If you’ve scrolled through any given fashion website these past few days, you’d think Harry Styles was the most progressive embracer of dressing outside gender norms on the planet, here to save us from gendered, boring, structured clothes for the rest of eternity.
You see, the man has been wearing shoes that are not entirely flat, like these little red ones, which he wore to the London premiere of his film Dunkirk.
And these rather fabulous Gucci rainbow shoes, which he wore doing press for the film in California.
That, you see, has lead to headlines like: “Harry Styles Wore Heels and People Are Freaking Out,” and “Harry Styles Is Wearing Rainbow HEELS, and My Wig Has Been Snatched,” which one outlet really did write when they shared the post online.
For a bit of clarification: Are these shoes great? Yes. Are they heels? No, they are not. They, if anything, are shoes that feature a higher stacked heel. They are not heels. This little mix-up as to what really constitutes a heel in this modern era is something we’ve been seeing for a while now, with outlets bending over backwards to praise any man who dares to wear a boot with a heel higher than a quarter of an inch.
In April, Vogue wrote an entire article about it. “Should Men Wear Heels? Why Kanye, Justin Bieber and Harry Styles Are On To Something,” the article was titled, and then they showed pictures of West, Bieber and Styles all wearing boots with the slightest bit of height at the heel.
Even Marco Rubio got credit from Vogue for wearing heels.
None of these are heels; they are merely boots. If a woman were to wear these shoes, they’d be identified as boots. If you go on Asos right now, you can see that a ton of their boots for men come with a little height in the back, because that’s how some boots are made. But these are not heels, nor will they ever be.
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect isn’t the boots themselves but the way these stories are so often framed. Men wearing heels is not some radical act, or statement on gender norms. In reality, men have been wearing heels for hundreds of years.
It’s really not a biggie. Famous men in heels have made it to red carpets before. Remember American Horror Story’s Denis O’Hare at the Golden Globes in 2016?
That was a man in heels — looking absolutely wonderful, might we add.
Men in true heels have made fabulous appearances on runways, too.
And in music videos:
Men in heels aren’t some foreign concept, or an impossible feat.
Rather than waste our time on this, let’s normalize the idea of men in real pumps please, and then Vogue can write that trend piece.