Friday, May 30, 2008

the red shoes -- guest post by petite anglaise

When I was brainstorming for ideas for a guest post which would sit well on 'Martinis for Milk', the tagline “party girl…trades stilettos for stretch pants” jumped out at me immediately.

You see, at the age of thirty-five, with my daughter rapidly approaching her fifth birthday, it just so happens that I've recently invested in my very first pair of stilettos. Red patent-leather peep toes with vertiginous heels, which I'll be pairing with the non-bridal dress I've chosen for my upcoming (civil) wedding ceremony at my local town hall in Paris. Heels were a necessity, as my dress ends a little above the knee, and my legs have never been my finest feature (IMHO) so the magical elongating properties of high heels are compulsory. My only worry now is that the proceedings are to be held on the first floor of the Mairie and I have notoriously weak ankles, which have a tendency to buckle at the most inopportune moments. Here's hoping I can manage a relatively graceful ascent and descent without any major mishaps.

The cover of the US and Canadian editions of petite anglaise features the lithe silhouette of a scantily clad woman leaning against the Eiffel Tower, accessorised with nothing but stilettos and a young child. My partner, Mr Frog, also has his back to the Eiffel tower, the trouble brewing on the horizon symbolised by the fact that we are facing in opposite directions. It's a striking image. I love the wraparound Paris skyline and the fifties overtones, the silhouettes and typos very reminiscent of the opening credits of 'Catch Me If You Can'.


But when I first saw it, I chortled. 'Me in high heels?' I typed, emailing the cover shot to a girlfriend. 'What a joke! I'd be a liability to myself, let alone that babe in my arms.'

The UK cover, which shows a rather less glamorous mother wearing a floral skirt and flats, her hands welded to a pushchair, strikes a very different note. A classic mom-lit cover with a Parisian background, which some of my male readers were reluctant to be seen with in public.

The true petite anglaise, I suspect lies somewhere between the two extremes. She pairs dresses with jeans, alternates between trainers (sneakers) and knee-high boots (depending on the season) and has a resolutely pear-shaped silhouette.

And as for the stilettos, well, she's perfecting her walking-in-heels technique in the relative privacy of the stairwell of her apartment building and crossing her fingers.

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Thanks Petite! All the best at your wedding. My advice on heels? Wear them around the house while vacuuming and doing mundane tasks this week to get used to them.

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