Vamping Up A Storm

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?

sandal

dorsay

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 I had to let go of my outdated thinking about shoes and replace it with a practical, elegant philosophy that would truly serve me.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.

kittenheel

The slingbacks that perpetually slipped off.

slingback

The flats with such a low vamp they couldn't conceal my foot curling up.

lowvamp

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.

oxfords

oxforcutout

agencyoxheel

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!

tstrap

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.

laceboot

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.

zombieboot

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!

slipred

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

Give A Girl The Right Pair Of Shoes...

and she can conquer the world.I have those shoes. I decided to start the budget section of BODS with the things that I will, on occasion, pay full price for. It's ironic that a Palsy who has trouble walking should be so obsessed, so consumed by shoes. But I am, and always have been. Even as a child with short, wide feet that were very difficult to fit I had double-buckle-t-strap Buster Browns just like the red ones in the picture.

    

In high school I was a mere 4'8" and a size 5 shoe. Platforms were all the rage so I wore them enthusiastically. Back then, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, the elevation was less pronounced than it is in the newer styles so I could easily manage a 4" heel with a 1.5" platform. I even wore black patent leather platforms with my Catholic school uniform!

    

As I've gotten older the heels have begrudgingly gotten lower. My feet, which used to cooperate willingly with being shoved into constricting or delicately constructed footwear, are starting to betray me. They are prone to curling up if the shoe reveals too much toe cleavage and they occasionally swell past the point of comfort in anything but a sensible shoe.

But I'm not ready to be a sensible girl. Not yet; not entirely. Good thing I don't have to.

         

These shots are of my closet - at least, part of my closet. As you can see Mr Spashionista was good enough to add two additional shelves during the post-flood house rebuild (a topic for another day). As you can see over the years I have amassed a small hoard modest collection of shoes, even some that aren't pictured, and I wear all of them. My winter boots and high heels are at present on the top shelves. My flats and summer shoes occupy the bottom shelf and floor.

There are some great bargains here. The Lucky brand clogs, Vera Wang grey pointy flats, Anne Klein black rosebuds, Hot Topic black and pink Mary Janes and purple Converse hightops all had for a grand total of $85. All of my high heels were likewise purchased on sale or from thrift stores.

But this post isn't about the bargains. It's about the shoes I will pay full price for, and why.

It always boils down to a boy, doesn't it?

I look ultra-Spazzy in this picture - but don't look at me - look at my wonderful friend. His name is Matthew Bretherick and he is the only reason I would ever pay full price for a pair of shoes. I own 16 pairs of shoes and boots that are in some manner connected to him, and I paid retail for some of them.

Intrigued? You'll have to wait for the next installment. Matty is too important to be relegated to a footnote (pun intended) on a single post.

Fashion Friday: Cuba Libre

Last Friday we went to France. This week I'll tap into my Cuban roots to bring you an outfit cool enough for the soaring summer temps yet hot enough to make you look like a million bucks.

Remember to keep it referential, not literal. The eyelet dress can look matronly if you don't pair it with fresh, modern accessories like the bangles and the fedora. If you're unable or unwilling to pull off a strapless dress pair it with a white 3/4 sleeve lightweight bolero or shrug - belt it if it won't stay put. The sandals here, very reminiscent of tropical resort trendiness, sport a modest heel and a secure side buckle. Can't do a heel or a sandal? A T-strap ballet flat would work just as nicely here.

You can also check out this outfit and others I've created on my Polyvore page.

Please give me your feedback. Is this something you'd wear? What is it lacking to make it work for you?