Monday, January 5, 2009

Sandals: Style and Fashion

The Greeks took good care of their feet and adapted their footwear for every type of activity. Women at first went barefoot but soon wore sandals as both style and quality of sandals flourished. Shoes were used to identify station with the height of the sole and the colour orientation indicating the wearer's social class. The Greeks emphasised design and beauty with elegance, refinement, extravagance and rich ornamentation, especially for women. Greek women of ill repute wore elevated sandals to attract men's attention. Their sexy Trendelenburg wiggle created an audible "clacking" when walking and this was acknowledged as a deliberate flaunting of sexual charms. Romans devised military style thongs, which enabled their legions to travel the empire on foot. The caligae was a sturdy thick-soled heavy leather sandal with an upper that reached the instep. When victorious soldiers returned from war they frequently substituted the bronze nails, which held the caligae together with gold and silver tacks. Women's feet were a symbol of chastity and worshipped by fetishists. Senator Lucius Vitellus kept a shoe of his mistress under his tunic and would kiss it frequently. This type of fetishism, according to Ovid in his Ars Amandi, led Roman women to confine their feet into tiny shoes. The Romans, like the Greeks never entered a house without removing their shoes.

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