Style: Shoe Season Begins Now

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Gucci “Lisbeth” red patent leather Mary Jane peep-toe pump

The holidays are arriving quickly. I know this because I made a pumpkin-cream cheese swirly cake thing and ate half of it the day before I was going to enter it in the work Halloween baking contest. So I had to make another. (I won the contest, if you were wondering.) 

Which brings me to shoes. The pre-holiday season is really about shoes, not just because of leftover back-to-school feeling, but also because no matter how much we eat, we will fit in our shoes. The right shoe is the difference between you owning the room and merely displacing some air in it. Also, you can wear the same black dress every year and nobody will really notice or care, but the right accessories can send you home with a charming English base player just in town for a few days on tour. 

So I’ve recently interviewed a bunch of shoe experts for my book, including my new girl crush Meghan Cleary, from whom you will hear in the coming days. But first up is Linda Arroz, co-author of “Affordable Couture” and major fashion influencer.

Linda Arroz

About style: “What works in our 20s and 30s may not work for us in our 40s.  By the time you’re 40 you may be well on your way to establishing a professional image in your career. In your 20s, you were more carefree, experimented with fashion, had a lot of fun and maybe even changed jobs a few times. The 30s bring about some clarity, maturity and are about building a body of work, perhaps having children.”

About trends: “Unless you’re a model, actress or exotic dancer, a lot of trendy stilettos may not work in your favor, especially at work. That’s not to mean you can’t be fashionable. A stylish platform pump with a high heel works for women in their 40s, while a shoe with ‘no-heel’ could make you look like you’re trying too hard to be cool.”

Indulge in the “no heel” look at your peril.

About classics: “Some shoes are timeless, like a 2-inch heel pump with either a pointed or oval toe box. Find your fit in a shoe like this and buy it in the season’s trend color or material, as well as black. Try colored suedes in the fall, and leopard print, which has become a fashion classic, can be worn all year long in any style of shoe. Looking fashionable from head to toe means evaluating the shoe. Often the entire outfit is based around the shoe, if it’s not right, everything looks off, regardless of your age, but especially in your 40s. If you work in a creative field, all bets are off. You wouldn’t wear shoes or boots with lots of buckles and studs with a work suit, unless you work for an advertising agency or as a fashion designer.”

About comfort: “Comfort counts more as you get older, but you don’t have to sacrifice style. In your 40s you may be traveling or attending trade shows for work, or keeping up with your children. A lot of high-end shoe designers like Stuart Weitzman say that lower heels and flats are their most popular styles. Why else would the perennial ballet flat be so fashionable? If your feet hurt, it will show, and body language gives off signals. When you’re in your 40s your confidence levels should be at an all time high. Don’t give it all away because your desire to wear ill-fitting or higher heels won over logic. Podiatrists and other medical experts have been telling us for years about the health hazards of wearing stilettos. The higher the heel, the balls of the feet take on the bulk of your weight. Combined with a more narrow toe area, called the toe box, women experience a variety of problems like bunions and hammer toes. Do an internet search for celebrity feet, for example, and you’ll see links to ugly and hideous feet suffering from these exact issues. Logic suggests that women’s feet aren’t shaped like a triangle, yet most women’s shoes feature a narrower shape near the toes. High heels and platform shoes are often the culprits in ankle and feet fractures. I’m a fashion victim myself, having broken my left foot twice. The first time, my foot twisted sideways wearing cork wedgies, and a few years later, my fabulous burn out velvet platform slides bumped up against an uneven sidewalk and caused me to fall and twist the foot. I’ve since learned my lesson. Try watching women walking in their high heels. You’ll observe the instability of the feet and ankle. Even runway models have been known to fall off their shoes. (Mashable posted a compilation video of models slipping and falling on the catwalk.)

A classic example is from an episode of ‘Sex & The City’ (season four, episode ‘The Real Me’) when Carrie slipped and fell down on the runway.”

Vanessa McGradyStyle: Shoe Season Begins Now

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