Sunday, June 17, 2012

It's a shoe thing; my top essential shoes

I love shoes.
Shoes can elevate the look of a neutral outfit.  I have a lot of shoes; not "Imelda Marcos" a lot, but still, a lot.  I have several pairs that I find myself putting on more than the others, and they are my "essential" shoes.  I also have a wardrobe of more frivolous and colorful shoes that I will post in the future, but the shoes pictured here are my essentials; worn often and well loved.

Although I do have many pairs of shoes, I have only paid full price for one pair, the Earthies pumps.  They were special ordered and well worth the price because I will wear them over and over again.  Every other pair was purchased on sale, clearance or
off season.

Flat black walking boots, Tahari at T.J. Maxx.  All leather and fabric upper, cute button detail; original price $200.  Naturalizer Glossy in "cognac".  Nine West suede black, $40 on clearance at J.C. Penney.
I really like boots.  I had to search high and low for the rusty pair.  I had first seen them at a local shoe store on "sale" for $99.00 in April.  I loved them, but thought they were just not priced to sell.  I did and internet search and found them at Carson's for $44.00!  The calf shank runs very narrow, but they do have a wide calf version.  These boots came in black and also taupe, and I would have purchased those too, if my size had been available.

I love the little stud detail

Earthies, Talera
These shoes are great for professional wear.  I have high arches and my feet usually ache after wearing shoes without good arch support.  The insoles of this shoe are contoured to accommodate that.  This is the only pair of shoes that I don't wear an insole with! They're the only pair of that I have ever paid full price for.  They were $149, but I did see them on sale later for $99. They have been worth the price I paid! They are comfortable and very durable.  Easy to walk in. These babies are made to last.
 They do run a tad big; I usually wear a 6.5 or 7; these are a six.  I love the way these shoes look and feel so solid.  I have worn them with dresses, trousers, suits and jeans; they look great with everything.  It's kind of ironic that they look both sensible and a little bit sexy. 

Nine West
When I saw these shoes at the DSW in Columbus, Ohio.....they sang to me.  I fell in love.  This is another pair I reach for time and time again.  These shoes elevate the look of neutral outfits and are very versatile.  Definitely the star of the show.  I receive many compliments every time I wear them.
If you are ever in Columbus, check out the sale room in the's huge; as big as some retail stores.  I will be there again in November to compete in the Ohio Star Ball Ballroom competition and I going to make time to visit the shoes at my new favorite store.

Anne Klein iflex
A neutral pair of kitten heels are go anywhere shoes.  I wear these with just about anything.  The soft golden color is very versatile and they're so comfortable.  Kitten heels dress up an outfit, but are still comfortable to do lots of walking in.  This is one of my great bargains....they were $12.99 at DSW...they had an 80% off sticker!
Natural Soul by Naturalizer
A comfortable and versatile sandal is essential.  These are new this summer and I have gotten my wear out of them already.  The snake print goes with anything.
How I love my purple kicks.  These are so comfy to walk in and cute, cute, cute.  I'm not much of a flat shoe lover, but these are an exception.  The lovely orchid color grabbed my attention.

I like the rainbow detail on the side of the shoe, but I was so taken with the color that I didn't notice it until I got home.

Toe Warmers
These are the best snow boots ever.  Very warm, very comfortable and they look very cute on; much cuter than in the picture.  They have a trim and stylish appearance, not bulky like many winter boots and they don't feel heavy.  

B.O.C. by Born
Surprisingly, another pair of flats that I adore.  A dream to wear and they look great with my jeans.  I love the creamy color and the oxford styling.  I would love to have a black and white two toned pair of these.

Supadance; purchased at a competition from Toe to Toe Dance Shoes (ballroom vendor) Notice the clear bands across the vanp?  Those are elastic bands that help keep the shoe in place.  If you look closely, you will notice the heel protectors on the heel caps.  The heels wear down quickly and these protect them.  I have actually used them on my street shoes too, to make muffle the clackety-clack noise that heels make on hard floors!
 For me, no essential shoe collection would be complete without including my precious dance shoes.  Dance is an important part of my life and good dance shoes are critical.  Since my specialty in dance is International Standard style, I require closed toe dance shoes.  Ballroom shoes have thin, flexible suede-like soles that keep your foot in close contact with the floor.
Dance shoes fit very closely to the feet.  They need to be snug, but not pinch or constrict.  You can't have too much room in the toe area or you won't be able to keep them on your feet and you won't be able to apply the proper foot pressure into the floor that is needed when dancing. This style is called a 'court shoe'.  There is a hidden elastic band across the vamp that allows the shoe to bend when you bend your foot. 
  Most shoes are fabric, rather than leather because dance shoes stretch quickly and you don't want a floppy dance shoe! 
Many dancers choose this gold color because it closely approximates the skin tone.  Dancers also don't want to draw attention to the feet when dancing and want to have a long unbroken line on the legs and feet. Shoes don't typically match the dress, which does break up the lines.  Even with the long dress covering the legs...this color looks best.

All of the shoes pictured above are the shoes that I wear most often and would not want to do without. They cover nearly every occasion. 
My feet are very fussy.  Dance has been pretty abusive to my feet and comfort is a priority.  I do wear insoles in every pair of shoes, and I choose the size accordingly.  I always take a fresh pair of insoles with me to shoe shop. I purchase my insoles for $1 for two pairs at Dollar General and they work just as well as more costly brands.  
 I'm very careful now about the shoes I purchase.  If I feel ANY tightness, pinching or slipping of the heel I don't buy them.  I make sure I can wiggle my toes.  I don't care how much I love a pair of shoes, if they don't feel right, I say goodbye to them.   Fortunately, I used to be the assistant manager of a shoe store back in the 1980's when shoes were actual "fit" by the salesperson.  I learned how to properly fit shoes.  It has served me well, because just like everyone else, I have had encounters with stellar shoes that made me lose my head.... know, that pair that you love so much it is crying to go home with you and you ignore your common sense telling you no and take them home with anyway... 
I have made a couple of painful shoes mistakes and they just sit and look pretty in the closet until I finally kick them to the curb.
 I don't do that anymore.  My shoes must treat me well.
Oh, how I love a pretty pair of shoes.
Do you love them as much as I do?

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"When you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect"--Mark Twain