Tres Chic; From Boudoir To The Street

God Bless The American Standard

Rachel Mooney
In 4 ½ inch stilettos, purchased in New York, I saunter not-so-gracefully into my office while simultaneously knowing that I am both ruining the tendons in my legs, and forming what will inevitably be the result of Chinese bound feet in ten years. My stride, marked by small shuffles to avoid pulling at the hem of my tight A-line skirt are also scarily reminiscent of the Geisha walk and I can only laugh at the correlation between cultures. Ah, yes, this is femininity at its finest; the American dream: Women in heels, bound in snug alterations.

Fashion has been synonymous with pain since the invention of the high heel and I am a testament to this notion of pushing forward like a wounded soldier. Scoff at the reference, but working 12 hours in 4 ½ inch platforms in a fashion company that never stops and you realize some women can dominate your work day and do it while teetering atop what are equivalent to stilts that pinch like Chinese finger traps and perhaps this may put things into perspective. Sweat pants aren’t an option, boys. Sweatpants are a sign of defeat, and this Tory Birch laden woman isn’t waiving the white flag just yet.

Reaching for a file, I experience one of the many wardrobe malfunctions throughout the years in the name of fashion as the hem of my Ann Taylor skirt rips straight up the ass like perforated page of notebook paper. The sound of ripping fabric is enough to make any women cringe, and the only step left is to access the damage. Yes. My ass is out. Yes, I have a meeting in 35 minutes. As if making it to conference room 10 without re-enacting the coffee catastrophe of 2011 weren’t hard enough, now I get the privilege of mooning the VP, a man won’t surely won’t understand that I am just now learning that I have too much ass for the tight hems of an Ann Taylor skirt. I am Janet Jackson at the superbowl, tit-exposed and realizing only moments too late that I didn’t wear a slip under my skirt.

I do what any respectable woman would do – high tail it, ass-out and shuffling as if I were too ‘New York’ too notice, to the closest Target: the shameful home of fashion ‘Don’ts” for an Olympic-speed wardrobe swap that would make Michael Phelps proud. Laying on the rotating cash register like a can of fancy feast waiting to be scanned, I can only mumble that I’m wearing my new outfit ‘to-go’ because I had an unexpected air conditioning unit installed in the rear of my ensemble over my breakfast toast. This may be my finest moment, yet.

This is what it means to be a woman. Always on your toes, or stilettos for this matter, waiting for a hem to rip or a heel to crack in half like a kit-kat bar, a eye-lash curler to malfunction leaving your face hairless as a chicken neck on a thanksgiving platter - or better yet, to lose your entire manicured fingernail in the thanksgiving feast only for great grandmother Fiona to unexpectedly find it in her mashed potatoes halfway through dinner. Surprise! This isn’t child’s play, men – this is a battleground. It’s a full time job to be a polished woman, and if you don’t realize it already, it’s actually quite a career. It wasn’t a coincidence that the female gender is expected to endure both high heels and childbirth – men might not be able to handle it.

So the next time you see a beautiful woman walking down a cobblestone street working it like a John Casablanca runway coach in stilettos, salute the lady and thank her for the service she’s doing your country. While you’re at it, thank the gods of fashion that you’re in the sweet land of the Midwest, where the women are corn-fed and tough enough to endure the fashionable pain required to catch your eye in the first place. If you weren’t so lucky, you might’ve ended up in Portlandia, where high heels are a thing of myth and the women allegedly roam unshaven. Count your blessings, boys: You’re in the heartland of America.