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Posts Tagged ‘shoes’

Do you sell oxygen with these? The joy of high heels

In beauty, behavior, Fashion, journalism, life, Style, women on August 18, 2012 at 12:06 am

After two years of agonizing pain, making every step exhausting, I have a new hip.

Time for high heels!

In the past few weeks, in an unprecedented spree, I’ve bought two pairs, one of which my husband urged me to do, one of them so high I asked the befuddled sales associate if they came with oxygen. The altitude…

I was never much of  a high heels sort of girl.

It wasn’t because I’m a feminist.

It’s because I’m a journalist, lived downtown alone in large cities for many years and have often traveled solo in some funky places — i.e. I wore flats so I could walk long distances and run fast, safely, when necessary.

Yes, a stiletto heel makes a nice weapon, but I never wanted any miscreant to get that close in the first place.

When you work as a news reporter, every day offers some fresh new hell interesting challenge as you’re sent off to cover whatever the editor thinks important, and in all kinds of weather. It’s not a job for gals whose wardrobes restrict them physically, or whose idea of outdoor activity — as American humorist Fran Lebowitz once joked — is stepping from the taxi into the restaurant.

Stories I’ve covered included:

– a bloody car wreck where everyone died in a head-on collision with a city bus. This meant running up a wet, snowy and muddy hill to reach the site

– racing to beat the press pack across a convention center hall to reach the Prime Minister after a speech

– squatting on the wet, slippery, bucking deck of an America’s Cup boat to interview crew members

– heading into the midtown Manhattan offices of a shady “baby nurse” firm for a quote, fully expecting to be yelled at, possibly hit, and needing to sprint back to safety

You get the idea.

Not only do serious reporters need to run/squat/climb things, we need to beat the competition.  Not that anyone really working it would show up in Louboutins, but knowing I could book it was comforting. On several occasions — back when the earth was cooling (the 1980s), before the Internet and cellphones — I had to locate, commandeer and race to the nearest pay phone before anyone else in the press pack.

(Watch a few 1940s movies to see what I’m talking about.)

It was no time for heels.

The week I got re-married, last September, a tad anxious as most brides are, I did what tends to soothe me at times of stress — buy shoes. I treated myself to my first-ever, full-price pair of Manolo Blahniks, burgundy sling-backs to wear with my (non-white) wedding dress.

Damned if I was going to head back into matrimony in boring old flats. Nope, this was a day for gorgeous, sexy heels. One of my favorite photos of that day is my Dad and the minister, each steadying me, as I slip into them before gliding down the aisle.

I was blond then!

Here’s a recent blog post featured on Freshly Pressed, about whether you can be a feminist and wear high heels.
How many of you dig high heels?

Choos? Chuck Taylors? Doc Martens? What’s Your Style Tribe?

In behavior, business, culture, design, Fashion, Style, women, work on December 28, 2010 at 12:57 pm
Distinctive yellow stitching on Doc Martens shoes.

Docs! Image via Wikipedia

As we head into 2011 — and the publication of my second book, “Malled; My Unintentional Career in Retail” (Portfolio, April 2011) — I’m seriously re-thinking how I dress, knowing media interviews and speaking events are soon to fill my calendar. As I wrote in the book, a memoir of selling clothing in a suburban mall, working with men and women 20 to 30 years younger whose looks were so different from my own reminded me weekly how differently we each choose to present ourselves to the wider world.

I typically go for classic, European-inflected choices: a few Hermes silk carres, brown suede Ferragamo loafers, triple-ply cashmere cardigans, gold or silver jewelry, leavened and quirked with bits of vintage, like sky blue suede gloves or a fab ’40s black mohair hat. (Thank heaven for my secret source consignment shops!)

I prefer navy, camel, gray and cream to black, New York’s official uniform. Prints? Not so much.

adore accessories. Especially when you’re on a tight budget, as I’ve been in recent years, mixing it up with fab, affordable accessories can keep you looking and feeling au courant.

My most consistent style signifier is a scarf or muffler, whether silver-shot ash gray ($38, Ann Taylor) or the four crinkled silk ones I bought years ago at Banana Republic (cream, brilliant pink, chocolate brown, ashes of roses.) I buy them long and wide enough that they also work as sashes or shawls. I have scarves of vintage Victorian paisley wool and embroidered silk and modern pieces like the looped circles of burgundy wool I bought from a Paris street vendor.

Once, desperate to finish off a black-tie outfit (Carolina Herrera-esque white cotton shirt and teal silk taffeta wide skirt), I fished out a silk net scarf, in bottle green, I’d bought decades earlier in the Paris flea market. Parfait!

I still have, somewhere, the black suede Doc Marten lace-ups I bought in a London flea market. They are super-comfortable, classic, indestructible. But I haven’t worn them in years. I was feeling snoozy and boring, so I recently took, for me, a huge style risk and snapped up a pair of taupe suede lace-up boots made by Seychelles, edgier than anything I’ve bought in years.

I love them! (And was amused indeed to see a recent photo of Lee Ann Rimes wearing the same boots. ) What a hoot! Especially since she’s young enough to be my daughter.

I liked the editor’s letter in the December issue of Elle:

If there’s anything that expresses individual style, it’s a woman’s accessories — shoes, bags, jewelry. Lots of it? Pared down? Heels with miniskirts? Or maybe the soon to be ubiquitous long flowy dresses — with Doc Martens?…How a woman puts together her accessories is a delicate and surprisingly communicative blend of taste, class (belonging or aspiration to), politics (nose ring, anyone?), career and mind-set. Most women don’ consider what they’re signifying when they jump into their 14-centimeter black YSL Tribute Sandals or sturdy low-heeled pumps as they’re running out the door in the morning, because all of those notion of class, etc. are baked into their choices in the first place.

When you present yourself to public view, what messages are you sending?

Women Really Are Shoe-Aholics, Study Shows — And The Problem Is?

In behavior, business, women on July 23, 2010 at 9:37 am
Golden Lotus shoes

Image by Linda N. via Flickr

Well, it’s true. Women are shoe-obsessed, according to a British study of 3,000 women:

In analyzing the spending of some 3,000 women, a British pollster finds the average female buys seven new pairs of shoes a year, and for a 67-year period. At close to $400 annually — which may even be lowballing when it comes to North American women — the grand lifetime total tops $26,000.

It’s an astounding figure, to be sure. But with no male comparison, critics say it’s yet another example of shoe purchases having become shorthand for female frivolity.

“It really is a very feminist issue,” says Elizabeth Semmelhack, senior curator at the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. “Men’s excesses are often seen as somehow positive — ‘He works hard, so of course he should have that Rolex’ — whereas women are constantly belittled for them.”

The new survey, conducted by OnePoll for Gocompare.com, doesn’t address male shoe budgets.

Pollsters do, however, report that a quarter of women rarely divulge their shoe purchases to their partner “as he doesn’t understand their obsession,” and that “predictably, 29 per cent of ladies say shoes are the one thing they can’t resist buying, regardless of whether they can afford them.”

This year, I’ve beat the average — nine (so far.) Two pair of athletic shoes; three pairs of flats; a pair of dressy pumps and three pairs of sandals. That’s not typical for me and seven of those (she whimpered) were on sale. None cost more than $100. It adds up, but the number, for me anyway, is less the issue than their longevity.

I blogged here about the recent loss of our local shoe repairman, Mike, who closed his shop a month ago. I keep my shoes (and clothing) for many years, sometimes decades; a pair of monk-straps and loafers date to 1996 and still — thanks to Mike — look new.

Every women knows that new shoes are are easy place to indulge quickly and painlessly. No calories! You can gain — or lose — 5, 10 or 50 pounds — and still wear gorgeous shoes.

Unlike much of life, new shoes are forgiving. If you’re anything over a size 12, looking for beautiful, well-made clothing, good luck with that. Buying shoes doesn’t demand squeezing into a dressing room, or waiting for one. And, if decently made and cared for, they last, unlike much clothing that stains, tears or can’t be altered.

Men, too, have their sprees.

For my Dad, it was safari jackets and Irish tweed hats (and pipes.) The sweetie has an enormous collection of caps that I know will only expand further — and all those golf games add up to serious coin.

They just don’t fit into a closet.

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