22nd March 2017

Yesterday, The Liverpool Echo published an article about the dress code for Ladies Day at The Grand National.

It seems to me that Ladies Day is a relic of a bygone age for, although there is no official dress code, it’s clear that a look that belongs more to Downton Abbey than modern sensibilities is expected.

I also have to wonder whether this is another example of the misogyny that regrettably remains within our society. As I say, there is no official dress code for Ladies Day but it is clear there is a preference – if not an expectation – for women to look elegant. But why? And why are hats and dresses that pay little regard to comfort or practicality equatable with elegance? But, perhaps more pertinently, why are high heels with all the damage they cause to our feet, also equatable with elegance?

The damage that high heels cause has been known for years. Back in 2010, Iowa State University declared that the wearing of and walking in high heels can contribute to joint degeneration and knee osteoarthritis. Other problems high heels contribute to include calluses, hammertoes, bunions, plantar fasciitis, neuroma, damage to your Achilles tendon, and bad body alignment. Back in 2009, the Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists were calling on employers not to force women to wear high heels – so why, almost a decade later, are women still expected to wear them?

What of those women who can’t wear high heels even if they wanted to? I, for example, have club feet. So there is no way I can wear high heels comfortably for even 5 minutes! Am I forever to be considered inelegant just because of my disability?

Just what message is our society sending to women by expecting them to wear uncomfortable clothes and unhealthy shoes just to appear elegant? Surely, there has to be a better solution than this?

Thankfully, WHISC are here to help counteract some of this damage. As well as offering health workshops and keep-fit classes, they also offer body-positive courses and self-confidence classes.

If you want to know more about the help that WHISC can provide, please do get in touch.