It’s been an exciting couple of weeks for MAN UP! We launched our MAN UP! Boot Camp at Dance Code Studio (which takes place every Thursday night at 7 pm – we’re dying to see you there). Then, CBC featured MAN UP!’s artistic director, Gregory Caswell (aka G.Venchy), on their morning radio show and website. Tickets for SPICE BOYS went on sale! And to top it all off, we took class with our hero, Yanis Marshall.
While filming our CBC segment, Gregory was asked if he could give some tips on buying your first pair of heels. Since it ended up on the cutting room floor, we thought we’d share his tips here. Use these as you’re getting ready for your first MAN UP! Boot Camp, buying your perfect costume piece, or just because you’re #fierceasfuck.
G.Venchy’s 5 Tips for buying your first pair of heels:
Do the math. Designers are slowly but surely bringing higher heels into men’s fashion, but as it stands, you'll have to dole out quite a pretty penny if you want to take this route. My first pair of heels were Fluevogs, and although I love them dearly, I felt like Carrie Bradshaw when I bought them. While we wait for men’s shoes to feature a higher heel more regularly, it’s a whole lot easier to buy a shoe designed with a woman in mind. Here’s the equation to follow: Your shoe size + 2. I wear a 10.5 mens, so I typically buy a 12 or 13 heel. Keep in mind that a man’s foot is often times wider than a woman’s, so a little bit bigger is always a good idea, especially if you're planning to wear them for a long time without seeing stars.
Baby steps. I have fallen victim to the badass heel. Once upon a time, against the advice of literally everyone, I thought I could pull off a high heel ballet point shoe. Let’s just say I put them on, and then pulled them right off. Another story I like to share is how, when MAN UP! started, four out of the five of us had never worn heels before. To an outsider, our first rehearsal looked like a bunch of baby giraffes learning how to walk. Walking in heels is a new skill to be mastered, so take it slow. Just like how a diver wouldn’t go to the highest diving board on their first try, your first heels should be your starting point, not your end goal. Try a bit shorter and a bit wider. It doesn’t mean they have to be ugly! Also, if your shoes are meant for dancing, pick something in the bootie family. It’s enough of a struggle walking in heels, let alone making sure they stay on your feet. Booties become an extension of the leg, making them ideal when slaying on the dance floor.
Know where to find your heels. The first time I bought a pair of heels in public was one of the most nerve-wracking and vulnerable moments of my life. Let me tell you this, as much as you think what you’re doing is shocking or that people are giving you the side-eye, you are not the first man to try on a pair of high heels in public. In fact, most, if not all shoe sales people have helped a man buy a pair of heels before, and actually love doing it. So, have fun, ask for help, and be confident. Here’s the catch: the average shoe store doesn’t carry heels in sizes larger than an 11 (size 9 men’s) – which is great if your not 6’2” like I am. I buy most of my heels from amazon.ca, my preferred designer is Pleaser, and their spin-off companies, like Funtasma. Their sizes can go up to a 16. I’ve also found heels at Night Shade Corsets.
Another tip is to wear a nylon sock. This will help your feet slide effortlessly into your heels. You can buy them for ridiculously cheap at Dollarama ($1.25/2 pairs).
Practice makes perfect. Like I said earlier, the first time you wear your heels, you won’t necessarily feel or look fierce, you’ll look more along the lines of an ostrich learning to walk. Be kind to yourself. You’re starting on your path towards ferocity. When I first started wearing heels, a friend recommended I break them in while vacuuming. This works great if you don’t have downstairs neighbours, or you vacuum (which I do…I swear!). There’s great classes you can take (ahem…MAN UP! Boot Camp). Joshua Wolchansky, our choreographer and Boot Camp Instructor, taught me everything I know.
Own it. Once you’re used to wearing heels, take a minute and look at yourself in the mirror. Check out your legs and your ass. You’ll notice something – you’re HOT AF. Maybe you’ll embrace your feminine side; maybe you’ll see every single muscle in your leg defined in a way you’ve never seen before. Either way, there’s no shame. Remember, heels were initially designed for men to wear. They are a shoe with a higher heel. That’s it, that’s all. You’re the bold, sexy and brave guy who's wearing them!