Dressing women as a personal stylist is a lot of fun. I really do love it. However, simply because every woman on the planet has their fair share of body issues, knowing how to dress these concerns is a part of a stylist’s job that few people consider. This often happens when I am helping a client shop for shoes. Invariably, there will be some sort of problem that needs to be addressed. Usually it is comfort, often times it is heel height and it is rare that a client doesn’t have some sort of foot problem simply from years of wear and tear on her feet.
Yet, nothing is as challenging than when a client tells me they have wide or narrow feet. I’m not talking about “I need a slightly wider toe box” wide or if they have marginally narrow feet. I mean, someone who can’t shop in the regular shoe departments because they need specially sized shoes. Granted, what I have to deal with in regards to helping them find shoes is nothing in comparison to what they have to deal with on a daily basis. Few really know what it is like. Can you imagine looking at an entire department store full of shoes, knowing that you can’t wear any of them? Now that’s rough.
It was at the suggestion of a client I worked with over ten years ago that I came to know about Marmi Shoes. This client had, I am serious, AAAA narrow feet. Quadruple A!!!! She told me about this shoe store and it has remained my secret weapon that I break out whenever a client has width and size issues. Marmi Shoes is an independent retailer with stores in 15 states, along with an online presence that caters to women sizes four to 13 and widths from super slim to wide. Thankfully, I can easily get to the Marmi on Madison Avenue here in NYC. I just brought a client there last week and after a lovely experience with the entire staff, I really felt like they deserved some recognition. So, no, this isn’t some paid promotional post. I am doing this just because I think everyone needs to know about this store as a very viable option.
The History of Marmi Shoes
I’m not going to lie, I’m not the biggest fan of the name Marmi. I always think old lady when I hear that word. However, after chatting with Jodi Breece, the director of business development for the company, I was told that Marmi was named after a town in Italy. That makes a lot more sense. Marmi Shoes opened its first store in 1986, but the parent company, Wolff Shoe, is a fourth generation company that opened in 1918 and their brands include Van Eli and Sesto Meucci. In addition, Eric Javits, known for his fashionable women’s hat and handbag designs, selected Wolff Shoe as the exclusive licensee for his line of footwear. All of these brands can be found at Marmi, along with some great bags and other accessories.
I am not sure what every Marmi Shoes location looks like, but the one here in NYC isn’t tremendously large. If you are used to vast department store shoe sections, you will probably assume that the offering at Marmi will pale in comparison. And at first glance it will. But, hold on. For as many times as I have visited Marmi Shoes, it never cease to amaze how it takes several walks around the store to make all my selections. It’s a store where its merchandise slowly presents itself to you and you could walk around several times and still miss something. So if you do visit one of their retail locations, take a few walks around the store before you walk out and let your sales associate offer their suggestions.
This brings me to my next point, the service. I have been styling women for nearly 14 years and, at this point, I am more than used to getting down and dirty. It’s rare that you won’t find me sitting on the floor in most shoe departments, shuffling the shoes around and editing the selections. I’m not complaining about this, in fact, I often prefer it to letting the salespeople get too involved. However, Marmi Shoes takes a totally different approach that is quite old school and, I have to admit, oddly refreshing considering I usually prefer salespeople to back off a bit.
When my client and I arrived at Marmi shoes, we started working with Marc, a sales associate at their Madison Avenue location who was just fantastic to work with and I highly recommend. As he started gathering our selections from the back, he stacked the boxes and told us not to try anything on just yet. He wanted us to wait so he could assist us. At first I was hesitant, knowing that I can be a little over protective of my clients, but was immediately assured when I got the sense he had the best interests of my client in mind and knew the merchandise better than I ever could. He brought over one of those little stools (do you ever see those little stools at shoe stores anymore?) and helped my client into each pair. What this freed me up to do was continue to shop for styles and just weigh in and help my client edit down.
What the staff also has is an in depth knowledge of special sizing and comfort. These are not sales associates who will just throw a few boxes of shoes your way and leave you to figure it out for yourself. In addition, if they don’t have the shoes in stock in your size at their location they will find them. I have yet to experience the staff not being able to locate a pair of shoes I wanted.
Marmi Shoes is for everyone
It should go without saying that you don’t have to have specially sized feet to shop at Marmi Shoes. They, of course, carry shoes in all sizes and widths. What sets them apart is the fact that they offer all of this to a greater range of clientele, a clientele that most retailers sadly ignore.
Some styles my client purchased at Marmi Shoes
Here is a little peak at some of the styles my client purchased last week. I snapped this photo of the stack some of her final selections on my SnapChat (Follow me at BridgetteRaes).
Perfect for casual and work. Will go with just about any color my client wears.
VANELi Lassie Ankle Strap Sandals
Dressier strappy nude sandals that can go to work and special occasions.
VANELi Leah Block Heel Sandals in Poppy
Block heeled sandals are so popular right now and this red is stunning.
VANELi Merope wedges in black patent
A total no brainer for my client. Great for work and weekends.
These flats have tremendous support and the color worked with my client’s wardrobe. We got a funny Instagram video of her wearing these. After a long day, it’s easy to get silly.
VANELi Wiley Ankle Strap Wedges
These might have been my client’s favorite. Not for those with large ankles and calves, but super cute and come in a variety of colors.
I love the versatility of this color. And the flats are super comfortable and supportive too.
Sadly, these are from last season and not available online anymore. Marc, pulled them out from the back and they were 70% off. We just couldn’t resist. They even look sort of cool with the teal tights my client just happened to be wearing that day.
And these shoes just drive home the point that just because you are relegated to only wearing wide or narrow shoes, it does not mean you are stuck with farty or frumpy styles. You just have to know where to look.
This is why I highly suggest you give Marmi Shoes a Look-See. Check them out here.
Marmi Shoes is having an Anniversary Sale April 14th!
To celebrate 30 years in business, Marmi Shoes is having a one day 15% off sale on April 14th! Be sure to check it out online and in their stores! If you are in NYC and want some special VIP attention, book an appointment with Jodi Breece at their store located at 519 Madison Avenue. Call ahead at 212-751-3100 to book and tell her that you are a reader of this blog.
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This is a great resource! Thanks for sharing! I find it impossible to find shoes that fit my narrow, but not quite AA shoes. In between regular and narrow. I need an experienced salesperson who can help. I will be heading to Marmi. It looks like Vaneli is a good option, too.
I think you will be really pleased, Carol. I hope it works out for you!