What's An Old Lady Shoe?

pedicureI am of the mind that shoes make the woman. Or, rather, shoes make the woman’s look, outfit, dress. And unmake it, as well. Meaning: the most gorgeous, expensive well-fitted outfit will be brought down several pegs at least by shoes that are not the equal of that outfit.  And vice versa: A blah dress straight off the marked-down-forever racks at Ross or Penny’s can be made to soar, so to speak, by wearing it with incredible shoes.

I have been, if nothing else, the girl with the cute shoes, and I relish shoe shopping. The thrill of the hunt: what new and different is out there? Will they have it in my size? Will it fit? Well, maybe that last one wasn’t so important. Not that I would emulate Cinderella’s sister and cut off my toes to fit into a cherished slipper, but really, don’t all women expect some measure of foot discomfort?

Beauty is not painless, as my Aunt Regina used to tell my mother. My mother listened to her older sister; she daily wore high heels, as high as they made them, which at the time was a scant three inches.

Of course, Aunt Regina, who was an artist and designer, not to mention an Upper Westside New Yorker, was the absolute arbiter of what one did and didn’t do fashion-wise. So I was befuddled when she suddenly appeared in space shoesthe worlds’ clunkiest shoes. Space shoes, I believe they were called, about as ergonomically correct as could be, since they were made to fit a plaster mold of one’s foot.

They were without any redeeming design features, but according to Aunt Regina they were necessary for her feet. Something about bunions and corns and falling arches – I don’t know what all. Clearly this was something only old people thought about, so I stopped listening to her explanation. Such shoes had nothing to do with me.  And never would.  Ever.

I am not sure if I am close to the age Aunt Regina was then. When you’re young, everyone over forty looks old (which is why we don’t recognize ourselves in the mirror these days). I do know that the ills of the aging foot, of which I wrote last week on MidLifeBloggers, are mine. I still won’t wear space shoes, but I’ve moved into the arena of Comfort More Than Cuteness.


Jane Gassner authors/edits MidLife Bloggers and MidLife-Beauty. It's all part of her plan for us to "make the most of midlife together," and that means talking to each other about all parts, good and bad, of this thing called getting older.

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