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April 29, 2012 / ilegirl

Shoe foo

My husband and I had a dinner outing this evening with another couple, and I’d decided to wear a particular dress.  This morning it occurred to me that there was a shoe problem: I had nothing appropriate to wear.

I headed to T.J. Maxx and after a bit of browsing settled on a pair of Liz Claiborne Jenson Wedge Sandals in Champagne (below).  They are not only cute, they are comfy and fill a wardrobe gap I’d already identified.  To top it off, they were on clearance.

Yay – score one for me.

It was the process though that was interesting.  I was in a funny sort of mood – less emotional purchasing, more pragmatic.  So I paid attention, I was critical yet not judgmental, and through this process I discovered something about the sandals which look good on my feet.

For example, I tried on a pair that look quite similar to this.

They are cute shoes, and I was quite drawn to them.  But once on my feet I realized that they accentuate the width of my foot in a most unattractive way, overall making my feet look not only wide but lengthy.  Not a pretty sight!

After a few such unsuccessful attempts, I’ll typically throw my hands up in despair and quit.  But I was determined to wear that dress, and I truly had not a pair in my closet to complete the outfit, so I powered on.

I next tried a pair like this, and discovered two problems:  first, the lack of a back strap meant the shoe flapped, providing little support as I walked thereby amplifying some foot pain I’d been experiencing (and suspect may be a bit of flat-footedness irritation); second, the same perpendicularity on the cross-toe strap as the style above – but without the softening benefit of an ankle strap – made the foot look even chubbier.  Yuck!  I was feeling like a rather middle-aged lady (well, if the shoe fits …) at this point.

This is when my thinking began to change.  I decided to look for angled straps, figuring this would slim the look a bit.

The last style I tried before discovering the clearance rack and snapping up my perfect pair was this shoe.

These were better than the first 2 types, but the radiating angles weren’t quite right, and the strap between instep and ankle was feeling a bit fussy.  I realized that the angles needed to be unidirectional.  And fortunately, I found something that worked.

I think this all proves a point: that we have to try on a lot of duds before finding something that works.  I’ve tended to do the same thing so many other women do:  become self-conscious and frustrated, then buy something that isn’t really suitable for my needs out of sheer desperation.  Being not only mindful of what I need, but refraining from judging myself for having ugly feet was important to the success of the outing.

In the end, I opted for a different outfit for last night’s dinner – but I wore the shoes, and they were perfect!


Leave a Comment
  1. Shelley / Apr 29 2012 10:39 pm

    Shoe shopping can be a real trial. I’m determined to have a good clear out of all the shoes I once wore to work and have no use for now. Then to find something that fits my present lifestyle. You have hooked me on the idea of oxfords and I want some in a shade of navy or blue that will coordinate with my jeans. Cross you fingers for me!

    • ilegirl / May 1 2012 7:29 pm

      Glad to hear I had some influence with oxfords :). Check out Polyvore for ideas in your color scheme. It’s been such a fun experimentation resource for me – truly valuable.

  2. respect the shoes / May 1 2012 5:10 am

    I’m looking for some black sandals right now and I know what you mean. The pair I really want was from several seasons ago so no one sells it – I’ve tried looking online for similar shoes but none were quite right. I ended up ordering something online last night because I was tired of trying on shoes and searching for stuff online so I’m keeping my fingers crossed – at least I’ve got free returns!

    • ilegirl / May 1 2012 7:33 pm

      The Zappos shipping policy has been awesome, right?? I love it! It took a while, but now so many other online shoe stores have adopted the same shipping policy.

      Finding stuff from past seasons is soooo frustrating! I’ve had such quests too – some with success, I’m happy to say. Good luck!

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