I love shoe shopping with my clients. This past Tuesday, I had a great appointment with a long-standing client who has been working with me for the past 5 ½ years. At this point, I know her and what is her closet about as well as I know what is in my own wardrobe. This client works in sales and spends a great deal of time on her feet. Because of this, she is quite hard on her shoes. At her last outfit session, we realized her shoes had gotten quite tattered from wear and were starting to look a little dated. A great way to bring her look up to speed was to get to the shoe store and do a little shopping. I brought my camera along so we could document some of her great finds. For the sake of privacy, I’m going to name this client Ms. Hottie (which she definitely approved of.) If you knew her, you’d know why.
By far, my absolute place to buy shoes is at Lord and Taylor! They have a great selection and often have fantastic sales that can have you walking out the door saving quite a bundle. I also love my salesperson Johnny Prophete who works with me and all my clients. I highly recommend him if you’re ever heading over to Lord & Taylor on 5th Avenue in N.Y.C. to do a little shoe shopping on your own. Call him ahead of time, tell him you got his name from me and he’ll be at your beck and call!
There is one caveat about Lord & Taylor’s shoe department, they don’t carry special sizes like narrow or wide and they don’t go above a size 11. It’s also challenging to find much below a size 6. Therefore, when I have clients with extra wide or extra narrow feet, or who have exceptionally large or small feet, I take them to Marmi Shoes on Madison Avenue. They also have a website for online shopping.
Anyway, on to my client and her shoe shopping adventure:
When most women shop for shoes, they try on a few pairs. Well, that’s not what we do with our clients. Normally, we pre-shop before a client comes and have the shoes pulled by the salesperson prior to their arrival. In most cases, the plan is to solve every shoe dilemma in one shot so we can often pre-pull between 20 and 30 pairs. This particular client walked out with 17 pairs of new shoes, just shy of the record number amount of shoes bought at once by a client by just one pair. Our client a week earlier bought 18 pairs. This may sound excessive, but imagine if you needed to update your entire shoe collection and you could accomplish that in under 2 hours. Doesn’t sound so unreasonable now, does it? Most people take months, even years to find the perfect shoes for all occasions and most women never feel complete.
Given Ms. Hottie’s lifestyle, the fact that she walks a lot, often takes clients to dinner and has an active social life, I needed to make sure that all these areas were covered, shoe-wise. Ironically, Ms. Hottie prefers a slightly lower heel for work but can’t stand a flat shoe for casual. What she also likes to have are sexier shoes that she can quickly change into that can dress a work look up as her day goes from work to entertaining clients quite often.
Here are some of the shoes Ms. Hottie purchased and why, along with some links to them in case you love them too:
Donald J. Pliner Sandals
Ms. Hottie met me for her session wearing a simple navy blue shift dress. When she tried these great sandals on by Donald J. Pliner she fell in love. Not only did these shoes work perfectly with her dress, but they were incredibly comfortable. So comfortable that Ms. Hottie wore them out of the store.
Cynthia Vincent Strappy Gold Sandals
Another favorite of Ms. Hottie’s was this shoe by Cynthia Vincent. I’m sure you can tell why. In fact, this shoe is so sexy that our client Ms. Chic purchased the same pair last week. These shoes are great for work and for play, can dress up a pair of jeans, add some pop to a work look and can be worn with a dress on a date.
One of my goals for Ms. Hottie was to get her into a sexy pair of espadrilles. At her outfit session the week prior, Ms. Hottie showed me a dress she bought in Hawaii. Because it was more of a relaxed t-shirt shape, proportionately, I wanted to give her some height with a fun wedge.
Even though I have been working with Ms. Hottie for nearly six years, she still doesn’t always trust me when I pull suggestions for her. Yet, she always tries on what I put in front of her. Just like in the past, Ms. Hottie thought I was crazy for suggesting these shoes by House of Harlow, convinced they would be uncomfortable or she would fall down. Yet, the second she put them on she realized they were not only comfortable but very easy to walk in. My response when she realizes I’m not half-mad is always a simple: “See, I told you so.”
Michael by Michael Kors for Work and for Play
Michael by Michael Kors was a big hit for us, and Ms. Hottie walked away with three pairs.
Black Thong Sandal
First, she wanted a casual shoe, but remember how she hates to wear flats casually? We found this black flip flop with a small heel. Ms. Hottie was sold instantly and just hated that they didn’t have the white pair in her size. When it comes to Lord & Tayor and shoes, you snooze you lose!
A Classic and Timeless Nude Pump
Next, because every woman should have at least one pair of tan shoes in her closet, Ms. Hottie settled on this classic pair also by Michael by Michael Kors. The second she put them on she looked ready for business, big business. As I like to say, a pair of tan heels can make your outfit go from cubicle to corner office.
Novelty Basic Snakeskin Pumps
Rounding out the Michael by Michael Kors selection, Ms. Hottie also selected this Michael by Michael Kors snakeskin pair that, while sexy, can dress up any corporate look and give it some zing. But, don’t let the novelty look of this shoe fool you, they can be worn more as a basic than you think. I like to call items like these “novelty basics.”
Comfortable Yet Stylish
It is always important that Ms. Hottie have some go-to shoes that are comfortable yet still stylish. Sure, she can wear all the pumps to work, and even the higher heels on a slow day. Ms. Hottie still required a shoe that had a bit more comfort. We both loved this easy wedge by Franco Sarto that had some great modern style and a lot of easy comfort. The neutral color is versatile enough to go with everything she owns.
Finally, a pair of flats!
Lastly, through the power of persuasion, I got Ms. Hottie into a pair of flat sandals. Either she was worn out and couldn’t fight me any longer, or she finally realized the benefit of having at least one pair of shoes that didn’t have a heel. I encouraged her to consider this sandal by Calvin Klein that could be worn with her maxi-dresses. Once she could envision it, it was an easy sell.
All in all, it was a successful day and now Ms. Hottie doesn’t need to think about shoes for the rest of the season.
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Bridgette Raes is the president of Bridgette Raes Style Group, author of the book Style Rx: Dressing the Body You Have to Create the Body You Want and a sought-after spokesperson, style expert and writer for many media outlets including CNN, Good Morning America and Real Simple Magazine. She and her Style Consultants are available worldwide for consultation, in-person or virtually.