One of the things that sets me apart from most image consultants is that I’m not automatically going to recommend a 3″ heel for every woman. Now, it’s not that 3″ heels aren’t amazing – they are. But not every woman can wear them, or wants to.
What happens when you hie yourself off to the orthopedist because you have something wrong with your feet or knees, and your doctor says, “sensible shoes”? Do you fling yourself over the cliff of despair and buy some sweatpants? No. Do you mess about and skirt what your doc told you to do? No. You figure it out.
Remember Rule One: Clothes exist to serve you. A shoe that damages your body is not serving you.
So, you go to the specialty shoe store. Talk to the clerk, look at the wall of shoes. Make your choice. Now, to integrate your new shoe with your old wardrobe:
Orthopedic shoes tend to be very heavily Earth in style, whereas a sharp looking heel is all about the Fire. In fact, many outfits are finished and Fired-up with a heel. So now instead of drawing attention to your feet, you’re going to want to direct attention away from the foot, and you’re also going to want to add some punch to your overall outfit.
Some Extremely Sensible Shoes are skirt friendly, some are not. I hate to say it, as a card-carrying member of the skirts-only club, but if you are working in a corporate environment and the orthopedic shoe has come to land in your lap, it’s time to go slacks shopping. A long skirt (which is highly wearable with a sensible shoe) is just not corporate-professional. (If you are in a corporate-professional office and are sentenced to orthopedic shoes, may I recommend an oxford if possible? It will still register subconsciously as corporate, even if it’s not feminine). Your slacks should be long – no ankle length, please (those are best with loafers and ballet flats, which tend not to offer the kind of support you’ll want in a sensible shoe). Loose is better than tight, a true trouser is a good. Start googling the 1940s and let yourself be inspired.
Working with a sensible shoe in a creative environment is much easier. You might be able to wear a more Water inspired wardrobe – long and loose and flowing – and that lends itself to redirecting the eye away from the foot. Also, a more creative environment lends itself to my big piece of advice – sharpen and enlarge your accessories.
Your feet have just become rooted in Earth, strengthening your overall look and grounding it very firmly. The rest of your outfit needs to add some interest. Sharpen your haircut, add bigger bangles, allow yourself a slightly wilder silhouette overall… that’s your key.
It’s okay to have a moment when you mourn the curveball that your style has just taken. This is a major change. But it, like everything else, is manageable. Everything can be managed!
*By the way, if the shoe companies of the world could buy a clue – there are a lot of women who need very sensible shoes who would like to look professional and/or cute. Figure it out, people. There’s a market. Oh, and those women tend to be at the top of their professions… they’d be very happy to buy a variety of cute, supportive shoes – if they could find them.
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If you’re not reading it already, I recommend the Barking Dog Shoes blog. She finds some amazing shoes.
I will give it a look, thank you for the resource! 🙂 I will say that lifting has strengthened my legs and feet so that I can wear heels again. Side effects no one thinks about.
I’d add that the more recent trends for ankle boots with kitten heels, small platforms and ugg style boots is really great for both fashion and comfort, BUT that it doesn’t do much for women who need to lengthen our legs. I’m finding that what my friend calls “the kinky boots” (thigh-high buffed look with platforms] are some of the most comfortable and stylish shoes that actually lengthen my legs. Flats leave me feeling short, but even a slight raise without ankle support is awkward for me, and ankle support shortens my legs too. Starting to think I may need a small selection of “kinky boots” and nothing else…
I hate to tell you, but none of those shoes are actually even slightly “sensible”. No support to the lot of them, and ugg boots in particular are a nightmare for feet.
That aside, yes, some high boots would be splendid on you. Remember to wait to buy shoes (especially expensive shoes) until the little one makes his arrival. Those last months of pregnancy can change your foot size.
Boo. In my books anything that fits like a work boot ought to be sensible. Then again, my feet are pretty robust, so maybe the range of footwear that fits nicely without causing pain is a bit wider.
It’s not a nice surprise for anyone. “But these are sensible shoes!” No, they’re not. You can’t lace them up, there’s no room for an orthotic, they slip around your foot instead of holding onto it tightly… and that’s why I wrote this article. Most stylists are young women like you, and there’s a disconnect in experience of what the honest-to-gosh requirements of orthopedic footware actually are.
So Doc Martens are sensible shoes… right? 😀
If it’s a foot problem, yes! My first pair of shoes out of my walking boot were a pair of combat boots. So not me, but it fit the bill.
Ah, but you can get all sorts of DMs. I’m sure you could find some combat boot cut shoes made by them that were in a style that suited you. ^^
Proportion is as important (actually, vastly more important) than color. I’m just not a combat boots girl. At least not in my usual clothes. I’ll see if I still have a picture of me trying to work the combat boot thing. It was laughable.
Combat boot with a CANE, mind you.
And I guess the modified cuts of DMs stop being sensible quite quickly. I can see the conundrum.