Can there be any grace in being a vamp?
The answer is yes, of course, provided that vamp is an extension of a gorgeous shoe.
I've talked about my obsession with shoes before, and I know that I'm not alone in my weakness for beautiful footwear. Who can resist a slinky strapped sandal, a revealing d'orsay pump, or a scandalous vamp that exposes tons of toe cleavage? Who hasn't teetered on a heel too high, stuffed themselves into a shoe too narrow, or wobbled on a poorly constructed stiletto?
Guilty, guilty, and guilty.
A beautiful shoe renders me momentarily incapable of rational thought. It is in those moments of weakness, impulse, or stubbornness that I have made most of my regrettable shoe purchases. I used to think if I really loved a pair of shoes I would somehow make them work on my wide, palsied feet. I carried on with this delusion for most of my life, until one day I caught myself looking for a pair of shoes to wear, nixing one after the other because of fit or comfort issues. I had a closet full of beautiful shoes I didn't want to wear.
The solution was obvious. I had to let go of my outdated thinking about shoes and replace it with a practical, elegant philosophy that would truly serve me. I donated all of the absolute "unwearables" at once.
The most delicate kitten heels that made my ankles turn with a single misstep.
The slingbacks that perpetually slipped off.
The flats with such a low vamp they couldn't conceal my foot curling up.
Anything too tight or uncomfortable to endure for more than an hour. They all left my closet, but I was by no means done.
Since then I've really paid attention to what works for me as well as what doesn't. Oxfords and brogues work well and they're de rigueur right now so I'm snatching them up as fast as I can. Styles range from ultra-feminine to uber eccentric and I love most of them.
Anything with a high, wide vamp like certain espadrilles works, too. So do Mary Janes and T-straps. I'd kill for the perfect pair of T-Strap shoes; they're my very favorite style!
Boots must have a wide calf or laces for adjustment. When I'm on crutches heels for walking may not exceed 1.5", but if I'm in my chair I can double that number.
I was actually told by a Physical Therapist that it's good for your foot to vary your heel heights within reason.
One pair at a time I replaced shoes that were "okay" looking or fit "so-so" with shoes that were beautiful and comfortable - because I refuse to wear ugly shoes unless I'm exercising or there's a zombie apocalypse. Actually, I can probably scare up some attractive boots if there's a zombie apocalypse.
I can certainly pull it together better than the ladies on "The Walking Dead". Never have so many needed a bath and a makeover so badly. But I digress.
Although this post is autobiographical I must tell you that this is a clarion call for all of you lovely ladies reading it. Some of you are already experiencing some form of physical disability that requires you to be creative with your footwear. I'm here to tell you that nowadays even supportive shoes are available in attractive styles, and if you are unable to wear shoes you can certainly find some stylish socks or embellish some slippers with Sworovski crystals. Whatever you can manage, own it, rock it, make it yours!
For the rest of you I'm here to give you a reality check. Sooner or later you'll have to abandon the towering and torturous footwear you have for a wider variety. The padding on the ball and heel of your foot begins to diminish as you approach 40 and the delicate bones in your feet become more malleable with age. This leaves you with increasing discomfort in those shoes that pinch and push your foot forward and at increased risk for permanent deformities such as hammer toes. I'm never anxious to welcome anyone else into the crippled community, especially a self-inflicted disability. Start putting some less extreme, but still stylish, footwear into your rotation, please.
Okay, I confess; I still consider myself to be a bigger vamp than any of my shoes can contain. So much for the "sensible shoe"!
All images courtesy of Pinterest