Women's love affair with high heeled shoes

15:15, 19 February 2009
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`lasts 51 years`

But the height of the heels she chooses is also a reflection of the ups and downs of her life, varying drastically from teenage years to motherhood and old age, according to Telegraph.co.uk.

The passion for higher fashion begins at the age of 12, and continues through every stage of a woman`s life until she reaches 63, says the report, which was compiled by High Street fashion store Debenhams.

Only advancing age and increasing frailty finally brings the enduring love affair to a reluctant end, the figures show.

Debenhams spokesman Ed Watson said that the psychological impact of retiring from heels can be almost as traumatic as retiring from work.

"It`s an all too public admission that they are getting older, and so naturally many women want to postpone this evil day for as long as possible," he said.

"Nevertheless, there comes a time when women have to admit that, while they may still feel young, in practice, they`re not as steady on their feet as they once were. "It`s a climb down which can cause a lot of heartache."

Debenhams undertook its research as part of an extensive examination of the entire women`s shoe market.

It reveals that the heel height worn by women begins to rise in early teens, increasing rapidly from one inch (2.5cm) to an all-time high of 5.3 inches (13.5) cms by the age of 23.

Walking tall continues to be important through a woman`s late 20s and 30s, only beginning to decline slightly by the age of 35 – possibly due to childbirth, Debenhams` figures show.

High heels continue to feature prominently in a woman`s wardrobe through her late 30s into her mid 40s – the period when many women are building a successful career.

The first real dip in height only occurs in a woman`s late 40s and early 50s, when the average height drops to 1.7 inches (4.5 cms).

And a final drop back to one inch – virtually a normal height heel – occurs from 63 onwards, a stage known within the industry as The Soleful Years.

"These results show that a woman`s entire life can be mapped out according to the height of the heel she wears," Mr Watson said.

"After a meteoric rise, through youth and early adulthood, they begin to settle down before dropping back gracefully to a comfortable old age.

"However, despite our findings, we feel certain that there are still many elderly women who still insist in stepping out in super high heels, defying age to trip them up. "If so, we`d love to hear from them. Finding out what all of our customers want to wear, regardless of age, is the secret of success in retail."

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