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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Heels, platforms, flats and wedges: They are all there

The quadro-focal image of this coming season is on what you wear on your feet. More specifically what is worn on the heel with heels,platform, flats and wedges all being heavily promoted as the next vogue. Seems however all four will feature as seasonal favourites which is a rare phenomenon in the funky fashion world. The last time this happened was post September 11, when heeled shoes which would in the cycle of fashion should have been the sartorial more but after the tragic events in NY were quickly switched to Ath leisure mules. Both styles competed for customers. The culture of celebrity may have something to do with current events as we appear committed to follow the talent less in their quest for 15 minutes of fame. In the blue corner we have limo shoes, heeled shoes preferred by those Hollywood hopefuls who rarely have (or would physically be able) to totter farther than the few steps that separate their limo from the red carpet. Louis Vuitton tops the limo shoe list with a pair with heels at 17cm (inches) high; others like Gina and Jimmy Choo have settled for the more conservative six inch stiletto and the red soled Christian Louboutin has a six inch peeptoe slingback platform called Catenita (£495 a pair). In the red corner there are the elfin ballet flats and in the middle, wedgies. All this attention to foot adornment has had a spin off into foot pampering which is now a roaring cottage industry. No longer is a pedicure the soul domain of the podiatrist with beauty pedicurists now on every high street and shopping mall corner. Premier fashion magazines remind the would be fashionista well cared for feet are a must if you want to match the seasons shoes fashions. Whether in heels, platforms or flats a well turned ankle is an eye catching beauty so feet have become high maintenance. Experts tells us a good circulation to the feet gives the feeling of walking on air, one sure way to improve the micro-circulation is to immerse the feet into warm water (hand hot – i.e. 46oC) for approximately 10 minutes. Showers are more convenient but when it comes to feet, a foot bath is superior. Regular washing the feet with bland soap helps remove the old dry skin cells and occasionally dissolving a handful of common salt in the water adds considerably to the isotonic effect. Regular and gentle rubbing with a pumice stone (lava) safely removes skin build up on the sole and around the heel. Metal filing instruments or callus-removing razors should be avoided as they can easily leave the skin bleeding and when unsterilised or rusted cause unwanted infection. Use a soft fluffy towel to carefully dry the foot making sure the toe spaces are dried carefully. Take time to inspect the feet (use a vanity mirror or telescopic car inspection mirror) and look for cuts and bruises which should be attended to with first aid. Massaging the skin with moisturising creams also helps improve the micro-circulation. Bland creams feed essential water to the old skin cells which helps them separate and leave the skin surface smooth and radiant. Healthy skins respond quickly to the application of bland creams. Medicated creams should be used only under medical direction as creams or lotion containing lactic acid or urea can irritate sensitive skins. People coping with marked corn or callous should see their podiatrist as self care is fraught with challenge and the last thing the fashionista needs is visible corn plasters and bleeding points. Fungal and viral infections are common on the foot and if they are present it is best to seek the advice of a medical expert, self care under medical direction will often keep them at bay. Cutting nails after a foot bath is preferred because the nail is softened in the presence of water. Toe nails need to be cut across the growing edge following the transverse curve of the nail. Finger nails and toe nails differ slightly but well kept nails can be maintained with regular filing. Should you experience any difficulty with nail toiletry consult your foot expert. Despite all that is known about shoes there is really very little independent studies to confirm what constitutes a good fit. The industry is so competitive key information is scant but what seems to be a universal truth is a good fitting shoe is a comfortable shoe. So make ‘comfortable’ your by-word this season. No matter the cost or materials or designer a comfortable shoe, suitable for the activity you intend to wear them for will pay dividends and make you feel beautiful. Some people are able to wear higher heels than others but never force the issue and if height is your goal choose wedges. The good thing this coming season is everything is fashionable.

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