How To Make Your Heels Comfortable

April 1, 2015 in comfortable womens shoes, Shoe Reviews

I’ve always been a fan of wearing heels… something about feeling taller. When I was younger I would suffer through wearing any pair of heels, thinking that there was no possible way to make them more comfortable, and that was the cost I had to pay. Well, that was crazy. Since then I’ve done some research and lots of experimenting, and have found ways to make at least the majority of heels tolerable. Here’s what I learned.

best food cusions for heels

The Pre-Steps… Finding a suitable pair

Finding a pair of shoes with certain characteristics right off the bat makes this whole process a lot easier! There are a few things I look for when buying a pair of heels. First I set a limit on the heel height. Through trial and error, I’ve found that anything over 4 inches will create too steep of a slope to allow a comfortable stride for my size 6 foot. So I aim for ~3.5 inches, maybe a touch higher. Alright, easy enough. Next I look for a toe box that doesn’t squeeze my foot at all and allows all of my toes to lay completely flat with a little bit of breathing room (aka swelling room) to spare. Often this requires going up 1/2 size, which creates a tiny gap in the back of the heel… that’s ok, its actually just what we’ll need! Beyond this I just make sure the shoes doesn’t squeeze or rub in any funny places, and that I can easily walk around in them without any significant heel slippage (again, feeling a little loose is good). If you frequent this blog, you’ll know that these are my go-to, wear-all-day-at-work pair. They’re amazing. Other similarly priced styles that people seem to have luck with are Stuart Weitzman’s Nouveau Pump, Kate Spade’s Licorice Pump (can’t stop staring at the neons they have out), and Diane von Furstenburg’s Bethany Pump. If you’re looking for a more sure fit, there are tons of backless mule options available now, like these gorgeous Via Spiga ones.

Step 1: Break them in

If your shoes are a touch too big (which will make them ultimately more comfortable), you will likely skip this step. But if they fit snugly in any area, you’ll want to stretch them out just a bit. To do this, put on a pair of socks (or two pairs, depending on how much you need to stretch them out), blow dry them for a minute, focusing on the areas that are too tight, then walk around with the shoes (and socks) on until they completely cool and for a few minutes after. This will allow the shoes to mold to your feet more quickly to prevent future rubbing. If you’re still having problems with certain areas feeling too snug, try a stretcher like this Foot Petals one.

Step 2: Add some cushion

No matter how comfortable the heels are, after 8+ hours on your feet, the balls of your feet start to get sore. To prevent this, its important to find the perfect foot cushion. The cushion you’re going to want to use will depend on how big the shoes are. If the shoes are already pretty snug (and the stretching technique above isn’t giving you a whole lot of extra room), you’ll want to go with something that doesn’t have a lot of bulk. The best cushions I’ve found for this are the Fabric Tip Toes or Gel Tip Toes. These will give you an extra few hours of comfort. If you do have a bit of extra room in the shoes, you’ll want something that will take up some extra space to make a more snug fit overall. Pedag makes the best leather insoles for this! Their Princess 101 insoles come in different sizes to fit your shoe perfectly – I use this one for my shoes that are about 1/2 size too big. They actually have no adhesive and can be transferred from shoe to shoe, which I love. If the shoes are more than 1/2 size too big, than the Pedaq Galant insoles may be a better choice with their larger amount of cushion at the ball of the foot. Both of these Pedag insoles will keep your feet happy for many many extra hours.

Step 3: Know about the extras

If done with care, the above steps will be enough to make most heels reasonably comfortable. But sometimes the fit just isn’t perfect. If the shoes are too tight with the inserts, either the stretching method described in step 1 with the inserts in place, or use the stiletto stretcher to do the work for you. If heel slipping is a problem even after finding the best fitting shoe insert, you’ll have to use a heel grip like this one to keep them in place. Heel grips are a last resort, but they can work. If certain areas are rubbing during the break-in period I usually just put a band-aid or something on to protect my foot. If the rubbing doesn’t improve after a few wears, small Pressure Pointz cushions can easily fix that.

Step 4: Protect the shoe

So, you’ve done all of this work to make the shoes comfortable. Now you have to make them last! Its important to protect your shoes from the elements. Before wearing, its important to preserve the shoes with leather or suede protector. When needed, I clean all of my leather shoes with a shoe cleaning kit (brush alone for suede), and for plain leather (not suede or patent), I maintain suppleness by intermittently using a leather conditioner. Make sure to re-apply the shoe protectors afterwards! If the shoes have a leather sole (or a slippery one), you can consider adding a sole stopper to them as well.

Whew, that’s all I have! Hopefully you find these tips helpful. Feel free to share what works for you, too!

My 7 Most Worn Items

March 22, 2015 in LOOKBOOK

I have a bit of OCD when it comes to organization. I organize everything… desk drawers, the refrigerator, my makeup bag… the closet doesn’t escape my obsessive compulsive tendencies. Its crazily (or wonderfully, depending on how you look at it) organized. One way I maintain organization is by storing my to-be-steamed clothes on the far right side of the closet. Now, I’veĀ  been doing a lot of closet cleaning and wardrobe evaluation recently. And I’ve taken note of the items that are constantly on the to-be-steamed side. So, I figured I’d share those items with you, my 7 most worn items.

chunky white sweater
Item 1: T by Alexander Wang long sleeved gray tee (current versions in dark gray and light gray). Nothing is easier to wear than a comfy gray tee. My particular top is a few seasons old, but I love it all the same and wear it all the time. The AW shirts are so soft with great shapes. I love to wear them to work with some black pants and heels and loosely tuck in the front for a relaxed business casual look.

Item 2: J. Crew chambray shirt (here, and a perfect version by their sister company). I’ve been a fan of chambray since it became popular again a few years ago. I wear mine tucked in with black pants for work pretty frequently. I also layer it under sweaters in the winter and roll up the sleeves and wear it with a pair of distressed shorts in the summer.

Item 3: YSL black cardigan (nearly identical version by Miu Miu). I bought this cardigan pre-owned from eBay a few years ago (buying a new designer cardigan is so expensive!). Its a super soft cashmere silk blend with the most stunning drape. This is another piece I wear to work quite often. I typically pair it with an interesting patterned shell like this one, and some black trousers for a dressier, more professional look.

Item 4: Citizens of Humanity Racer Jeans in slash wash (here in slash, also love them distressed slash and washed out). I’ve always had a difficult time finding comfortable and flattering jeans. I’ve gone through a lot of pairs. I only have a few pairs left now, and my favorite of them is the Racer cut by COH. I really like the skinny-but-not-too-skinny cut, and the pocket placement is nice and flattering. The only problem I had with them was having to hem them (got them right above the ankle), and now they’re perfect. Just to be clear, I don’t steam my jeans. They just get stores on the other side until I give them the once-over to make sure they don’t have stains. ;)

Item 5: White tank tops. You can’t have too many white tank tops. There are plain wear-alone ones (I have this one… completely opaque) and dressy wear-alone ones (like this stunning crocheted one). I wear them most often with a patterned cardigan and colorful pants for work (I count gray as colorful :p), or just with jeans and a loose cardigan when I’m off.

Item 6: Black cropped pants. I remember when cropped pants first came out. I loved them, mostly for the fact that I didn’t have to hem them. I started out with J. Crew’s Minnie pants, and wore them to death through medical school and the first part of residency. After that I decided to branch out a bit. Since then I’ve picked up mostly pre-owned pairs on eBay and brought them all to my tailor for some hemming and such. I have a few pairs now and wear each of them regularly. Since I wear them so often I’m always on the lookout for my next pair.

Item 7: Equipment signature shirt in black (here). Like every other blogger, I totally fell for Equipment’s signature washed silk shirts. I used to have a few too many of them to justify, so I sold most of them and kept only my favorites. My most worn color is, of course, black. I love that the black in this blouse is soft, almost like a deep gray. It allows me to pair them with a pair of black wool pants and black shoes for a chic and easy monotone look. Perfect for my Monday laziness.

Spring Closet Cleanout

March 15, 2015 in LOOKBOOK

Spring closet cleanout? Check! I’d been feeling less and less satisfied with my wardrobe over the past few months, so I’m incredibly happy that I finally took the time to clean it out! I’ve sold about $500 worth of used clothes and shoes so far, and still have quite a bit more to go (might just end up donating). But that extra $500 is just what I need for a little wardrobe refreshing this spring.

skirt
Helmut Lang Shirt (apparently Helmut Lang is now available at discount sites like 6pm, good to know), Donna Karan Skirt, J. Crew Pumps (sold out in camo, but available in adorable spring-y patterns like retro lemon and natural indigo), Celine Bag, Burberry Brit Trench Coat

I don’t know how it happened, but I seem to be missing a lot of wardrobe basics. Like knit tops. I went through a phase where I preferred button down shirts over knits (especially this every-blogger-must-have-it shirt). While I still like those shirts, I sometimes just prefer the comfort and ease of knits. I appreciate basic knit tops, but I love the ones with interesting details! I’m a huge fan of cowl necks and drape-y shirts, but good ones are hard to come by. Helmut Lang does have some beautiful ones out (this cardigan is one stunning example), as does Rick Owens (although he’s also known to overdo the drape sometimes… done right vs. too much). But their prices are just too high to justify, so I typically have to turn to eBay if I want to add one. Easier said than done to find a good one, though.

plaid skirt
I think I’ll have to make a plan for how I should spend that extra money, otherwise $500 will get me a surprisingly little amount! Maybe I’ll just go all pre-owned to make the money go farther? We’ll see. How do you feel about buying pre-owned? Worth the hassle?