August 23, 2007

10 Tips for Buying Shoes

10 Tips for Buying Shoes
by Diana Pemberton-Sikes

"I did not have three thousand pairs of shoes. I had one thousand and sixty." --Imelda Marcos

For some, it's an obsession. For others, it's merely a necessity. For those of us somewhere in the middle, it's a sometime source of consternation.

What am I talking about? Shoes!

Whether you love them, couldn't care less, or are somewhere in between, there's no denying that shoes can make or break an ensemble. While choosing the right style is important, so is caring for your foot and your budget.

Here are some "best buy" guidelines to practice when faced with a new shoe purchase:

1. If you can only afford one good shoe, make it a closed-toe pump in black or taupe (cool) or dark brown or beige (warm). These seasonless neutrals will blend with everything in your wardrobe, and work well with either skirts or pants.

2. Shoe color should be the same value or darker than your hemline. This grounds the look without calling attention to your feet.

3. A 1-1/2 - 2" heel is flattering to most legs. Wear a minimum of 1" if you are heavy, short, or short legged to elongate the leg and make you look taller and trimmer.

4. A 3" heel is the maximum height for business. Higher than that is not appropriate, unless your job involves standing on a street corner.

5. The more foot that shows, the less business-like the shoe. Sandals, mules, and T-straps are not appropriate for traditional businesses. However, a closed-toe, sling back pump is acceptable in most business settings.

6. Keep your shoe in proportion with your foot. If you have large feet or heavy legs, opt for heavier styles with thicker heels. If you have small feet or thin legs, opt for dainty styles with thinner heels.

Heavy legs and large feet call for heavier shoes ...

Thin legs and small feet call for dainty shoes ...

7. Buy the best you can afford in materials that will span the seasons. Although it will cost more up front, it's the best investment of your money in the long run.

8. Don't forget that you can have a cobbler repair shoes that have been scraped, worn down, or damaged. Have a favorite pair that's too worn to wear but too loved to throw out? Take them to a shoe repairman and get them re-soled.

9. Try to buy shoes in the mid to late afternoon, when your feet tend to be their largest from swelling caused by standing, walking, or running.

10. Shoes and handbags don't have to match anymore. However, they should be in the same mood as each other (casual, dressy, etc.) and reflect the mood of your clothing to pull the ensemble together.

So what's the lesson here?
Think before you buy. Ask yourself a few questions, like:

How much wear will I get from this shoe?

Will it last this season or several seasons?

Does it go with at least three outfits in my closet?

If it's a cheap, trendy shoe, these questions may be mute. But if you're planning to drop a good bit of money, stop and think about it as you would any other investment piece you were considering. If it's not a good buy, don't buy it. Your money is better spent elsewhere.

Need some more tips on how to find the right shoes for you? Download a copy of ACCESSORY MAGIC

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