But the reality is, that portrayal is just that: a stereotype -- and, you can totally trust me on this.
I know, because when I tell people what I do for a living, the news is usually greeted with one of two, very distinct, reactions.
First, there's the one that a lot of people would expect: sheer glee. I'd like to think that's because the person realizes that they've perhaps met a kindred spirit. A "sole" sister, of sorts; someone who gets their love for pretty footwear. Realistically, they probably light up because they think I might be a source for free shoes. And, by the way, I'm not passing judgment on those people -- I'd probably think the same thing. We're a sick bunch that way.
But, nearly in equal measure, there are the people who, upon hearing that I write about shoes for a living, react as though I've just told them I mug nuns on weekends for a few extra quid.
I used to be slightly offended by that reaction, but after a while, I realized that it's not me, or even my job they hate -- they simply detest shoes.
Below are three reasons you might hate your shoes, along with tips on how to remedy those situations.
Not so that you can become a cliché, but so that, hopefully, you can become comfortable and confident in the footwear choices you make.
Who knows, you might even end up liking -- if not all shoes -- at least your shoes.
You Don't Wear Shoes that Are ComfortableShoes that are uncomfortable are enough to reduce nearly anyone to tears. Seriously. And if you think you're going to avoid foot pain by only wearing flats or sneakers, then you definitely need a new plan.
Yes, high heels are generally less comfortable than flats, but any shoe style can be problematic.
The first thing you need to do is make sure that you're wearing the right size and width -- and if you're not comfortable, don't rely on shoe size charts (not even the ones I've provided). Instead, you're going to have to march your aching feet into a shoe store to be measured by a professional. They will tell you your shoe size, as well as what width you should be shopping for -- a really good specialist will also be able to suggests brands, styles, and inserts to accommodate any specific problems you might have. For example, if you're standing on a concrete floor all day, an insert might be able to provide the extra padding you need.
Stores where you help yourself to shoes off the rack, and simply carry them to the checkout aren't going to cut it here. You need assistance, and you're probably most likely to find it at a store that specializes in comfort shoes. I know that The Walking Company staffs such experts, but there are other places as well, so be sure to ask around.
This will give you a good starting point, but it's definitely not the end of the road. For one thing, sizes and widths can change dramatically from brand to brand. Actually, even different styles from the same brand will have variances, so your real here goal is to find one pair that fits you perfectly and feels great, then, as you decide to add to your wardrobe, try different models/styles from the same brand before moving on.
If suspect you have foot problems that run deeper than uncomfortable shoes, you'll want to visit a podiatrist first. They will help you determine whether or not shoes alone are the answer to your problems.
You Don't Wear Shoes that are AttractiveIf you don't like shoes, this is probably a foreign concept to you but, for many of us, they are the one item that we can always count on to make us feel good about ourselves. They can make us look a few inches taller or a few pounds thinner; they don't turn on us when we gain or lose weight; they can instantly make an old outfit seem new, or a casual one dressier; and they get a lot of compliments, which in turn boosts our self-confidence.
If you think that a lack of pretty footwear might be at the root of your shoe-related issues then I strongly urge you to try a different style.
Relax! I don't want you to go crazy and buy a pair of 5-inch heels or anything -- in fact, that's the last thing I'd want you to do. I prefer that you realistically think about your wardrobe, your lifestyle and your personality, then find a pair of shoes that will work with those factors, but are slightly different from what you've been wearing.
For example, if you mostly wear jeans and black sneakers, you could try a pair of dark gray or dark blue suede loafers with a suede finish. They're still flats, they're still a subtle shade, and they're still casual; they'll work perfectly with your jeans, so you won't feel self-conscious about wearing them. But, just that suede finish and rich hue will instantly make you feel a bit more dressed up, or chic. You'll feel as if you've made an effort. And, even if it seems strange or awkward at first, you will eventually feel just a little bit better about yourself -- kind of like that feeling you get when you've just been given a really good haircut. Refreshed!
You Don't Know How to Choose the Right ShoesRemember back in grade school when you had to get dressed up for school photos, or to attend an assembly? None of us liked it, but you could always tell it was more painful for some people than it was for others.
There was always a "jock" who lived in jeans and sweatshirts, and had suddenly been forced into wearing a dress. Naturally, she was uncomfortable, but often, even the dress itself somehow didn't look quite right. It would either look too young, too old, or too... I don't know, frilly or something. Having other things on her plate, that girl probably didn't have the time or interest to pore over fashion magazines like some of us did. So, when it came time to choose a dress for herself, she just didn't know what to pick. Consequently, she probably relied on the advice of someone else, like a parent or a younger sibling. Or, maybe she just grabbed the first thing they could find without even thinking about it.
That same thing happens with shoes. I see it all the time in people who will only wear sneakers -- sometimes even the same model -- year after year. Not because they necessarily love those particular sneakers, but just because they're not comfortable trying new styles.
The problem is, sometimes life forces us out of our comfort zone. We might end up with a job that requires us to dress up, even though we're only used to wearing jeans and boots. Or, we might have to attend a wedding, a dinner, or even a funeral, and if we don't know how to choose shoes that will be suitable for the outfit or the occasion, it's likely to cause us a lot of added discomfort over the entire event.
The good news is, this situation is one of the easiest to address. The web -- this site -- is full of photos and articles that will help you choose shoes that will work for nearly any outfit or event. But, the best advice I can give is to study those items while also remembering who you are. Don't force yourself into another person's shoes -- literally or figuratively. If you're not an attention-seeker, don't even consider gold or glittery shoes -- no matter how many people tell you they're beautiful. You may blend in and be on-trend, but you just won't feel good in them. However, that doesn't mean you should wear your comfy black flats with an evening gown -- if you stand out, that's not going to make you feel good either.
Instead, focus on the style of shoe that people wear with a certain type of outfit, then look for that same style with a color, finish and heel height that is more suited to you.
And, remember, there's nothing wrong with asking for help. Like the sitcoms tell us, a lot of women really do love shoes -- and, we're always up for lending a helping hand when it comes to our favorite topic.