December 8, 2012

"[T]he reason shoes are especially appealing is that unlike dresses, jackets, or sweaters, they still fit if you gain ten pounds."

"At least, that’s my conclusion as to why women are crazy about shoes," says Instapundit, claiming authority as a former shoe salesman.

A sweater will still fit! So will plenty of dresses and jackets — just look at how they are designed today. All that knit, stretchiness, and so forth. You could gain 20 pounds and maybe more and still wear these things.

The problem with the kind of shoes these shoe-freak ladies are buying is that they are never comfortable, so it's less that they'll continue to fit than that they never fit. There's always a fantasy that these new shoes you're trying on really do fit, because they feel okay in the store. Later — like a boyfriend who seemed so good at first — they'll hurt you. And so you constantly need replacements. This looks cute. 

Well, to keep this analogy going, maybe shoes are like the bad boy who gets you hot and then disappoints you. Shopping for sewn fabric to cover your torso requires you, right there in the store, to deal with the practical needs of your particular body. So boring! That dress is the dull, nice guy who might work out longterm, but you can't get excited. What makes that dress (or husband-material) untempting is you — your body, your real needs.

ADDED: Manolo the Shoeblogger has some ideas about what makes shoes special. First: they "have magic in them."
Our fairy tales are filled with stories of fantasy shoes: glass slippers, hundred league boots, ruby slippers, shoes in which old women reside, boots for sword fighting cats, shoes made by elvish cobbles at night, red ballet shoes which cause the wearer to dance incessantly, and on, and on.
Don't forget "The Girl Who Trod on a Loaf."
So Inge put on her best clothes, and her new shoes, drew her dress up around her, and set out, stepping very carefully, that she might be clean and neat about the feet, and there was nothing wrong in doing so. But when she came to the place where the footpath led across the moor, she found small pools of water, and a great deal of mud, so she threw the loaf into the mud, and trod upon it, that she might pass without wetting her feet. But as she stood with one foot on the loaf and the other lifted up to step forward, the loaf began to sink under her, lower and lower, till she disappeared altogether, and only a few bubbles on the surface of the muddy pool remained to show where she had sunk. 

But where did Inge go? She sank into the ground, and went down to the Marsh Woman, who is always brewing there....
Read the whole thing.

42 comments:

edutcher said...

About 10 years ago, I put on about 25 pounds, and I had to go from an 8 to a 9, so the "They still fit" argument doesn't compute for me.

Surfed said...

Don't even get me started...

David said...

You have to worship shoes and be cynical about them simultaneously.

Shouting Thomas said...

All that knit, stretchiness, and so forth. You could gain 20 pounds and maybe more and still wear these things.

Yeah, but the knit sweater pulled down around the hips shrieks...

"I've got a big ass!"

pm317 said...

A stylish pair of well made, appropriately matched and heeled shoes complete an outfit. It gives you the right height, the right lift, the right arc and so on.. Why is it such a big mystery? I am not even a shoes person and I can figure out why..

kentuckyliz said...

I have always been flatfooted and hammertoed, so when I tried on shoes, I would stand in them for a long time in the store. I could tell quickly if they were going to be instruments of torture.

When I could wear heels, I liked Naturalizer pumps. My fave pair of heels ever were Bandolinos, woven brown leather toebox, ankle strap. They were the most comfortable pair of high heels ever. I rocked those.

Now I can only wear Birkenstocks. Do you think that stops someone's career? People assume I'm a hippie.

Mitchell the Bat said...

Years ago, I think it was Etienne Aigner that marketed plainish, sort-of-cordovan shoes and leather goods for women.

Versatility, practicality, and frugality was the idea, I thought at the time.

Seems not to have caught on.

pm317 said...

My fave pair of heels ever were Bandolinos

Yes! My first pair was a pointy heeled, very comfortable Bandolinos.

Bob said...

Have you commented on the recent practice of women snipping off their little toes to fit the foot into ultra-narrow stiletto-heeled shoes, Ann?

McTriumph said...

kentuckyliz
I decided to divorce my wife the day she said she wanted to buy Birkenstocks.

EDH said...

Well, to keep this analogy going, maybe Althouse will tell us that Instapundit won't like the Bowles-Simpson Plan so much... after he leaves the store.

Although I think Instapundit's advice is tactical, not strategic.

Robert Cook said...

"Now I can only wear Birkenstocks. Do you think that stops someone's career? People assume I'm a hippie."

Maybe it's worse...maybe they assume you have hideous taste in shoes.

Robert Cook said...

"Have you commented on the recent practice of women snipping off their little toes to fit the foot into ultra-narrow stiletto-heeled shoes, Ann?"

Is this really a "practice," or might it just be the over-hyped act of a crazy few?

Bob said...

"Is this really a "practice," or might it just be the over-hyped act of a crazy few?"

Hey, someone has to lead the parade, right? It's not called avant-garde for nothing. Toe-snipping might become the next Botox.

McTriumph said...

Mitchell the Bat
Etienne Aigner manufactured oxblood leather goods, mostly for women. Their shoes and handbags became popular in the mid 60s with the ivy style clothing of the times. While always in business, they had a reboot in the 80s with the resurgence of ivy style commonly known as "preppy". They still make high end stuff.

Chuck Currie said...

Shoes are a marker. You can make judgements (right or wrong) about a person based on their shoes, and their condition.

A high priced suit or dress can look like a thrift store hand-me-down with the wrong shoes.

I was in high school in the early sixties - socal, coastal - the transition from James Dean bad boy (hodads & greasers)to Beach Boy surfer. Your shoes were an essential part of the uniform - even within groups. I was in the surfer group, and even there, you had to make a choice between Jack Purcell (black or white) with the smile on the toe, or Converse (always black, low cut - never called "Chucks"). The correct pair of sock were important too - wool Wig-Wam with colored strips at the top.

There was also huarache sandals with horseshoe taps on the heals - the leather squeaked when you walked and taps tapped - preferred shoe for doing the "surfer stomp" to Dick Dale and the Deltones.

Then came "ivy league" and it was winged-tipped Florsheim brogues (imitations not allowed). Imagine that - from $5 Mexican sandals to $35 (gas was 0.25 cents - easily a $350-400 shoe today) executive shoes in less than four years!

Shoes...they're a mystery.

Cheers

Shouting Thomas said...

Cookie, the employment of the word "crazy" by a loon of your stature provokes some head scratching.

McTriumph said...

Chuck Currie
I agree with you're premise, but not your time line. Ivy came before Surfer and greaser was the antithesis to ivy. The Beach Boys were wearing button downs and penny loafers before surfer shirts and sandals. Ivy style was dress of the day for most of American men from WWII till about 1967.

FYI, I still wear Jack Pursells.

SgtPete said...

Don't know why, maybe a previous life, but I love women shoes. I would wear them too, if they were just functional. I love those 4 inch high heals with a one inch platform, not to mention all those great colors with those styles. But maybe it just me looking at beautiful legs, a guy thing. Love your Ann, keep it up. Sgt Pete

leslyn said...

"The problem with the kind of shoes these shoe-freak ladies are buying is that they are never comfortable,"

Maybe yours aren't. You can still love shoes and they can still be comfortable and look good.

Kentuckyliz said,

When I could wear heels, I liked Naturalizer pumps. My fave pair of heels ever were Bandolinos, woven brown leather toebox, ankle strap. They were the most comfortable pair of high heels ever. I rocked those.

YES! I'm still wearing my black woven Bandolinos after at least 20 years. Love those shoes! And the Naturalizers are very comfortable, especially for narrow feet. I bought two pair in different colors a few years ago that had a lovely combination leather/patent design and a great heel.

Also still wearing my Etienne Aigner variety of flats even though the leather lining is starting to crumble. They're timeless and so good with trousers.

Someone said yesterday they could find Ferragamos online for less than $50. I have a pair of those. My best black heels. And I was able to get two pair of Lucchese boots last winter for $60 each. Talk about comfort! Love them. Wear them all the time.

I gave away a lot of my shoes a few years ago when I moved. Don't miss them. (Well. The white brocade....) Room for new ones! Steve Madden Girl is my favorite for sandals, ladies. VERY comfortable.

Don't try to come between a woman and her shoes!

Robert Cook said...

"Don't try to come between a woman and her shoes!"

There are some men for whom this is their greatest dream!

McTriumph said...

leslyn
"And I was able to get two pair of Lucchese boots last winter for $60 each."

Did you buy them from a guy that produced them from his Cadillac trunk while saying they "fell off a truck"?

ricpic said...

An earlier commenter, I think it was deborah, said that shoes are magical. The shoes that are "magical" are without exception high heeled shoes. They transform the woman who wears them from gravity bound to gravity defying, almost a creature taking flight. At least that's one theory.

Francis W. Porretto said...

No, no, no! You don't understand how radio works! Women's shoe purchases and subsequent employment are a form of communication. No other explanation fits the observable facts!

traditionalguy said...

Free advice: If your woman wears a 5.5 size, then buy any Nike that you see in that size because you will not see one again any time soon.

Chuck Currie said...

McTriumph:

"I agree with you're premise, but not your time line."

Just to be clear, my timeline is that of Hawthorne High School 1960-1964.

"The Beach Boys were wearing button downs and penny loafers before surfer shirts and sandals."

Actually, they wore wool, plaid Pendleton shirts (they originally called themselves The Pendletones).

Pendletons, Penguin cardigans, white Penny Towncraft t-shirts, Levis (501s and what we called "white" Levis - which were tan, baby blue or white), JC Penny button-down, short sleeved, pastel colored dress shirts (rarely tucked in) was the uniform of the day.

Cheers

leslyn said...

Robert Cook said... "Don't try to come between a woman and her shoes!" There are some men for whom this is their greatest dream!

ROFL!

@McTriumph, got the Luccheses from a reputable shoe and boot store. They are calf-height, which explains why the weren't as popular, and one pair was untreated leather, which I knew would look SO much better with leather oil--and they do! They're perfect for me, since I don't need a full-height cowboy boot.

Chuck Currie said...

McTriumph:

Clarification on Beach Boys' attire:
When they wanted to be the Four Freshmen, before they were turned into "The Beach Boys", they did dress in Four Freshmen preppy/ivy style.

Since they were never actually "surfers", the whole surfer look was unnatural to them.

Cheers

Chantal said...

Another reason I think women like shoes (and gloves and handbags) is because they can admire them on themselves (in full) when they are actually being worn. No mirror required.

McTriumph said...

leslyn
Western style boots are great for riding horses and even better for sitting on bar stools.

McTriumph said...

Chuck Currie
I'll defer to you, the SoCal man.

ALP said...

This woman here says: less shoes, more weed. No wonder most women don't like smoking pot - its impossible to totter about on 3" heels when you've been hitting the bong.

bearing said...

"A sweater will still fit! So will plenty of dresses and jackets — just look at how they are designed today. All that knit, stretchiness, and so forth. You could gain 20 pounds and maybe more and still wear these things."

I'm skeptical. It certainly doesn't work going the other way, in my experience. I am a woman; I lost 40 pounds a few years ago, passing from size 14 to a size 2, and I had to buy *two* new wardrobes on the way down. There isn't a single garment that survived more than 15 pounds' loss.

McTriumph said...

bearing that's amazing, I'm sure you're proud of yourself and should be. How did you do it?

Chuck Currie said...

McTriumph:

Love your ride. Always thought the '66 650 Bonneville was the epitome of a motorcycle. Glad to see others thought so too, because I'm starting to see a lot more of the current version (and some originals) around town. Still takes my breath away.

Never owned one, probably saved my life.

Cheers

McTriumph said...

Chuck Currie

My icon is not a photo of me, I believe it's a photo of a girl at the Ace Cafe in London. I love the photo, but I don't ride dressed like a road pirate. I owned Bonnevilles in HS and college, bought a 76 the year after college. At present I've got two 76s, 03 Bonneville America and a 04 Bonneville Thruxton. Bonnies aren't fast relative to bikes now days, but I'd rather ride a slow one well than a fast one badly. You and I share the appreciation of the Triumph aesthetic with a lot of cultural icons. Riding them is a joy and cheaper than a psychiatrist. Keep the shinny side up SoCal Man.

leslyn said...

McTriumph said... "leslyn Western style boots are great for riding horses and even better for sitting on bar stools."

I know they are. But I do neither.

Why I don't need the full height. My sister, the rider, could hardly believe that the "real" Westerns are now featuring squared toes.

Still, I love my Luccheses. And I've kept my motorcycle boots but don't have the opportunity to use them. Enjoyed the description of your Bonnevilles. Agree entirely with your conclusions.

leslyn said...

McTriumph said... "leslyn Western style boots are great for riding horses and even better for sitting on bar stools."

I know they are. But I do neither.

Why I don't need the full height. My sister, the rider, could hardly believe that the "real" Westerns are now featuring squared toes.

Still, I love my Luccheses. And I've kept my motorcycle boots but don't have the opportunity to use them. Enjoyed the description of your Bonnevilles. Agree entirely with your conclusions.

leslyn said...

McTriumph said... "leslyn Western style boots are great for riding horses and even better for sitting on bar stools."

I know they are. But I do neither.

Why I don't need the full height. My sister, the rider, could hardly believe that the "real" Westerns are now featuring squared toes.

Still, I love my Luccheses. And I've kept my motorcycle boots but don't have the opportunity to use them. Enjoyed the description of your Bonnevilles. Agree entirely with your conclusions.

McTriumph said...

leslyn

I wear Nacona boots, you can order them with different toe shapes. Luccheses are far more expensive than Naconas, I imagine you could get any confirmation your heart desired, toes , heels, tops, diamond studs, etc.

leslyn said...

McTriumph,

"Luccheses are far more expensive than Naconas."

Not when you buy them out of the trunk of a Cadillac after they've fallen off a truck. :)

Renny Johnson said...

All designs and styles of ladies shoes are available in the market but the most difficult thing is to find shoes which are beautiful and comfortable at the same time.