History of High Heel Shoes

High heel shoes can have an amazing effect on women and are able to fill them with pleasure and excitement when shopping for them at Prada. The shoe in particular is a matter of contentious and heated discussion. No other shoe has gestured toward sexuality and sophistication as much as the high-heeled shoe. So many women are dreaming of having their closets full of shoes, but in reality they are merely pay attention to the fact that shoes could be one of the oldest inventions of our ancestors.

Heels are not a modern invention. Rather, they enjoy a rich and varied history, for both men as well as women. Controversy exists over when high heels were first invented, but the consensus is that heels were worn by both men and women throughout the world for many centuries.

Most of the lower class in ancient Egypt walked barefoot, but figures on murals dating from 3500 B.C. depict an early version of shoes worn mostly by the higher classes. In ancient Greece and Rome, platform sandals called kothorni, later known as buskins in the Renaissance, were shoes with high wood or cork soles that were popular particularly among actors who would wear shoes of different heights to indicated varying social status or importance of characters.

Around 1500, European nobility developed heels as a separate part of their shoes, primarily as a means to help keep their feet in the stirrups. The wear of heels by men quickly became the fashion norm, primarily in the courts, and this practice spawned the term, “well-heeled” as a reference to those who could afford the costlier shoes.

The modern European fashion of the high heel comes from the Italian “chapiney” or “chopine” style: mounted shoes on a 15 to 42 cm high cylinder. In 1430 chopines were prohibited in Venice, but nothing could stop the trend. The invention of the high heel is attributed to Catherine of Medici in Paris, in the 16th century, who used them due to her short stature, and soon introduced them into fashion amongst the European aristocracy. At the age of 14, Catherine de Medici was engaged to the powerful Duke of Orleans, later the King of France.

In the 17th century, the English Parliament punished as witches all women who used high heels to seduce men into marrying them. In his biography, the famous Giovanni Casanova declared his love for high heels, which raised women’s hoop skirts, thus showing their legs.

In 1791, the “Louis” high heels disappeared with the revolution, and Napoleon banished high heels in an attempt to show equality. Despite the Napoleonic Code against high heels, in 1793 Marie Antoinette went to the scaffold to be executed wearing two-inch heels.

In the 1860s, heels as fashion became popular again, and the invention of the sewing machine allowed greater variety in high heels. In Victorian art and literature, cartoons and allusions to tiny feet and the affliction of large feet (typical of the elderly spinster) were ubiquitous. Victorians thought that the high heel emphasized the instep arch, which was seen as symbolic of a curve of a woman.

While heels enjoyed widespread popularity in the late nineteenth century but the Depression during the 1930s influenced Western shoe fashion as heels became lower and wider.

With the creation of the miniskirt in the early 1960s, stilettos came into fashion and were attached to boots that enhanced the look of bare legs. A stiletto heel is a long, thin heel found on some boots and shoes, usually for women. It is named after the stiletto dagger, the phrase being first recorded in the early 1930s. Stiletto heels may vary in length from 2.5 centimetres (1 inch) to 5 cm (2 inches) or more if a platform sole is used.

Unlike the medieval period of Europe, when extravagance was more sought after that practicality, the fashion today trumps comfort. Women in the 21st century have more shoe choices than ever before. From athletic wear to the 2006 “heelless” high heel, women can choose to wear what they want, even hybrid shoes such as “heeled” tennis shoes and flip flops. While these may be oddities of fashion, they gesture toward an exciting array of fashion choices women have today.

Every woman deserves to wear shoes which match her outfit, look elegant and wrap her delicate feet. Whether they are lace up, platform or clear heel each of the shoes definitely compliments the outfit and makes the women love walking and feeling sexy.

When it comes to high heels they are teasing and flattering, they make women feel special and empowered as well as highly confident regardless of when or how they are worn.

Fitness Activewear – 10 Reasons to Look Great When Going to the Gym!

For the exercise activists and the occasional exercise participant alike, going to the gym, like all female endeavors, requires a great outfit. If fashion were irrelevant in the fitness world, tennis shoes would not come in the variety of colors and styles that they do. When we feel good in the clothes we wear, regardless of the occasion we walk a little taller due to the confidence radiating from within. And who among us doesn’t want that extra push when working out? On this note we reflect on the top 10 reasons to look your best at the gym.

1. Motivation and confidence!

Fitness apparel is no exception to wearing nice clothes and feeling great in them. Feeling good about yourself from head to toe is one of the many perks of a great outfit. When you mix it with exercise and advancing your physical health, imagine the body confidence your going to have! Having so much extra motivation about how your going to look even better in your new pants will keep you going for that extra set of reps! Achieve your goals by rewarding yourself with a fitness activewear outfit!

2. Function

Fashion aside for a moment, today’s activewear brands offer so many new perks. Companies use fabrics that wick away sweat from your body and keep you dry throughout your workout. Activewear fabrics breath wonderfully and move with the body, allowing you to feel cool and your clothing to move effortlessly as you do. Also, the activewear fabrics are often colorfast, so wash after wash the colors stay vibrant!

3. Flattering

We all have areas on our bodies where we wish we had a tad extra “concealing.” Activewear can be quite flattering. Most high end brands are made from a tight stretch material that actually makes you look slimmer. When paired with darker colors it will immediately create longer, leaner, flattering lines.

4. You never know….

You never know when fate is going to play a hand, so always be prepared! You could meet the man of your dreams coming off the elliptical. The gym is a great place to meet someone who shares similar interests.

5. Compliments

The gym or yoga studio is a very social place where chit-chat normally occurs. Looking your best is a sure fire way to draw in those compliments to no end! Who among us doesn’t love getting a compliment?!

6. Motivate fellow gym goers

We all know that guys at the gym work out harder when a girl in cute workout clothes walks past. By looking good you are motivating those boys a little bit harder.

7. Competition

Lets be honest here ladies; we are all competitive in one form or another. Who can run the fastest, who can do that yoga pose a little bit deeper and who can climb the most stairs. No matter the venue, the best dressed is always a top contender. Who is wearing the best activewear?

8. Save time

Looking good at the gym means you look good on your way to the gym and immediately after the gym. Whether you are running an errand before or meeting the girls for a drink after, a well placed gym outfit can save the wardrobe changes without sacrificing the fashion!

9. Consider the alternative!

Now working out is not like going to the Oscars; we do not spend three hours on our hair and makeup prior, but some effort is still needed. How do you get that extra self assured boost when you are wearing a stained sweatshirt and dripping with sweat stains?!

10. You deserve it!

You play hard and you work even harder! Its ok, and even necessary to spoil yourself every once and awhile. It will do you a world of good to allow yourself to indulge in something that not only makes you feel fantastic but helps your health as well!

Looking good at the gym is about achieving you highest self greatness. When we look and feel our best we preform our best. Performance is altered by our emotional and mental state. Amazingly enough, something as simple as an activewear top and matching pants will have huge impacts for the better. Always be the best you can be, inside and out.

(C) 2010 ActivewearUSA.com

An Introduction to the Suit Jacket

Without a doubt, the most elegant item of clothing in a man’s wardrobe is the suit jacket. It comes as part of a set with matching trousers and sometimes with a vest in the same or contrasting fabric.

There are two main types of suit jackets – the single-breasted jacket, usually with notch lapels and the double-breasted jacket, strictly with peak lapels. Occasionally, you may find a suit with a mandarin collar but it’s not mainstream. Shawl lapels are commonly use in a tuxedo jacket.

Single-breasted jackets have a single row of buttons down the front, usually two or three; there may be an occasional four, commonly for very tall men. The jacket’s front sides only overlap enough to permit buttoning.

A double-breasted jacket has two rows of buttons, and the front overlaps enough to allow both front sides to be attached to the opposite row of buttons. These jackets were all the rage in the 80s and seem to be going through a revival of sorts with some recent high-profile adopters in David Beckham, Jake Gyllenhaal and even Prince Charles. The current double-breasted jackets though are only remnants of their former selves – gone are the big shoulder pads, they are cut shorter and the bulk factor is removed altogether allowing shorter men the opportunity to don one without looking all swamped up.

Jacket Fit. The fit is the most important part of the jacket and I can’t stress that enough. People have different comfort levels with how tapered they wear their jackets. This is usually done at the waist to allow the jacket to closely follow the contours of the body. It all depends on how comfortable you feel in the look. You may have noticed men who power-dress, bankers and management consultants for instance all wear tapered jackets as it is what basically creates the image. To look good in a suit, you need not have your jackets fitted to that level unless you like it that way. Although be careful that it’s not too loose either as that creates the opposite effect of a shabby image. Make sure it’s shaped well on you and the fabric does not pinch at some corners and hang loose at others.

Here are a few things other you will want to look at to ensure the rest of your jacket fits well. The waist button should rest just below the natural waist of the wearer. The length of the jacket should be in line with the middle knuckle of the thumb and the back should rest just a little below the bottom. The cuffs should rest just a little above where the wrists. This leaves room for the shirt cuffs to be seen, usually around half an inch.

Jacket Shoulders. Jackets are usually built around the shoulders, and this structure is essential to the fit of the garment. The most important function of the jacket shoulders is to create symmetry. People come in different shapes and sizes and that is true of their shoulders too. Some men have extremely broad shoulders, others drooping and some will even have shoulders of different heights. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that and a well-stitched bespoke jacket will easily help to create symmetry. The padding of the shoulders is the place to start. Make sure the shoulder lines are well-defined but not exaggerated. For most people excessively large shoulder pads, for instance those that extend beyond the natural shoulder line creates a disproportionate look. On the other hand, if you naturally have small shoulders, having the shoulder pads very slightly extend beyond your shoulder line, will correct the look for you. It’s all down to your body type.

The thickness of the padding is the next thing to look at. If you naturally have shoulders of different heights, you can use the padding of varying thickness to easily correct that for you. As a general rule with shoulder padding, gone are the days when bulky shoulder pads were in trend. Today’s jackets largely have a thin padding with a slightly downward natural slant. Over-padding causes the neck and head to be engulfed by the jacket, and too thin padding does not allow the jacket to have the formal look that a suit jacket is supposed to create. What a bespoke jacket does is to create evenness and symmetry no matter what your natural shoulders are like.

Jacket Lapels. Lapels are the folded flaps of cloth on the front side of the jacket; a continuation of the jacket collar that stretches down to where the buttons begin. Lapels come in different styles and options. The most common variance of the lapels is the width. For a classic look, a moderate-width lapel is best and it works well on most occasions.

There are three basic types of lapels. The most common is the notched lapel and is the type used on single-breasted jackets. A suit jacket with notched lapels is often considered the most formal way of dressing and the type adopted by businessmen across the board. The second type, the peak lapel is more dressy than notched and commonly used on a double-breasted suit. Peak lapels create a broader and stronger silhouette with it’s fuller looking edges and arched angles – more of an occasion look and might be a bit much for the working day unless of course it comes on a double-breasted jacket. Shawl lapel is the third type and is usually found on tuxedo and dinner jackets. Here, the lapel and collar are not separate – the under collar is cut in one garment front with the centre back seam joining the two halves.

Jacket Sleeves Buttons. One of the things that distinguishes a bespoke jacket from an off-the-rack one is functioning sleeve buttons. In fact it has become fashionable to leave the last one unbuttoned as a statement to say that the jacket is custom-made. Most suits these days have four sleeve buttons but three is not uncommon. Regardless of the number, there should be at least as many of them as there are buttons on the waist, and they should be placed within a half-inch or so above the hem. Also sleeve buttons should always match the waist buttons.

Jacket Pockets. There are three typical styles of pockets on a jacket. The first is the jetted pockets. This type of pocket is sewn into the lining of the jacket and only a narrow horizontal slit appears on the side. As they appear nearly invisible, it contributes to a very sleek and polished look and frequently found on formal wear.

The second type of pocket is called the flap pocket. Flap pockets are like jetted pockets with an additional flap sewn into the top of the pocket, thus the name. It covers the pocket’s opening. Flap pockets are the most common type on suit jackets and nowadays is tailored such that the flaps can be tucked inside the pocket thus creating the jetted pocket appearance. This gives wearers’ the option of wearing the suit one day with the jetted pocket look and another with the flap pocket look.

There are also patch pockets, the least formal, and like the name suggests, a cloth is patched on the outside of the jacket to make it into a pocket.

Some bespoke jackets also come with a ticket pocket, another customisation that distinguishes a bespoke jacket from a ready-made one. It’s a smaller pocket placed above the standard pocket on the right side or occasionally on the left if that’s the wearer’s dominant hand.

Pockets are, usually, horizontally cut, but on some less formal jackets like the sports jacket you will find that they are made with a slight slant.

Moving up and common to all jackets is the breast pocket – basically a jetted pocket found on the upper-left chest. It’s purpose is not that of a pocket as such and is used more commonly for putting a display handkerchief or pocket square.

Inside pockets differ from jacket to jacket. Off-the-rack ones don’t often come with one. On a bespoke suit, it depends on the customisation requests but as a standard there is normally one on the left side and it is sewn into the lining. Some additional inside pockets for holding pens and/or credit cards are also not uncommon, another signature that the jacket is bespoke.

Jacket Vents. Vents are flap-like slit(s) in the back bottom of the jacket designed to accommodate freer movement while a person is seated for instance and for easier access to trouser pockets for the wallet. On the bespoke jacket there are three options – ventless, center vent and side vents.

Ventless jackets as the name suggests have no vent and is commonly found on Italian-style suits offering a sleek look for the back side of the jacket. Center vent is one single slit in the center of the jacket. A jacket with side vents has two vents, one on either side, usually where the trouser pockets are placed.

If there’s one point to take away after reading through the article, make sure it’s “fit”. A well-fitting suit covers a multitude of sins you may make in fabric, color and style.