One of the most basic and most powerful moves you can do in burlesque or in the dating game is have a sexy, confident walk.
I never used to wear high heels in college except for special occasion outings, when I would totter around very unsteadily. Simply put, it was neither sexy nor confident. So in 2008 I declared it to be the year of the high heel for me. I started to incorporate more heelage into my everyday wear, and burlesque dancing definitely didn’t hurt. Through the struts and bumps and sways I learned how to hold myself and to love the high heeled shoe. I now wear heels about half the time, making sure to vary my heel heights to save my feet and keep things interesting.
Now, certainly don’t need to wear heels to be sexy. But I find the allure of a pair of sky high heels to be really sensual, especially considering their impracticability (how long is that word!?). The elongation of the leg and the prettiness of the shoes immediately make me feel more goddess-like, and I feel that admiration in return.
At Delinquent Debutantes, I’ve taught more than 100 women how to strut their stuff in heels. If you can take lot of practice and a little moxy, and you’ll have a confident, sexy swagger to show off at your next event.
Choose Your Shoes Wisely
Not all heels are created equal. If you never, ever wear heels, look for something with a low, wide heel. Stay away from kitten heels (the really short stilettos), slingbacks, backless heels, and wedges at first. Character shoes, or some below, are a good start:
Once you get used to those short heels, you can move up to a slimmer heel and/or a taller one. Make sure you don’t leap from super short heels to four inch ones though. I find that having a variety of heel heights suits my different days. Any excuse to expand your shoe collection is a good one yes?
If you wear some low heels to work or out and want to up your game, go ahead and try those stiletto heels with a short platform. I rarely buy shoes that are under $50, just because the little extra money goes a long way in comfort and wear. Make sure the shoe is wide enough for your feet, and I always use inserts in my heels to make sure I’m good to my feet, first and foremost!
When choosing a pair of shoes, stand in them and see if you can raise up on your toes about an inch. If you can’t, the heels are too high for you right now, so work your way up!
Stay on Your Toes
Most of us don’t really examine the way we walk. In flats, this is generally fine, but in heels, the higher you go the more exact you must be. Start standing in your wannabe favorite pair of heels, and just feel where you naturally want to put the weight in the shoe. Do you tend to stand on your heels or your toes? Do your ankles feel a little like they’re bowing out? Once you know where you naturally want to go, it’s much easier to re-adjust.
Find a flat, hard surface to practice on. Hardwood is best, as long as it’s not too slick, or short carpet. With both feet hip distance apart, toes facing forward, try to place most of your weight on the balls of your feet with just a hair on the heels. If you have a hard time finding your balance here, slowly rock the weight to your heels and back toward the toes, just getting used to the shoes. Once you feel secure, take a few baby steps, heel first and then ball and toes, lifting to the ball of the foot on your standing leg for balance. Your stride will be shorter than in flats, so you can make the most of that by pointing your toes to elongate your legs even further, or you can take a more runway walk, slightly crossing the feet, to sway your hips. Practice these slowly, then making your strides longer and quicker as you build confidence and familiarity with your heels.
Get Hard Core
I say this all the time to my students, but if you want to look good strutting your stuff, it’s all about abs abs abs. When I started wearing heels, I relied on my leg strength solely to carry me around. While it was a great workout, I still found myself not at strong or as easy to move about as I wanted to be. Once I started to really strengthen my core though, I found that even super high heels don’t throw me off as much because my core readjusts my weight to help keep me upright.
Continuing your strut around your living room, try taking a few steps in your heels, and feel how your abs tense and release with each step. Keep that belly to spine and give your best sassy walk across the room. If you practice your walk with this core mind, soon it’ll become second nature to use that center strength to carry you.
Chin Up, Boobs Out
This is one of the cardinal rules in burlesque, and for life, haha. Seriously though, if you have a great walk and are really feeling it, why are those peepers staring at the ground? I know it can be scary and you may feel insecure with those tiny heels, but if you’ve prepped your feet, you’re strong in your core, then let that face shine! Chest up is an automatic confidence booster, and it really does make you more secure in your step. Certainly if you’re walking on stairs, use the railing, and if you’re on uneven ground or a cracked sidewalk, please be safe. But if you’re in your party, restaurant, or dressy occasion, take in your surroundings, floor included, while keeping your pretty head up!
Bring a Spare
Even if you’re a heel pro, there are always times when you need flats. It might start hailing outside, or maybe the party ended up outdoors in soft grass, or maybe your feet just aren’t feeling right, it’s always better to be prepared. Find some roll up flats and slip them in your clutch. If you need to switch, just hold your fabulous heels dangling off your fingertips. It’s almost as seductive as wearing them.
Are you a heel hero or fabulous in flats? What are your favorite tips and tricks for a night out?