I didn’t grow up a princess, believe it or not. My Mom was (and is) highly inteligent, incredibly gifted, and above all, hardworking. My Dad took the adventurous, charismatic and hilarious role. Neither of them gave too much thought to clothes, although they both had their own style and were (and still are) healthy and good-looking enough to pull off whatever they each put on. I grew up being told to wear layers for long hikes, to take a sweater, and to always, ALWAYS wear comfortable shoes. And I did. I went through the birkenstocks faze when My Mom was in University and took us to the mall to get real ones because “they’re good for your arches”. I wore doc’s boots (my Mom still wears hers occasionally), I wore Nike sports sandals to summer camp and Adidas slides with the little poky things in the bottom to youth group. I got married in cream Payless shoes with 1.5″ heels because I knew I’d be standing all day. I worked in cute flats, I went out in…cute flats. I liked the look of heels, but couldn’t walk in them. OUCH.
Then one day when I worked in downtown Vancouver in a trendy furniture store, I saw a picture of Jennifer Aniston in jeans, a t-shirt, a pashmina and a pair of oxblood high-heeled boots. The photo was meant to show you what to wear to Sunday brunch, and it made me want to go to Sunday brunch every day. Or even ever. I thought I’d never seen shoes more beautiful. The next day, I went to Winners and the most amazing thing happened! I saw them: the oxblood boots. Of course they weren’t the same ones, but they were close and they fit me, and that was enough to make them perfect. They were by Kenneth Cole. I wore them to work the very next and do you know what happened? Everyone but me and the manager called in sick and I had to unload a shipment of new stock by myself in the alley behind the store (People did meth there and peed behind the dumpster), standing in my new high-heeled boots. Oh gosh. The pain of that day will be remembered by me for the rest of forever. I hobbled to the skytrain and home from the skytrain station swearing I would never, EVER put my feet through such torture again.
I wore the boots again, of course. But only when I knew standing time couldn’t last for too long. The bulk of my shoe collection consisted of cute flats and runners. Fast forward a few years to when I started my own business. I had to represent myself and my company to customers and business people, and that meant a whole new wardrobe. I got the suits, the button-up shirts, the cute jackets. The shoes were a conundrum though. I ended up finding a sale and buying 3 pairs of heels, and they were all wrong. Pinchy, achy, just terrible. I’m not sure how or where, but soon after that I found a pair of nine west heels that changed my life. Just a black pair of pointy-toed nuncios, those little shoes could take me anywhere! I could run, jump and twirl, all the while looking like a movie star from the 50’s. I was in love. Being 5’2″, a couple of inces of height really changed my perspective on the world…and people’s perception of me. I have gone through hundreds of pairs of heels since then, and I know now what to look for. I know if a toe will rub, or a heel will slip. I can generally judge how long it will take for me to have to replace the soles. I know the brands that are all flash, and the ones that won’t let me down. So when I’m out shoe shopping and hear a woman talking about comfort vs. style to her daughter like I did the other day, I want to gently pull her aside and tell her. “I know what you think, but you’re wrong.” I’ve been on both sides, and it’s not one or the other. The woman’s daughter was looking for work shoes, and kept rejecting all the ones her Mom pointed out on the basis that were, well, ugly. And she wasn’t wrong. The Mom gave her daughter a big speech about how style doesn’t matter, comfort does, and to just look at her. She was clearly demonstrating her view by her stretchy pants and worn flip-flops. The daughter looked away. So did I.
So here it is, women readers: You CAN have it all. They’re doing amazing things with fashion technology nowadays, so you don’t have to wear those scrubby runners with your jeans (please don’t do that ever, unless you’re dressing up for Halloween as Jerry Seinfeld). You can look cute and feel compfortable every day. I have 3 examples of amazing comfortable, attractive shoes of my very own to prove it to you. Check these out:
1) Sparkly Flats. These babies have carried me through several trade shows, and that’s quite a feat! The pointy toes elongate the leg line, and the sparkle…well that’s just darling 😉 By Sam Edelman.
2) Red platform flower-detail pumps. I was complaining that I have no red shoes, so I decided to find these at Winners. (haha) I’m glad I did! They’re all padded inside and squishy-firm. Like a foot massage with every step! Very reminiscent of 40’s style.
3) Open-toed sling-back kitten heels with a ruffle. These shoes are SO cute, I try to put outfits together to wear them! The heels are perfect for weekend activites with lots of walking, and the shoes are fabric so they breathe. And the best thing? They’re by CROCS!!! Can you believe it?!?
So there you have it. No more do we have to choose between comfort and style. And if I hear anyone telling you differently, I’m gonna take him or her aside…and make them read this. Really.