Emmanuelle Alt stilettos skinny pants

How to wear heels

When it comes to heels many thinks that:

– for the evening the higher is the better

– for the day 5 inches is way to much

Both are untrue.

When it comes to heels, the first things you should focuss on are the arch and the width of the heel.

The arch:

A 5 inch heel including a 3 inch platform on front is easier to walk with than a 5 inch heel without a platform.

Proof that french women know about this, is that you see many women wearing heels during the day even though they are walking a lot.

The heel:

The bigger the heel, the more stable the shoe.

Chie Mihara vs Louboutin

On the left a very stable and comfortable Chie Mihara sandal with wide heel and a platform, on the right a sexy but less easy to walk Louboutin pump with a thin heel and no platform.

  1. Kitten heels

The kitten heel is perfect for the day. Its height does not exceed 2 inches.

It looks chic with 3/4 pants to reveal the ankle.

Kitten heels with pants

Collage: Black suede kitten heels, Silhouette from Boden, Kim Myers Robertson for Marie Claire UK July 2013

Attention! Avoid wearing it with large pants which make the leg appear shorter and thicker.

Pencil or bow skirt are also a nice match for a feminine and dancer like allure

Just like Audrey Hepburn!

Kitten heels Audrey hepburn

Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s

Kitten heels skirts

Collage: Carla Bruni, a very elegant lady found on Emerson Fry’s website, stylist Elisa Nalin by Vanessa Jackman

When choosing your kitten heel, make sure:

– it is not heavy looking (if open-toed choose it slightly pointy)

– its heel is not is going too much inside the shoe (but the heel going outside is a big don’t)

kitten heels comparison

Mellow Yellow suede kitten heel from SS13

2. Boots heels (wide heels)

Boots often have wide heels that will make you appear effortlessly leaner and taller.

black and glitter boots

They are the perfect match for a mini skirt or skinny jeans, no matter what size your are.

However, you should not wear them with under knee skirts or bootcut pants because that would make your legs appear thicker.

Boots mini skirt skinny pants

Collage: Styles Scrapbook, Song of style

The shape of the shoe point should never be square. That looks very old.

3. Wedges

Wedges include a high front platform and are therefore easy to walk with if not sky-high.

Most of them are sandals because as boots they can quickly appear massive.

As you may not know, mini wedges exist and they might be the more comfortable shoe ever created while they also make your leg appear slightly longer and give you an elegant allure.

They can be worn with pretty much everything except bootcut pants which do not match that ladylike look.

mini wedges

Collage: Arizona Muse for J.Crew catalogue may 2011, Sam Edelman shoes

Higher sandal wedges are especially pretty on bare legs. Fashion experts can match it with tights or even socks when it’s colder.

In summer,wearing a thick wedge makes your ankle and legs appear thinner in contrast.

Wedges

Marant wedges boots. Not easy to master, but she nailed it.

Marant wedges

Victoria Tornegren

4. High heels

By high heels, I mean those that are between 3 and 5 inches high with rather wide heels.

They give you gorgeous long legs and are comfy to walk with on a daily basis.

High heel Giovanna Punky Garance

Collage: Giovanna Battaglia, Punky B and Garance Doré by Scott Schuman

Although all those women wear dresses, you can match those kind of heels with absolutely everything.

Maybe just avoid bodycon dresses or mini shorts that could look tacky.

Boots can also have very high heels! Like those Hermès.

bottes hermes

If you want to be sure to be comfortable, there should be a platform in front just like on the above picture.

5. Stiletto heels

Louboutin stiletto shoe

Stilettos are shoes with very thin heels, in french we also call them “talons aiguilles” which litterally translates as “needle heels”

They are very sexy and made the success of men shoe designers like Christian Louboutin (black stiletto above) or Manolo Blahnik.

They start at 3 inches and can reach 6 inches.

I think the best height is 4 or 5 inches because it does not require a platform.

To me, and, as far as I can see in the street, for most Parisiennes, the stiletto heel does not involve a heavy platform on the front.

Stilettos

Kate Middleton on the right

See the difference?  Isn’t it more elegant without platform?

By the way, stiletto is sexy enough by itself. Pair it with rather long skirts or ankle revealing pants.

Shorts or miniskirts are way too sexy and the result is tacky.

Carine Roitfeld, Giovanna Battaglia, Kate Moss Harpers Bazaar stilettos

Carine Roitfeld, Giovanna Battaglia by Stockholm streetstyle, Kate Moss

And to match it with pants the role model is french Vogue director Emmanuelle Alt and her crew!

Emmanuelle Alt stilettos skinny pants

Emmanuelle Alt, Géraldine Saglio and Emmanuelle Alt

6. Miscellaneous

Last but not least…

I want to mention the hidden wedge sneakers or boots invented by Isabel Marant. They can only be worn with thights, skinny pants or bare legs. But anyway those shoes have been so much copied and seen that I think it is not very chic to wear them (and men HATE them, ask any^^).

When wearing sandals or peep toe shoes, make sure your toes do not slide out of the shoes (you know what I mean).

And remember that,  if you can not elegantly walk with shoes, they do not belong in your closet.

Bisous de Paris!

Aloïs

I’ll be glad to answer your style questions!

PS: If all that is too confusing for you, you could play it like Anna Wintour and always wear the same shoes ^^

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Comments
45 Responses to “How to wear heels”
  1. Lilli-Ana says:

    Hi! I just bought my first pair of wedge heels today and would love to wear them soon what clothing do you suggest for a tomboy because i am not a girly girl so idk what to wear with them! Please help!

  2. Cindy says:

    I work with a woman who is nearly 70 years old. She is a good looking and stylish woman, however, she wears the 4 inch platform shoes. She cannot walk in them. She reminds me of watching Joan Rivers trying to walk in hers. I, too, wore high heels for 30 years and suffered the consequences. Had to have foot surgery and the corns on my toes have prevented me from wearing sandals. It limits my choices in wearing so many pretty shoes but better on my budget!

  3. Lauly says:

    Hi, just discover your webside, love it!! Im a 1.59cm hight size 12 with bow legs. At some point was evry councios of my legs but not so much now. usually will wear flats or kitten heel.(5cm) But I want to risk and go for 6cm 2.5″ heels. Usually buy my shoes from LKBennett. Do you think they would suit my legs? I will usually wear them with skirts and dresses.

  4. Vanessa says:

    Bonsoir,

    J’ ai une question pour les ” kitten heels”.
    Sur des femmes grandes avec des grands pieds ( mettons “au hasard ” + 1,85m pour une pointure 42 :-) ), trouvez vous ces chaussures ( pointues ou arrondies) adaptées à une carrure/ une morphologie en 8 ?
    Je trouve que ces chaussures portées avec un jean retroussé, un 7/8eme ou une jupe crayon, patineuse ( longueur genoux) …font des pieds énormes..qu’en pensez vous ?
    Bonne fin de week-end ?

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      Bonjour, C’est plus une question de mollets que de morphologie. Si vous avez les mollets costauds, le kitten heel ne va pas être très flatteur.
      Côté longueur de pieds, il est certain que le kitten heel allonge le pied, mais pas plus que du plat. Si vous faites 1.85, c’est la taille mannequin et votre “hauteur” sera proportionnelle à la longueur de vos pieds, donc ça devrait vous aller :)

  5. Dani says:

    I’m 18 and recently bought a pair of black suede, kitten heel wedge. How do I wear them without looking old(er) and mumsy?

  6. Kaia says:

    Hello!
    Very glad I found your website, I love your elegant style.
    What do you think about heels on tall women? I am six feet tall with very long legs. What would be a good heel height?

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      Hi,
      You could wear the height you want as long as you feel good in it. I watched a documentary in which a model who was taller than you said she always wore high heels so that the people would think she was tall because of the heels.
      Though if you prefer not to get taller with heels, go for heels that are less than two inches. They will give you allure without making you taller.
      Right now, if you like the style, check out the Mary Jane by Saint Laurent (lots of cheaper copies everywhere).

  7. Lynne says:

    What do you think about heel height for petite women? I am only 5’2” and have always leaned toward kitten heels (when not wearing flats) because I usually think short women in too high of a heel look sort of ridiculous, like a kid dressing up in their mother’s shoes. Is there a way a petite woman can pull off a higher heel and not look silly?

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      Dear Lynne,
      I agree with you that it is not elegant for a petite woman to wear big platform heels. However, you can go for more than 2 inches (which is the maximum size for kitten heels) and go up to 3 inches. This height would be super flattering for you silhouette. If you are thin go for thin heels, if you are curvy go for thicker heels.

  8. alexa says:

    Hi, I’ve a nine west new house loader heels in brown and was told it looks like granny’s. Really appreciate if you could give me some advice! Thanks!

  9. Joy says:

    So glad I found you! I am a fit girl with thick musclular legs which I love (think Zena!). I prefer wedges, as kitten heels and dainty shoes tend to look weird on my thicker legs/ankles. Are wedges OK with straight leg (which look skinny on me!). I also like to roll up my boyfriend jeans, what shoes would look best with those?

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      Dear Joy,
      You are right, when your legs are rather thick, the contrast with a thin heel will make them look thicker. Therefore wedges or thick heels are a good choice for you :)
      With straight jeans (looking skinny on you) I would rather wear thick heels than wedges in order to add a “gap” into your outfit.
      With rolled up boyfriend jeans, the two kinds of aforementioned heels will look great.
      Bises de Paris

  10. Claire says:

    Great article – thank you…..would love an idea of what trousers/jeans length and what else to wear kitten heel mules (with pointy toes) if you wouldn’t mind

    • Aloïs Guinut says:

      Hello Claire,
      Thanks for your comment!
      Well, kitten heel mules are just like average kitten heels.
      I think the most modern way to wear them is with fitted 7/8 lenght pants.
      And you could wear them with knee lenght skirts as well à la Anna Wintour.

    • Kim says:

      Hi Aloïs, I love mules and wear them a lot when the weather permits.Most of mine have a kitten heel.I think they look good with ankle pants or capris.With some shorts they look good

  11. Elijah says:

    the ones you labeled as “NO” are SEXY from a man’s point of view.

  12. Sasha says:

    Hi Aloïs! Love your blog!
    I was wondering what heels you’d recommend to wear with this dress http://www.asos.com//Monki/Monki-Stripe-Long-Sleeve-Dress/Prod/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=3721164 I have a wedding to go to this summer and I love stripes so i bought this. I can’t seem to figure it out.

    Love from Canada,
    Sasha

  13. Marie says:

    Hello Alois, Good blog. What is the best type of shoes/boots to wear with a wider jeans or pants? I cannot wear more than 3″ heels, back problems. Thanks.

    • Aloïs says:

      Hello,
      With wide pants, shoes should be covered, that first step is the secret to good looking wide pants.
      So the type of the shoe does not really matter.
      If you have long legs, converse or sneakers would be perfect, if you do not, wear the higher heels you are able to.
      My advise for you is to choose platform heels: this way your feet won’t feel higher that 3 inches high (but will be).
      Like these or those (the second shoes do not look that great but they’ll be perfect for your back problem, and you don’t care cause they’ll be hidden by the pants + this way, you see what i mean ^^)

  14. Amber says:

    Yay! I’m SO glad that I stumbled onto your blog. I’m definitely going to be following it. I’m moving back to Hamburg this summer and I was debating getting some platform shoes before I go. They are everywhere here, especially because people love Christian Louboutin, but I feel like they would be a little tacky/stripper in Europe. I think I’m going to skip them, I agree the simple stiletto is the best. Sometimes it’s hard to keep up with the style from so far away, and your blog had some good reminders of the staples I want to take. I do love classic style!! It’s so beautiful. How do you feel about nude colored stilettos/pumps? They are very popular here, but I wasn’t sure if I would wear them in Europe…

    Thank you for all of the good advice!
    <3 From California
    Amber

    • Aloïs says:

      Hello Amber,
      Happy you like my blog!
      I think platforms can be good looking (I wear some boots with platform or summer espadrille sandals with platforms), but that stiletto platforms always look tacky.
      For nude stilettos I think they have often been used in a tacky way. Women think they lenghten the leg, which is true, but they go too high and that gets tacky.
      Bad: platform and glossy are a big no for me.
      Bad: much too high!!!
      Good: Those Louboutins look very good, but they are not to be matched with a short dress or skinny pants. When the heels are over sexy, stay relaxed for the rest of the outfit.
      Good: right height here. and here
      I myself own a pair of nude stilettos since… 2007 (!) and wear them with 7/8 pants or skirts or dresses that are not bodycon and not too short.
      Bises de Paris!

      • Amber says:

        Thank you that was very helpful. I really appreciate the detailed advice. I also agree about the high glossy shoes being tacky, and I appreciate the pictures of what works, thank you for doing that. I am hoping to be in Paris in May, and if I have the budget I will definitely contact you for some personal shopping. i would really love some help finding my way around the paris shops!
        <3!

  15. Dani says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! This is just what I was looking for! I am not trendy and I prefer to wear classics and straight lines in neutral colors. I will be back to visit!

  16. Some great article, it helped me very much!

  17. Hello! I just would like to offer you a big thumbs up for your great info you have got here on this post. I am coming back to your site for more soon.

  18. Stacy says:

    Great tips! I will be traveling to Paris for 9 days in October. I am very much a fan of wingtip or menswear shoes otherwise I guess known as “brogues”. I would be interested in your fashion tips and pictures of outfits paired with these shoes. Merci!

  19. Kiki says:

    Great tips on heels! I agree with your statements and advice. I wish more women knew how to make heels look classy and not trashy. I look forward to reading more of your posts!

  20. Brittney says:

    Thanks for visiting my blog! I love this how-to because it tells you what to look for when shopping, and what not to pair with certain shoes (I couldn’t agree more on platforms—they just look tacky to me).

    Brittney

    anotherbeautifulthing.blogspot.com

  21. Melissa says:

    This is wonderful! Thank you for commenting on my blog so I could find yours! I am glad you approve of what I have written. I am writing one about hairstyles tomorrow. Perhaps I should explore your other posts to ensure the accuracy of mine. You have a great blog and I will keep checking it regularly.

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  1. […] reason of all is that the right heels make women look elegant effortlessly. Aloïs, over at Dress Like a Parisian, has a wonderful article about how to wear heels, and, just by taking a look at her bio, she’s a […]



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