Few women are called cross-dressers if they pair an oversized cardigan with a pair of boyfriend jeans and Oxford shoes. It’s casual. It’s comfy. But most importantly- it’s perfectly okay to wear. So is it any surprise that men are wondering why the same permeability cannot be applied to their wardrobe, particularly in the footwear department?
Not since the days of Kiss have men worn shoes that elevated them inches from the ground. But during New York Fashion Week, Lenny Kravitz revisited that era in calf-high leather wedge boots and sent fashion blogs abuzz.
“I know women understand when you put on heels it makes you feel different. It gives you a different swag, a different walk. It gives you confidence,” says stiletto-lover and TV personality Derek J. The hair dresser rose to fame on Bravo’s reality show series “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” where he can be seen taming the many wigs of Kim Zolciak.
Mayte Jannell García, former wife of androgynous musician Prince, says, “He had more heels than me! In fact his collection was probably bigger than most girls’ shoe cupboards. It was more like a room.”
While rock stars and flamboyant celebrities can get a pass in wearing envelope-pushing getups, average joes want in on the deal too.
In fact there is an entire web blog, “High Heels Passion”, dedicated to men who love a good lift. Everyday guys can send in photos of themselves taking on life with leverage. Plenty of support is also being shown on the runways including collections by Rad Hourani, Lino Villaventura and Kazaky (see video).
You can find high heels for men available online but the trend hasn’t quite caught on in retail stores. “High Heels Passion” offers a list of online retailers that carry shoes in larger sizes as well as a shoe size calculator that converts men shoe sizes into womens.
Many critics will be quick to write off this fad but surprisingly, men in heels is nothing new. Sources cite men wearing high heels as status signifiers since ancient times.
“…There are also some depictions of both upper-class males and females wearing heels, probably for ceremonial purposes. Egyptian butchers also wore heels, to help them walk above the blood of dead beasts. In ancient Greece and Rome, platform sandals called kothorni… were popular particularly among actors who would wear shoes of different heights to indicated varying social status or importance of characters.
During the Middle Ages, both men and women would wear pattens, or wooden soles, that were clearly a precursor the high heel. Pattens would attach to fragile and expensive shoes to keep them out of the mud and other street ‘debris’ when walking outdoors.”
Only time will tell if history will repeat itself but clothing and accessories have never been more gender-blurred than they are today. But before his and her closets become a thing of the past, lets take a look at how some men are already strutting to the beat of their own drum.