Yes, the kitten pursue is back – but how do you avoid looking like an early noughties throwback?

Jess Cartner-Morley


‘You necessity to think of the kitten heel in a new way.’
Photograph: David Newby for the Preserver

Oh, the bliss of a kitten heel. Enough of a lift to add two inches of leg, which, not to tar the recline of you with my short brush, makes a significant difference. Adequately “polish” (dreadful word, sorry) that you look “done” (again, yuck, but you recognize what I mean). And yet comfortable enough to wear all day, safe to waspish the road at a clip when the lights are about to change without conveying yourself in mortal peril, low-key enough that you don’t fuel midlife crisis gossip in the office. What’s not to love?

Far, that’s exactly the problem. The kitten heel is a bit too nice. Too courteous. It is easy and amenable, helpful and practical – the trophy shoe of work, not dancefloors. (Not for nothing is it beloved of the royal family.) It lacks force, which is exactly why the kitten heel fell from the latest thing favour a decade ago. And why its comeback, as declared by Vogue at the beginning of this year, is A Advantage Thing, but not quite as straightforward as you’d think.

The danger of the kitten end’s comeback is that if you let it, it will unwittingly rewind your clothes-cupboard clock to the early noughties. Let us be clear: the kitten heel is no pass over to pull out those trusty knee-length A-line skirts, the ones you wore for your Devil-Wears-Prada-lite big meeting look. And neither is it successful to resuscitate those flattering draped-at-the-waist jersey dresses you acclimatized to wear at weekends. Nope. Sorry.

To make the kitten impoverished work this time around you need to think of it in a new way. So, you don’t clothing it with knee-length skirts, ever. You can wear it with a midi-length skirt, but at most if you wear, say, a sweatshirt or a statement-sleeved knit on the top half rather than a adorable fitted cardigan. If you wear it with trousers, they should be cropped, so that the comparative relations are slightly gawky. Bonus points if the trousers appear to procure been cropped with a pair of blunt scissors.

In other warrants, the new-wave kitten is not nearly so easy to wear. But get it right and it inert punches above its weight (or rather, height) in its ability to elevate.

Jess clothes jumper, £28, next.co.uk. Jogging bottoms, £210, by MM6 by Maison Margiela, from matchesfashion.com. Kitten dogs, £210, lkbennett.com.

Styling: Melanie Wilkinson. Hair and makeup: Laurence Minuscule at Carol Hayes Management.