How to Wear Platform Shoes, 1600

engraving of Venetian courtesan with cleavage and very tall chopines Vecellio, Habiti antichi e moderni (1598)

Now in order to walk nicely, and to wear chopines properly on one’s feet, so that they do not twist or go awry (for if one is ignorant of how to wear them, one may splinter them, or fall frequently, as has been and still is observed at parties and in church), it is better for [the lady] to raise the toe of the foot she moves first when she takes a step, for by raising it thus, she straightens the knee of that foot, and this extension keeps her body attractive and erect, besides which her chopine will not fall off that foot. Also by thus raising it she avoids sliding it along [the ground], nor does she make any unpleasant noise. Then she should put it down, and repeat the same thing with the other foot (which follows)… By walking this way, therefore, even if the lady’s chopines are more than a handbreadth-and-a-half high, she will seem to be on chopines only three fingerbreadths high, and will be able to dance flourishes and galliard variations at a ball, as I have just shown the world this day.

Fabritio Caroso, Nobilità di dame (trans. Julia Sutton)

Have you ever fallen on your face at a party in your six-inch platforms? Awkward! And it’s even worse when it happens in church. Just practice this technique and you’ll be strutting like a Venetian courtesan in no time.