Fashion 201: Wedges

Welcome to Twenty York Street’s New Feature:

Yes, exactly like taking Fashion 101 in University but now that you’ve learned the basics, through shopping, your regular magazine subscriptions or real-life experiences – you’ve earned your stripes and now ready to learn and explore more!
Fashion 201! Coz y’know, it’s by Twenty York Street hence, let’s do it one up, yes?!
Like any good blogger who does not want to claim responsibility over unintentional faux-pas (ha!) but would gladly like to take credit for a job well-done, I have to lay out the ubiquitous disclaimer in these posts. I am, in no traditional sense of the word, an expert nor I try to be. Though with a mountain of unopened credit card statements stuffed under the mattress, an impressive possé of friends from the retail industry on a first name basis, IRL close friends as insiders in the fashion industry and very close working (and personal) relationships with well-known and up and coming designers, I ‘feel’ like I have something of value or at least of interest to share with you.
I believe we all do, don’t you?
So, for the first edition of FASHION 201, let’s talk about WEDGES!
Not to be confused with platforms, wedges are a type of of shoes that have ‘heels’ that runs the entire foot, from the back all the way to the middle or the front. The heel, as you can imagine, has a sort of triangular, wedge shape and though they do raise the height of the shoes from above the ground, not all wedges are high heels.
The 1930 saw the birth of the very first wedge shoes by world-famous Italian Designer, Salvatore Ferragamo. Using cork and wood due to rubber and leather shortage, he created the orthopedic wedge in 1935 and the wedge heels in 1936. As wood is naturally heavier than cork, cork was preferred as it was also a sturdy and durable material.


It was all about the height. (cue: 5-inch heels and top rate shoulder pads!) Well, and winning wars I suppose but this is mainly a fashion blog, ain’t it? Since leather and rubber were much needed for the war effort, wood and cork became fashionable alternatives, which gave a rise to the popularity of wedges. As most of you would agree, wedges are easier to walk in the skinny cigarette heels, hence, the added bonus points to cork – a sustainable and environmentally friendly material.

The 70s, 90s and 2000s

In the 70s, wedges enjoyed a more avant-garde utilitarian purpose as it was worn by both men and women. As characteristic of the decade itself, the designs were bolder, colourful and some, downright outrageous. Remember the 90s? Alright, maybe some of you weren’t even born yet but picture this: sneakers + heels = wedge sneakers!
Alright, remember the Spice Girls? What, you don’t know who they are, either?
Neither do I!
Yup, that is indeed David’s Missus – Victoria Beckham!

The new millennium brought about a fresh, island twist on the wedges by using heels made of cork and wrapped around with rope. In order to secure the wedges, variations of ankle strap, leg wrap, bows and buckles were also incorporated into the designs.


All fashion houses and every reputable brand designers release a number of new wedge sandals in every summer collection, every year. And guess what’s the new wedge trend for 2011? The 70s are alive and kickin’ again with the return of 70s-inspired fashion: bow shirts, flower prints, wide leg pants, flatforms (what are those? That’ll be for another post, I promise) and wedges!

So why choose wedges over heels and other hurt-inducing foot device? First of all, women wear heels in the hopes of achieving the following: make the body look thinner, improve posture and most of all, make the legs look longer. With more arch support, wedges reduce foot and ankle problems, provides more balance and it can help prevent falls that are associated with high heels.

Credits to: Wikipedia for some historical information, Merci!

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