Tuesday, February 9, 2010


Last week, I received this email from a wonderful reader:
Hi Kyla,
I've been a daily reader of your blog since Spring '09 and I'm so glad I found it! I love your style and I feel like it's very similar to mine- comfortable and simple, but stylish :)
I love the fact that you wear flats daily. Although I love to wear heels, I feel silly going to the mall or grocery store in them, but sometimes I still want to be dressed up a little for a regular outing. I have trouble finding flats that look good with tights though and I thought maybe you could help- either suggest some styles of flats for me or do a blog post to help others who might have the same problem. Usually when I wear my black flats with tights, it looks like I'm barefoot haha

Jennifer's email got me thinking ... a lot.  And I think it's a great topic to address and one that is near and dear to me each and every day when I get dressed.  I'm going to break this into two posts.  This post will explain my "no heels" lifestyle a little better.  Then, this weekend, I will do a sure-to-be-monstrous post highlighting my best tips and tricks to styling flats, even with tights.  I realize this is a text-heavy post, but there just may be something in it for you.

For those of you who have been following my blog over the last year or so, you probably know that I wear heels maybe once every other month. Well, that's something fairly new to me.  If you go back to last winter's posts, you will see a lot more heels.  Unfortunately, around that time, I started having a lot of issues with my hip and back.  Strangely, when I had a much more sedentary lifestyle, heels rarely bothered me, but the more stock I took in my health, and the more I started working out and running, the more I hurt.

I really tried to listen to my body, but it was hard.  I dearly love Sex and the City, and we all know the role beautiful heels play in the show.  I loved the idea of pairing fancy, sexy heels with the most casual outfits.  I always felt more confident in a great stiletto, and I loved the shape of my legs with a couple extra inches.  I loved my heels.  I loved the way I felt in my heels.  But my heels did not love me.

For a long time, I tried to ignore it.  Then, I started physical therapy.  I told my physical therapist that I was trying to cut back on heels.  He whole-heartedly agreed with my efforts and expressed his general loathing for the footwear when it came to physical well-being.  But, he'd met so many women who refuse to give them up, that he pretty much gave up trying to convince them.

This really stuck with me.  I was bound and determined to get better, so that I could return to my regular exercise routine.  I tried wearing what I thought were "flat" boots with their 1" sliver heel, but my PT just laughed, saying it's still a heel.  He was especially amused when I tried wearing insoles in them.  I did this for a while until I finally came to the conclusion that wearing insoles in heels is very much like smoking while on oxygen.  Sounds ridiculous, right?

It was a really, really hard pill for me to swallow, but once I did, I started feeling so much better.  Granted, it wasn't just the heels that were ailing me, but they played a large role in exacerbating the issue.  Oddly enough, that exercise routine that I couldn't wait to get back to has the same benefits as my heels: I feel so much more confident and I love the shape of my legs when they're strong.

I'm not gonna lie.  Getting into the groove of styling everything with flats was extremely difficult.  I still look in my closet and think, "Wow, those red heels would look killer with this."  But at the end of the day (literally), it's just not worth it.  After all, flats come with a few benefits of their own.  I can go anywhere and do anything.  My heel will never get stuck in the sidewalk or carpet.  My heel will never break off.  I never have to take baby steps or otherwise alter my gait because of a pinched pinky toe or pain in the ball of my foot.  And I don't care one bit how far away we park.  It can be rather liberating, actually.

If you can wear heels with no pain, then rock on, sister.  My inner Carrie Bradshaw is insanely jealous.  And for you, I have this:

The more I thought about this post, the more and more empowered I felt.  So, in my excited frenzy, I pulled out almost every pair of heels in my closet (I'm keeping some for sentimental reasons) ... and am selling them on Blue Collar Closet.  I will admit, it's really difficult to part with something I've loved for so long - but it's also really cathartic.  They're taking up a lot of precious closet realty, and I would like to store my flats with the same love and care as I once did my heels.  Enjoy!


  1. I really admire the fact that you were able to listen to your body and give up shoes that were hurting you.

    I generally wear heels that are shorter than 3" and are stable, because I like comfort. That being said, there are many days when I love the ultimate comfort of a good flat. I'm excited to see your tips for styling flat shoes!

  2. Total props for this lady!! I don't have any issues..... yet. However, I'm almost positive that I'll have big problems later in life because I wear heels all.the.time. I think it's totally admirable that you were able to step up and do what's right for your bod. You can rock a flat like nobody's business! :) And if I wasn't on a personal "shopping ban", I'd probably purchase those black boots from Target!! haha

  3. KYLA! I swear you are in my head! I am doing a post today about selling some of my painful heels! Get out of my head! I'm not giving up my heels but I'm getting rid of hte ones that punish body! Crazy! I need to set up a "closet" too.

  4. I enjoyed reading this post. I used to wear 4-5'heels all the time, but had to give them up after awhile. Now I try to stick to heels that are less than 3", but even that could be to much.

    I am more of a flat girl, but since I am so short they tend to make me look more short and stubby.

    I love your style and your blog. You are one of my daily reads that I can't miss!

  5. Such a great post. I just started following your blog and I love that you chose to write about this. I'm currently 30 years old and at the age of 22, after a couple of the most difficult years of my life, I had a hip replacement. And I love fashion and style, always have, always will. I am , and always have been, a very active person so my life changed drastically in many ways, my love for fashion being just one of them. Thank you for the styling tips and the story behind some of your choices. I can't wait to read your upcoming post!

  6. great blog, you have very nice style

    come check out the first ever fashion blog from a guys POV, let He know what you think


  7. I'm proud of you for giving up your heels. That must have been very difficult, but it sounds like it was a great decision for you and your health! :)

    Bizarrely, my heels are actually my most comfortable shoes. It doesn't sound very logical at all, but I feel so much better in heels. They help my posture, and I tend to be less clumsy in heels. I actually tend to trip and twist my ankles much more often in flats!! :O I'm so weird.


  8. Thanks for posting this!

    I have been reading your blog for some time now (though I only just started commenting) and always love the way you pair everything with flats. I love a good pair of heels myself, and used to wear them all the time. But slowly I have moved away from them and have found that overall a good pair of flats are just so much better for my feet, back, etc.

    My only question is: How tall are you? I'm on the short side (5'1", though I have long legs for my height), so sometimes I have trouble pairing flats with outfits - usually dresses/skirts/shorts. Or rather, I have trouble pairing the *right* kind of flat with the outfit so as to not make myself look stumpy. Any advice?

    I'm looking forward to your part 2 of this post! :D

  9. You may be surprised to hear my podiatrist says flats are bad for some people! People with high arches (like me) actually need up to one inch lift in the heel to help support the arch. Some of my foot problems were made worse by wearing flats with no support. But either way, it's no fun to have your footwear limited by your health! cheers to listening to our bodies - courtney

  10. I think we've talked about this before as I can't wear heels either (three years now). It is so rare for me to wear them and I only kept 2-3 pairs for the occssional important night out. When I get comments like you should wear heels with that, I mean I wish I could!

  11. I wish I could do it. Sometimes the simplest movement will kill my back. I have a slipped disk, but I like my heels...even the 1 inchers, those are flats to me. I cannot find affordable flats that are good for my back. I also find that working out makes it all worse...

  12. I totally feel ya on this. In my family we have slightly crooked spines (aka scoliosis). Ugh. So, I do wear heels sometimes, but more often than not, I am in flats. And I return about 50% of the heels i try because I am unable to wear them without being in pain. Good for you on dropping them completely - I have not yet been able to let them go myself. It really makes me feel better to have those extra couple inches, what can I say? LOL!

  13. wow, I can't believe how much you have been through. Your poor feet! I am looking forward to getting help with wearing and styling flats as well. I can't wear heels, I will fall down on my butt every time. :P

  14. Good for you on listening to yourself and giving up heels! I'm looking forward to your post on styling flats. I need to give up heels more too (I stand all day at work), and know they're bad and my feet hurt after I wear them. Maybe seeing some flat inspiration will help!

  15. I am so excited to read your upcoming post! I love reading your blog for many reasons - I'm a former SC native, PSU grad,(so I love figuring out where in town you shoot your pics!!, I love your fashion sense but I LOVE that you wear so many FLATS!! It's easy to throw on a heel and dress up an outfit- but to make an outfit stylish, sexy and not matronly while utilizing FLATS - LOVE IT!!

    I had a skating injury that destroyed my ankle- so no high heels for me - not even with my wedding dress! :) Keep up the great post!

  16. As someone who has read every single one of your posts from day dot (such a lurker) I've seen your transition and honestly, to hell with heels. You have such confidence and pizazz you don't need them. I rarely wear them and seeing how you rock the flats every day is so inspiring :)

  17. Good for you! When my feet gnarl and I can't walk anymore... I will think 'Why didn't I listen to Kyla'...

  18. I can believe what Twerns1 said about flats not being good for some people with high arches. I mentioned that I wear flats all the time, but I do have high arches and if I put on a shoe that has no arch support I'll be regretting it in no time.

    I'd normally include a shoe with a bit of lift under the "flats" umbrella (within reason).

  19. You have no idea how badly I wish we shared the same shoe size...

    And I think it's really great that you made the smart decision considering your lifestyle and health. Really admirable and it makes you a great fashion role model!

  20. Okay, I've never even noticed that you always wear flats, so you must be doing something right!

    I'm excited for your styling tips. As someone who works on their feet ALL the time, I get weary of heels fast, but I'm definitely challenged at pulling off flats. Can't wait to see what else you have to say.

  21. Great post.

    I can't do heels either. I used to wear some epic ones but broke my toe a few years back and wore heels while it healed and messed it all up. It looks normal and everything but heels are a no no now. The only things I own with a heel (small at that) are my cowboy boots which I can get away with wearing for a day but I'm definitely glad to have them off at the end of it.

    The best thing about my toe though? It aches when the rains are comin'. I feel like an old farmer man. Hmmm...that may be inspiration for my next outfit.

  22. I feel so short and stumpy when I wear flats but I know they are better for you. I need to try and find some more that will work for me. Thanks for this post and giving me something to think about!

  23. Rock out! This is awesome! Great post!

  24. LOVED this post! I love heels but I love being able to run more! lol!


  25. It's really interesting that you feel empowered by this. It's great to be empowered! It's a coincidence because I just have been trying to convince my self that it's ok to wear heels. I am 5'11" and felt awkward, but I have been on my own spirit quest to wear what I feel sexy in. I guess the point is: we all have to work up the confidence to do the things we really want to do. Heels or no heels!

  26. good for you! and even better for you, for keeping it REAL! i love that kind of honest & upfront attitude and it is one of main reasons I love your blog.

  27. I have to agree with you. I do envy those heel wearing ladies, but I too have been listening to my body and doctors (since grade school, actually)and am a flats-wearing fashionista! As much as I love a good stiletto, my knees and back thank me for the flats.