It's about exploring and sharing my creative adventures (mostly sewing these days) ~
~those activities that sometimes obsess, usually inspire, occasionally frustrate
~and always provide a delightful maze to wander through.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

It's All About The Shoes....

And short legs.
And vanity.
And fat knees (my Mother had gorgeous gams...I inherited my Father's.   What's up with that???)
And price.
And quality.
And above all - COMFORT!

Shoes, unedited.
Hmmm...Shoe Storage could be another topic.
Remind me to bring out the shoe polish next time I'm watching TV w/ nothing else to to.....

I think I've hit an "Aha!" moment with my last post, wherein I realized that part of the reason I don't wear dresses is the vanity issue.  I dressed primarily for comfort for years.  Years, I tell you.  I could clean up very nicely when I had a situation I needed to "dress" for, but that nearly always involved a silk top and nice pants of some sort - and it's easy to pair shoes with pants.  Some dresses really ARE comfortable, so it's got to boil down to the vanity thing.   For all those years of dressing "comfortably" (aka...non-fashionably, even sloppy/frumpy a good deal of the time!), who knew how much vanity I was hiding behind?  Ah.....field day for Freud time......

Anyway, Freud aside....pairing shoes with a shorter (i.e., knee-lengthish) skirt, when you have short legs and don't wear high heels and want to look non-frumpy and still be comfortable = not so easy!

So help me out here, please!  This is what I've figured out:  

  • Shoes with ankle straps, or straps of any sort, really, shorten the legs even more.   Especially when the color is a major contrast to the legs.
  • With some exceptions, I top out at about a 2" heel in comfort level.  Platforms, if stable (and, of course, comfortable) are OK.
  • I don't like pointy toes.  At all.
  • For some reason, shoes that make my feet look small (I'm average size - 8.5/38-39) look unbalanced to me - I actually prefer a wider toe, both for comfort and for looks.
  • I love boots.  LOVE boots.  Cowboy boots, wintery boots, tall boots, mid-calf 'em!   Love 'em with pants, love 'em with long skirts, and if I start wearing shorter skirts & dresses, I think I'll love 'em with tights.  But you just can't wear boots in summer.   It's summer shoes that are my head-scratcher here.
  • Sandals/flats with dresses & skirts = more leg-choppers.
Am I wrong about any of those points?

Random Shoe Stuff:

  • My single favorite pair of shoes, without doubt, are my Trippen Wallet boots.   Love!  Lovelove!  Uberlove!
Majorly Comfortable?  Check
Make me Taller?  Check (I LOVE being taller than I am!)
Heel Height (over toe height) - Perfect
Look Great?  Check (OK, I know this is subjective, but aren't all shoes, really?)
Wonderfully Unique?  Check
Price?  Ouch.  Only on Sale.  :(
  • Other Brands I Like:  Beautifeel (the price on these has skyrocketed!), Reiker, Josef Seibel, Munro, Clarks...
  • Price:  You get what you pay for in shoes.  Even when I wasn't spending much $$ on clothes, I would spend on shoes  - nearly always on sale, though.  Cheap frugal, you know...  It seems that any pair of shoes that's under $100 (new, full price), just isn't worth it.  I would love to be proven wrong here though!
  • Used?  I have no qualms at all about buying used shoes!   Thrifted, eBay (if I know the brand and size).  If they look new, or nearly new, and especially if they're meant to be worn with socks, I have no ewww factor here.  Probably goes along with the cheap frugal gene, which, if I wasn't born with, I was definitely conditioned with from an early age.
Some examples of what I think works, and my issues (I'm very open to alternate viewpoints & suggestions here!):

The "vamp" style (I think that's what you could call this), with ankle strap,
is OK on a platform, because of the overall height they add.

Again, kind of OK with a shorter skirt, because of the platform,
but I'd like to find a better, and more comfortable, look.
Comfort-wise, these shoes are OK, but not for walking all day in!

Not good.
Not good at all.
And I have nothing to wear with this dress.
Nothing at all.   (Even the strappy platforms above just didn't cut it with this dress -
I think it's the black color.
Which brings me to color.  I think an orange/brown is a good color to pair with blue.   I wouldn't mind adding more colorful shoes to the mix, but maybe that would draw too much attention downward?   I wear a lot of green and would love to find some green shoes, but I've been looking.....not much luck.

Soooo..... what do I need to look for to wear with a knee-length skirt?  And where do I find them?  (I do know about Zappos, although I've not ordered from them, and frankly, when I found a pair of shoes  I liked there & started looking around, I could nearly always find them cheaper elsewhere)   What brands do you love?

And for the rest of you out there with vertically challenged legs, what are your secrets?

And on a side note, should I just get over my vanity issues with my fat knees?  (Yeah, I haven't seen them yet....just trust me....they ain't pretty....)

I'm all feet are listening....

UPDATE:  Carolyn gave me a great lead to Clarks Shoes , which has a whole slew of shoes on sale at 40% off right now.  I was about to place an order ($8 flat shipping, returns are free) for $240 (gulp...but that's for 4 pair...), when I noticed the space for a coupon code.  I found a code (SCW12), entered it, and got a whopping $48 off my order!   Awesome!   I'll be happy if even 1 pair of these shoes work)  Thanks Carolyn!


Andrea said...

Hmmmm. Where to start... Well, I can relate to not wanting to show your knees. Personally, I think you always look great in your outfits you post.

I really think that the best thing to do is to go to your favorite shoe store wearing a variety of outfits that need shoe mates, and try on different styles and see how you like the look. It's ultimately what you feel good in, right?

I've had fabulous luck with zappos, especially the free shipping both ways. I have an uncommon shoe size, so online is my best bet. Nordstrom's online is a great source also, I've found. Good luck!

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

If you like Clarks, the sandals are on sale. Here's two that I think would work with your skirts and the dress shown above:



I like the black wedges with both the dress and the tablecloth skirt. I think the Clarks could solve your comfort and "fashionable" issues. Hope this helps!

Jilly Be said...

Carolyn those are 'almost' fabulous, thanks! The heel height & style are wonderful, except for the bow...not sure about that. I would absotively order the sandal style, but I read a couple of comments that they don't work on a high instep, which I have on one foot (a bumpy bone) :( I'll look through the rest of the Clark's site though - the sale prices are GREAT! :) Thank you!

Jilly Be said...

You're right about wearing what I want to match, and I'll do that the next shoe-shopping chance I get :)

Mary said...

The slingback style with the bow is so cute, and would elongate your leg. My recommendation is for a pair similar to that (I would snap those up in a heartbeat). You may want to take my advice with some sea salt because I have approximately 15 pairs of flip flops!

Jilly Be said...

I have a thing about a strap between my toes :( Even when I lived in Hawaii (where flip flops are a fashion MUST) I could barely tolerate the flipflops with the velvet straps....much better than rubber or leahter, but still.....

I'm perusing the Clarks site....I think I'm going to make an order! I'm even considering the bow....

Karin said...

I can relate to everything you've said. I wish I had some good advice, but I'm more in need of advice Han able to give it in this case, lol. I have had good luck with Earthies shoes from Zappos.

shams said...

Jillian, we are so similar when it comes to footwear! Like you, I don't like bows (or flowers) on my footwear. Studs, nails, yes! lol Ankle straps definitely shorten the leg, so I avoid.

And I love love boots and Trippens. :D

I look forward to seeing what people suggest.

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

Jillian - I'm glad that not only did you find something you liked but that you also found a coupon. It was the Clarks note that you included in your post that made me recommend their site. My mother who is 72 and more fashionable than I am, loves Clarks and wears them alot...thought if they worked for her, they would probably work for you too!

Anonymous said...

Have you ever tried Naot or Wolky? Two of my favorite brands. I would wear my Wolky Jewels or Naot Paris with this dress. I realize you said you can't wear anything between your toes but the Mephisto Helen in silver would be nice and comfortable too.


Anonymous said...

Something that matches your skin color (more or less) would avoid the stumpifying effect of dark shoes on pale legs and would bookend the hat as well. Munro has some nice bone/stone colors.The blue dress is lovely and graceful. Elle

Mary said...

I also have a thing about a strap between my toes...but I find it comforting. Right now wearing a long black linen dress with pink suede flip flops. Off to bed now.

Jilly Be said...

How interesting that I recently tried on that exact pair of Naots! I bought a different brand of flat sandals (SAS) because they were SO comfortable! There was something about the Naots I didn't like; don't remember what...and I forgot about Mephisto! I had a pair that I finally wore to death. I've not tried Wolky, thanks :)

Jilly Be said...

One of the pairs that I just ordered from Clarks are a bit more skin-toned - hope they work!

And thank you :)

Jilly Be said...

Ooooh Earthies has some really cute styles! I'll have to see if I can find some locally to try; thanks! :)

Jilly Be said...

Hee can pull off studs and nails a little better than I; although I admit that I love those spikey flats you have!

Jilly Be said...

Comforting...hmmmm....I'll have to think "comfort" & try some on again & see if that works. If I COULD wear them, it would open up a world of shoe possibilities! I haven't even tried any on for years.


Carolyn said...

Well I am joining you in your love for those Trippens!! And I am also joining you in despising ankle straps, flowers, and bows. I spend a lot on my shoes, and my bags too, since I sew all my own clothes I figure I should be allowed to splurge on something. I cannot help with recommendations for good shoe stores in your area of course :D but I wish you Good Luck!

Noile said...

Clarks fit my feet perfectly, and, in spite of being superbly comfortable, are even fashionable sometimes. I'll second the Mephisto recommendation, too. Pricey, but beautifully made -- and classic.

As someone who won't wear anything that doesn't make my feet happy (and as a fellow shorty), I sympathize with your dilemma, although comfort always wins over looks in my book. I like Elle's suggestion about matching skin color; that might be a perfect answer for wearing with summer dresses.

Lynne Williams said...

I too have short legs proportionally and what my friends call "Dancers calfs" which means hard to find boots for - lol. Ankle straps are generally a no go, but a slingback style with a low vamp helps to lengthen my leg as well as straps that cross over my instep more vertically then horizontally....hope this makes sense and is helpful. You might want to make them yellow, tan or light blue which creates less of a color block effect on your foot then a black or dark brown.

Have fun shopping:)

Jilly Be said...

Heh. I'm right there with you in my reasoning - since I haven't bought any ready-to-wear in the past 2.5 years, I feel I can spend the $$$ on shoes!

The fact that I've spent more on fabric during that time than I would have on clothes is immaterial (so to speak....) ;-D

Jilly Be said...

I just took a second look at the Clarks I ordered....and I'm not in love with the looks "the morning after", but I have my fingers crossed! And as you say, comfort over looks.....

Jilly Be said...

I know what you mean about the vertical strap...several of the shoes I ordered have that, but still a slightly high cross strap....hope they work!

Anonymous said...

I have, love and can't live without...Josef Seibel, Clarks and Spring Step. Logically worth the money!!! Painful shoes cause a grimacing face. Wear a grimacing face...that's all people will notice!

Anonymous said...

Jilly Be

Thanks for the coupon info (I think) :) I immediately went to check the sale and bought a pair of boots and shoes. I really needed both I assure you. I agree with you all ankle straps and short legs - I avoid them.


Anne Kelley said...

I love Naots with their arch support. And flesh-colored (your flesh) shoes are ankle- lengthening, as well as lower-cut vamps - kind of like a V neckline for your feet. At least for me!