist, and all-around #bossbabe. I dream, do, think and create and joyfully share my offerings with the world
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2 Comments. Leave new

Judette I agree with you. I wore my first pair of heels at 9 years of age, they were black esperdrilles, I swear it was the happiness day of my life at least until I got my first bra. Anyway as I gotten into my forties, yes I still love wearing heels, but these days I am most comfortable in a 3″ heel.

Forward Forty
July 20, 2018 10:05 am

Ha ha ha, yOU MADE me smile with your recollection Lisa, thank you for sharing. I still rock a 4 inch but am mixing them up more with flats.

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Judette Coward

A fierce entrepreneur always in high heels, I’m a producer, writer, entrepreneur, educator, digital strategist, and all-around #bossbabe. I dream, do, think and create and joyfully share my offerings with the world

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