Adding height for formal occasions – some thoughts

I recently went to a wedding and it got me thinking about the limits on height addition in more formal situations. Really, it’s simply another of those lifestyle limitations I have mentioned before, and if you have to dress very formally a lot then you have to think carefully right from the start about the level of extra height you are going to try to add on a regular basis. However, we probably all have to cope with occasional situations where the limitations mean we can achieve less by way of extra height than we normally do.

So it got me thinking about these limitations and what they mean – firstly, I myself was lucky in that the wedding was younger, fairly casual so not at all the kind of regimented formal wear that demands a certain type of shoe and suit. I was able to very easily wear a pair of my 4” boots (although even in a more easy environment like that, I would not have felt right wearing the thicker-soled 5” styles). The groom himself wore a casual suit and a pair of Cuban heel type boots with 3” heels! And he himself is about 6’4”.

bridegrooms elevator shoes

But the fact is that we all at some point have to cope with the much more formal situations so here is my take on it. If you are regularly adding anything up to about the 3” mark and mostly go no higher, then really you have no problems except for deciding whether to invest in an extra pair of more formal shoes up to the 3.1” (cm) height. If your lifestyle is like mine for example (I work in an area that is really casual and almost NEVER wear a suit), then that IS an issue – do you invest in something specific for a very formal occasion when with that cash you would probably more like to buy something that you can wear all the time? 

The other key really is, to what extent do you absolutely HAVE to keep your usual height up? It’s easy to imagine that everyone will notice the loss of an inch but they really will NOT – you will notice it and be aware of it. Wearing very big solid boots with a formal suit only looks right when it’s fashionable – otherwise it has the look of some of those celeb catwalk shots where you see them trying to add height by wearing great big boots under the tux. All wrong. And a bit on the obvious side. People aren’t measuring each others’ height at such occasions – anyone reading this is not their height and very aware of it, naturally – but loads of people are not. imho in a very formal situation you are best taking it on the chin, dropping an inch and conforming if you have to.

The real issues do come if you are trying to max out your height gain and want to maintain serious height addition without it looking odd in more formal clothes – someone like myself goes all the time for a 4” or 5” addition, and a really formal situation where you wear what amounts to totally flat fine shoes is quite a shock!

I have thought of this a lot and I believe that even if you regularly go for, say, 4” on a daily basis, you can find dozens of different styles of what are called in some markets ‘dress shoes’ in up to 3.1” (8cm). And they are fine.

If you look at those shoes you will see that they offer a height increase that is of course less than the 4” I get day to day with my lowest ones…but it is not THAT much less – it’s not like dropping from a 4” to just an extra inch-and-a-half. It strikes me that it is worth having such a pair at some point unless your lifestyle is such that you really never will want to wear a standard pair of dress shoes.

And if you really are THAT bothered at losing the inch from 4 to 3, then you can always tuck in a little lift as well!

A PS on Cuban heel boots

Btw here is an interesting point about Cuban heel boots – they look great and create a nice line to pants etc, BUT they do not add as much height as you might think. The reason for this is that although there is a heel, the slant of your body lessens the adding of height as does the very thin flat sole. PLUS the important fact that your own heel sits right on that 3” heel with only a very thin piece of sole in between. Unlike most boots where there is a much thicker layer, of course.

What this means is that effectively you gain about as much height as you gain from a pair of normal Timberlands! This is not much understood, because you will see the heel and think “they MUST add height”. Yes they do, but all the extra height you are gaining is visible and there is none of the normal thicker sole that you get from other boots or even shoes. And the slight problem with this is that in some situations it can LOOK like you are adding height by wearing heels. When you are not really! It’s a matter of taste of course but it means basically that you gain less height than you get from the lowest elevators and it LOOKS like you are adding height – for most of us that’s the opposite of what we wanna achieve.