Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Feet and Balance

Lovely reader Ceej has just bought the dress above in black. It's only £17.13, but she's a habitual jeans wearer, and is a little stumped by her stumps.

Question - shoes. I've high round-toed black courts, or same with 3 mary-jane straps but both make my calves look huge and feet look teeny - big calves make even size 7's look little! Any ideas for trampy shoes that don't make me look like an upside-down triangle? Boots look weird. The thick calves don't really lend themselves to ankle straps, and as it's a posh-ish do, I want to wear stockings. Thinking dark black legs, and heels but the shoes I have make my size 7 feet look small and by legs look big (whereas they're both big, in truth!). I could wear lighter shoes, but then I'd have to wear lighter legs.

Ahh, I do sympathise, having even bigger, shorter calves and considerably smaller feet myself, I am aware of my silhouette below the waist looking like this: W. It's not an easy one to solve. Not least, you have the basic problems to contend with relating to heel height. The higher your heel, the smaller your feet look, and so are less able to balance out the size of your calf. However it's just as true that the higher your heel, the thinner your calf looks... Lose:lose. In some circumstances you can add balance to the feet by choosing quite a chunky high heel, but that isn't appropriate here. One option is to go for a platform shoe, such as these patent shoes from Faith (£49). Taste may vary regarding these: they're quite Minnie Mouse, but I love their curvy-chunky shape. The high gloss finish will also help to make the feet look wider, and the heel is chunky while still being feminine. It's a really good idea that larger-built women choose slightly thicker heels to balance out their rear view.

Ceej is right about mary janes and ankle straps. Any horizontal line will shorten and widen the leg, visually - moreso the higher up the foot it comes. A mary jane strap (or three) - that is a strap across the foot, dolly-style - will also widen and shorten the foot. Now widening isn't a problem, but we don't want shortening. Consequently any detailing on the shoe needs to be as close to the toe as possible, in order that it doesn't interfere with the uninterrupted clean, black leg-line. Detail, though, can add to the visual impact of the feet, and help with that desirable visual balancing. The first pair are £22 from New Look. Again with a concealed platform, the bow adds interest, although the cork effect heel might be a little casual. Not casual at all is the other pair. They're from Schuh and cost £43.87. The knot detailing over the toe adds focus, as does the peep toe (sheer tights with peeptoes? I say 'yes') but most glorious is the subtle shimmer effect. These shoes are less obviously bulky, and so perhaps an 'easier' choice - but their 'balancing out' qualities will be more subtle, too.

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Thanks for commenting - always nice to know I'm not talking to myself...