Boots

Harper’s Bazzar September 2012

I must admit I look forward to the September issues of Vogue and Harper’s Bazzar a little too much. I know it makes no sense, 80% of it is advertising, but they’re just SO big (916 pages). It’s very satisfying. This year, like every year, there’s a nod to the leather boot and every year the heels get a bit higher and the length a big longer.

Up until the 1960s the high heeled leather boot was reserved for prostitutes and perverts. They were signs of degeneracy and immorality. Super high heels could only be ordered from specialized costume shops advertising in underground fetish magazines. In fact, the anti-obscenity laws instigated by the U.S. Post Office stipulated that images of women wearing heels above 3″ was illegal.*

John Willie for Bizarre Magazine

It wasn’t until the 60’s when legal restrictions were lifted and leather clothing became easier and less expensive to manufacture that fetishistic clothing began to appear in mass consumer fashion. High-end designers like Christian Dior and Anne Klein began using leather in their collections. Then Emma Peel arrived and a staple was born.*

As someone who has as much grace in high heels as a rhinoceros in, well… high heels, I was pretty happy when the ballet flat came back. But on those rare occasions when I break out the big boots, I have to admit I do feel like taking names and kicking ass. As long as I don’t have to walk more than two blocks to do it.

* The Development of Sadomasochism as a Cultural Style in the Twentieth-Century United States, Robert V. Bienvenu II, Ph.D.

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