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.

Jewelry from 3000 BC Egypt to the 21st Century

Egypt

The use of gold jewelry can be dated back to Egypt 3000 BC. Gold was the preferred metal for jewelry making during ancient times. It was rare, it was easy to work with, and it never tarnished.

Magnificent bracelets, pendants, necklaces, rings, armlets, earrings, collars, and head ornaments were all produced in ancient Egypt, the land of the Pharaohs. In 1922 Howard Carter’s excavations led to the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb and many gold artifacts, all showing the art work of ancient Egypt.

Greece

In ancient Greece, gold beads in the shape of shells, flowers and beetles were very common. In Northern Greece beautiful necklaces and earrings have been excavated from burial.

By 300 BC the Greeks were using gems such as emeralds, garnets, amethysts and pearls. They also created colored glass stones and enamel stones. Carved agate cameos and gold filigree work were widely made.

Italy

The Italian Etruscans produced granulated textured gold work. They made very large, necklaces, bracelets and earrings. They were also known for producing hollow gold pendants that were filled with perfume. Even today the Italians are still known for the quality gold jewelry.

Rome

The Romans used 18 and 24 carat gold for their coins. Coinage gold was readily available so it was popular with craftsmen for decorative jewelry. Over 2000 years ago the Romans were using sapphires, emeralds, garnets, and amber in their jewelry.
Europe.

During the 13th century the Medieval Sumptuary Laws were enacted which put a cap on luxurious jewelry and clothing. The town folk of France, banned from wearing girdles made from pearls or any other gemstone.

They were also banged from wearing gold or silver. Similar laws existed in England banning artisans from wearing gold and silver. These laws show how fine jewelry had spread beyond nobility to the town folk.

For as long as mankind has existed gems and jewels have been used as token of ones love for another. While many pieces of jewelry existed adorned with fine gems and made from precious metals, there was also some very good fake jewelry.

True gemstones and pearls originated in the east and they were bought mainly by the Italians. The Italian merchants then sold the jewelry to the Europeans.

High quality glass imitations were often used and sold with the intent to deceive. These high quality glass stones were often used in the Royal funeral robes and in children’s jewelry.

Valued more than gemstones, were the flawless, round, natural white pearls. South India provided some of the finest pearls. The Italians were able to make quality imitation glass gems and pearls that could only be identified by a gemologist.

There is historical proof that recipes for false pearls existed as far back as 1300. White powdered glass was mixed with albumen and snail slime to produce imitation pearls.

Earrings and Dress Jewelry

During the 17th century woman always wore earrings, whether they were dressed or undressed. It was very acceptable to wear faux pearls and paste gem earrings during the day saving fine diamond jewelry and gem jewelry for evening attire.

Dress ornamentation decreased in size. Sleeves or skirts were often decorated with matching brooches.

During the 16th it was very fashionable to wear large quantities of pearls. Both jewelry to clothing accessories were adorned with pearls.

During the 17th century Jaquin of Paris patented a method of making fake pearls. Hollow blown glass balls were coated with varnish mixed with iridescent ground fish scales. The hollow balls were then filled with wax to strengthen them. This discovery made Paris the main producer of faux pearls for well over 200 years.

Paste is a compound of glass containing white lead oxide and potash. Paste jewelry was very common in the later part of the 17th century. The highest quality and most long lasting paste jewelry was produced after 1734 by Georges Strass.

Paris lead the production of faux gems [paste] and faux pearls. Just about any kind of fake gem could be made, including fake opals.

After 1760 the production of fake jewelery spread to London and to Birmingham. During the industrial revolution steel was produced in large quantities so it was easily available. It was ues for setting marcasite and jasper ware cameos. Glass and Wedgwood porcelain paste cameos were made in English factories and were also very popular.

The fashion from this era also included ornate shoe buckles of paste, steel and tin, elaborate paste jewel buttons, as well as semi precious for day wear.

Empire Jewelry

In 1804 Napoleon emerged as Emperor of France, resulting in a revival of jewelry and fashion as a new court of pomp.
‘Joailliers’ worked fine jewelry and ‘bijoutiers’ used less precious materials.

The members of the new French imperial family had the former French royal family gems re-set into the latest neo-classical style. The new trends soon found their way to Europe, particularly England. The main influence for design was the Greek and Roman.

Parures and Cameos

Parures were a matching suite of coordinating precious gems which could include a necklace, a comb, a tiara, a diadem, a bandeau, a pair of bracelets, pins, rings, drop earrings or and cluster stud earrings and possibly a belt clasp.

A full parure consisted of a minimum of four pieces. A demi parure consisted of three or less pieces. Both Josephine and Napoleon’s second wife had magnificent parures.

Once Napoleon’s cameo decorated coronation crown was seen, cameos became the rage. Cameos were carved from hard stone, conch shells and even from Wedgwood porcelain.

Victorian Jewelry

In 1837 when Queen Victoria came to the throne jewelry was romantic and nationalistic. It focused on European folk art, which later influenced the Arts and Crafts Movement. Until mid century most western jewelry came from Europe, with some jewelry being produced in North America and Australia.

Mass production of mid Victorian jewelry in Birmingham, Germany and Providence, Rhode Island resulted in lower jewelry standards. Victorian women rebelled when they saw some the poor quality of much of this machine made jewelry.

Woman rebelled by wearing no jewelry at all, or buying from the emerging artist craftsman. Some jewelers like Tiffany recognized a niche market and began to make fine jewelry of a very high standard, opening shops in main European cities.

Mourning Jewelry

During the Victorian era mourning jewelry was very fashionable. The initial months of mourning were unadorned by jewelry of any kind. As the mourning rituals increased, mourning jewelry developed as a fashion item. Queen Victorian wore a great deal of jet mourning jewelry after Prince Albert’s death.

Jet from Whitby, North of England was set into mourning pieces. All types of material that were black were used and almost all included a lock of the dead loved one’s hair. Hair was also plaited, braided or twisted very tightly until it became hard and thread like.

Arts and Crafts Jewelry

During the 1870s the Arts and Crafts movement evolved as a reaction to mass produced shoddy goods and inferior machine made products which were a result of the industrial revolution.

William Morris and John Ruskin were both leaders of the arts and crafts movement in England. They promoted simple Arts and Crafts of designs based on floral, primitive or Celtic forms worked as wallpapers, furniture and jewelry.

The polished stones used in Arts and Crafts jewelry gave a medieval, simpler, gentler, tooled hand made look and feel to items.

Art Nouveau

The Art Nouveau followed the arts and crafts movement resulting in a new jewelry look. The movement began in Paris and its influence went throughout the Western world. Art nouveau jewelry had curves, sinuous organic lines of romantic and imaginary dreaminess.

It was very ethereal turning into winged bird and flower forms. French, René Lalique was the master goldsmith of the era of Art Nouveau producing exquisite one off pieces. Today, the Art Nouveau style is still admired, sought after, and copied.

Pearls

Various combinations of pearl necklaces come in and out of fashion with regularity so pearls too are a must. Today pearls are still a wardrobe essential. Both faux pearls and cultured pearls are very affordable today.

Since the opening of trade with China in the 1990s, many pearls are imported from China dropping the price to about 1/3 of what it was prior to China entering the market.

The Japanese have suffered disease in their pearl beds as well as facing competition and are finding it hard to compete with China’s prices.

Pearl necklaces and pearl earrings can lift a complexion and bring light and radiance to the face taking years off a woman whatever her age. They have been a wardrobe staple for centuries, and a wedding attire tradition.

Cultured pearls have become very affordable, and faux pearls are very cheap and the quality can be excellent. Currently Pearls are a very “hot” fashion statement and with the modern twist of being interspaced on gold wire or floating on special synthetic cord they are essential to the millennium look.

Cocktail Jewelry

During the 1920s Lalique mass produced and designed high quality glass jewelry. Fake, or costume jewellery was sometimes then called cocktail jewelry.

Costume or Cocktail jewelry was greatly influenced by designers such as Coco Chanel, and Elsa Shiparelli as well as a host of other designers. These two designers were particularly known for encouraging clients to mix their fine jewelry and costume jewelry. Both designers offered imagination and fun and both often sported fabulous fakes.

In the late 1930s Napier of the USA was at the forefront of manufacturing fake cocktail jewelry offer glamour and escapism. Today, Napier still produces excellent contemporary costume pieces.

Hollywood Influence

By the 1940s and 1950s American culture was very dominant in Europe. The influence of movie films and the prominence of film stars set the fashion stage for womens make-up, hair and wardrobe.

People wanted copies of outfits and jewelry worn by the actresses. Women believed that the glamour of Hollywood would rub off on them if they dressed and looked like the glamorous Hollywood actresses.

During the Second World War metals were rationed, halting the production of fine jewelry. Quality costume jewelry picked up the now defunct fine jewelry market. Costume jewelry flourished becoming an acceptable alternative to fine jewelry.
1980’s Television Influences Jewelry

During the 1980s with the evolution of glitzy television soaps such as Dynasty and Dallas, costume jewelry once again became a “hot” fashion statement. With over 250 million viewers, it didn’t take long for costume jewelry to be reborn.

Glitz and sparkle by day was not only acceptable, it became the norm. Earrings grew to an unbelievable size, as did other pieces of jewelry. By the 1990s this sparkly dazzling jewelry phenomena was dead, replace with tiny real diamond studs or a fine stud pearls.

21st Century Jewelry

For the 21st century women believe a mix is good. Fine jewelry combined with costume jewelry are wardrobe essentials. The sophisticated women of this century know what they want from their jewelry and how to wear it to make their fashion statement.

They recognize that costume jewelry can liven up their wardrobe. The types and quality of costume jewelry has grown enormously. Today one can purchase what is classified as fine costume jewelry which is usually plated at least seven times with 10 22 ct gold.

Swarovski crystal set in gold are common accessories, and cubic zirconium, man’s imitation diamond, can be purchased for a fraction of the cost of real diamonds allowing every women to add diamond styled jewelry to their wardrobe.

Ciro, Adrian Buckley, Butler and Wilson, Swarovski Crystal Jewelry Napier, Joan Rivers, Joan Collins, Christian Dior, California Crystal, Property of A Lady and of course Kenneth J Lane to name just a few continue to produce high quality fashion jewelry for today’s women.

Costume jewelry can take you from the board room to a night out of dining and dancing to your most intimate evening. It can make you look your best for your wedding, or a day at the beach. You can make Your Fashion Statement With Costume Jewelry!

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.