Tuesday, November 13, 2007

In defense of ugly shoes

Shoe lust has launched many an episode of Sex and the City and provided a plot point in the Devil Wears Prada, the covers for lots of chick lit books and was the subject of an entire novel.
And I just don't get it. For me shoe-shopping goes like this: In my size (11)? Check. Comfy? Check. A reasonable price? Buy.

I don't get handbag mania either. When it comes to accessories, I'm much more inclined to go for jewelry and scarves. But then I'm not exactly known for my fashion sense. I was once given fashion advice by a man who worked as a secretary by day and performed as Brown Sugar by night. The conversation went like this:

Me: May I speak to [his boss]?
BS: She’s not in.
Me: Will you tell her that Carleen called?
BS: Carleen? Are you the one that walks around the office in those big black Army shoes?
Me: Um…yeah.
BS: I saw you! I said to myself, Oh no she didn’t wear those big black Army shoes....

And off he went on a rant about the horror of seeing my ugly shoes one day.

In the latest issue of New York Magazine, there's an assault on ugly shoes. As a founding member of the Ugly Shoe Anti-Defamation League, I take offense. Join us! Jennifer Hudson might be on our side.

Or, if you understand shoe lust, please splain it to me!


Annalisa said...

I've worn (and enjoyed wearing) three shoes from that list, namely Tevas, clogs, and Birkenstocks (okay, knockoff Birkenstocks). Personally I don't think any of them are ugly. Tevas and Birkenstocks aren't supposed to be glamorous, anyway, and I think Doc Martens have their own sort of elegance. Hmmph.

I can't exactly explain the mania for tiny designer heels, but I have become more of a fan of shoes within the last year. Why? Because of Born shoes. (Zappos.com has a nice selection.) They're comfortable and solid and, well, adorable. I don't know when my thinking shifted to this place where shoes can be cooed over the way I coo over cats and squirrels, but here I am.

Here's an example of a non-Born shoe that I think is "cute": http://www.zappos.com/n/p/p/7247647/c/3.html

It even has a little flower!

Ello said...

Hey how'd you get a picture of my shoes up on your blog like that? I own two pairs of them and they are sooo comfy! And they are not ugly! Ok - so I am definitely not a shoe person. I only own 4 pairs of dress shoes and in only 2 styles and all of them black. But I live in my flipflops and my sneaks and my slip ons. So, you will need someone else to explain shoe lust cause I don't get it! I'll join the anti-defamation league! Ugly shoes rule!

Anonymous said...

Okay well first off I think it's hilarious that you have posted a pic of the classic "in flight" shoe most preferred by flight attendants. I wore through many of these babies trudging up and down the aisles of United craft.

And while some flight attendants just kept these on all the time (sisters in the anti-defamation league for ugly shoes) regardless of dress code regulations, many of chose to slip into our pointy toed, four inch heels before strutting the concourse.


Well I'm not sure I can explain for everyone, but I just like the way a nice pair of heels makes me feel. Yes, shallow as it is, shoes have the ability to make some of us (granted not all of us) experience definite feelings.

I have shoes for feeling professional; I have shoes for feeling sexy; I have shoes for feeling lazy; I have shoes for feeling like an ass-kicker; I have shoes for feeling like a tree-hugging, tent sleeping, granola eating Coloradan.

I have a lot of shoes; a few pairs for every side of my personality.

I also have bare feet for when I don't feel like feeling anything.

Sherry said...

Having size 11 feet makes it hard to be a shoe diva for sure! I have shoe lust (and purse lust) but I also love scarves and minimal jewelry. Why do I have shoe lust? What is it about shoes? Darned if I know!! But I've been this way since I was a small child...and my taste ranges from casual to chic, high heels to low...some diva shoes I find to be gawd awful and don't understand why they are "fashionable" so for me it's just about what makes me feel good when I see something. I've worn some of those "ugly" shoes in the day but I don't find tevas or birks to be "flattering"..they are comfortable and they serve a purpose. Any shoe needs to be comfortable and durable otherwise it's a waste of money.

As for your army boots, I'm still laughing!! When I was 10 I saw a pair of shoes I "had" to have. My mother expected me to want the patent leather of the moment but I chose this brown boot with laces that looked like shoes you wore to brownies or guides. I was so in love with those and of course wore them with my skirts and dresses. I have always been a bit "odd" that way...a little eclectic but I know my own style and that's what it comes down to...knowing who you are and how you express that!

Carleen Brice said...

Actually, size 11 isn't that much of a hindrance for "diva shoes." Think drag queens. :)

Shauna Roberts said...

I'll join your Ugly Shoe Anti-Defamation League! Because of arthritis, I haven't worn a shoe with a heel in perhaps 20 years, and in the past several years I've mainly worn Birkenstocks, gym shoes, and even orthopedic shoes.

At first I was embarrassed by my footwear, but now I'm used to how ugly they look. For me, what's important is being able to walk without pain, as far as I want.

Ugly shoes are freedom.

Zoe said...

I don't understand it either. In fact, I'm that way with clothes in general - if it's my size, is comfortable, and is a color I like, it works for me. Especially if it's jeans and a t-shirt. But I especially despise shoe shopping, because I have wide feet and it's really hard to find shoes that come in wide. So I tend to wear my shoes until they're literally falling apart at the seams. I think I've got a total of four pairs - sneakers for winter, sandals for summer, flip-flops for the beach, and dress shoes for whenever I need them.

Barrie said...

My husband says I'm the only person he knows who can take good money, go shopping and come home with the ugliest shoes around. Hmpf. :)

Anonymous said...

I'm with Rebecca--I just like the way shoes make me feel. They are an outward manifestation of the different sides of my personality.

I own several pairs of Danskos, which make me feel solid and dependable (and, by the way, are the only shoes I can shop in for more than five minutes). I have pointy-toed, high-heeled boots for when I'm feeling like a hot mama, beaded kitten heels for when I'm feeling like 50s housewife, and on and on.

I think you probably do have some understanding of the shoe addiction because you are--come on, you have to admit it--a little bit addicted to jewelry. What does jewelry do for you?

Carleen Brice said...

Barrie, Hmpf, indeed!

Erin, My love and desire for jewelry is a COMPLETELY different thing! :)

Earth Angel said...

Gasp! Those look like my shoes! If my feet aren't comfortable, things just ain't right.