What Not To Wear

Passing through the Ringstrassengalerie (that’s like a miniature mall in the first district in Vienna), I paused to ponder a rather high-end shoe store’s window display:

What Not To Wear

Now, I realize the photo is both blurry and poorly lined up, for which I apologize. It was taken on the fly, with my iPhone, as all the women working in the shop stared out at me. I’m a bit tired of getting yelled at in Vienna (that’s, like, a thing here—people yell at one far more than the average American is accustomed to), so I didn’t want to linger there lining up my shot. But I think the photo is distinct enough for you to see that this is a display of a variety of styles of shoes, all adorned with spiked brass studs. In fact, spiked shoes like these are all over the place in Viennese shops.

I would like to go on the record as saying that this is a Very Bad Thing.

I get that the craze originates with Christian Louboutin and Sam Edelman. And I’ll confess to at one point having been intrigued by a couple of pairs with studs (not so much spikes) just spattering up the heel. That has (or had—I’m over it now) a whiff of intrigue and a bit of play. But I feel that a pair of, for instance, ballet flats (already what I would deem a Bad Thing) crusted like a couple of fetal stegosauruses is a bridge too far.

One of my basic rules for shoes is that while they can be ridiculously high-heeled and come in a wide range of unmatchable colors, they do actually have to be wearable. One is not an orchid, to sit upon a shelf.  All I see when I look at these shoes is what it would be like to try to cross one’s legs in the tight space underneath a restaurant table. I hear the cries of pain and irritation as I impale my neighbors and shred my own hosiery. I imagine the crash of dishes as I get hung up in the table cloth, and I can practically feel the hem of my coat ripping as it catches on my heel. And how sad will these shoes look look when one or two of the spikes fall off? That’s all leaving aside the unpleasantly fetishy impression they give off.

I vote no. You?


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2 Responses to What Not To Wear

  1. Sabine says:

    Agreed. But Hollywood was full of the spikes when I was there in December. It’s a thing. Austrians yell too, do they? I thought it was a German thing. I learned very quickly at the age of 23 to be snotty politely. That was when I worked in a bakery that gave me food poisoning 3x and my boss wanted to know if I planned to do it more often. I told her to shove it. Politely. People are self-righteously rude; but once you get the hang of it, it’s good fun to snot back. Maybe that’s what the spiked ballet flats are for? Demure with low tolerance for bull^&*. But nothing sadder than naked spots where the spikes fell off.

    • Lisa says:

      I completely agree with you about the fun of being snotty back — the problem is that I can’t really do much by way of subtlety auf Deutsch. I can be polite, or I can YELL back. But snark is a bit above my skill set. Still, the other day I shouted back at a guy in the park (he was criticizing the way I was walking the dog — seriously) — the key is to get angry enough not to care anymore.

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