Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Rain / Boots

When it is a rainy day, I make a point of wearing waterproof shoes, even if I will be spending the whole day inside. That means lace monstrosities are out. Sueded materials are out. Real leather is out. Smooth synthetic is my one and only.

Today is a rainy day. I was originally planning to wear this outfit with the lace heels which apparently I only wear with shades of green, but alas, as indicated in the previous paragraph, the weather dictates that those are out. Late last evening, I whipped together a substitute outfit, but then I woke up early this morning, went to feed and medicate my injured rabbit, and noticed a mysterious package sitting on the cedar chest next to his cage. It was the forest green boots that I'd purchased on eBay last week!

Chartreuse green dress with forest green hem? Forest green blazer? Yes, forest green boots would be the perfect complement, and best of all, they are about as synthetic as they come! I pulled my neglected green outfit out of the closet, pulled my new shoes out of the box, and put them all on, ready to face the weather.

These boots remind me of a story. It's a story about shoe sizes and ignorance, and, I guess, getting old.

For most of my adult life, I believed I had huge feet that would only fit in size 9 shoes. Partly this belief was due to the fact that, at that time, I favored very thick athletic socks, which take up a lot of space in shoes. Partly it was just that I had never before worn a half size, and it never occurred to me to try to size down. I still remember the day (it was 2006) when I first tried on a pair of 8.5's and found them to fit perfectly! Wow! All of a sudden, I felt so small and dainty! As the years went on, I sometimes found I could even fit into an 8, which really gave me an ego boost. I began to wear the smallest shoes I could get my feet into, because that made my feet look smaller, and that made me feel prettier. But as the years continued to go on (and I started to develop corns, ugh!), I realized it was stupid to smash my toes into too-small footwear, and it really doesn't look that different whether you are waltzing around in an 8.5 or hobbling around with tingling toes in an 8. So I went back to sizing my shoes for comfort rather than vanity. I've even gone back to a size 9 for most of my high heels, because, well, I just prefer to have more space (Also, they say your feet get bigger as you age—do you think this is happening already?).

Concurrently, when I started buying shoes online, suddenly most of the shoes I acquired didn't quite fit—and typically exchanging them for a different size was either impossible or cost-prohibitive. So I learned to adapt...the shoes, that is! Shoes that are too small can sometimes be stretched—I shared a low-budget method of accomplishing this once, but now I have acquired a pair of shoe stretchers at the thrift store, and they do the job pretty well without all the pain of walking around in too-small shoes. Shoes that are too large can be outfitted with heel pads and cushioned insoles. So now I have a new philosophy.

Insoles are your friends!

Buy your shoes a half-size large, and then pad them out with gel insoles. This makes cheap shoes a lot more comfortable. If your ankles rub the tops of your shoes, insoles can sometimes raise your foot enough to stop the friction. If they are not self-adhesive, you can even use one pair of insoles for all your shoes, thus saving a ton of money!

Now, when buying shoes online, I always go for a size 9, knowing that if it fits too large, I can make it tighter and more comfortable with insoles. The reason these particular forest green shoes reminded me of this sizing tale is that I know this brand (C-Label) and know that it tends to run large. So I was pretty confident that even if I bought an 8.5, I would have wiggle room. Alas, buying on clearance means you don't always get the size you want, so I was stuck with 9 or nothing. I bought the 9's (for 13 dollars, in case you were wondering). Sure enough, they fit like boats. They even slide around a bit after adding high-heel insoles. This is not a problem I've ever encountered before, but I'm kind of looking forward to resolving it. It means I can probably get a new pair of extra-large, extra-cushy, full foot gel pads. These are probably going to be the most comfortable heels I own!

Now, one last note before I finish this post! The dress featured in this outfit underwent a complicated alteration that I would love to share with you, but considering how much I have rambled already, I think it's time for a break. So stay tuned for an upcoming feature on how I resized this challenging dress to fit me.

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