79 In Women Now

Shoe Sense: Accepting the things we cannot change

The Office of Angela Scott boots

Making sense of sensible shoes

 

I was attempting a late afternoon nap but I had a busy mind. It was resisting my suggestions to breathe in, breath out. Instead, it was focused on footwear. Current footwear, past footwear, thoughts about footwear, regrets and what-ifs.

As hard as I tried the nap wasn’t taking hold. Instead, I fell deeper and deeper into a footwear reverie, thinking about shoes past and present.

Footwear outmatched my nap

Breathe in, breathe out.

I like my patent boots.

Breathe in, breathe out.

They’re like Beatle boots. What would I do without them? Wait a minute! What did I wear before I wore Oxfords, sneakers, flat boots?

Breathe in, breathe out.

I remember those heeled sandals that I bought in three colors: black, pewter and root beer.

Breathe in, breathe out.

They worked with everything! I’d wear them all spring, summer and early fall. I felt sexy in them!

Breathe…

I never wore flats, for years! Only in Minnesota at the lake. But when I got back to the Bay Area they were off immediately and I was back in heels.

Breathe in, breathe out.

What did I wear in the winter? Oh right, heeled boots! Those black suede stretch leather boots with pointy toes. Those block colored boots in shades of blue with a tall block heel. Leather black boots that looked pretty and came to the knee. That’s what I wore! Wow, that’s like a lifetime ago!

Oh, and those cute kitten heels in leopard print suede. Darling! Oh, and those black suede quilted heels that were chic with everything, made me feel glamorous, professional and in charge when I was working or presenting. Loved them.

 

Patent booties and handbag

What about sexy shoes? Will I ever wear them? Does it matter?

 

Not to get heavy but what part did high heels play in Prince’s death?

 

Remembering Prince

The young boy went as Prince for Halloween this year.

 

The nap is abandoned and I’m up and at ’em but the subject of shoes isn’t far from me.

There was a detail that came out in the aftermath of the death of musical genius, Prince that really made me sad. I mean the whole thing was sad but to learn of his incredible pain from wearing those high heeled platform shoes is heartbreaking. He’d be running, leaping, and dancing all over the stage while being in pain and hiding it from all of us. Painkillers brought some relief but he kept on wearing them.

I was on a flight to Toronto, Canada three weeks after 9/11 happened. On my small plane flying from Minneapolis to Toronto was Prince with a bodyguard. We landed in Toronto and went through customs. He had those big platform boots on. He was sexy, magnetic and short. I try to imagine him in low heels. If we knew the pain he endured, wouldn’t we rather have more Prince and fewer heels?

 

My-no-tolerance-for-pain-on-account-of-fashion rule

I never wore super high heels for functional reasons. I needed heels I could wear for a solid four or five hours of running around a store on a personal shopping trip with a client. If I started to feel discomfort at 3-1/2, 4, or 4-1/2 hours, I grinned and bore it.

Things have changed. I can’t do that anymore. My knees react immediately. The balls of my feet get mad at me. My lower back starts yelling. Hence, my no-tolerance-for-pain-on-account-of-fashion rule is strictly enforced.

Days after my footwear reverie I was on a walk at the Sonoma Regional Park in my thick-soled Nike sneakers. “Sexy” and heels came to my mind again. I thought about the message of heels. Even plain pumps are sexy. I think I deleted “sexy” from my style recipe years ago. There are other words that resonate with me more like pretty, feminine, sensual, modern.

 

Accepting the things I cannot change

I don’t have the option of heels but I can still use shoes to help me tell my story.

I’m not saying I’m an athlete, but I do like to move fast. Wearing sneakers, the shoe of this fashion moment, lets me do that. They make me feel modern and a bit youthful. Not young! I know how old I am, but I like feeling snappy and able.

 

Wearing sneakers to work

Sneakers with appliques by Halogen are part of my work outfit

 

My patent pointy toe flats with the wide velvet bows make me feel pretty, modern and a little edgy. They’re eye-catching. They always get compliments. And again, my steps are light ones when I’m wearing these.

 

AGL dressy flats

Pointy toe patent flats by AGL

 

My burgundy oxfords make me connect to my polished but creative side. I love the color and it’s all I need to add to an outfit of classic, neutral shades. They stand out and earn a prominent position as a focal point in my outfit.

 

AGL Oxfords

Burgundy oxfords by AGL

 

The patent taupe oxfords make me feel reflective, smart without having to open my mouth and prove it. They are also by AGL.

 

AGL taupe patent oxfords

AGL taupe patent oxfords are very popular in my wardrobe

 

I can wear my tall boots; they just won’t have high heels. They may not be sexy, but they’re smart and chic. These boots are by L.K. Bennett.

 

L.K. Bennett boots

When I want to wear boots, I wear flat ones

 

I have one dream left

I concede that heels made me feel womanly. Like head-to-toe, no-nonsense, I-am-woman-hear-me-roar type of womanly. In my professional life, heels put the punctuation point on my strong feminine leadership style. There’s some deep meaning here to this conversation and it has something to do with what was and what is. I haven’t figured it out.

The NY Times recently published an article Are High Heels Heading for a Tumble? (Hint, the answer starts with “y”.)

I’ve got a plan. Before they’ve tumbled out of existence (as if) I’d like to wear stilettos, just once, but I’ll wear them sitting down. I was watching Tina Fey on the Turner Classic Movie channel talking about films with Alex Baldwin. She was wearing a great cobalt blue sweater, slim dress pants, and super high heels that made her look amazingly fabulous. But…she never stood in them! That could be me. I could be photographed or filmed wearing those shoes but never have to experience the pain of them.

Who am I kidding? I won’t do that. The image would imply I actually walk in them and I cannot tell a lie.

Have you lost the option of wearing something you used to love wearing? It wouldn’t have to be heels, it could be something else. Do you get melancholy about that every once in a while or is it all far from your mind and you’ve moved on? Please join the conversation and maybe we can figure this out together!

XO

 

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79 Comments

  • Reply
    Lisa Laree
    January 17, 2018 at 8:25 pm

    Once upon a time I could buy shoes in a B width. Those shoes could have 3 1/2 or so inch heels and I didn’t mind. Even though I walked up a quarter mile gravel drive when I got off the school bus. Or walked a good half mile across campus to college classes.

    I could wear cute shoes.

    Now, I have to have a W or a WW width in my shoe. The days of walking into a shoe store, trying on new shoes with friends…those are all gone. Nobody carries wide widths in a real store anymore.

    So I order shoes online…they come two or three days later; I walk around in them, trying to decide if they aggravate my back or my neuromas but also trying not to scuff them in case they do and I have to send them back. I’ve sent lots of shoes back.

    Cute is not part of the equation. I’m just looking for something that doesn’t look like it belongs on someone in a nursing home.

    I’d LOVE to wear cute shoes again. I’d really love to be able to wear some fierce, sexy shoes on occasion.

    But it ain’t worth the pain. I’m currently trying to find a pair of goes-with-most anything shoes that I could wear on a possible overseas trip in the spring. One that will likely include some walking and hiking to sightseeing points.

    It’s a good thing I’m starting now.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 11:59 am

      Your opening line, “Once upon a time” has captured my mind. Boy, that opens a whole kettle of fish. It reminded me that once upon a time I wore a size 7 AA. Now I wear an 8 1/2 or 9 in regular width. My feet want comfort, comfort, comfort. You outlined your history with shoes so so well. And what you said about wearing shoes that don’t look like they belong to someone in a nursing home is quite vivid. I’ve had thoughts of that myself when I’ve tried several pairs of different shoes at home and then taken them all back and started again. I wish for you a great trip and wearing shoes that let you do whatever you want to do! Thanks, Lisa!

      • Reply
        Charlene
        May 21, 2019 at 9:08 pm

        Lisa, TRY Famolare shoes. They have finally come back, recently!..They were alive inthe 70’s..I tell my age, I don’t think you will be sorry! It is a crepe sole base, like a cloud, and VERY Supportive!!..Try em!?

  • Reply
    Cathy D.
    January 17, 2018 at 9:39 pm

    Brenda, thank you so much for talking about a subject that eventually becomes important to all of us (if we live long enough). About 2 years ago, I tore a tendon in my left foot. Not only will I never wear high heels again, but I am limited to a small range of sneakers designed to help runners who pronate. Rather than be miserable, I decided to be grateful that I can still walk. I think it’s an interesting challenge to come up with outfits that I can wear with sneakers and still look stylish and attractive. It’s been a lot of fun. I love looking at your outfits, especially the shoes. Now that my tendon is as healed as it will ever be, I’m looking for shoes that are slightly less casual, like your beautiful oxfords.

    I don’t comment often, so let me mention some other things about your blog that I love. You share personal events and feelings with us, and you explain how to dress well. You do not try to sell us an endless stream of middle-of-the-road fashion that we really don’t need. I love seeing how you wear the same item in many different ways. While I could afford to buy more clothes, why should I when you show us how to maximize the use of the pieces we already have. After all, if I didn’t like the items in my closet and enjoy wearing them frequently, I wouldn’t have bought them.

    In addition, thank you for not constantly recommending a stream of beauty products that are expensive and don’t really work. We need better health, not cream on top of serum, etc. An occasional lipstick color… yes… but that’s enough.

    Thanks for all the hard work you put into this wonderful blog!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 11:55 am

      You’ve certainly got the right attitude! Walking is the prize in life, not the shoe style. Thanks for sharing what you like about my blog. That’s meaningful to me. I feel blessed because I’m always learning from you guys as well! So keep the comments coming. Thanks, Cathy!

  • Reply
    Kay
    January 17, 2018 at 10:04 pm

    Brenda, thank you for sharing your journey with fashion and how you have adapted. It is so helpful! I too loved heels and wore them every day to work. After retiring I switched to cute sandals because I live in tropical Hawaii. Loved them, too! But recently I was told had to wear a lift in my left shoe and was at a loss as my entire retirement wardrobe was built around wearing sandals. I had to resort to online shopping as I wear a size 4.5C and many brands have stopped making small sizes. What a chore, must have returned several dozen pairs. I have finally gotten used to wearing sneakers and flats and have revised my “look” to look coherent with them. Not sexy at all, but hopefully kind of cute and spunky.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 11:49 am

      You know, cute and spunky is a great choice! And frankly, I have to ask myself whether or not sexy is all it’s cracked up to be at my age. Some will disagree but I too feel like I’d rather express my joy for life through my outfits than anything else. I can just imagine how hard it was to find shoes that work. And you speak to that thing of having to make a major adjustment to something (your left foot!) when you had a whole other plan going. No wonder they pass out wisdom as we get older. We need to reach for it more and more!

  • Reply
    Kathy
    January 18, 2018 at 3:50 am

    Shoes…my palms sweat and my heart races! I love shoes. Being short…high heels elevated me, helped me feel sexy with long legs! I am now relegated to flats… I try for unique details to entertain me when I look at my feet and I keep reminding myself I can walk so I am coping…but I do miss the shoes of my youth!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 11:45 am

      I bet you speak for many! But you’ve got the key: looking for the details that keep you entertained when you look at your feet!

  • Reply
    spags
    January 18, 2018 at 4:53 am

    The late and much missed Sue Grafton said (in character as her heroine Kinsey Millhone) ” If high heels were so great, I figure men would be wearing them.” I took this to heart when I read it and have never worn heels. There is something powerful, liberated and yes, sexy, about the freedom that comes with being able to run for the bus.
    I am a huge lover of shoes, 50 pairs and counting, but they all have one thing in common: no heel height. I feel “hobbled” in heels and less than my amazing self, so I never wear them.
    P.S. Brenda I adore every single item you are wearing in the first photograph, leopard hat, checked scarf, fingerless gloves, quilted jacket, slim trousers and those amazing patent boots. How do you do it every time?

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 11:45 am

      Great quote from Sue Grafton. I love when I stumble upon something written, even if just in character, that rings so true! And LOVE your stance on flats. I’d love to see what 50 pair of great flats looks like. And that outfit? Just wearing what I love! Works every time!

  • Reply
    Diane
    January 18, 2018 at 5:23 am

    Brenda, great topic. Everyone has wonderful comments above, and I agree, having two new knees has put a real damper on the high heels, but I will not give up on cute/interesting shoes. I now wear a lot more short boots with lower heels, and have them in many styles and colours. These have so much more support. I remember saying in my 50s that I would never give up my heels…Ha.. comfort reigns for sure. They have been donated to my nieces and they enjoy them. I am not trying to impress anyone that much anymore. By the way, your last post was missed due to allergic reaction, eyes shut, but I would like to say, you and Russ are perfect together, The pure joy on your face says it all. So very happy you two found each other. Love to you.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 11:42 am

      Thanks, Diane for the comment about love and Russ and me. Warms my heart. I love the declaration you made and isn’t it funny how we have to eat our words? Always best to have a sense of humor about things. I love how you’ve found solutions. Bravo!

  • Reply
    Diane
    January 18, 2018 at 5:25 am

    P.s. Don’t you hate it when the brain won’t let the nap happen. Especially in the middle of the night!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 11:42 am

      True, true, true!

  • Reply
    Jean ann
    January 18, 2018 at 5:27 am

    I have noticeable scoliosis and can’t wear dresses. It’s hard to find dressie skirts and blouses that cover the arms. Funny story: my mom was a tiny cute thing who wore heels until they led her to three foot surgeries, the last of which rendered her somewhat crippled. I took her and her walker to a sensible shoe store, and bless her heart, she found the only pair of shoes with a heel, and those she wanted! Love your outfits, esp the white top, black pants, and your tall black boots.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 11:40 am

      Oh, that’s funny about your mom! I can just see it! Old habits are hard to break. More sleeves are coming your way this spring! That’s what they showed on the runways anyway. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Lea
    January 18, 2018 at 5:46 am

    You are a joy on my FB feed! Always well-written, well thought-out and pertinent. You have inspired me more than I can say, so thank you for all you write. Cheers!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 11:38 am

      Lea, my joy comes from you and the rest of this great community! I’m glad you feel that way. We’re all stronger together, right? XX

  • Reply
    Bobbie
    January 18, 2018 at 5:46 am

    I never wore high heels ever. I’ve always hated them, couldn’t walk in them and felt like a giant (5’7” in the 70’s was a tall girl) in them. So I always wore a low heel. But I have lost my waist, replaced by a larger than I would like belly. I so miss tucked in shirts, dresses with a waist, and belts. I’m glad high waisted pants are making a come back. I’ve worn them all along but oh to be able to tuck My shirts in again would be heaven.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 11:37 am

      I totally hear you!! That’s exactly what I’m talking about–losing the things we loved. I saw someone wearing a beautiful dress yesterday and there were at least 4 reasons it would never work on me. I took note of that and then changed the subject on myself! It’s not too late to discover something new that we love instead. That’s what I’m going with! Thanks for sharing, Bobbie!

  • Reply
    Doris E Drayton
    January 18, 2018 at 6:01 am

    Brenda, You are inspiring and fashion spot-on. I am currently struggling with the high heel issue. I still love them, but they no longer love me. Thanks for taking on the subject.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 11:34 am

      What you said is spot-on. What we love doesn’t always love us back. Pure, simple wisdom!! Thanks!

  • Reply
    Sandi McDougall
    January 18, 2018 at 6:11 am

    I agree with everything that Lea wrote. I always love your articles Brenda. Funny how I can still remember my first pair of “squashed heels”. I was eleven years old and going to a relatives wedding in Canada. I felt so “old” in them. 😉 I even remember the dress I wore with them. I have always had a love affair with shoes, maybe because my dad owned a shoe store. But now my highest heels are wedged. And of course, not very high wedges at that.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 11:34 am

      Oh boy, to have a dad who owned a shoe store! Candy in a candy store! I love that you have that strong memory! I miss you!

  • Reply
    Nancy
    January 18, 2018 at 6:42 am

    Timely! I fell in early December (dirty grocery store floor) and landed on my knee, which has led to an Achilles inflammation… blah blah blah. And my other foot has toe issues and ankle problems. I am literally limited to a pair of Ryka running shoes at the moment, and I confess I wore the (flat, Vionic) shoes that went with my JJill dress to work even though I was in great pain. I go into DSW to try to find comfortable flats (wide width) and am surrounded by women my age doing the same thing. We all go away empty handed most of the time.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 11:33 am

      I ran into someone my age who loved the Vionic brand. I tried them but didn’t find them comfortable. I can just picture all the ladies at DSW with you! I’ve never been a shoe hound so having just a few pair that work works for me.

  • Reply
    Christine
    January 18, 2018 at 6:46 am

    This season, I bought 2 pair of low-heeled booties so that I can roam my city on foot. LOVE and I didn’t need to re-hem the pants that I’d formerly worn with higher heels in previous winters. In my 50s, I’m telling myself “enjoy the moments in the skyscrapers, they might be numbered.”

    1 word for those needing special sizes or fits on shoes: Nordstrom. A bit more expensive, BUT they accept returns of shoes that you’ve worn and found unacceptable. No more expensive mistakes!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 11:31 am

      Thanks, Christine, for the Nordstrom tip! Glad you’re free to roam in your low-heeled booties!

  • Reply
    Becca G
    January 18, 2018 at 7:16 am

    I miss my heels! I wore a pair on Christmas Eve day & have been suffering since . I’ve got prepheral neuropathy in my feet ( I know should have worn flats with memory foam) now I have apt to have foot x-ray (thought it would be better by now) So between the knee that needs replacing the feet with neuropathy the hip that probably should be replaced (all on the rt side) heels are out.
    I’m only 59 so totally understand our & Prince’s need for heels also the pain that comes with them. He was a fabulous singer, dancer & musician & is missed.
    It’s difficult to give things up when we think they look awesome on us, skinny jeans, form fitting blouses. I’ve found myself going for princess seam blouses, still get the shaping but they skim instead of cling. Straight leg, flares & mid rise jeans instead of skinny ones. Trousers with NO pleats & most of all good undergarments to keep everything in order.
    Getting older isn’t easy.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 11:30 am

      Not easy, Becca, but you’ve given us a great list of things to try once we’ve opted out of the things that don’t work anymore. My last attempt at wearing a block heel that was probably no more than 1 1/2 inches was pain for three days. It did go away but so did those shoes. Thanks for sharing your experience and your fashion ideas. Hoping heeling is on the way!

  • Reply
    Cara
    January 18, 2018 at 7:59 am

    Brenda,
    I am happy to say that, although I’m short, I discarded the high-heels as sexy propaganda with which we’re indoctrinated in my 20s. . Nevertheless, years of wearing shoes that are not foot shaped have left me with a bunion deformity. I never wore really pointy shoes, but I tend to have tight tendons, so toe-constriction forced the joint outwards. Bunions are not hereditary, although the tendency to have tight connections is. They are also not bony deformities, but, rather, a displaced joint caused by footwear.

    I apologize in advance if my comments offend anyone: they’re not meant to, but the topic of comfortable shoes is an important one.

    I don’t get why we continue to wear shoes that will ultimately result in foot damage. I believe we need to examine our definitions of pretty so that the concept of what’s good for our bodies is included. Feet are supposed to be widest right where most shoes constrict. Our toes are meant to be splayed and when they’re forced into pointy shoes (as in ANY shoe that is not widest at the toes), many of us will develop deformities in the shape of bunions. Some will get plantar fasciitis. Heels give us shortened achilles’ tendons, and the list goes on

    Any time your toes are not in their natural position, which is splayed so that they are the widest part of your foot (look at a baby’s foot and baby shoes before the deformation begins), they’re being squished, even if it doesn’t hurt. Not every one will have pain, but it doesn’t mean we’re doing the best for our feet.
    I’ve found the information at correcttoes.com to be extremely helpful. My partner, Gary, had PF and following the recommendations there cured a painful condition that force many to resort to steroid injections or surgery.

    To me, most “fashionable” footwear is reminiscent of foot-binding and I find that profoundly sad, and that Prince suffered so is terrible.

    Thank you for this blog. I enjoy it very much.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 11:27 am

      Thanks for all the knowledge you’re sharing with us, Cara! We need to heed the needs of our feet! (Oh boy, I love all the double “e’s” in that sentence! Sorry, guilty pleasure but I mean every word!)

      • Reply
        Cara
        January 18, 2018 at 1:09 pm

        Indeed!

  • Reply
    Chris
    January 18, 2018 at 8:57 am

    I only discovered your blog last week. And what I enjoyed this last blogpost. I’m into flats for a couple of years now because my knees can’t handle high heels any more. So this post is very me 🙂
    What also I can’t wear anymore are sleeveless dresses or shirts. No problem in winter. But what about summer and hot weather? How to find beautiful clothes (with sleeves) that aren’t heating you up?

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 11:24 am

      I’ve been researching spring/summer trends and there are lots of dresses and tops that will have sleeves this summer. Did someone just get the memo? Otherwise, try SleeveyWonder.com for an interesting solution for adding sleeves to sleeveless things. Thanks for finding us over here! We welcome you!

  • Reply
    Susie
    January 18, 2018 at 9:15 am

    I have dreams about Jimmy Choo. Unfortunately, they are no longer for my feet. Two years of plantar fasciitis has taken care of that. Also, Minnesota winters aren’t conducive to beautiful high heels. I have amassed a really sweet collection of brogues, boots and sneakers that make me somewhat happy. Lucky for me there are some shoe stores here in the Twin Cities that carry some really great/fashionable comfort shoes.
    Thank you for a wonderful post.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 11:22 am

      Next time I’m in the Twin Cities I may want to check out your resources if you want to share them. I LOVE that area. You remind me that I see pictures of people’s closets in magazines like Veranda or House Beautiful or Elle Decor and see those rows and rows of Jimmy Choos or another favored designer. They’d have to be wall art for me because they look so precarious!

  • Reply
    Mary Ann Doerzbacher
    January 18, 2018 at 9:35 am

    Cautionary tale: I loved my black woven elastic peep toe wedgies! I had 2 pairs. The elastic across my foot was very comfortable. However one morning about 2 years ago, as I stepped from my daughter’s driveway onto the grass to get into her car, my left foot turned over, the elastic allowing it, and I heard a very distinct “pop-pop” followed by immediate pain and swelling. My daughter, who is a doctor, said “Foot broken, mom. We are headed to the ER.” The ER dr said the 2 long bones on the left snapped in 2 places. No surgery but complete immobilzation for 3 weeks then tall boot cast to allow my osteoporitic bones to knit back together hopefully. The orthopedist asked what kind of shoes I was wearing. He told me he treats many older
    ladies who injure feet, ankles wearing wedgies and in particular the elastic ones. I loved those shoes, but out they went. I still miss how they elevated me and dressed up an outfit, but certainly are not worth the injury risk.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 11:20 am

      Wow! Thanks, Mary Ann for this public service announcement! I cringed at “pop-“pop”. Hope everything is good as new. I know the kind of shoe you’re talking about. We bid it a fond farewell.

    • Reply
      Patricia Schultz
      January 19, 2018 at 6:25 am

      A similar thing happened to me while on vacation. Twelve weeks in a “boot.” I promptly gave up any shoe without a back strap or enclosed heel, or heel height greater than about 1.5 inch. The good news: I can get through a shoe store very quickly since so many styles are automatically eliminated!

      • Reply
        Brenda
        January 23, 2018 at 1:21 pm

        Well, there is that advantage, Patricia! I was in a shoe department yesterday. I was admiring a woman’s flat but over the knee suede boots that she walked in wearing. When I turned around a few minutes later she was in 4-inch black heeled open sandals. All I could think of was the pain!!! She was happy with them though!

  • Reply
    Kathleen O'Brien
    January 18, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Oh My Goodness! Do I love shoes! Even my FB picture is a pair of darlying shoes that I used to wear. I wore them all in my youth – high heels, stilettos, wedge, you name it – expen$ive to cheep – I love shoes. However, 5 years ago I had both knees replaced and subsequent operations – heels higher than about an inch are not in forecast or my closet any more at all (well I did save a couple pair to look at – sigh!) I’ve totally embraced flatter shoes and am always on the lookout for them. I’ve got them in tons of colors and from edgy to demure. My favorite right now are a pair of slip-on “sneaker” type from Sam Edleman black suede and leather with silver metal gromments and studs all over the toe and vamp. Ever time I wear them I feel fierce and edgy and get compliments on them. Nordstroms Rack for $35 was a steal, and that’s why I’m always on the lookout. You never know what you’re gonna find.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 11:15 am

      Fierce and edgy. Divine! I think this all points to getting out there and trying new styles. They’re there if we look for them. Do you think that’s safe to say? Sam Edelman works really well for a couple of clients of mine.

  • Reply
    Liz
    January 18, 2018 at 10:26 am

    I had to laugh when reading your description of Tina Fey’s stilettos, because the women in my family (and I’m talking four generations here) have always called super high heels “sitting-down shoes.”
    I used to love wearing heels and walked all over NYC in them when I lived there in my 20s. Kids and a job that kept me on my feet all day quashed that for me once I got into my 30s.
    I still love to walk and I tend to move quickly under any circumstances, so flats or low blocky heels, have become my friends.
    I admit to longing for some of the tall heels I see in the fashion magazines, especially the sleek pumps. However, not too long ago one of those magazines carried an interview with a retired fashion model, who admitted that all those years on the runway in ultra-high heels had left her with problematic feet. She said she regularly visits a chiropodist and nowadays usually defaults to flat and comfy shoes. So there you have it–what price fashion!?!
    There are lots of fun and edgy flats, though, like the sneakers you are wearing in the picture above. So on the whole I have moved on and I actually think flats suit my style as it is now better than heels would.
    My mother–a shoe lover if there ever was one–used to say that you wear uncomfortable shoes on your face.
    What good is that?

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 11:13 am

      You have summed it up, haven’t you! Gosh, just think about those poor feet in the example you gave of the models. It’s really not unlike a sports injury to athletes, the cost of being in that profession. Glad you’re finding shoes to suit your style. I think they are getting better and better.

  • Reply
    Holly McDonell
    January 18, 2018 at 10:48 am

    I Love love love that line!!!! It is so very true! I can spot a woman hurting from her shoes a mile away!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 11:10 am

      Boy isn’t that the truth!

  • Reply
    Nancy Karpen
    January 18, 2018 at 11:24 am

    I have flat, wide feet so I’ve never been able to war high heels more than 2″ high, even when I was young. Now it’s even worse. My back hurts, the balls of my feet hurt. Knees are not on my list, thank goodness! Be thankful that you don’t have wide feet! There is even less to choose from in wide. I wear a lot of Waldlauffer shoes. But, dressy flats is really not their forte. There also aren’t a lot of color choices. Sigh. I do have a couple of pairs of Stuart Weitzman, but they a little expensive. I bought a great pair of black low heeled sandals embellished with pearls for my dd’s wedding last summer. But I’d love a pair of dressy flat shoes which is harder to find. Well, I do the best I can and wear more pants than dresses.
    I love the flat shoes you wear; they work and as you say, we have to accept what we can’t change. Like you I like to be able to actually walk for several hours without a complaint

  • Reply
    Telynau
    January 18, 2018 at 11:40 am

    Aah, the artistic liberty of shoes =}. Colours. Details. Patterns. Styles. The full array of heel heights and weights. I admire them… from afar. Ballerina flats. Crocs. Dr Scholl’s sandals. Polished piggies in the grass, in the sand. Do I yearn for the heights of youth? Do I lament the lows of aged? HaHa! No… I count my blessings for having done no damage in that bygone era. I do enjoy your thought provoking articles, Brenda. Thank you!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 5:16 pm

      I like the way you think! Truly, it would be great if we could all say that we are counting blessings for having done no damage. Thanks for that!

  • Reply
    Heidi
    January 18, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Hi Brenda! This post sure started a conversation, didn’t it? My mother was a shoe fanatic and always wore heels. She even climbed the pyramids in Mexico in her high heels!! When she died she left us at least 200 pair of beautiful, elegant and wonderful shoes. All size 5 1/2. Not one of her daughters or granddaughters could fit into them! It was so sad! We eventually donated all of them, except for her alligator heels and platform wedding shoes from the early 50’s which I have and display in my walk-in closet!
    I for one am in between in the footwear department. I own quite a few, and occasionally wear some heeled booties, 21/2” max, block or sturdy heels only. I also have several pairs of wedges and some heeled sandals for summer. I don’t wear them often of for very long, for example, when I’m headed to a movie or nice long dinner or chat with a friend. Walking in skinny heels is out, has been for a long time, just too darned uncomfortable and precarious!
    As for what I miss most in my wardrobe now that I’m entering my “mature” years- I miss my former tiny waist and all the fun ways I would accessorize with belts! Tucking things in and feeling slender is a thing of the past, and, although I’m not terribly overweight, the additional pounds are there and they mess with my mind and confidence! I’ve mostly figured out how to dress for my new figure but, darn it, I miss those slinky tops and wrap dresses that accentuated my (then!) best features – bust and waist. Now both rather larger than I’d like!!
    As always, thanks for your clever insight and supportive message in this post. I always look forward to a message in my inbox from your website!
    Xo Heidi

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 18, 2018 at 5:15 pm

      Heidi, thanks for sharing the stories about your mom and her 200 pairs of pretty shoes — just imagine! — and what’s in your shoe department as well. I think opening this conversation and talking about what was and what is is a healthy one. Thanks for your contribution! I bet there are others out there missing their waistlines as well! Big hugs to you, Brenda XO

  • Reply
    Tanya
    January 18, 2018 at 5:51 pm

    Shoes — always on my mind. Not sure if my love for the “flat” stems from the fact that from birth I have been a “hard fit” in shoes. I can recall two times in my life that I wore high heels (well if a two inch heel counts) — junior high school graduation and high school prom. I have gone through life chided by friends about my shoes — but watching them one by one have foot surgeries of all types to repair the damage done by wearing painful shoes confirms I was on the right side of style…at least this time. Call them what you will — flats, oxfords, loafers, moccasins, tennis shoes (yes…they were called that back in the day) or Mary Jane’s (my mother’s term) — I’ve had them all, wear them all and still love them all. I don’t care how good a heel might make your legs look — if they slow you down because you can’t walk in them, why on earth would you choose to wear them? I know I am still in the minority here — but at this point in life — I kind of like being in that circle! (By the way, one of the first things I noticed about your style was your very cool shoes and how they were the perfect complement to the clothes and jewelry. I feel as if I found a kindred spirit in you!)

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 23, 2018 at 1:10 pm

      Tanya, I think you’re philosophy is moving into the majority side! I think the majority of us are following in your footsteps in your flat shoe styles!

  • Reply
    Melissa
    January 18, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Hi Brenda! As always thanks so much for being willing to reveal yourself and for all the great style inspiration. My first career at the courthouse was filled with heels. I felt so empowered when dealing with attorneys who were so often male and so often acted as though they were inherently more valuable to the process than I. After 25 years I retired, but like so many, in order to help support my parent’s medical care I am looking at returning for a new chapter. Neuropathy will not allow heels this go round; I’ll have to stand on my own two feet, so to speak, when dealing with attorneys who act as though they are inherently more than. It will be a good life lesson and a good test of my spiritual growth. Who knew a couple inches of man-made materials could be so fraught with significance?! I hope life treats you well as you continue to heal from 2017. You are such a strong woman. An inspiration in more ways than you can know!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 23, 2018 at 1:13 pm

      Oh, Melissa, I see you walking up those courthouse steps very sure and confident in your oxfords, or another flat shoe style! I think you’ll do just fine. And you summed it up well when you talked about those couple of inches of man-made materials being so fraught with significance. It’s very thought-provoking when you put it that way!

  • Reply
    Trinnie q
    January 18, 2018 at 6:22 pm

    What a wonderful discussion! No disrespect intended to anyone else and their passions, but I have never liked high heals in the slightest! I was very athletic in my youth, and any shoe you could not run in an emergency in, plus being a nurse, I had no interest in. The biggest change in my life is allowing myself to buy prettier or cute or beautiful or interesting shoes at all! This, I seem to have embraced , so that my family now call me Imelda Marcos. In my defence, I tell them I have only about 12
    Pairs in total, across two main weather types! Still more than I ever had! But yes, I love a cute flat, or espadrilles, or sandal, Chelsea boot, in a few colours etc . Thanks for this fascinating post and as always sending much love to all of you from Oz

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 23, 2018 at 1:16 pm

      It sounds like you’re getting into a healthy zone of shoes because without those numbers, I think you may have been shoe deprived! I can see how talking about high heels would not interest a tomboy at all. Nonetheless, it’s nice to have choices that include cute, fun, interesting, etc.! Love to you from Sonoma!

  • Reply
    Joan kosmachuk
    January 18, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    Oh, I hear you on the shoes. I actually found them very comfortable “once upon a time” and they made me feel sexy and young and like I could conquer the world. Hard to believe I got all that from a shoe! For a long while I couldn’t wear anything except a Naot sandal (cute with some outfits but very limiting) but those years paid off and certain foot issues resolved themselves and now I’m able to expand to other low-heeled shoes and I’m having fun experimenting with them. But those short skirts and high heels days are gone forever and I’m torn between telling the young women I see on the street to enjoy wearing them while she can or warning her of how much she’ll pay for wearing them in years to come. LOL.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 23, 2018 at 1:18 pm

      Boy, Joan isn’t that the truth! Maybe we should have postcards to hand out with warnings on them. But at that age, who had the bandwidth to imagine foot problems later on? Glad your feet got better!

  • Reply
    Pat Bromley
    January 19, 2018 at 4:06 am

    Awesome post, Brenda! I love that all your snazzy oxfords appear in one post. You see, I am on a mission to find some that will work with wide feet, so I keep trying to find your brands, by searching in here!. I have not found any as cute that work with wide feet. Also, most oxford s seem to be in patent leather. I love the look of patent but have never found a pair that didn’t pinch, regardless of the style of shoe. Do you have any secret weapons or advice for that?
    Thanks for a great blog!

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 23, 2018 at 1:20 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Pat! The only advice I have is to keep trying on shoes! I’ve worried about the stiffness but not had a problem with it. But if the shoe is feeling tight to begin with (like too tight), then I’d stay clear and keep looking!

  • Reply
    Cherie FitzSimons-Orr
    January 19, 2018 at 4:58 pm

    I don’t know how I was fortunate enough to find your website today! Just another little miracle! I am so happy to read your honest answers, your frankness and sincerity and your down to earth approach : acceptance, tolerance, honesty and wisdom.
    You are so lovely,and I appreciate the photos you include to really illustrate what you are saying and how to do it and what it looks like when done with a plan and a reason.
    I just couldn’t stop reading your website and blog, but I had to take a break to tell you I think you have great common sense and know how to pass it on and share it in a warm and thoughtful manner which includes your sense of humor and sensitivity. I must have laughed a few times or at least paused reminding myself through your well-chosen words that “I once knew that” (from my Mom, I’m sure) but had just forgotten over the years. Simplicity is best, and balance is important in the overall scheme of things…also more comfortable and easy to wear because it really shows and enhances what is important.. . personality and style.
    It doesn’t look like the clothes are wearing YOU, but rather a smooth transition of color and texture, repetition, transition, leading one’s eyes to what you want them to focus on…your face, your eyes, your hat. your great shoes!

    I best close, now,… my eyes are blurring because I wanted to read and absorb everything all at once. So glad I can come at back tomorrow and know you’ll be there.
    Many thanks!
    Cherie

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 23, 2018 at 1:23 pm

      What a wonderful comment, Cherie! So very fun to have you here. I am glad you found the blog! And you pretty much nailed my philosophy, that’s for sure. Come on back!!!

  • Reply
    Aless
    January 19, 2018 at 10:06 pm

    Wrecked,arthritic knees+ neuromas of the toe/foot joint + lipodema/lymphoedema……you get the picture?!
    Just after 40, I was ordered by an orthopedic surgeon to keep heels to 2.5 inches, then the neuromas made THAT intolerable. Now I am reduced to semi-flats (teeny tiny wedge at the heel end) that have a good sized toe box, or (‘wedged’ lace ups). Flats themselves are too much strain on my plantar & Archilles tendons. I’m considering what sort of sneaker to buy (I have my dependable Skechers, of course, but not exactly chic!!) as I have my (possibly) last drive for trendiness!!
    As a foot-loose and fancy free 20-something, I was able to buy shoes and more shoes, and my favourites were Brazilian leather, often with stacked leather heels…Gorgeous!! Excuse me if I leave this now- hard to see through the tears!! :-[

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 23, 2018 at 1:26 pm

      Oh Aless, wish I was there with the Kleenex box! Boy, oh boy, you have really gotten attacked by foot afflictions. Well, definitely go for the sneaker look right now. More and more vendors are coming out with clever versions. You’ll find something you like. Maybe not as much as those stacked leather heels but there’s hope!

  • Reply
    Victoria Saccaro
    January 20, 2018 at 3:43 am

    I trained very hard to run a half marathon. The weekend before the event, I wore high heels (which I never did) to a party and stood for many hours. The next day, I went for a run and “pop” went a muscle in my calf. Needless to say, I was stuck handing out water at the finish line instead of racing. I’m barely 5ft and size 6.5W. I’m can’t understand why the shoe industry does not capitalize on women like me. I would have 50 pairs of shoes in my closet if I could find comfortable fashionable shoes that fit.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 23, 2018 at 1:28 pm

      Wow, what an experience! That is such a testament to what a high heel can do and how quickly. I still have hope that more and more shoe styles, sensible shoe styles, will show up. There is the option of having shoes made. I come across that every once in a while but that option is quite expensive.

  • Reply
    Amy
    January 21, 2018 at 10:20 am

    Your shoes are wonderful. I especially like the deep burgundy color. This winter I’ve had fun wearing low-heeled Chelsea boots by Propet. They are made from black velour that looks like suede. I suggest the website, BarkingDogShoes.com for many different style ideas addressed to widely varying foot needs.
    Recently I decided to let go of trying to continue to wear pierced earrings. After decades of wearing hypoallergenic ones, my skin just won’t tolerate them any more, and it’s not worth the hassle. I held on to trying to make it work much longer than made sense, because it did feel like losing something important. It was a popular transition among my teen friends to get pierced ears, and like high heels, they were exciting symbols of new sexual power, of being young women, no longer little girls. I also had some girlfriends from cultural backgrounds where pierced earrings were common for baby girls, but most of the girls I knew were, like me, not allowed to get piercings until puberty or later, probably because our mothers did not have pierced ears. My mother wore uncomfortable clip-on, or screw-back earrings. I had to laugh at myself a little, now that I’m over 60 years old, because what’s the point of spending precious time feeling deprived? I say “laugh at myself” with a sense of self-compassion though, because I remember how upset I was at age 49, when I had to give up participating in a heavy weight lifting group known as the “Iron Maidens” due to a herniated disc and osteoarthritis. (I didn’t get the injury from weight lifting, it was a combination of other reasons.) I felt so sorry for myself at first, adjusting to what seemed like a sudden need for change. I thought, oh no, I can’t be an “Iron Maiden” anymore! It really did seem like my life was over. I was scared and worried about all the unknown limits that I might have to face. Later that memory made me laugh. During the long, slow recovery process I learned that strength could have many other expressions. I still admire the older and younger women members of the Iron Maidens — including a woman in her 70s who was one of the top lifters. However, I now enjoy a very different kind strength training that uses only light weights. I let myself mourn the loss of my pierced ears a little — to feel it and acknowledge it — without getting stuck there. And then it was time to turn my focus toward wearing a few new things that feel good, and are very colorful. I like to be creative, and had a wool-blend scarf with patterns and colors like a tortoiseshell cat’s, but it seemed too narrow, and felt too stiff around my neck. The colors echo my hair. First I made a headband out of part of it, to keep my ears warm, and liked it so much that it ended up sewn into a full toque hat. And I bought a rust red wool beret. This winter both hats have brought a smile to my face, and many smiles and compliments from others.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 23, 2018 at 1:32 pm

      Amy, I really love how you shared about the losses in your life and where you went from there. This really is a rich subject and your comments have made it even richer! Thank you so much!

  • Reply
    Lisa Bayne Astor
    January 22, 2018 at 9:56 am

    I LOVE this post. I have a difficult foot, one with a bone spur and severe arthritis in my first metatarsal. The end result is that almost all shoes are uncomfortable unless they have thick, supportive cushioning. Every season I can find one or two pairs – max – that I love and that feel OK. I have often hoped that some great shoe designers have stylish mothers for whom they develop a line of great-looking but meant for 60+ year-old feet. I was encourage when I found Thierry Rabotin shoes which are pricey, but incredibly comfortable AND interesting looking. I am afraid that I am still caring about my looks and what my clothes convey, all the way down to my shoes. Maybe someday I will stop caring so much, but not yet.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      January 23, 2018 at 2:09 pm

      Lisa, keep caring. Keep caring until the very end. I’m saying this to you but I’m actually saying it to everyone. Caring is a sign of respect to you and others, it’s a way of having fun and engaging others to have fun with you. I’ve been working on a post or two about this subject so that just spilled out first!
      I feel similar to you in that if I find a couple of great pairs of shoes per season, I feel happy. My feet are the most important thing for me so I don’t mind paying more for shoes than anything. It means I get to feel free and happy! What price do you put on that?? I LOVE that Artful Home is carrying Thierry Rabotin shoes now. I think that’s so smart. More shoe choices are what matters most to women. I don’t think any subject has gotten as many comments on my blog as this one has on shoes! Thanks for being you, by the way!

  • Reply
    Stephanie
    August 21, 2018 at 6:51 pm

    I have the opposite problem! I have an extremely high arch. I jumped on the ballet flat and sandal craze and ended up tearing the tendons in the bottom of my feet. I couldn’t walk. I remember the older ladies in my office laughing at me because they were positive it was the heels that did me in. I could wear any heel all day long AND be on my feet AND feel great. I spent 2 weeks in pain and horribly uncomfortable Dansco flats. I hobbled around making my feet worse without realizing it! Finally on my second visit to a new podiatrist, I had my feet correctly exrayed. This must be done standing up! She said I am in the 1% of the population that heels are made for. I found a Dansco heel I could wear to recover in and it felt great to walk. After this experience, I do have to watch where the heel lies on the shoe and how the ball of my foot lands but other than that I wear heels! If I am running around the house in flats, tennis shoes, barefoot, or sandals I will eventually drag out those Dansco heels. They look silly with yoga pants and shorts but I can keep going! I love hiking so this has been a problem!

    So, the grass is always greener! I want flats! I want the new Gucci Mules that are out (knocked off of course) and know that if I do, my feet will scream in pain by the end of the day. It is so difficult in the evenings and weekends even with arch support. I worry as I age and my knees and ankles weaken what I will be able to wear comfortably. I see women in flats and it hurts! It is completely opposite and I fear I will be left without choices in the next 10 to 20 years. I’m 51 now.

    • Reply
      Brenda
      August 27, 2018 at 6:02 pm

      Gosh, Stephanie, this IS quite an opposite story. I have to have some support. I’ll add arch supports to shoes. But like you, I have big problems with most flats. Funny, my feet are feeling happier these days but I’m with you–I wonder what I’ll be wearing in five years!

  • Reply
    Linda
    June 19, 2019 at 4:34 pm

    Silly question….do you wear peds with your oxfords? It looks like there are no socks….

  • Reply
    Beverly Siek
    July 17, 2019 at 7:39 pm

    Brenda, I’ve only recently come across your blog and I love it!!! I could write on and on about the shoe subject. I wore heels to work for many years and as a result am totally uncomfortable in flat shoes because of changes to my feet. I am looking for shoes with about a 1 1/2” heel or wedge, but I have other issues with toes and heels that make it very difficult to find what shoes may work. Please keep up the blog and posts….I am looking forward to reading some older ones and will look forward to every new one! As I’ve heard….getting older is not for the faint of heart! I think a creative spirit and a sense of humor help along the way!

  • Reply
    Molly
    August 20, 2019 at 7:53 am

    This post came up in my Pinterest feed, and I have to say, I’m so happy to have read it! I abandoned heels many years ago, with a short relapse with the purchase of black, pointy-toed, sequined kitten heels to wear to a wedding (and even they came off in the first hour and I reverted to ballet flats). I love that there are some pretty options in flats, and I’m a sucker for patent leather, a little sparkly embellishment, and a shoe with a bow! I have wide feet and a high instep, so my options are a bit limited, but I am always so happy when I find the perfect, comfortable pair of shoes. This season I decided I might need to add a bit of leopard, so I’m on the search!

  • Reply
    Mary Lee Robinson
    January 12, 2020 at 5:39 am

    Spot on, Brenda! I just culled my shoe wardrobe again. I’d divested myself of shoes lacking arch support (either standard equipment built into the shoe or added by me via Dr. Scholl’s accessories) and got rid of all my plantar fasciitis pain. Then, after retiring to lovely coastal Carolina and wearing sandals so much, I began to develop bunions. It seems that the act of toes gripping that toe bar throws your bones out of line. That, and pointy-toed shoes that I so love. Nope, pain is to high a price. It’s Sketchers slip-on sneakers and other low heel shoes with larger toe boxes for me. Talk about a fashion challenge! Like the very high-heeled platform sandals, I ditched for my high school reunion in favor of something more practical…because, you know, it’s hard to make an entrance when you are falling off your shoes…I’ll give people reason to focus on my face rather than my feet.

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