The History of the High Heel

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High heels are by far one of the most popular (and important,) items in a women’s closet and without their remarkable history we would be heel-less.

It is believed that Catherine de Medici (1519-1589) brought high heels in Vogue for women. We can all thank this fashion forward royal who insisted on wearing high heels on her wedding day to boost her short stature.

King Louis XIV

The heel in France then became a status symbol of higher classes. In the early 1700s men like King Louis XIV decided to wear high heels and made it illegal for anyone who was not from the noble classes to wear heels higher then his 5-inch heels. However, the shoe was quickly banned after the French Revolution when Napoleon came to power.

In the New World in the Puritan Massachusetts Colony a law was passed that banned women from using heels to seduce men, as women wearing them were believed to be witches.

Not until the middle of the 19th century did high heels become a more widespread fashion accessory. The invention of the sewing machine made it possible for a greater variety of heels to be made.

marilyn monroe high heels

It wasn’t until the 1950s that emerging fashion designers entered the fashion world and more and more heels appeared in stores and on Hollywood actresses. Women’s stilettos and heeled boots were introduced and the high heel became an integral part of a women’s wardrobe.

Then with the emergence of the feminist movement in the 60’s, feminist groups began to criticize the high heel, seeing it as a “man made” object that slowed the progress of women.

Finally, women came to their senses by the 1980s and heels were seen as a part of power dressing, giving the women a sense of height, power and authority.

High Heels Today

Today we can spot high heels just about everywhere we look. From the boardroom, to the subway to the catwalk and thankfully, it doesn’t look like they will be going anywhere any time soon! You know what they say, “The higher the heel, the closer to God!”

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SHE-RO of the Week: Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

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Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (4)

SHE-RO of the Week: Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy

Obaid-Chinoy is an activist leading a fight against punishment for domestic abuse in her native country of Pakistan. She worked with Daniel Junge to produce a documentary called Saving Face which also won this year’s Academy Award for Best Documentary Short. Obaid-Chinoy is currently working with Project SAAVE (Stand Against Acid Violence), which partners with organizations to provide survivors with the surgeries and support they need to start over.She is truly an inspiration who is giving a voice to many women all over the world!

Casa Couture’s Holiday Wish List Round Up

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Here at Casa Couture we are all getting excited as the holidays are quickly approaching. From decorating our office to planning our holiday party to working on orders for the holiday season we are busier then ever around here. Nonetheless, we decided to take a quick break and since we are all obsessed with shoes we each made a holiday wish list with a favorite flat, boot, and heel that we’d love to find under the tree this Christmas. Here is a sneak peak of our holiday wish lists, take a look and see which shoes made the cut!

Claudia’s Picks:

“I never met a shoe I didn’t love, but some are just cuter than others. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a weakness for shiny objects, but mostly because I’m a firm believer that a little sparkle can turn the simplest black dress into something special. I filled one particular item on my shoe wish list already, which is this gorgeous pair of glitter Badgley Mischka peep-toe with a hidden platform. I plan to rock these from Christmas through the New Year.”

“Although I’m obsessed with these Yves Saint Laurent mirrored-heel stretch-leather knee boots, I think they will remain on my wish list rather than in my closet. If you can swing the hefty price tag, these boots can be worn casually with a pair of leggings or a sleek pencil skirt for the office. Either way, the mirrored platform gives you an excuse to keep looking down to admire your swanky boots… I mean, you can always say you’re just freshening up your lipstick.”

“I know these are our own designs, but I live in my pair of Charlotte flats. They were my favorites this Fall and I’m adding the Pink Coral to my Christmas wish list for Spring.  The flirty floral embellishment gives a feminine touch to almost everything in my wardrobe.”

Colleen’s Picks:

We’ve been seeing cut-outs everywhere lately in fashion! I really love this different take on a black heel! Black heels are so simple I think every girl owns a pair. These are a little different though so you won’t feel so run of the mill!

I think boots are a wardrobe staple for any girl in the winter. Riding boots are sleek and go great with skinny jeans. These are so versatile you can pair them with just about anything though for a complete and sophisticated look!

I have been really into the spiked look on shoes and blouses this season. It definitely makes a pair of flats more of a statement. The gold spikes are funky and spice up just a regular pair of flats. I know a lot of girls hesitate to wear flats out at night but when they are this cute I think they will reconsider!

Kelsey’s Picks:

“I am loving metallic right now and these pumps would be the perfect shoe to wear this upcoming holiday season, the cap toe is on trend and I am simply obsessed with anything J. Crew which makes them all the more perfect.”

“I’ve seen motorcycle boots all over the city this season and have always wanted a pair, these Jimmy Choo black biker boots are timeless and would be a great addition to my closet.”

“These Kate Spade Carissa flats are just fun- the sequined polka dots add some sparkle to the dark suede and would be the perfect paired with a some boyfriend jeans and an oxford.”

Roisin’s Pick:

“The black pump is a staple in any girl’s closet. The cap toe style is so hot right now, and the gold and black contrast is season-less, versatile and gives any outfit a bit of flash. I can’t wait to pair these with some black skinnies and a sheer blouse for a girls night out!”

“I am a boots girl, plain and simple. I wear them Fall, Winter, Spring and occasionally those rainy days in the Summer. Riding boots are classic and a must have in my day-to-day wardrobe. These boots by Karen Millen are perfect- understated, sturdy and simple.”

“A little cheetah print can go a long way in spicing up an otherwise “blah” ensemble. The smoking slipper trend is one of my favorites for the winter season as it’s chic, exudes effortless style and is most importantly, comfortable!”

Nikita’s Picks:

“There’s something striking about this leather and suede combination, the richness of the black contrasts with the leather causing the heel to pop. This holiday heel would be a great addition to my closet!”

“Many women tend to go with black or glitter heels for the holiday parties. Why not change it up by wearing teal? These booties have killer metal spikes for a nice added surprise without going over the top.”

“If you’ve been wearing your 4” heels from 9-5 and your office holiday party starts at 6, give your feet a break by slipping into these berry flats. Plus, the gold accents bring a subtle touch of holiday spirit to your feet.”

Fashion with Heart: How to Help Hurricane Sandy Victims by Shopping Online

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While the Northeast is still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, fashion retailers are working hard to do their part to help those affected by the storm. These fashion retailers are encouraging their customers to shop for a cause, by donating a percentage of their proceeds to the relief efforts. Here is a list of companies dedicated to helping storm victims:

Joan Hornig Jewelry: While portions of every purchase from the jewelry designer’s website benefit charities, now the designer is offering 100% of the proceeds of her sterling silver “Build Up The Giving” necklace to a hurricane relief organization of your choice.

Lord & Taylor: Even though no shopping is involved here, funds are still being raised for the New York Red Cross. Simply “like” the Lord & Taylor Facebook page through Christmas, and the department store will donate $1 for each like.

Natori: Through November 11th, Natori will donate 20% of all online sales to The Red Cross, including lingerie, elegant home goods, ready-to-wear looks and more.

Penfield: For every purchase placed on Penfield’s US website, $10 will be donated to the American Red Cross, so check out their latest men’s and women’s collections now.

Theory: Thursday, November 8th –Sunday, November 11th get 20% off men’s and women’s collections in stores and online. 10% of proceeds will be given to Hurricane Sandy Relief efforts. Use the promo code GIVE2012.

Tory Burch: 10% of net proceeds from all purchases at Tory Burch stores and ToryBurch.com will support aid organizations. Up to $250,000 in funds will be equally divided between The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, The United Way of Long Island and the American Red Cross.

Here at Casa Couture we are doing our part to help the areas recovering from Hurricane Sandy by partnering with Cuoio Shoes in Boston, MA. We will be hosting a trunk show where customers will receive 10% off all purchases, which will then be donated to aid organizations including Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund, The United Way of Long Island, and The American Red Cross.

Check out our event page on Facebook here.

Style Evolution: Aging Gracefully & Stylishly

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As we “mature” in age, we inevitably see changes in our bodies, our earning power and even social status. We become wives, mothers and CEOs of our companies. Yet we often overlook changes in our wardrobe. We begin to notice that the “trendy” pieces that once worked are no longer appropriate for a day in the life of a successful working mom. Women today want to feel more youthful than ever before and want to remain stylish and on trend like stars including Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Aniston and Halle Berry, who make getting older look so effortless. Can we all pull off the art of aging gracefully while also embracing a style evolution that maintains our sense of style? You can if you follow these easy style tips:

Fit:

Choose clothing that fits correctly. Some styles that used to be essentials in your wardrobe may no longer work for your new and improved mature closet. Avoid too tight or too baggy outfits. Finding and investing in a tailor is also something that should be considered. Focusing your attention on pieces you already have and buy in the future and taking them to a tailor really customizes them and provides you with a fit that you won’t get off the rack. Well-cut clothes can make you look younger, and can empower you to feel more confident and put together.

Update your Basics:

Every woman should have an updated pair of pants and jeans in her closet. So get rid of those mom jeans and look for a pair that flatters your leg shape. If your legs are wider at the calf and ankle, avoid crop styles and wear shoes the same color as your pants to elongate the leg. Slightly flared or bootleg pant bottoms are more flattering than straight pants. But be sure to get rid of baggy, wide, oversized pants.

Also, find a go-to little black dress. Every woman needs a LBD in her wardrobe, as it can easily be worn for multiple occasions.

Footwear:

In regards to footwear choose classic footwear styles that will transcend the fashion fads. Select a few key styles like D’Orsays, round toe shapes, ankle strap or sling back heels. Limit the purchase of styles like platforms, wedges, Mary Janes and mules.

Painful stilettos were the price you paid for style while in your 20’s. However, as you are aging gracefully it is smart to choose heels with a 2.5 to 3 inch heel with a wider base. This will keep you from straining your back and increase stability.

Undergarments:

The reality is as we age we come to rely more on undergarments to help keep everything in the right place, so don’t underestimate the importance of good undergarments. The start of any great outfit is well-fitting undergarments. Get fitted for your correct measurements to make sure you are wearing styles that fit. Dispose of any dated styles you wore in your younger years and invest in quality undergarments to kick start your wardrobe.

Colors:

In your 20’s, you could wear pastels, bright colors or lots of patterns. Now, you should opt for more sophisticated, neutral color palettes. Add pops of color to your outfit through accessories; just be sure to not overdo it! We also love the idea of a monochromatic ensemble; it is simple and easy to achieve and gives the illusion of a slimmer figure.

Hair:

Update your hair. If you have the same hairstyle you had when you graduated high school then it’s definitely time for a change! Take a visit to your hairdresser and get an interesting cut with layers to frame your face.

SHE-RO of the Week : Edna Adan

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Edna Adan of Somaliland was the first woman to drive and read in Somali as well as the first certified Midwife. At 75, She is a UN diplomat who is worked to build the first maternity hospital in her country. To add to her accomplishments she has now training Midwives and is hoping to train over 1,000.

We love seeing strong, hardworking women out there looking to inspire!

Michelle Obama and Ann Romney’s Campaign Style

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In celebration of Election Day, we at Casa Couture are taking a look back at the campaign styles of the two leading ladies of the election season.

While the road to the presidency may have been filled with talk of jobs, health care, and taxes, Michelle Obama and Ann Romney have been a constant presence and have generated their own buzz with their own unique style on the campaign trail.

These ladies have not only shown us that they know politics, but that they most definitely know a thing or two about fashion.

For Michelle Obama, wearing an array of fresh designer looks was a reoccurring theme. Known for mixing high-end and affordable pieces, Obama’s ensembles garnered a lot of attention, especially when she recycled a previously worn dress for the final debate. The first lady was often seen wearing dresses in vibrant colors and bold prints during this campaign.

For Ann Romney, bold colors and conservative silhouettes were a theme throughout the campaign. Her looks were tailored and sophisticated and she made great use of belts to accentuate her waist and statement necklaces to accessorize her ensembles.

Here are a few of our campaign style favorites from these fashionistas:

Michelle at the pre-DNC festivities in an abstract print

Michelle on the final day of the DNC sporting a plum colored off-shoulder dress

Michelle working the color block trend while giving a speech

Ann at the RNC sporting a red dress by Oscar de la Renta

Ann wearing a tailored piece for the presidential debate at Denver University

While campaigning Ann wore her LBD, paired with a pink cardigan and accessorized with a belt and necklace

Who do you think wore it best this campaign season?

(Images taken from TheFashionables.com)

SHE-RO of the Week: Fulamatu

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If you haven’t already be sure to check out the Half the Sky Documentary on PBS. It is now currently streaming on Instant Netflix as well.

Our SHE-RO of the week is 14 year old Fulamatu of Sierra Leone. She is a victim of sexual abuse who is thrown out of her home. Currently, Fulamatu has received a scholarship from a Half the Sky Movement supporter to complete her education at a boarding school in Freetown, Sierra Leone. Fulamatu is studying hard and working toward her dream of becoming an accountant. She has recently expressed a desire to become a mentor for other young survivors of sexual violence.

Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women

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Here at Casa Couture we believe that women hold the future for both our communities and our economy and are dedicated to empowering women. After reading the best-selling book, Half the Sky by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn we feel an even greater need to do our part to stop the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.

In Half the Sky, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn guide us on an odyssey through Africa and Asia, telling the stories of individuals affected by oppression in their countries. The women and children chronicled in the book deal with sex trafficking, gender-based violence and little to no education, among other issues.

The stories of the women included in the book are unimaginable. Many have had to overcome unbelievable struggles that most of us can’t even begin to conceive. These women who overcame tremendous challenges are inspiring and with the help of organizations and education are now becoming agents of change to help women and young girls in their communities.

Through these stories, Kristof and WuDunn show how the smallest amount of help can transform the lives of women and girls in the developing world, and that the key to economic progress lies in unleashing women’s potential. Here at Casa Couture we truly believe that any small act toward helping women reach their potential is an important step toward progress for women worldwide.

As a result of Kristof and WuDunn’s book, a four-hour television series for PBS was created. The documentary premiered in the United States on PBS on October 1st and 2nd. The documentary chronicled Kristof and WuDunn and their experiences interviewing women and girls in 9 countries including Sierra Leone, Kenya, Cambodia, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Liberia, and Somaliland. Actresses America Ferrera, Diane Lane, Eva Mendes, Meg Ryan, Gabrielle Union, and Olivia Wilde joined Kristof and WuDunn. Not only does the documentary expose us to the conditions the women and children in these countries endure, but also it lets us see their faces, hear their voices, and feel the hurt and for some hope that exists for their futures. The documentary calls us to take action and responsibility for our fellow human beings and help them find a solution.

Kristof and WuDunn’s book in combination with this documentary has sparked greater awareness and has inspired people to be a part of this movement to help women and girls.

Check out our ‘Belief’ page above and see how we at Casa Couture are doing our part.