Sunday, December 29, 2013

Shoe Shopping: Anything but Black, please!

Exhibit A: My humble fall/winter shoe collection. Notice a pattern? I thought a visual was the easiest way to sum up my attachment to black, ho-hum footwear. An astute Flattering50 reader saw the pattern just by reading past posts. She left a comment, challenging me to "spice up" my shoe collection. I welcomed the challenge. Little did I know, however, just how challenging it would be! I'm still hunting, but I thought I'd share my first attempt. Hint: My new pair of shoes is pictured above and isn't black.

First, a little more of the back story. In November, I published a post about a new pair of black booties. In the comments section, a Flattering50 reader wrote: "From one 50+ lady to another! Please get yourself some sexy booties and shoes...Spice it up a bit."

Of course, she was absolutely right. In my defense, I spend a lot of time on my feet at work and running around New York City when I'm not working. My over 50 tootsies need comfortable, sturdy shoes for my on-my-feet lifestyle. However, enough is enough, right? Sometimes, I just need someone to give me a gentle push in a new direction.

At the time of the reader's comment, I'd taken a "No Shop November" pledge, which asked women to be thankful for what they had and not buy anything for themselves in November. So...I didn't start my new shoes hunt till the first week of December. Luckily, Black Friday and Cyber Monday had spilled over into December, becoming Cyber Week online and Holiday Sales in stores.

When I shop, I like to have some idea of what I’m looking for. Without a game plan, I'm likely to buy things I don't need and can't really use. Of course, the perfect shoe is a very personal thing; what's comfortable, stylish and affordable varies widely among women over 50. In my case, I was looking for shoes that are...
  • Pumps. At 5'4" (and shrinking!), I like shoes that add a bit of height.
  • Comfortable. While I like elevation, a 2 1/2” heel is my limit. Also, my foot is an average width, so I can't wear anything too pointy.
  • Green, Blue or Burgundy. Perhaps, my reader would approve of a sexy black shoe. However, black just didn't seem "spicy" or different.
  • Sexy. How do you define "sexy shoes?" I pictured a shoe with straps, decorative cut-outs or some other sexy element.
  • Modestly Priced (Under $150). I’d already blown my December budget shopping for family and friends in November. While I would have paid $150 for a dreamy design, I was hoping to find a Cyber Week or Holiday Sale bargain under $100.

For one week, I madly shopped shoes. After work, I dropped by the mall and a few major department store chains in my area. After dinner, I perused the online shoe sources. In all, I visited in-person or online 11 shoe sellers: Aerosoles, Ann Taylor, Bloomingdales, DSW, Easy Spirit, Lord and Taylor, Macy’s, Marshalls, Nordstrom, Shopbop, and Zappos.

Sadly, I didn't find a single pair of shoes that completely satisfied my wish list. If the shoes were sexy, they either had 4” heels or a price tag over $200. If they were a lovely color, they weren't sexy looking. It's possible I would have found something if I had more time to look. However, I wanted to the shoes for a holiday party on the first Saturday in December. Perhaps, that was too much to ask.

I found two pairs of shoes that came close. At Nordstrom, I found the Joan & David 'Zevida' Pump Dark Green Suede 6.5 M (was $159.95, now $79.96) below. I love the design--the color, the suede leather and the animal print heel. However, the heel is 3”, which meant I could only wear them sitting down. If only I wasn't such a cupcake about heel height!

The second pair was Tahari Zoe Suede Pumps at Lord and Taylor, which I bought. I love the color--teal--and the suede leather. I was surprised how versatile the color was--it looked great with all my holiday party clothes. The shoe's 2 5/8" heel is super comfortable. I wore the shoes for 7 hours straight on Christmas day. And my jaw dropped when I saw the price--on sale for $35.95. Pssst! Right now, the pumps are on sale for $27.95!

On Christmas, I wore my new shoes with a blue velvet sheath...

Now that the holidays are over and the semi-annual sales are gearing up, I intend to resume my hunt for another pair of sexy, spicy shoes. I know it's out there.

What's your favorite shoe shopping source? I'd love to know.