The Struggle

My Stripper Shoe Makeover: Anti Aging for Feet

Christian Louboutin

 

If I saved the money I sunk into shoes over the past decade, I could retire.  I rationalized that shoes gave great return on investment, because they made the difference between merely walking into a room and making an entrance.  Besides, the legs are the last to go, and there’s nothing that boots my confidence more than the restrained naughtiness of a classic pair of black leather stilettos.  Or a sky high pair 4″ of nude platforms, especially with a light spray tan and some leg make-up (Lorac Tantalizer is the best) in the summer time.   Nothing sexier.

Until the day it wasn’t.  I was at a cousin’s wedding, sporting something that looked like the shoe below, and thought the extra inch from the platform took me to an 8 on the 1-10 scale.

All five steps I took in the store felt great, but walking down a marble church aisle the length of a football field on a hot day after a night of dim sum proved more challenging.  My weight was thrust onto the balls of my burning, swollen feet.  Every step forced my heel to slip out and slowly pull apart the 5 Band Aids I attempted to cushion my bunions and heel with.  If it weren’t for the healing powers of martinis, I wouldn’t have made it thru the reception.

The worst wasn’t over.

The next morning, ruminating over memories and pictures at a semi family reunion brunch, my husband proudly passed around his iPhone video masterpieces of me.  There I was, moving like a chicken, unbalanced with feet and knees pronating inwards and my butt sticking out too much.  The grimace on my face made me look somewhere between constipated and medicated.  All before said martinis.  I don’t know if my husband thought I was being deliberate or ironic, or both, but it wasn’t pretty.

It was truth served cold.  There isn’t a dress, blow out, or spray tan that can compensate for hard to walk in shoes.  And it’s not just me.  All the time I see beautiful young women on those awkward first dinner dates.  Lovely while seated, the moment they get up to powder their nose, instead of elegantly gliding away leaving their amour in a cloud of lust, they teeter off like a new born colt which dials down the vavoom to Grandma.

***

Ever the optimist, I made my first visit to NYC podiatrist, Dr. Elise Kavanaugh, hoping she would wave her magic medical wand and restore my Happy Feet, even if it meant surgery.  After a thorough exam and X-ray, Dr. Kavanaugh handed out the verdict. “Aside from two small bunions and your arch falling a bit, your feet are fine.  You don’t need an operation or anything”.

“But..my shoes?” I asked.  “Change them,” she said.  “It’s normal for our feet to spread as we age because your arch slowly falls, causing the bones to push out”.

Come to think of it, I was spending more time than I wanted to admit in my comfortable but fugly shoes.  There was a reason I had a shoe basket under my desk filled with 20+ pairs of super sexy high heels that only saw the light of day if I had a boardroom meeting or clients in.

DSC_2034

The  take-away:

1. Buy gold, not shoes.

Shoes have a 5 year shelf life at best.   Styles change and so will your feet, especially if you are having babies or are heading north of 35 years old because our feet start to widen.  It’s the dirty little secret about getting older that no one talks about.

2. If they don’t fit, you must omit.

If you don’t feel like a gazelle, you’re not looking like one either.   There is no breaking them in and if you can’t walk around the circumference of the shoe store 4 times, then there is no love match here.  Get rid of them now.  I cry with you, I do.

3. Orthodics are like Spanx for your feet.

On the other hand, a good pair of orthodics can save some of the uncomfortable shoes you already own.  They’re not just for your parents.  They’ll support your arch, improve your posture and actually feel great.  My doctor recommended Power Step inserts.

4.  Gormel Creme is miracle goo for callused feet.  

While complaining about my painful shoes, I asked about the hardened calluses on my heels.  Where did that stuff come from? Dr. Kavanaugh had the answer in the form of a paste that smells like sour piss because it’s made from 20% urea, but man does this stuff work.  Once a month for 4 nights, put this on your feet before you go to bed and cover with socks.  You’ll have the foot skin of a 19-year-old, pinky swear.

5. If you’re desperate, there is plastic surgery for your feet. 

I doubt this is a road I’ll be heading down, but if you want your toes shortened, fat injected into the balls of your feet and more, Dr. Susan Levine is the go to doc for plastic podiatry.  This type of work doesn’t come without significant risks though.  We’re talking about your FEET, so if an injectable goes wrong, you’re not just looking a little off, you’re could have trouble walking.

6.  The good news is, you can still strut in heels.  Sort of.

Nix the ballet flats (no support) and 4″+ heel stilettos with pointy toes.  Platforms do not help, especially if they’re designed to rock when you walk in them (you’ll notice the toes point up when you try them on).  Instead try wedges, sturdy heels and stay under 3″. J. Crew and Stuart Weitzman make alternatives I can live with and afford (see below).  Dr. Kavanaugh raved about  Theirry Rabotin but frankly, I think they look a little Amish.

In loving tribute, I say goodbye to about 40% of my shoe collection.  They’re memories of my personal era of fabulousness (1996-2008), and remnants of a gilded age economy, where a working girl could rationalize spending $600 on a pair of shoes.

Here’s to a era, new economy and a much more elegant step forward.

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30 Comments

  • Reply
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  • Reply
    linda franco
    March 26, 2013 at 11:01 AM

    My God, you are a fountain of amazing information. Everytime I read one of your blogs I have learned something I can apply to myself. Thank you for going out there and sharing. You have saved me countless mistakes and turned me on to some great stuff. Thanks again.

    Linda

    • Reply
      Stephanie
      March 27, 2013 at 12:05 PM

      Exactly what Linda said!!

      • Reply
        narcissista1
        March 28, 2013 at 6:51 AM

        🙂

    • Reply
      narcissista1
      March 28, 2013 at 6:30 AM

      Thanks Linda, you made my day:)

  • Reply
    Manuela
    March 26, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    Brilliant post. Lifted my spirits even though I mourned the fact that I too can no longer be ‘lifted’ by a shoe. The secret is to find a shoe that has the vavavoom factor but feels like you’re walking in Birkenstocks with a wedge.

    • Reply
      narcissista1
      March 28, 2013 at 6:33 AM

      Thank you Manuela! And those shoes can be hard to find I know, but I value my comfort too much.

      • Reply
        Ellen
        September 10, 2013 at 2:39 AM

        Late to the show, I know, but if you see this post, I’d actually recommend getting real stripper shoes, i.e. shoes that actual exotic dancers use to perform in. Strippers need to be able to do things like bend over backwards while, leap up on to a pole, lock their ankles around it delicately and then leap back down again. Consequently, stripper shoes are both incredibly sturdy and surprisingly comfortable. Also, for lots of performers, they’re literally the only item on her that doesn’t get removed, so they have to both look stunning by themselves, but also complement the look of the naked woman’s entire body. The best shoes angle your feet in such a way that they simultaneous slim your claves while also making that little lump of flesh pull up toward the back of your knees and tighten. The result is your knees look narrower, your lower leg looks longer and more slender and your ankles look delicate. Best part, though: they give a nice lift to your ass. They do this without absolutely killing your feet, either, even after jumping around on a solid hard stage all night. Nor do they cost anywhere near what you’d pay for designer shoes: most range in price from 50-200$. Most girls just wear the thick-soled, clear, open toe heels. I’d avoid those, because anyone who’s spent much time in a club will recognize them as bona fi’d pole-cat shoes in no time. But most companies make a huge range. I’d go for something minimal and just let the sillhouette of the shoe and the shape of your legs in it do the work for you. One more enticement: Christian Laboutin supposedly got his inspiration for making shoes while working as a strip club DJ and admiring both the look of the girls in their shoes and also the way they seemed to feel while wearing them.

        • Reply
          narcissista1
          September 10, 2013 at 9:53 AM

          Good to know. Sadly, I can’t do pole dancing routine even in my sneakers.

  • Reply
    Name
    March 26, 2013 at 1:48 PM

    Where do I get that Gormel? Any old chemist? I have been battling with pumice stones, lemon juice, Epsom salts and any other concotion I could lay my hands on. And that damned dry skin keeps on coming back.
    Now I will be heading upstairs and finally get rid of the Miu Miu 7″ clogs I bought on a whim (and on sale), worn exactly once as I look like a disabled chicken when I walk. Oh, but they are so adorable….I agree, you are a mine of helpful information, especially to lazy people like me who expect their beauty routines and products to fall from the sky. There is so much research I can do.

    • Reply
      Name
      March 26, 2013 at 1:49 PM

      ps – that was from camparigirl

      • Reply
        narcissista1
        March 28, 2013 at 6:39 AM

        🙂

    • Reply
      narcissista1
      March 28, 2013 at 6:38 AM

      Amazon! I swear by the Gormel, but it is disgusting.

      Becca

  • Reply
    alicatstrut
    March 26, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    I shudder to think my arches have further to fall. Hope you list all the cast-offs on Poshmark so all the PYTs who can still rock them get a chance. 🙂

    • Reply
      narcissista1
      March 28, 2013 at 6:43 AM

      THAT is an awesome idea. I never thought of donating them. I just have to live with the idea of parting with my shoe museum a little bit longer. Thanks for the idea Ali.

      Becca

  • Reply
    janeandmarilyn
    March 27, 2013 at 8:31 AM

    Another great post. We have been banging on for ages about shoes that, as Manolo Blahnik says, ‘look like pieces of furniture’. They are not attractive in any way, the proportions are all wrong, and they look like they would be more at home on a street corner; furthermore, they wreck the deportment, and if you have ever sat in a busy bar or restaurant with a wooden floor you will have been deafened by the noise of women galumphing to the toilet (talk about noise pollution).
    Thank heavens these monstrosities are no longer in fashion and we are returning to platform-free, elegant stilettos which are far more sexy but in a grown up, glamorous way. X

    • Reply
      narcissista1
      March 28, 2013 at 6:49 AM

      Thanks Jane and Marilyn. I agree about how elegant classic stilettos are, but my dirty little secret is that I secretly liked the slightly slutty look of the stripper shoe especially because I’m 5’1″.

      Becca

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    Sabrina
    March 31, 2013 at 3:37 PM

    Great post!
    I started wearing heels when I was 11, seriously. And I loved them so i guess my feet adapted pretty well, but, psychologically, I can never accept sky high heels. I’m too afraid of falling or wobbling that I won’t even consider them. The anxiety caused terror is too much for me! I refuse to wear anything over 10cm and even then I only own a few pairs. I became a kitty heels kinda of girl, so I completely agree with your advice in the points at the end! And loved some of your suggested pairs 🙂
    xo
    http://polkadottedpearl.com

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    Tori
    March 31, 2013 at 5:38 PM

    Great advice!

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    Kieran
    April 2, 2013 at 8:14 PM

    This was a genuinely funny blog post! Showed it to my mom and she kept nodding and laughing throughout the whole thing

    • Reply
      narcissista1
      April 3, 2013 at 8:14 AM

      Thanks Kieran, have you and your mom had to compromise in the shoe department yet?

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