Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Size Does Matter, People!

Good, now that I have your attention.

I’m afraid that I must interrupt this cruise review for a very important post.  Ya’ll know that every once in a while I’ll post an observational rant on various topics.  I find it very cathartic.  And my therapist agrees.

Well, I have another one rattling around in the brain and I can’t relax until this is written.  Today’s topic is shoes.  (You thought it was something else didn’t you?  You’ve been reading mediocre, mainstream erotica again, haven’t you? )

If you know me well, you know that I have a deep and abiding relationship with shoes.  I love shoes.  Love, as in love.  Really.  Love.  Shoes.

 One time I even had a little wine party for a bunch of my girlfriends.  Did we play fun drinking games or watch male dancers?   Nope.  We actually got out all of my shoes, piled them into the middle of the floor and played with them.  Best party ever!

You can imagine how hard it was for me to leave behind several pairs when we moved.  I’m slowly increasing that number again.

However, the replacements are very different.  In Texas, sandals, flip, flops, heels, and wedges were the usual.  In London, it’s all about the boots and flats.  And if you value your feet, you will cover them up on public transport.  So, I haven’t been wearing fun shoes since we moved here.  I even visited a sporting goods store the other day and purchased shoes especially made for walking.   (As if this was ever a consideration before.) 

"Most women prefer a trip to hell in high heels than to walk flat-heeled to heaven."
 - William A. Rossi

On the cruise I tried to wear heels for the first time in 6 months.  I looked like a one year old learning to walk.  Can’t you picture me wobbling from table to couch to ottoman?   After a gin & tonic, people were stopping to see if they could assist.  I leaned heavily on TE everywhere we went and even made him take me as far as the Ladies Room door.  It was so sad.  I used to do just about anything in pumps.  But that time is no more.  Please join me for a moment of silence.


But, that wasn’t the most embarrassing shoe moment of the cruise.  I had purchased the cutest pair of nude pumps.  I call them my Kate Middleton’s.  I was so excited to wear them on formal night.  I put them on and toddled through the cruise ship.  We went to dinner, had some photographs taken.  I was rockin’ the nude pumps.  Well, not exactly rockin’ them.  It was more of an ankle-quaking shuffle, but still. 

So, I’m standing against the counter at customer service while TE is taking care of something.  And this man comes up to me.  He’s attractive and he leans his head in close.  I think he even rested his hand on the small of my back.  And in some sexy, European accent he said to me.  “Your shoes are beautiful.”  I glanced at TE and smiled at the mysterious man.  I didn’t say it but I was thinking, “I know!  I’m so rockin’ these Kate’s!”   

So he then raised his eyebrow and in that low, heavily accented voice, “I congratulate you on your wonderful purchase.”  I thought maybe he was a man who either wears heels or just appreciates a nice pair when he sees ‘em.  I’m standing a little bit taller.  It’s like riding a bike, you never really forget how to walk in heels.  Pfft.  See, I so got this!  He then adds “But, (dramatic pause) you left the price tags on the bottom of them.”

You know when the sounds all around you come to a screeching halt and you’re left with that awkward silence?  And you feel like a spotlight is shining on your face?  And you wish the floor would swallow you up?    That. 

I thanked him for this information and he walked off to whisper to his wife about the crazy lady with the price tags on her shoes.  Luckily, I couldn’t understand what they were saying.  I waited until they were out of sight and nonchalantly looked down at the bottom of my shoes.  In my imagination, I was hoping to see a red swath of color indicating my true station in life.  But, alas… instead, on the bottom of each shoe was a big, honkin’,  black and white sticker. 


Are you feeling my pain, ladies?  It was so embarrassing. (For my US friends, M&S is a UK department store... imagine Sears.)

However, there is one minor consolation to this moment.  Under the price of my shoes was this. 

Size 5.5

Ha!  When I moved to the UK, I dropped two shoe sizes!  How cool is that?  A US 7.5 is a UK 5.5.  (I won’t mention to you that when it comes to clothing, I gained two sizes.  That would just be too much to bear.)

And answer me this.   Why are men so touchy when it comes to shoes?   Here are my standard shoe related responses for TE.  I just keep them in constant rotation. 

“As a matter of fact, I do need 12 pairs of black pumps and flip flops in every color.”

“A new outfit always, always includes new shoes.  It’s the rule.”

“I know it’s only 7 days.  But, I’m not even sure that 16 pairs will be enough.”

“So what if you only have 4 pairs.  That’s your problem.  Go buy some more.”

“Don’t talk to me about suitcase weight limits.  Your one shoe weighs as much at two pairs of mine.”

“No, I will not give you 5 quid for every pair that I take and don’t wear.  It’s none of your business.”

“Yes, they do hurt my feet and force us to stop every 45 minutes.  But, they are way cute so get over it.”

And lastly, I must share with you something that I’m very concerned about.  Now, remember, I’ve been in London so I haven’t seen a lot of feet lately.  But, on the cruise, in the ports and in the Rome airport I was extremely alarmed by some of the things that I saw.  Namely, the number of women that are wearing shoes that are way too small for them.  Here are some of the basic signs. 

The Overhang

This was the most common offense.  Women with sandals so small that the toes actually hang off the front of the shoe.  When buying shoes, you should stand up in those shoes and look down.  If you can’t see at least a millimeter of that shoe in front of your longest toe, then they are too small.  If I were to take a blade and cut off the top quarter inch of your shoe and at least an inch of toe would come off with it, then your shoe is too small.  Imagine the sole of your shoe as a lovely frame for your foot. 

The Claw

This is a more extreme version of the Overhang.  If your shoe strap breaks but you don’t miss a beat, because your toes are actually gripping the front of that shoe to hold it on, then your shoe is way too small.  If you can wiggle your toes and feel the tile floor beneath your feet, it’s too small. 

The Loose Piggy

If the top of your foot is covered with a strap and all of your toes are snuggled in nicely under said strap with the exception of your little piggy toe which is wiggling off in the other direction all by itself, then this shoe is not for you.  This one is not only offensive but dangerous for the poor little lone piggy. 

The Stuffed Wedge

I love wedges. They are so cute and comfy. But, they also tend to tilt you forward so that all of your weight is pushing into the tip of that wedge.  If this pressure starts squirting your toes out of the front of your shoes like a tube of toothpaste, don’t wear them.

The Creepy Long-necked Turtle

Peep toe shoes are supposed to be sexy, right?  A little 40’s Hollywood glamour.  A sassy peek of some candy apple red nail polish.  The keyword here is Peep.  If your entire big toe sticks out of that sweet, little bow-clad opening at the front of your shoe, then you shouldn’t be wearing that shoe.  I was reluctant to even mention this one, because it’s so extreme.  If I hadn’t have seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn’t believe it.  If you can’t picture it, then google “creepy long-necked turtle.” 

And this is just a few of the offenses that I saw.  I became so alarmed at the Rome airport that I actually did a scientific count while waiting in line.  I looked at the feet of the 10 women standing nearest me and 6 of the 10 were wearing shoes that were obviously too small for them. 

Now, Oprah has raised awareness about the alarming number of women who are wearing too small bras.  And now I feel we must also address the number of women wearing too small shoes.

It’s tragic really and, I’m afraid, even epidemic.   So, please help me spread the word. 

We should all embrace my favorite line from Steel Magnolias, delivered perfectly by my idol, the incomparable Dolly Parton. When asked what size shoe she wore, she purred...

“I wear a 6, but a 7 feels so good that I buy an 8.”

So yes, in fact, size does matter.  Let's all work together to end this senseless abuse of our precious feet.

Seo Min Hyun once said “For women, shoes are the most important. Good shoes take you good places.”   Wear good shoes, ladies. 



  1. Hi! Great post Selena! I feel your pain over the price stickers!!! You made me laugh and nod in agreement over your other comments although I winced at the thought of someone slicing off my toes. note to self: make sure am not wearing too small shoes with overhangy toes when I see Selena at next BritMums Live!! x

  2. My wife is also potty about shoes. I'm going to tell her to read this. We were in Liverpool when we first got together and she decided she was going to wear some high heeled boots. It wasn't a good idea! I didn't think at the time that she wouldn't last 5 minutes in them walking around Liverpool! How nice of that bloke to tell you that you had the price sticker on and I'm certain he wasn't English because they wouldn't say anything to anybody about anything.

  3. I wear a 13 or 14 (about a 45 here in France) and I'm asking you to raise awareness about big feet as well as too-small shoes. Some women out there have large feet, and we shouldn't have to forgo the cute pumps and wear men's shoes to avoid The Overhang. I dream of a day when shoe size doesn't determine the glamour level of my toes! As big feet are often a factor in too-small-shoes I know you understand... So is a 14 actually twice as big as a 7?

  4. oh my gosh - the first time Jon's mother asked if I packed walking shoes for my visit to Suffolk, I laughed at her... until I realized she was serious!

  5. Smiling the whole time I was reading this! Since I have been to London, I have given up wearing "cute" shoes in exchange for comfort. Unless you've lived here and walked here, one will never understand, but you only have one pair of shoes in your life, so we gals have got to protect them! Wish I could find a pair of those Kate style shoes to fit me, but my feet seem to be a bit too long for London standards!!!

  6. This was an absolutely spot on post! I was laughing the first time through and had to read it again. I also miss traipsing around in my heels all the time. My issue here is the cobbles...I've nearly wiped out a few times on those while in heels.

    I love those shoes you have on in that photo with your feet on the dash, by the way!

  7. Hi Selena,
    Came her blog hopping and glad to have come across your blog.
    Nice to see a Fashion conscious person who loves travelling like me!!! :) :) :)
    And yeah, so true about shoes and their sizes.
    And yeah, I had a hearty laugh on those responses! Lolz! :)
    Some time back I made a post on the shoes I own. Here it is.
    Btw, do drop by my blogs sometime!!! :)
    Fashion Panache
    My Travelogue

  8. Okay, but what if there is a pair of shoes you LOVE with all your heart and they are out of your size. Surely you have encountered this - do you buy it anyway or just walk away?

  9. Such a funny post, Selena! Thanks for joining up with the Post of the Month Club. I felt your face go scarlet when the pricetag was revealed! The other shoe offence we have in Australia is showing 'toe cleavage' - sometimes just too much is on show ☺. J x

  10. Hhahaha!! Loved this! My guy always complains that I have too many shoes! You have a great sense of humor!

  11. I hear you on the shift in footwear after moving overseas! Coming from CA, I too had an abundant amount of sandals, flip-flops and 'car-only' shoes (read: only to be worn in the car, as anything longer than a two block walk will have you crying in agony). Having given up my car when we moved to Germany, I've become queen of the sneaker, boot and on occasion - only if they are supportive enough! - flat so I can walk around town. *sigh* I recently bought these amazing, spiked 4-1/2" heels from Zara in an effort to reconnect with my sexy, heel-loving self, worn them twice (only to restaurants where parking could be had very nearby) and swear that my recent back problems are a direct a result. Ahh, the things we do to follow our hubbies to a new country... Here's to finding that balance of cute and comfortable!

  12. Hear! Hear! but what about the tall ladies with pretty big feet?! I wear a 41 (European size) and it is so freaking hard to find good shoes that would match yours style/be comfortable in and look pretty... :(


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