Yesterday's defense of writing about women in politics' shoes, courtesy of one DC insider, inspired one young female politician to write us about the footwear pressures of her gig — especially when you can't swing $300 for a pair.
Diane Russell, 34, is a state representative from Maine, where she represents downtown Portland. Here's what she wrote:
I'm a young politica, finishing up my first term in the Maine Legislature. I also deal with very painful feet (google plantar fasciitis, OW!) so selection of shoes is quite important. I LOVE beautiful shoes and have a closet full of heels I can only look at. However, even if I did not have such foot pain, the reality is that when I'm at the state house, I'm walking on marble all day long. That, alone, is enough to cramp anyone's style, let alone foot. As such, I've been relegated to wearing Danskos at work, compromising that fully "put together" look that only comes when the perfect pair of shoes complements an outfit or new dress. As one of the better dressed gals up there, I still spend much of my time hoping and praying someone will just admire the outfit, the hair, the necklace, etc. and ignore those clunky shoes.
Finding the right pair of shoes that balances professionalism with comfort is paramount for women. Men are not forced into Chinese-foot-binding-style attire and they are automatically taken more seriously than their female counterparts. So long as women are the ones driving the conversation, and it is centered around tips for professionalism, I'm all for a very real discussion of how to find the professional and comfortable shoe.
Now, if only I could afford the $300 pair of shoes...I'd be all set!
We sympathize, though these days, my own idea of work footwear is, at most, L. L. Bean slippers (shoutout to Maine again!), and my resistance to uncomfortable shoes of any kind is a matter of perennial mockery among friends and family. But I consulted our in-house sartorial expert, Sadie, and she recommended checking out Remix Vintage Shoes, though sadly their picks aren't much cheaper than the Kate Spade shoes. There's also Naturalizer. For more casual summer moments, Worishofers are both comfortable and have been known to inspire adoration.
What else would you recommend for women obliged to wear business-appropriate shoes, who can't spend a fortune, and don't want to utterly destroy their feet?