Socks and Heels
Throughout history, marriages have been created and dissolved, wars have been won and lost, and great nations have joined together, all while wearing this latest trend to hit ads and shelves this fall season.
Socks, or stockings, with high-heels, are one trend that you cannot miss. From the pages of Vogue on a Prada or Mui Mui campaign, to runway shows, and on the red carpet, it will rock your socks off, pun intended.
You can pull this look off pretty much anyway you please, any color, pattern, texture, and length; thigh high, knee high, and anklets. You can use any socks that tickle your fancy. While choosing shoes to pair with socks, the same rules apply, booties, boots, pumps, and wedges, all you need is the height. With this trend you have the freedom to express yourself, and perhaps even be a little practical.
To understand the historical use of this trend, (that’s right, we aren’t reinventing the wheel, this trend has been done before,) lets take a look at how some of the most important cultures and people came up with the unlikely combination of the heel and sock.
- History of the Sock:
The sock has been around since the Stone Age, but back then socks weren’t made out of cotton or wool, they were made of animal skins and only really covered the ankles.
During the 2nd Century, Romans had their variation of a sock by using intertwined pieces of leather of fabric and using these to wrap their feet. As ancient technology became more sophisticated udones were created. The udone was woven fabric sewn together so that it could be pulled over the foot instead of wrapped like in years previous.
The first knit socks were made by none other than the Egyptians. Archeologists have discovered knitted socks in ancient tombs throughout Egypt.
It wasn’t until the Middle Ages that socks really begin to evolve and started to evolve closer to the concept of tights and leggings. The legging was created when pieces or strips of hide or cloth wrapped both the legs and feet, and tights came to be when the legs of pants narrowed and lowered creating a tighter fit. The ‘breech’ and ‘hose’ later joined together in the 1400’s and made what we know as the traditional tight. Back then tights were made of silk, velvet, and wool and were often multi-colored, each leg being a different color (maybe that is where Helena Bonham Carter gets her wacky shoe inspiration!)
- History of the High Heel:
The earliest proof of a high heel was once again found in ancient Egyptian tombs (seriously, where would we be without the Egyptians?), and it is thought that the wearing of a high heel showed a high social status or rank.
During the 1400’s and 1500’s, some of Europe’s most famous women from Mary Tudor, to Marie Antoinette wore high heels because they lacked in height. So although these women were of a higher social status, it seems they may have worn the tall creations out of vanity and what they believed to be practicality over social rank.
Moving into the late 1500’, the high heel was no longer exclusively for women but for men as well. The ancient concept of a high-heel came back into fashion for those higher up on the social hierarchy who wore the sought-after shoe and were often referred to as being ‘well heeled’.
It is no secret that high-heels are one of womankind’s most seductive accessory, and in 17th Century England, women used the shoe as a tool of seduction but were also reportedly severely punished for wearing such sexual outfitting.
As the high-heel slowly made its way from Europe to North America, it became a common staple for all women, and many men’s closets.
Throughout the development of both the sock and high-heel, they were paired together and seen as normal, not a trend. So in a way you could say they were meant to be together and like it or not, this trend has staying power. Pairing socks with stiletto shoes is becoming the norm on the runway and in ads just like history always intended it.