Welcome to Washington

What do tourists, interns, and Secret Service agents have in common? Yes, the streets of DC are riddled with them, but more importantly their feet are clad with comfortable, mostly black shoes. Many would deem them practical; I find them boring.

Is it really necessary for so many women in DC to sport these sad soles? If you were to stop a random “suit” on the street and question her choice in shoes, I can pretty much peg the excuses: an office too traditional, a checkbook too light, and sidewalks too treacherous. I say poppycock.

My favorite interview ensemble is the traditional black suit with a light blue button-down and day-glo patent leather Pucci shoes as the finishing touch. Closed toe, closed back and a kitten heel–last I checked that even satisfies White House dress code! In most interviews you have less than an hour to make a total stranger want to see your smiling face day in and day out. There are endless sayings about how first impressions are everything and you can tell a lot about a person from their shoes. Putting those two together, I figure my shoes say what my resume can’t: I’m bold, bright, and not another black loafer. While the shoes may not be what landed me the job, people remember me and both women and men comment on those shoe a year and a half after the fact.

Did I mention I got those shoes for 60% off from scouting online sales at saks.com?

Now that excuses one and two have been addressed, Madam Clodhopper, let’s move on to the third: sidewalk grates are every shoe-lover’s nightmare. The DC variety are infamous for eating heels. Riding up a metro escalator 75% of the shoes in front of you look like they were attacked by a pack of Jack Russell Terriers. One fateful rainy day (or two or three) I learned the hard way that those grates are like solid ice when wet. There’s nothing like having your feet come out from under you in the middle of rush hour on a very busy street corner. However, here is what’s key. If you think you’re going to have to hoof it, either opt for the oh so popular, cute, and comfy ballet flats or paraphrase the great Teddy Roosevelt: “walk softly and carry a big [bag] (with cute shoes safely secured).”

Face it: practical doesn’t have to be boring, and boring isn’t really practical at all!


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January 2008
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