Fashion vs. Function: Wearing Heels in Casual Claremont

I recently acquired a pair of ankle boots with a hefty mid-sized heel, and wearing them around Claremont has gotten me thinking about footwear and its intersection with college life. 

Although I rarely wear them, I love heels. Every fashion week I wait with bated breath, looking at all of the shoes from all of the collections, and every season there is a pair of heels that makes me cry a little bit on the inside—because of both their beauty and their unattainability. 

So why don’t I wear them? I think it’s a combination of campus lifestyle (casual) and campus taboo (no one else is doing it). It seems that most students have deemed heels impractical, hard to walk in, too much for class. I am inclined to agree, except for maybe that last point. They make biking a bit harder, they click loudly in the Smith Campus Center, and they give me blisters in the heat. However, heels are some of the most beautiful shoes out there. This week, in an attempt to understand how heels can fit into Claremont life, I spoke with Sarah Devereaux-Hardimon PO ’16. She is a frequent high heel-wearer, so I asked her about her reasons for wearing heels and how she makes them functional in her everyday life.

TSL: So you wear heels a lot. Any particular reason why?

Sarah Devereaux-Hardimon: I started wearing heels when I was really young because I was tired of being shorter than everyone else and read as much younger. Now I think I just enjoy wearing them because I like how they look and coordinate with outfits.

TSL: Do you ever feel weird wearing heels in a setting where no one else is?

SD-H: Not really. I enjoy wearing things that people don’t expect and seeing how incredulous people are that I bothered to wear heels to a 9 a.m. class.

TSL: What is your favorite pair of heels?

SD-H: Dark blue suede peep toes.

TSL: What pair would you love to have? 

SD-H: Probably something really high, versatile—I love well-made black pumps—that I could walk in all day without hurting my feet or back.

TSL: How do you balance practicality, function, and fashion? How do heels fit into your everyday life?

SD-H: I typically don’t wear super-high heels if I have to walk super far, and also live in flip-flops if the temperature is above 90 degrees. That said, my footwear is largely determined by my mood more than practicality. 

Clearly, heels can become a part of everyday life in Claremont. As Devereaux-Hardimon shows, it just takes some thought, and maybe a willingness to sacrifice some comfort in the name of aesthetics.  

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