I detest shopping. In an ideal world, I'd employ a team of dextrous sewing elves who'd be able to stitch garments meeting my specific requirements at the crack of a tiny little whip. As it stands, however, I am elf-less. This means that once every six months I have to hit the hive of retail rage that is Oxford Street.
The sub-genre of shopping that is most likely to give me a twitchy Eye of Fury is that of the shoe. Last week I was forced to get reacquainted with my tiny temper on a hunt for heels to wear to a wedding in India.
My first error was being friends with a couple who had the audacity to get married in a hot country in the middle of British winter – a time when pretty strappy shoes have gone into hibernation. My second error was thinking that I could find a pair of shoes that didn't force me to choose between looking like either a tart or a vicar.
Without wanting to sound like my mother, can someone please tell me when the only shoe options became stripper heels or brogues? I love brogues, but they can hardly be considered party shoes. This leaves me only with tart stilts to contend with.
There are a number of reasons why I can't tolerate these shoes, the first being that I am tall. At around 5'10'', wearing heels makes me tower above my friends already; six inches would send me squarely into giraffe territory.
Linked to my height is the fact that – unlike some of my more dainty friends – I haven't had years of moulding my feet into little hooves, contorting the ancillary calf muscles and ligaments to support the elegant sashay of a seasoned heel-wearer; I look like Bambi at best and dad-does-drag at worst.
Thirdly, I don't want to look like a stripper. I know one of Paris Hilton's puppies dies every time someone utters this, but I want my legs to be elongated without looking like I will show you one of my boobs for a fiver and a line of coke.
It's not as though I didn't look hard enough. I tried the usual suspects that fall into my price range - Topshop, Office, Schuh, Faith, Aldo, New Look, Dorothy Perkins – and was greeted with the same "pole dancer or prude" dichotomy. For the sake of my sore floor-paws, I found myself darting, head-bowed into Clarks – a shop I hadn't visited since the late 1980s, when my mum refused to buy me the Magic Steps shoes with the key embedded in one of the soles - in the hope of finding something more "sensible", while avoiding the borderline orthopaedic footwear. And sensible shoes I did find. However, the price I had to pay (over and above the £49.99 for the shoes) was being forced to buy a suitably large item in Urban Outfitters that would warrant a bag big enough to conceal the fact that I was a Clarks customer.
All I'm asking is for high street fashion retailers to re-establish a stock of mid-height heels so that lofty ladies like me can clip-clop about with some dignity.
By: Olivia Solon