What your shoe style says about you
You don’t have to be Imelda Marcos to love shoes. There’s something about them, isn’t there. They can be practical, sporty, beautiful, sexy or just plain bonkers – shoes are the perfect short-cut to style and panache. And do you know what’s even better? No matter what the weighing scales say, you can always treat yourself to new shoes.
If you have a thing about shoes, you’re not alone. According to Wendy S Goffe, a self-styled Aging Footwear Fashionista, “Very few women consider shoes simply protection from the elements. Instead, they are jewellery for the feet or a form of personal expression. When a woman puts on a pair of shoes in the morning, she’s making a commitment that’s going to last all day."
What do your shoes say about you? Whether you’re someone who will never have enough shoes or someone who regards them as basic necessities, your below-the-ankle choices will be broadcasting all sorts of unconscious messages. And that includes all-round fabulousness.
Let’s kick off (sorry) with the parts of the shoe that send the strongest signals - the vamp and the heel.
If you’re a non-Imelda, you’re probably thinking “What the heck is a vamp?” Well, here’s the answer: it’s part of the `upper’, or more specifically, the bit that goes across your foot at the front. Low or high, the vamp dictates the overall look of the shoe.
A low vamp (ballet pumps, courts, flip flops etc.) reveals more of the foot and therefore elongates the leg. They usually work well with knee-length skirts and dresses. High vamp can describe anything from baseball boots to gladiator sandals. Wear high vamp with shorter skirts and dresses – and combine it with narrow straps for a glam and glitzy evening look.
… and the heels
In the past, heels meant money. Only the richest members of society were able to afford the high heels that lifted them clear of the smelly, sewage-strewn pavements. They were `well-heeled’. Those that couldn’t afford professionally made shoes were `down at heel’.
Nowadays, footwear can still indicate bank balance (Jimmy Choos anyone?) but actually, your shoes can also reveal your emotional state. And heels are a dead giveaway.
If you’re feeling a bit down in the dumps – or even down at heel – have you noticed that you don’t want to wear high heels? That extra height signals authority and confidence, it makes you stand up straight and tall – and let’s face it, we don’t always feel like doing that. Instead, we reach for the flat shoes.
Next time you’re feeling a bit low, try turning this on its head by wearing your favourite pair of high heels. You’ll look confident and sexy, even if you don’t immediately feel it – and often, that’s enough to boost your mood.
Creating a capsule shoe wardrobe
A capsule shoe wardrobe is exactly the same as the perfect capsule wardrobe. It’s a flexible collection of items that work for every part of your life. Based around your own lifestyle, think about a combination of shoes, boots and sandals that give you the widest range of options, and remember, one pair of shoes can tick more than one box. Some ideas to think about:
• Shoes to wear with trousers, these will be different to the shoes you wear with skirts and dresses.
• Shoes to commute to work in which may be easier to dash around in than your authority heels.
• Shoes for casual and shoes for smart.
• Fashion shoes that you can make a statement in, think trend report.
• Occasion shoes for weddings, parties and formal dos.
• Seasonal shoes – think holiday sandals or wedges, and winter boots.
… and a word about comfort
Whichever shoes you choose, they have to be comfortable. You also need to be able to walk in them. Those fabulous sky-high heels may be wonderfully glamorous, but even if you’re a seasoned heel wearer, falling off is always a risk – and face-planting the pavement is never a good look.
When buying new shoes, timing is important. Feet often swell slightly during the day so it’s best to hit the shoe shops later. If your shoes are a bit too tight, this isn’t a disaster. Just keep wearing them at home with a thick pair of socks. You won’t look particularly elegant during this process, but your feet will be happy.
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