Thursday, March 3, 2011

High Heels & Me

Meredith Cole

I have a confession to make. I can’t wear stilettos. Hmm. I hope this admission won’t get kicked off the blog today. Perhaps it will help if I say that my sleuth in POSED FOR MURDER and DEAD IN THE WATER wears heels? I’ve tried to wear high heels, but I always feel like I’m walking on stilts. I’ve seen women who strut around in their heels looking sexy and strong. Unfortunately I just wobble along, and fifteen minutes into the evening ache all over.

Living in New York, an uncomfortable pair of shoes could absolutely ruin my entire day (or week, if they ripped up my feet enough). Walking absolutely everywhere on hard and unforgiving pavement, it was comfortable shoes all the way. Stilettos were, my friends and I fondly liked to say, “taking a taxi shoes.” I don’t think the women in Sex in the City ever tried to run for an N train in their sexy stilettos. They would have ended up with one of those shoes stuck in a grate and a sprained ankle – or worse.

My contentious relationship with heels began when I grew to be five foot four in the 5th grade. All the boys were six inches shorter. So my first pair of heels was just ½” high. I still felt like I was towering over everyone. I grew to be 5’8” but I frequently have people ask (or assume) that I’m taller. Good posture, I guess. It’s certainly not because I wear heels.

Occasionally when I go to speak to a group that’s read my book, I get a funny look. I usually have a good idea why. They’re expecting me to be a twenty-something, funkily dressed artist—just like my sleuth. But Lydia McKenzie and I are pretty different people. She’s young and single, and I’m married and have a child. She lives in Brooklyn, and I’ve moved back home to Virginia. She’s a photographer, and I’m a filmmaker turned novelist. And Lydia always wears crazy vintage clothes.

I’m not a dull dresser at all. I enjoy clothes, and love to shop at second hand stores. I love fabrics and color, and putting on outfits in the morning. But I like to be comfortable, too. There has to be an inner beauty that shines through when your toes can breathe, your arches are supported, and you don’t feel like you’re going to sprain your ankle when you take a step. At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

So will Lydia ever learn to tone down her clothes? She’s a fictional sleuth, so she can walk on the wild side. She’s looking for murderers with her camera, stumbling over dead bodies, and running for her life, so wearing heels seems pretty safe in comparison. Besides, she can always kick them off now and then and give her feet a rest. That’s what I would do.


Meredith Cole started her career as a screenwriter and filmmaker. She was the winner of the St. Martin’s Press/Malice Domestic competition, and her book POSED FOR MURDER, was published by St. Martin’s Minotaur in 2009. She was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Mystery Novel in 2010. Her second book, DEAD IN THE WATER, continues the adventures of photographer and amateur sleuth Lydia McKenzie in Brooklyn. She teaches writing at the University of Virginia. Visit her website here


  1. Here's to us taller girls who have no need to wear heels.


    Flip flops all the way!

  2. Psst, Meredith, don't tell anyone, but most of us here at Stiletto don't actually wear stiletto, at least not very often (and usually under duress). ;-) Love your post! Thanks for joining us today. And continued success with your series!

  3. Welcome Meredith! Great post.

    Marian, the Northern half of Evelyn David who is wearing her dress-up sneakers (the ones without holes in the bottom)

  4. I'm so glad I'm not alone! I look forward to changing to flip-flops soon, Elizabeth. Yes, it can be good to be tall (which I'd love to tell every tall, skinny thirteen-year-old girl that I meet).

  5. Thanks for the lovely welcome, Susan and Marian! It's so nice to return to The Stiletto Gang for a guest blog.

  6. Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm sitting at my desk in four-inch leopard print heels. (Ok, I lied. I'm wearing sensible wedge-heeled boots. It's freaking cold outside.) Thanks for stopping by, Meredith! Looking forward to see you in a few weeks at Malice. Maggie

  7. Thanks for having me, Maggie! Can't wait to see you at Malice (sensible shoes and all).

  8. Hi, Meredith, we have a name in common. Of course mine is my surname, but I get called Meredith a lot. Think it's a great name.

    Back when you always had to wear a dress to work, I wore high heels all the time, of course it was many eons ago and I can't even imagine it. Today, I love my Crocs.


  9. hi Meredith,do wear high you believe in following trend or making a new trend.

  10. I actually should be wearing heels with my 5'3" stature

  11. I don't know how that posted,

    but I don't and can't wear heels.

    I, too, love my flip-flops and my nike shox. I am with you when you say that a bad pair of shoes can absolutely ruin your day. There is nothing like walking around in agony as your shoes rubs that blister.

    To the stilleto wearing women (or men if they like that sort of thing) I am glad you can wear them because I can't.