Shoes – the Down and Dirty About ‘Um, by Cathy Berger

There are different degrees of shoe-awareness. There are people with “shoe fetishes” – obsessive collectors with Imelda Marcos-like stockpiles that fill closets. There are the Carrie Bradshaws of the world, patrons of Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo‘s high fashion. There are those who seek out form over function and make comfort their main priority over style. Then there are those who never know the right shoe for the occasion.

There are different degrees of shoe-awareness. There are people with “shoe fetishes”, there are the Carrie Bradshaws of the world, there are those who seek out form over function and then there are those who never know the right shoe for the occasion.

I was recently at a reception, and the honoree’s shoes had really seen better days – they needed a scrubbing, a polish and a resoling. I can’t tell you how many people I overheard talking about it. Both men and women noticed. It isn’t just a cliché –shoes really can “make or break the man”.  Sadly, sometimes, we do need to send a favorite pair to shoe heaven.

Why is footwear perplexing? Any pair will provide basic protection from the mean streets of the world. But which to wear can convey so much about ourselves. Even when times are tough, spending a little more on a classically designed, well-made pair of shoes not only shows you are practical (real leather, sturdy stitching, and quality soles last longer and can be repaired over time at a fraction of the original price) but they tend to fit better and be more comfy. Remember this: A good pair will outlast almost any other item in your closet, especially true for high quality men’s shoes and classic women’s designs, like basic pumps, flats, and loafers.

But, some of you may be protesting, what about fashion? What about sexy stilettos, platforms with embellishments, and pointy-toe boots with kitten heels? Shoes are an important fashion statement, and we all know, it often takes some discomfort to look good.

Have you ever seen pictures of women who participated in the ancient Chinese custom of foot binding? It’s extreme, but it’s the result of, for lack of a better term, a “fashion craze” that went overboard. Even today, sitting in a pedicure chair, you can see the evidence of women (and men) who are victims of ill-fitting shoes. Pointy-toe styles cram toes into narrow spaces and can cause ugly, painful foot afflictions down the road. Wearing a shoe that fits well is so important, no matter the trend du jour.

If the proper shoe truly makes the person, then it’s important to wear the right shoe for the right occasion which looks good and feels good. It’s an obvious way to ramp up your social and professional image. When you get right down to it, out of anything you wear, shoes are the clearly the most important element of your style.~

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