IF THE SHOE
FITS, BUY IT
9 March 2003
I am not what you call your fancy dress ball kinda gal. There was a time when I could
dress to the 9s when called upon, with fancy doo-dads and high heels and sparkly jewelry
and make up and the whole 9 yards. But those days are long since gone.
For one thing, we do not travel in a set where such dress up occasions take place. It's
pretty casual. Even going to the theatre is "work" for me (since I'm there to
work) and so I don't think about getting all gussied up. I go in my "work
But even in the years when I did get dolled up, buying shoes was always a
problem. Heck, my battle with shoes goes back to my childhood, when my mother tells me I
would cry whenever taken into a shoe store. (I actually told this story two years ago)
This is ironic, given that my mother loves shoes. Imelda Marcos she ain't, but
she has shoes to match every outfit, it seems. I'm not sure how the shoe-loving gene
passed me buy, but it did.
When I stopped working and started having kids, I got rid of shoes altogether, at least
while I was at home. I really took the "barefoot and pregnant" to heart. My feet
were always black and I built up calluses so thick that they were thicker than the soles
of some shoes. It was not a pretty sight.
Maybe it's because shoes rarely feel comfortable on me. By the time a shoe feels OK,
it's time to replace it because it's falling apart. I did the pointy toes and 2" tall
heels for years and thankfully wised up before I did permanent damage to my feet. I even
went through "platform shoe" years (which is silly given that Walt is already
shorter than I am!) But I bought the cheapest shoes I could find for years as well and,
with the addition of all this excess poundage, walked myself into a very painful case of
plantar fasciitis, for which I paid a lovely podiatrist a small fortune to correct.
Part of the correction was adding an orthotic, and a big part of the correction was
getting the right shoe. I discovered a wonderful thing: if you pay more money, you really can
get comfortable shoes. It's still not easy, though. The barefoot years and the weight have
increased my shoe size from a 7½ to a 10½ wide. Try finding that off the rack.
For years I wore only one kind of shoes--black Easy Spirit walkers. It was one of the
few shoes that they carried in my size (forget the more stylish Easy Spirits--they won't
fit me), but several years ago, they stopped carrying anything larger than a 10--and a 10
just won't do. I feel like Cinderella's ugly stepsister trying to fit into the glass
slipper (in this instance a Margarita-sized glass slipper).
I had to move on to a different brand and managed to find SAS which was able to fit me
in some comfortable shoes, though their walkers still aren't as comfortable as the Easy
One of the advantages of losing weight is that shoes begin to fit better, and I've been
able to go without the custom-made orthotic for some time now. I still don't exactly have
a large shoe wardrobe, but I do have exercise/biking shoes, walking shoes (which, after 3
years, are finally starting to feel not-uncomfortable), a pair of loafers, and some
With that limited shoe wardrobe, I was at a loss to know what to do about a fancy
dinner I'm attending tonight. This is a fund raiser that Dr. G's wife is organizing. The
tickets are very expensive and the money goes to buy new equipment for the hospital. I'm
the photographer. My "pay" is to have dinner (she's seated me with the
psychiatrist and his wife, which will be nice).
Only problem is that it's a black tie affair and I'm a brown-loafer person.
I discovered that the dress I bought two years ago to watch Steve and Jimmy lose the LA
Drama Circle Award for which they'd been nominated, fits me better now than it did then. I
thought it would be too lose, but it actually looks OK. The only problem is that without a
6-month-pregnancy-size belly to pooch it out in front, it falls flat to the ground, and is
too long. At least when I'm in my bare feet.
What do I wear on my feet with a long black velvet dress? Somehow I didn't think my
biking shoes would work.
So today I went off to PayLess Shoes to try to find something that will work.
When you can't find 10½ (in either a narrow or wide style), you have to go for 11s. Have
you ever tried to find anything remotely stylish in something the size of a small boat?
And I had the triple whammie--I was looking for (a) stylish and fancy enough for a black
tie event, (b) comfortable, and (c) affordable.
There's the additional little problem that the arthritis in my right big toe is acting
up and so I was trying to find a shoe that fit while I was already having foot problems!
I suppose people who go to black tie events don't shop at PayLess Shoes no
matter what size they are. Maybe that was my first problem.
Oh, I found some very interesting things. In all sorts of bizarre colors. In all the
section, there was only one pair that were even passable and they sorta kinda fit. So I
bought them. How wrong could I be for $12.98? Even if I only wear them once. They have the
advantage of having no backs to them, so if the feet start throbbing, I can casually slip
them off under the table.
With my luck, I won't be able to get them back on again.
I think next time I'll stick with the McDonald's crowd--there's much less stress.