I’m 6 Feet Tall and Only Wear High Heels—Deal With It

Leah Bourne

Photo: Adam Katz Sinding/Le 21ème

Here’s a fact about me: I’ve always been tall. By the time I was 13, I was essentially 6 feet—not only taller than my classmates, but taller than most of my teachers.

Another fact: I’ve always had a thing for high heels. As a kid, I’d stuff socks into my mother’s shoes and walk around the house, and by middle school, I was completely heel obsessed. During my annual back-to-school shopping trips, I’d try and push my parents to buy me slightly higher heels than the last time—building my way from Doc Martens to Sketchers to high-heeled clogs (hey, it was the ’90s).

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My first big real high heel purchase, however, came in high school in the form of black, strappy Manolo Blahnik sandals, which I bought on (super) sale. I wore them to the ground, took them to the shoemaker countless times, and still have them in my closet. In that particular pair of heels, I felt that my legs looked better, every outfit I wore looked slightly more fashionable, and—most importantly for a teenage girl—I felt like an adult ready to tackle the world.

Those transformative Blahniks became a jumping-off point for a full-fledged heel addiction that’s now run over a decade. Silver ankle-strap stiletto sandals, black thigh-high over-the-knee heeled boots, leopard calf-hair platform booties—I love them all. The proof? Despite the fact that I’ve always lived in New York City apartments with minimal closet space, I own around 200 pairs of shoes, 150 of them being high heels.

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However, I’ve come to realize that being tall and having an affinity for appearing even taller opens the door for people I don’t know to comment on my height—which pretty much happens daily. Complete strangers come up to me and say super interesting things like “Wow, you’re tall.” Really? I hadn’t noticed. Another favorite: “Do you play basketball?” Yes, of course—because all tall people do, and I wear my high heels on the court. But the one that always seems to get to me: “You’re so brave.” Apparently, being tall and wearing high heels is akin to risking your life in a war zone.

Being six feet and choosing to add a few inches with my shoes means I’ve had to put aside conventions that I should only date people who are taller than me. After all, there are only so many guys out there who are 6′ 5, and I’ve never really had a problem dating people who are shorter. How the guys I’ve dated have felt about my height is a different story. Reactions from past boyfriends have run the gamut from subtly buying me flats, to begging me to not embarrass them by wearing heels.

My general feeling on the matter: Guys know what they’re getting themselves into—I can’t exactly hide my stature—and to be fair, there have been plenty who’ve loved me with a few added inches.

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Women, interestingly, also have strong opinions on my heel-wearing ways, from friends who question why I constantly feel the need tower over them, to my own mother, who every so often will instruct me to stop wearing heels if I ever want to get married. (Notice a theme here? A lot of this has to do with men feeling uncomfortable being shorter than women.)

Let me tell you, there are plenty of perks to always being one of the tallest people in the room—and plenty of benefits to adding heels on top of my height: I’m easy to spot in a crowd, I’m hard to forget, and I also happen to like living up to the idea that nothing beats a leggy woman in a minidress and stilettos.

Plus, the women whose style I admire most are ones who clearly dress for themselves—Daphne Guinness who wears her couture collection to do errands, and Kate Moss who will show up on a red carpet in a caftan and look better than anyone else in sight. Their secret? They’re 100% comfortable in their own skin.

As I’ve gotten older, it’s become all too clear that being at ease and confident in what you’re wearing is what style is all about. So yeah, I’m tall and you can usually find me in a pair of sky-high heels, but the bottom line here is I’m wearing them for me, because I like the way they look, and if I’m perfectly comfortable being the tallest person in the room, everyone else should be, too.