Sunday, February 20, 2011

If the shoe doesn't fit...

Despite my love of shoes because they always love me, there are exceptions to this. Mainly boots. Knee high boots. These beautiful, sexy, leg-enhancing pieces of art for your feet and legs do not always get along with me. 

Because apparently I have man calves.

At least according to some of the assholes who make boots I do. Apparently dancing and walking make you develop large calves that don't fit boots with an average 10 inch calf circumference. My older sister, BK, also has this problem and she runs. A lot. Like freakishly runs. Running while pregnant kind of fitness. For her four miles is a season starting warm up. And she has problems finding knee-high boots that fit her properly.

This week at a cocktail party, I became aware that it's apparently not just my sister and I who have this man calf, giant leg problem.  As I walked around smiling and chatting, there is a woman who caught my eye. She was wearing a hot pink top with matching lipstick, leggings and a pair of heeled Christian Dior knee high boots. And her boots didn't fit her calves. But she wore them anyway, and only zipped them halfway.

I'm pretty sure that's not how Dior intended they be worn. 
Just because they're designer doesn't mean they fit.

I get it. You have nice Dior boots and want to wear them to the fancy cocktail party, hobnob with people, network, and impress them with your designer footwear and matchy-matchy top and cosmetics. The problem is they boots kind of lose something when they are only zipped halfway up your leg. Like their class.

I am sure I was not the only one who noticed. I'm just the only one nasty enough to sneak a picture to illustrate my point.

Sometimes shoes can be like clothes. They just don't fit. It's got nothing to do with you, it's just the way they were made. I'm sure these great black Dior boots had a eight inch circumference and were only made for women with stick legs, and it's really unfortunate that this woman, who was not at all large, could not fit in them.

I've been there. I have endless problems finding knee high boots that fit, and no amount of diet or exercise makes my calves any smaller. They're not fat and I don't have cankles. I just have a muscular build that does not work well with 98% of the boots available for purchase. 

So I suck it up, move on and find something else to wear. I have hundreds of pairs of shoes and boots. I always manage to find something to buy and wear. When you're shopping, it can become evident that some things just aren't meant to happen, and sometimes it's got nothing to do with you. At that point you just move on, because just like clothes, people can tell when your shoes don't fit.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A drawer full of shoes

There have been some changes lately, and I'm getting ready to change jobs. Along with the joy and fear this brings, there's also the tedious task of going through all the crap that has accumulated in my office over the last few years and taking it home, throwing it out and packing it in boxes. So it's kind of like a treasure hunt of paper and bullshit.

Stupid boots and stupid tote bags
Like every good big city professional who braves public transportation (or at least one who cares about their shoes), I do not wear my nice shoes into the office on rainy or snowy days. Instead I wear something logical and hideous, and then run to my office before anyone sees me so I can slide on my heels and transform into a professional woman, as opposed to one of those creepy nylon and gym shoe wearing speed walkers.

This means that over time I started to develop a shoe collection at the office. The bottom drawer of a file cabinet was devoted to shoes. Sometimes they'd be rotated out, but mostly they'd be forgotten and replaced, and then found again. A few weeks ago I purged this drawer (noted on Twitter), so you can imagine my surprise when this week I was pulling out a collection of promotional tote bags from conferences and running stores,  sifting through expired Chipotle coupons, business cards, old newsletters, a rogue press release, when suddenly I unearthed a pair of super cute, black faux suede ankle boots that I had completely forgotten I owned.

Oh happy day! It was like Christmas. I was so glad that I bought some goofy color boots from Steve Madden earlier that day instead of logical, black ankle boots. Excited, I kicked off the stupid boots I had on (yes, they were fine a few hours earlier) and slid my newly discovered boots on and bolted out of my office to tell my friend about this great find.

Then I heard it. A small squeak, and felt the heel wobble under me. And it all came flooding back.

I left these stupid shoes here the day I had the 5K charity race after work, and I left them because one heel was on it's way to busted and they were squeaky and pissing me off.

Guess that Steve Madden purchase could have been more logical after all.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The long winter

I am so over winter.

Most of the country is covered in snow, and I'm in Chicago where day after day we get to keep digging ourselves out. Each day there's more damn snow, which brings salt, slush, dirt, small frozen mammals, and God only knows what else. All of which tries is damnedest to get on your clothes, shoes, gloves, hat, scarf, face...whatever. Whatever it can ruin and makes your day difficult.

I swear, snow in Chicago starts to have a mind of its own. And it's a vengeful bitch.

The snow also makes my life difficult because footwear options are pretty limited. Heels and snow are not the best idea, and considering ice resides under most of the snow, it can be hazardous to your health. I've taken more than my share of falls because of ridiculous footwear. Peep toes allow for frostbite, and those shoes won't be quite as cute next year when you're missing toes. Satin and suede are automatically ruined when they go near snow, it's death to glitter, smudges your patents, and salts up the leathers.

After that, I'm almost out of shoes to wear unless they're snow boots or my super '90s Doc Martens, and neither of those are really a look I wear well, and certainly cannot wear to the office or bars, or social occasions.

These are just a couple of the lonely shoes waiting for spring.
There is always the option of changing your shoes once you get to the final destination, but that's really inconvenient for pretty much every place in the whole city (except the office where I stockpile heels in a file drawer).

So my plea to Chicago; Please wrap up this crap weather. I'm done with it.  So done. I'm done with the slush and salt and fabric ruining days and nights of black ice death. I'm done wearing the same couple pairs of shoes that I'm willing to sacrifice to the gods of winter so I don't ruin others. Done carrying around shoes in my bag for work, and done always having to wear a coat.

Pretty soon I'm just going to start drinking before I go out so I care less when my shoes are ruined.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Shoe Codes

I've never been one for dress codes. The thought of wearing a uniform in high school terrified me. As soon as I was given a dress code I pushed it. Through school, my first job, my second job, and my transition into corporate name it.

I generally play by the rules and keep it professional, I just add a little something. Faux fur collars on sweaters or suits (yes, suits), bright colors, no nylons in summer. (Nude pantyhose don't do anything a clean shave and some moisturizer can't do).

Class it up with colored heels and tweed
The one place I've always had free reign is shoes. Sure, policies usually state things like no gym shoes or flip flops, but that really doesn't impact me anyway (as if I'd wear those out). Now offices are looking at heels and asking how high is too high? Even the classic, thin stiletto is being scrutinized, and it's professionalism is being questioned.

Heels keep getting higher, and platforms are now the norm. Banning them from workplace dress codes would cripple the shopping experience. I don't think I even own heels without a platform at this point. And stilettos have been a part of women's dress as long as we have been allowed in offices.

The problem is women sometimes choose "fashion" over common sense. If you can't walk, don't wear them is a general rule regardless of the location. And if you look like a hooker it's probably not office appropriate. The issue is really less the heel height or thickness and more what it's paired with.

Short shirts, low cut tops and tight pants aren't appropriate for any office, even if you're wearing ballet flats. Issues with shoes aren't the fault of the shoes, it's the person in the shoes. Teetering around all stupid dressed like you're going out rather than to the office.

I've managed to professionally wear some pretty outwardly appalling heels to the office. Metallics, animal prints, heels and platforms of all shapes and sizes have been on my feet as they click through the halls of Corporate America and I kick ass. And my shoes get noticed. People stop by my office to see what I'm wearing or when they hear I have on a new pair of shoes, but it's always in a good way. I have never been accused of dressing unprofessionally, only fashionably.

So next time you're getting dressed and have questions about your shoes, do a lap in the house, look in the mirror, and when in doubt, change. Otherwise you'll walk around all silly and ruin it for the rest of us.