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.