– by Farah Merani –
Shoes make the outfit. You can tell a lot about people by what they wear on their feet, and footwear is a dead giveaway of one’s style. This is not to say that you need to spend thousands of dollars on shoes you only wear occasionally, but investing in a few solid pairs can make the difference between a well-put-together outfit and one that’s decidedly not. If the thought of this makes you cringe, especially with the knowledge that shoes can wear out quickly if worn often, it can be hard to justify spending a lot of money on them. But shopping on a budget doesn’t mean you have to skimp on style (and comfort), or that you’re doomed to don cheap-looking shoes. The trick lies in knowing what makes a shoe look cheap and which styles to look for.
Don’t Be Cinderella’s Stepsisters
There’s nothing worse than wearing shoes that don’t fit right. You’re bound to get blisters and sores as you hobble precariously along. Worst part? Everyone notices. No matter how beautiful the shoes are or how much you paid for them, an ill-fitting pair of shoes makes you, the wearer, look uncomfortable and carry yourself awkwardly. And don’t delude yourself into thinking you can make them fit by stretching them out or inserting extra padding. These tricks might work on occasion, but more often than not, you’ll never be satisfied or comfortable. Whether your shoes are too small or too big, it makes them look cheaper.
Less is More
Unless you’re dropping $2,000 on a pair of Louboutin studded pumps, the more detail a shoe has, the more likely it is to look cheap. If the shoe has lot of embellishment such as studs, beading, etc., you run the risk of losing pieces because the quality of manufacturing will be low. The cheap adhesives and threads often used are a red flag that these shoes won’t last long. Instead, look for simple but classic styles that don’t draw too much attention to the shoe itself. This way, they’ll serve to support your outfit and not act as a distraction. Besides, simple will always look classier.
Don’t Hoof It
Ah, the iconic platform, twister of ankles offering visions of cheapness. Break away from the idea that the higher the shoe the better and opt for heights of no more than half an inch or so. A little lift for the sole is all you need. A thick platform on the ball of your feet makes your shoes look like hooves. Not exactly the elegant extension you’re looking for. Heels sans platform will always look chicest. The downside? They also tend to be less comfortable. Add a soft gel toe pad for added comfort.
Keep Shoes in Good Condition
Even the best pair of shoes won’t look it if the leather is dirty, scuffed or worn, if threads are hanging or your lifts need replacing. Clean after every wear and use protection, especially if you live in a climate wear road salt is used.
Walk the Walk
Whether your shoes are cheap and cheerful or exquisitely expensive, do yourself the biggest favor of all and practice walking in them. The more you get used to wearing a particular pair of heels, the more you’ll be happy with them on your feet and actually wear them. Learning how to stand tall, walk confidently, and carry yourself with grace can make you feel like a million bucks. Because you’re worth it!