Heroine Chic



Tuesday afternoon, I was wrapping up a column on wardrobe moving boxes (which has hence been bumped to next week) when the Express offices, on the fifth floor of an elderly Washington Post building, began to shake. I thought, “Oh, turbulence,” for a second before an editor shouted, “It’s an earthquake!”

Being from Florida, I know how to make windows hurricane-proof and outrun alligators, but I didn’t know that one shouldn’t attempt to exit a building during an earthquake. I was one of the first employees to reach the stairwell, where I was able to set a steady evacuation pace.

In four-inch heels.

My earthquake heels — as I will now call them — are a pair of brown BCBG stilettos I bought from Goodwill for $5. I didn’t think to remove them, even as I saw a Californian co-worker shed her shoes before bolting. Because I was hobbled by my footwear, the evacuation wasn’t panicked or hurried. No one slipped in the process. We safely got outside, at which point I realized I was one of the few women who’d left my purse behind. In both fashion or natural disasters, it always pays to accessorize.

Katherine Boyle reports on arts, museums and culture for the Style section.

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Vicky Hallett · August 22, 2011