Kitten heel

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A kitten heel is a short, slender heel, usually from 3.5 centimeters (1.5 inches) to 5 centimeters (2 inches) high with a slight curve setting the heel in from the edge of the shoe. The style was popularized by Audrey Hepburn. They are particularly common on sandals.

Definition

A kitten heel is a stiletto heel of 5 centimeters or less in height; some are as low as 3 centimeters. They are classified as stiletto heels and despite their lack of height are generally classified as 'high heels' because of their sex appeal; particularly when teamed with a sharp pointed toe or long 'winklepicker' toe. This is an anomaly because a shoe or Pump with regular wide heels of 3.5 centimeters high would normally be considered a flat shoe; it is the addition of a stiletto heel, however short, that turns it into a sexual accessory.

History

They were introduced in the late 1950s as formal fashion attire for young adolescent teenage girls as higher heels would have been considered unseemly for girls as young as 13 because of the sexual connotations and unease of walk. They were sometimes referred to as "trainer heels" in the USA indicating their use in getting young girls used to wearing high heels. However by the early 1960s they became fashionable for older teenagers and eventually for women of all ages until the demise of the stiletto heel in the late 1960s. They emerged again in the 1980s and have become once again fashionable since 2003.

Manolo Blahnik has added kitten heeled shoes to his collection, saying that his famous high stilettos have been so often copied that he was inspired to create a heel at a new, shorter height.

References


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