Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Shoes win

Three-quarters of you prefer shoes to bags, according to the Thoughtful Dresser poll. You know, I really just don't get this at all. I know shoes are significant, I know we don't wear ugly shoes, I know what high heels do for the figure, but half the time you can't even see them. Surely the eye is not drawn down to the feet first?

Perhaps my problem is that I have wide feet, bestowed upon me by centuries of shtetl-dwelling Poles and Ukrainians, but when I go into a shoe shop and ask for a apit of shoes I like a) they don't have them in my size (which is a 'massive' Continential size 39, US 9,) and b) if they do, they don't fit properly.

Bags. Bags always fit. Bags are always available in my size. Bags, if looked after do not wear out. Bags pull an outfit together, bags are the most exciting accessory.

Perfect example of shoes I cannot wear

11 comments:

mq, cb said...

I voted for shoes, not because I have a Carrie Bradshaw fetish for them but rather because they're easier to buy. Whilst a bag is a major purchase, demanding hours of research, shoes by comparison take at most an afternoon to select and buy. I impulse buy shoes but whenever I've done that with a bag, I've regretted it. It recently took me six months (on and off) to replace my last black bag with something suitable that was smart enough, good quality and which wouldn't bankrupt me. Bags demand commitment; shoes don't.

Nancy (nanflan) said...

Shoes are usually easier to buy than bags. I do have an easier foot to fit than you do (U.S. 7), so perhaps that's part of it.

Unlike bags, shoes don't require a lot of preparation to work. They don't have to be emptied and refilled. You just put your feet in and go!

Toby Wollin said...

Hehehehe..Linda, I know where you are coming from here - my Ukranian and Polish ancesters are trumped by my Scottish grandfather, who had feet that looked like concrete blocks. And finding US size 6 shoes in DD is almost impossible. I guess my issue with shoes is that "getting good shoes" (and certainly my mom's collection)was a big activity and something I shared with my mom. Buying handbags - never. I do not recall ever shopping with my mom when she bought a bag or talked about getting a bag or what to look for or whatever. I know more about what to look for in men's coats and suits - because my dad used to make me with him when he went to his tailor in New York - than I do about women's stuff. Except for looking for bags made out of leather, I have no clue. Shoes - totally different story.

lagatta à Montréal said...

I have short, wide feet like Toby - think the number of women with wide feet - including dainty, slender East Asian women! - is much higher than manufacturers think or stylists will admit. Taryn Rose makes fashionable, comfy shoes designed by an orthopaedic surgeon, but they don't come in a wide width.

A while back someone suggested finding a shoemaker who caters to dancers - who have ruined feet from their craft, but are of course performing artists with a highly-developed aesthetic sense. I must ask dancers I know...

Finding attractive shoes that fit and don't cripple my now middle-aged and slightly arthritic feet is rather an obsession.

I never got into bags - I have a most limited budget (arts again) and shoes come first. I'm happy with a nylon over-the-shoulder "healthy back" bag - those aren't cheap, but not in the realm of beautiful leather bags - and have a pretty embroidered bag for evening, but in my milieu I can get away with arty, "ethnic" stuff - obviously that would not do for a fashion writer.

Having the budget, I'd have both shoes and bag made, as I like unique things and craftwork - the latter has come a long way from rustic 1970s stuff.

Phyllis said...

As one Pole to another - oh I hear you! We share the same shoe size, and the same challenges. It took me a solid year to find a pair of black spike heel boots that worked.

Deja Pseu said...

I'm with you, Linda. I've always loved bags, and my taste in shoes as well as my insistence on comfort leaves less to get excited about.

Anne (in Reno) said...

I agree on shoes, because the hunting and gathering of attractive, comfortable shoes is much more of a necessity in my life than bags are. Any bag can fit, I just need to like it enough. But shoes are the ultimate fickle date - I wear a US size 12, which is something like a continental 43 and I can sometimes squeeze in a UK 9 if I'm lucky. AND I have wide feet. So I'm not sure if I should say I prefer shoes to bags, but I definitely think they are more important in my life.

Thomas said...

My eyes travel directly to the feet each and every time because, at the risk of making a really bad pun, they anchor the outfit. And as shallow as this is, bad shoes on a man immediately change my opinion of him. It's pathetic but also true.

MClareB said...

Thomas, I hear you. My prom date wore black sneakers with his tux and went around the whole evening announcing how clever he'd been to wear sneakers. Ever since that experience I have a hard time taking a poorly-shod man seriously!

For me, shoes are a more important investment than bags because cheap, poorly made shoes can damage your feet and your posture. I've fallen in love with many a cute, inexpensive purse, but it's much more difficult for me to find inexpensive shoes that a) aren't ugly and b) don't make my feet weep in agony.

rebel-in-slacks said...

To me, bags seem like a disconnected part of the outfit. Moreover, they obstruct the viewer. To me, clothes are not something to hide behind, but rather to be used as a platform to come off confident and beautiful. The shoes do not hide or obscure us: they are the foundation that we stand on to make ourselves the main event.

Anonymous said...

I bless the internet for broadening, pardon the pun, my style options for wide shoes from the days when I felt a sporting obligation to buy any pair that fit, no matter how ugly they were. Now I actually have shoes capable of bringing me genuine joy, so perhaps I'm a little biased with latecomer's zeal on the shoe side. However, in my daily life, I am almost always seen with shoes; I'm almost never seen carrying just a bag and not also carrying humongous loads of books or groceries or what have you that become the dominant accessory at that height, so the poor bags just don't get the eye time.