There are seven fundamental types of catastrophes. Beauty is not one of them.
As a loyal fan of Sex & The City, at one point my conservative co-workers gifted me with a few seasons on DVD, I admired and was often intrigued by Carrie’s mind-boggling fashion sense that was clearly grounded in her eccentric, ridiculously expensive and indulgently seductive shoe game. But what impressed me even beyond the fictional reasoning of how on earth a writer could afford such a stash, was the way she moved in said heels, running down NYC streets in d’Orsay pumps as if they were a pair of worn-in Chucks, not even the slightest wince of discomfort on her smirk-ridden face, just another day in the fabulous life of Carrie Bradshaw.
But deep down, we all know there’s a price to pay ☝ for such wear and tear & reckless abandon of orthopedic warning that can lead to irreversible foot problems. Sarah Jessica recently discovered, after twisting her ankle on a movie set, that she has done permanent damage to her feet as a result of all that heel-loving excess – quality & cost aside.
I wasn’t surprised to hear about poor Carrie’s foot woes, though I did breathe a sigh of fortunate relief, feeling as though I stepped off the high-heel merry-go-round just in time to save my own.
For 15 years, I wore high heels daily, and thought nothing of it. At 5’2, heels were my friend with surplus benefits – providing height, and polishing off my daily uniform of slacks, skirts, blouses, blazers, and dressy sweaters by adding that extra oomph while maintaining a professional appeal. Slipping on heels completed my look and without them, I didn’t feel “ready” for the day.
My office attire called for “business casual”, a term I dislike and have yet to welcome into my work-wear world. I’m a firm believer in dressing for the job you want, not the job you have. My wardrobe affirmed that belief resulting in several unsolicited promotional offers that came my way. Having conducted interviews and coaching sessions with new hires and seasoned employees alike, I know the term “business casual” is often nothing more than a ploy to weed out the lazy from the driven. If you do more than what’s expected by way of your appearance, that sends a noticeable message of preparedness and ambition that silently stands out to employers. Dressing the part is key to the formula for corporate success, trust. Schlepping into meetings wearing jeans and sneakers feels too “lazy Sunday” for me to pull off at the office. No thank you.
My company often treated employees to workday barbecues, and carnivals where everyone was encouraged to dress down, & those of us in management & training positions were expected to lead the way by sporting our favorite team jerseys, tees and sneaks….. I hated those days.
After leaving that job, and no longer having the need to wear heels every day, I found myself with a lot more shoes than I ever needed & paying a newfound attention to my feet. While I’d always done the pedicure thing, I hadn’t really paid much attention to how my feet felt on a daily. They were so used to being hoisted 3-4 inches off the ground, I hadn’t realized how much more comfortable I felt in a pair of cute flats – gone was the soreness, the achy heels and tenderness. I started noticing a significant difference while developing an appreciation for all they endured back then and how blessed I am to have healthy feet today.
Foot problems are nothing nice and should not be taken lightly or worse – dismissed for the sake of vanity. Cute is one thing, crippled is another. Foot problems resulting in surgery has affected both my mother and grandmother, two women who loved wearing heels in their prime and had the legs to boot! But with age, came complications that can impact posture, bone alignment and result in knee issues if not properly treated.
I realized, you can have a closet full of shoes, but what does any of that matter if your feet aren’t working properly? We only get ONE pair.
In the last two years, I’ve donated, given away or sold over 75 pairs of shoes. And I still have more to get rid of, since I don’t plan on wearing them ever again. Nothing’s physically wrong with these shoes, all are in good condition or brand new, but they’re just no longer for me. I refuse to wear them if I’m not comfortable, so off they go…..
Besides, I’d rather have healthy feet than cute shoes any day! And while I’m no foot fetisher (ugh!), there’s fewer things less attractive than a jacked-up foot shoved into a pretty summer sandal….
Moral of the story: Stop abusing your feet with heels, your older self will thank you. 🙂