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Q. I need your help. I don’t know what shoes to pack for a week long walking tour in Europe. I don’t want to be so sporty that I coordinate my outfit around a pair of tennis shoes, but I also can’t find a pair of sandals that are supportive enough to withstand eight hours a day of walking. Am I too worried about fashion over function? I just can’t bring myself to spend an unfashionable week in tennis shoes and tourist clothes in one of the most fashionable continents on the globe! :) Any suggestions?

A. Unfortunately, the European image of the typical American tourist is a t-shirt, shorts, fanny pack and sneakers. I applaud and completely support your desire to look stylish while feeling comfortable. You’ll be thrilled to know that there are plenty of options for comfortable, supportive - and, yes, chic - sandals to wear during your European tour.

Below are some sandal options, as well as some stylish sneaker alternatives (no tennis shoes in the bunch!). Just be sure to give your final selections a good test run before you leave for your trip - you don’t want any blisters ruining your day!


Q. What type of shoe can be worn with sundresses and the great new maxi length if you can’t wear sandals or strappy shoes. I just don’t seem to have the feet for them. I appreciate any suggestions!!!

A. Bohemian-inspired maxi dresses and pretty, feminine sundresses generally call for summery pedicure-flaunting shoes. Long (maxi) dresses can look especially dowdy with most closed-toe styles, so some sort of sandal or wedge is usually called for. 

When you say “you don’t have the feet” for sandals, I’m not sure if you mean that you find them uncomfortable or if you just don’t like to expose your foot for some reason. Below are some dresses with shoe options that aren’t too strappy or sandalish, so hopefully there is a shoe style that you feel comfortable with (click each image for purchasing info):

Q. I’m wondering if you can help me find a pair of cute, comfortable and flattering flat sandals. I have thick ankles and somewhat wide feet, and I tend to wear heels because I think they’re more flattering, but I need a pair of cute flats to wear all summer with shorts and dresses. I want a pair that can go with everything, something that’s comfy enough to walk around in all day, and hopefully something that won’t make my legs and feet look huge. Can you help? Thanks!!!

A. You’re on the right track by typically leaning towards heels, as this can help make ankles look slimmer and legs more shapely. But of course, we can’t live in heels every day, so owning a flat or two is essential. When looking for flats that flatter your thick ankle and wide foot, you should look for sandals that expose as much of your foot and ankle as possible as this is much more slimming than a shoe with straps that come close to your ankle. You may also want to “cheat” a little with a sliver of a heel - you’ll still be comfortable while adding just the tiniest bit of a rise. Here are some more tips on what to look for, followed by some sandal suggestions:

Avoid:

  • Ankle straps
  • Thick straps
  • High vamps
  • Anything chunky

Look for:

  • Slingback or thong sandals and wedges that don’t have ankle straps or ties
  • Nude or light colors will visually slim your foot and ankle
  • Low-cut vamps that show as much of the top of your foot as possible
  • Very small heels or sliver wedges

Here are some styles worth trying (Note: 2 exceptions to the “no ankle straps” rule are the uniquely designed cuffed heel styles from Pierre Dumas and Crso Como (below) which may actually help camouflage a thick ankle by covering up only the sides and back of your ankle):

Q. I have a pair of Coach tie-up ribbon espadrilles from quite a few seasons ago. Can I still wear them?

A. Absolutely! Tie-up espadrilles are a classic that never go out of style, so have fun wearing them with dresses, skirts, cropped pants and more. To prove our point, here are variations on the classic from $25 to over $800!

Q. I’m one of those petite women (5’4) who never wears heels. I have never needed them before: all of my friends are approximately the same height. Until recently, I accidentally tried a pair in a store, and my outfit looked so much more together! I thought I should give it a try. However, I’m very self-conscious in heels. I’m aware that I’m suddenly taller than my friends, and it feels strange to stand a few inches higher than them. I think it hits them as well. Someone commented on my sudden tallness when I wore a pair of sneakers with 1.5-inch platform. How do I start wearing heels without alienating myself?

newheels.jpgA. Congratulations on trying your first pair of heels! You are so right - heels really DO help to pull an outfit together, with the added benefit of making your legs look longer and more shapely. While the right flats can also be chic, there’s no denying that some outfits cry out for a heel.   

Since friends come in all shapes, sizes and heights, there is no reason that you should feel uncomfortable if you suddenly appear a few inches taller than your friends. In fact, I’m guessing that once your friends see how great you look in heels and how flattering they can be, they just might hop on the heel bandwagon and join in. Not only are you suddenly taller and thinner, you’re also a trendsetter!

To ease into wearing a heel, you might want to start small. Some women feel more comfortable in a wedge heel, while others prefer a sturdy stacked 2 or 3 inch heel. Whichever you choose, we say, be confident and stand tall!

Here’s a cute video on How to Walk in Heels to help you out:

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