Archive for March, 2008

31
Mar
08

Blushing in the Nude!

Today I broke my cardinal rule of buying designer shoes. And the rule is: if you’re going to throw down a lot of cash for a pair of heels, make sure they won’t ever go out of style. In other words, buy simple, buy black. Give or take a slight variation in trend (round toe, pointy toe, wedge, platform,stiletto) this rule will always give you your money’s worth and never leave you with a sinking case of buyer’s remorse.

But I did not follow my rule today. Barney’s didn’t have my size in the shoes I wanted: Christian Louboutin’s Decolette stiletto pump in black satin. Seeing my

face fall, the clerk jumped to attention. “Hold on a minute, let me see if I can get them for you” and, I’m sure fearing no commission, she went scurrying back to the anals of Barney’s shoe-dom. It was then, as I sat there rolling my eyes, swinging my feet back and forth and willing myself not to forget to validate my parking that I spotted the same pump I’d had my heart set on, on

ly it wasn’t black, it was NUDE; a soft, blushy pink nude, not quite champaign, not quite beige. Blush. Surprise, it was my size! I p

ut it on and limped to the mirror. The curtain lifted, birds chirped, violins were singing. I loved it!

The color of the leather blended with my skin tone which delightfully elongated my legs. The shoes were hot. But what to do? I’d never owned nude heels before. What could I wear them with? Fearing an impulse buy, I turned to the sales clerk who’d returned, out of breath, eyes wide, face desperately questioning ‘What’d I miss?’. “I’ll take these!” I burst out, and then immediately wanted to clap my hand over my mouth. I wanted them, that was for sure, but this was so unlike me, so unabashedly risky! Then a girl walked up to where I was in front of the mirror. “Those shoes are hot on you!” she gushed. “You can wear them with anything! They’re so original!” Hmmm. I was never one to turn away the opinions of others. So,against my better judgement I said to myself: what the hell, take a risk, buy the blushy nude stilettos! And I did.

When I got home, I immediately tried them on with everything I own. Here’s what I found. You can wear nude heels with anything black, and it automatically gives your outfit a zing. You can pair them with jeans, skinny preferably. You’ll kill at a party if you wear them with black cigarette pants and a black tube top. They also compliment other colors, including white. The possibilities are endless. Honestly, I may never buy black heels again!

Well, that’s not entirely true. Barney’s just called. Someone just returned a pair of Louboutin Decolette heels in my size. They’re black.

31
Mar
08

My Black Boots, and the Jerks Who Loved Them.

I have a theory that the heels on my feet attract a particular species of “man-heel” unofficially know as Jerkus Maximus. A brief history:
Jeff, 36, drawn to my black calf-length boots like a moth to a bonfire. We meet at a trendy San Francisco bar and he immediately compliments my “sexy” shoes (hello red flag). He’s cute, except he’s never without a lint brush or a nail file and he shaves his entire body. I know this because he tells me on our first date. When he starts asking wildly inappropriate questions about my preferred positions (not the political kind, mind you), I vow to never answer his calls again.

Chad, 27, drawn to my four-inch DKNY cork wedges. On our third date, he declares every one of his former girlfriends jealous psychos. I invite him to a party and he shows up with a black eye and swings the host’s kids around by their arms until they scream for mercy. In the days to follow, irrational fights seem to descend on me out of nowhere—usually about the high heels I choose to wear for a night on the town without him.

Matt, 29, drawn to my sparkly gold Stuart Weitzman stilettos. He refers to his countless other women as “paperwork,” as in, “I can’t see you tonight, I have some [dramatic pause] paperwork to do.” On weekends, he makes midnight runs to the convenience store to buy Snickers, Ding-Dongs and beer which he likes to consume in one sitting. Fifteen extra pounds into our relationship, I can suddenly out-run him when I’m not wearing the stilettos and choose to do so when I discover he’s still “in touch” (quite literally) with his ex-girlfriend.
Jake, 29, drawn to those trouble-making calf-length boots of mine. He’s an athlete (the San Francisco equivalent of The New Yankee, and every bit as handsome). He chats me up at a fundraising fête—commenting on the boots—and, shockingly, contacts me the next day. Although he seems perfectly normal on the phone at first, he starts texting “what are you wearing?” at all hours, and like so many women before me, I foolishly play along and describe something sexy from head to toe (even though I’m likely in jeans and tennis shoes). In person one night, he’s disappointed it was all a very convincing act put on by a very timid good girl. I learn a valuable lesson about professional players and, over the course of several weeks, find out he has slept with nearly every woman living within a 20 mile radius, including three of my somewhat-close friends.
Silly me. I used to think men don’t notice women’s shoes, but I hear that’s a whole lot of bunk.

When shoes scream “sex!” (unknowingly, in my case), fellas listen and inevitably want to rip them off—or, in some cases, leave them on.

31
Mar
08

Audrey Hepburn Never Did This

Ballet Flats—yes, I know it’s a trend, but I mean the real thing… the ones ballerinas wear!

Like the Capezio Sculpture, a deal at $32 at capeziostore.com.

I have a long-standing love affair with ballet flats and all ballet flat-related shoes. That Audrey Hepburn look of black skinny capri pants and black flats is a classic for a reason.

It looks fabulous and wonderfully comfortable. For Halloween 2006 I was in New York for a party at a club thrown by my friend and her boy friend. I decided to go as a ballet flat-wearing corseted vampire in black pants, and my ballet flats were, indeed, actual pink ballet flats. My friend was dressed as a cloaked witch with black platform boots, a la Stevie Nicks, and informed me we would be taking the subway, or rather subways, to the party. But, my ballet flats! How could they survive concrete and subways?

Wouldn’t they be in shreds by the time I got to the party?

Because the party was taking place a few days after Halloween, people stared at my friend and me in our witch and vampire costumes as we ran from train to train.

I leaped over puddles, ran down subway stairs and somehow made it to the club, ballet flats intact. So, what is the lesson here?

What has this Shoe Experience taught me?

I can successfully wear ballet flats outdoors, but best do it occasionally.

And I should try to avoid wearing them when, say, rock climbing.

Or doing anything that involves water.

Or mud. Or extreme weather of any kind.

Best stick to wearing ballet flats when running for subways… breakfastingt at Tiffany’s… or attending after-Halloween parties!

28
Mar
08

Keds and Family, Then and Now

When I was in high school, I was completely embarrassed by my parents. It was never anything that either of them did. In fact, they were — by teenagers’ standards — kind of cool.

We were always allowed to have friends over, even encouraged. They bought us great clothes, nice cars, paid for the movies and other activities … So really, there was not one reason to be ashamed of these two people who created me, cultivated my personality, supported my every decision, and paid for the essentials (and then some).

Today was like any other Saturday — wake up, eat breakfast, take a shower, and head off to Mom and Dad’s. As usual, my sister and my two-year-old nephew were on their way, too. We spent the day watching Across the Universe (as they sang Beatles lyrics), eating pizza and calamari, and just laughing. I will take these simple memories with me always, and hope to share them with my kids (if/when I have them) someday.

Hmmm … Oddly, I was wearing my new Keds flats.

I wore a great number of these back in high school — the most common, being the white ones with laces. The brand has since created funkier versions, more stylish yet comfortable choices. That’s when I remembered how ashamed of my parents I once was (and like I said, for no reason). Now here I am, 15 years later, and I’m so proud to have the parents that I have.

Not everyone can say they get along with their parents. I talk to mine like they’re my best friends. We can pick on each other in good faith, but understand when seriousness is absolutely necessary.

I once cried in my father’s arms after a rough break-up.

Some can’t even say they’re lucky to have their family. From feuds to mistakes, some people even deny their relatives. But here I am, 28 with an apartment an hour (maybe more with traffic) away and the one thing I look forward to during the week are these great Saturdays back in the home I grew up, with the parents that I have, and the pride that overcomes me.

28
Mar
08

Walk a mile in my shoes

My sister wore disco-era platform sandals to my wedding, 25 years after “Saturday Night Fever.” Still, I better recollect coveting those cork and leather sky-scrapers than I remember reciting my wedding vows. I love impractical shoes.

I have signed up for Salsa class simply to justify purchasing strappy velvet and rhinestone heels, I’ve obsessed over red mules for weeks after spying a pair peeking out from under the raggedy denim hem of a girl across a dark bar, I’ve endured blisters and bruised toes rather than slip out a too-tall pair of Mary Jane wedges. Not that I hold any records for my diva-worthy stiletto collection, but I adore ankle-wrenching footwear with an enthusiasm only neared by my love of dark chocolate and off-dry Chenin Blanc.

However, other than to the occasional holiday party or romantic dinner, I never wear dangerous heels. A handful of pairs languish in their boxes on my closet shelf, but I regularly pass them over because, as much as delicate, stacked peep-toes would compliment my trouser jeans, I can’t face walking any distance in them. And walking is what I do.

Every morning, I walk my dogs a couple of miles. Then I walk the mile-commute to my office, often taking my lunch-break to run errands around town. By foot. So when I say, “walk a mile in my shoes,” I really mean more like five miles. Great for my calves, not so great on my soles.

But, even though my dedication to fitness, a smaller carbon footprint, and the mood-heightening affects of walking keep me out of the tall shoes I desire, the benefits far outweigh the drawbacks. And, slowly but surely, I’ve begun to develop an appreciation for cute flats.

High on my list of favorites: edgy takes on the ballet flat (buckles instead of saccharine bows), canvas skimmers in colorful retro prints, and slightly sporty leather Mary Janes that marry form and function. My go-to pair came from the Kenneth Cole Tribeca line. Thick, rubbery soles stand between me and the sidewalk, while soft chestnut leather works with jeans and skirts. The adjustable straps Velcro snugly, a futuristic nod from a style that has been around forever. (This season’s Kenneth Cole “Charming” Mary Janes have a similar vibe.)

Do I still long for the towering height of an ambitious platform? Sure. But I can always carry it in my tote bag until I get wherever I’m going. For the commute, I’ll stick to my flats, thanks very much.

27
Mar
08

D.I.V.O.R.C.E. one pair of shoes at a time.

As I sat in my divorce attorney’s parking lot I knew if I held the steering wheel any harder it would break. As I tried to relax my white knuckles, I contemplated my life was changing quickly.

I would soon go from being a married at home mom of two to a single divorced need-to-get-a-job-now working mom of two. The thought of driving home alone sounded pretty awful at that moment.

As I gazed across the street I saw a discount shoe store I had been in briefly a few years before. Since I was trying to keep up with my running toddler son at the time I didn’t have a chance to really check it out.
Now seemed like the time.

When I parked the car I looked around the strip mall. Let’s see – Dollar General, Tanning Place, Goodwill, Goody’s and Beaty’s Shoes. OK… Well what the hell – I need to distract myself.
When I entered the store, called Beaty’s I found the aisle with my size. Wandering down the rows and rows of shoes I saw Enzo Anglioni, Anne Taylor, Brighton. Was I hallucinating?

I picked them up. Yes, they really were legitimate.

OK here was Coach. I felt light headed!

Living in a rural area where you don’t have an Ann Taylor for hundreds of miles, I knew I had entered some kind of heaven.

Then I remembered this was the place I had heard about – in low whispers! Beaty’s is where over-runs, clearance shoes from all over ended up. Beaty’s is where beautiful, brilliant shoes that had been tossed aside were valued, cared for, encouraged.

I heard music…no singing…no…more like a quartet. A Gospel Quartet. As a cradle Episcopalian I was trying to place the lyrics. They reminded of the gospel quartets that were on Sunday television when I was growing up in Spartanburg, South Carolina. No Light FM for Beaty’s…
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord!
I tried on shoe after shoe to the gospel rhythms.

When the prices are around $25 this retail therapy was – well – WOW! I decided on a pair of BCBG closed pointy toe, sling backs with a chunky kitten heel.

As I walked outside with my fab shoes I noticed it was sunny. Had it been sunny earlier? Probably.

update:

As the divorce proceedings progressed, the Beaty’s became my regular stop. Purchases went from one pair a day, to two pairs a day to the three !@#$%^& pair of shoes days.

With the low prices I could work through my anger moments without “retail regret”!

I rebuilt my life one day at a time, one pair of shoes at a time. I have no doubt that God works in mysterious ways.

So, if you’re in Tennessee and need a lift, head to Beaty’s.

They don’t have a web site, but here they are:

Beaty’s Shoes

(423) 245-8573

1163 N Eastman Rd, Kingsport, TN 37664

27
Mar
08

Coming Out of the Shoe Closet

Not only am I obsessed with shoes, I’m also obsessed with cleaning and organizing.
However, I’ve come to realize that the two don’t mix.
I devoted last weekend entirely to spring cleaning, sorting through all my closets so I could pick out the right suit for morning meetings when I’m not quite so wide-eyed and bushy tailed, and finally put together an outfit without having a ‘what am I going to wear?’ panic attack every week.

I started early on Saturday, chugged my espresso at the wee hour of 7 a.m. and got started with my closet raid.

All was going right on schedule – I was parting with the old, making way for the new, and even managed to fish out some old Doc Martens from yesteryear
But then, came the shoe closet. My shoe closet is actually attached to my regular closet, a private sanctuary, a peaceful cove of shoes – stacked floor to ceiling – a place that only a true shoe lover can appreciate. Jimmy Choo, Manolo, Prada and Cavalli all have a home here. Each shoe is neatly placed with its partner, one pointing forward, the other facing one side so I can enjoy both views. Everything’s arranged by color, and then alphabetically by designer
Obsession? Maybe.
Anyhow, as I enter the shoe closet – this little corner of paradise that often serves double duty as ‘time out’ space when stress levels run amock – I feel real, genuine pain at the thought of parting with anything here.
I’m not ready. There’s no way I could discard my flamingo pink Miu Miu slides
Letting go of the Prada wedge heel in canary yellow would be too much; how could I?
Give up my patent Gucci knee-highs? Not going to happen.

I go down the shelves, pair by pair from Balenciaga to YSL, reminiscing about the memories that live on in each shoe, re-living the moment when I first discovered those dearest to my heart – and realize they are a part of me that even the spring cleaning bug can’t touch.
I came out of the shoe closet a good three hours later, a refreshing walk down memory lane. Not a single shoe was leaving its home, I was determined to only build and grow from here, not scale back. Build a bigger and better closet that would house all shoes of my past, present, and future.

Spring cleaning or not, the shoe closet shall remain untouched.

Now which shoes do I wear to the home improvement store?…




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