Amy Winehouse has a song called "F" Me Pumps. I love that song. I love shoes - but sadly, my need for comfort trumps my love of PUMP.
Boots are the exception to the rule. I’ll wear them regardless of how uncomfortable they are. I'll wear them until I bleed. Oddly, my ultra pointy, steel tipped, PINK cowboy boots are the most comfortable, and my favorite. Sadly, there are only so many places you can wear pink cowboy boots.
Sunday, I will be heading to Washington, D.C. - without my boots. I will be marching up and down Capitol Hill, my way of keeping a promise I made to my son - to tell the world that he lived, to show and tell his goodness and his pain.
After agreeing to take part in the conference hosted by The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, I was informed of the "dress code."
I knew my Lycra sweat pants were out of order, but it never occurred to me that I'd need to wear a SUIT.
Back when I deliberately changed the focus of my security company from corporate to residential, I tossed out all my stiff, stuffy suits. So not me, so not what I wanted to pretend to be.
Somehow, one of the suits eluded me - a black, sleeveless dress and waist cropped jacket by Garfield Marks. Not only do I not remember buying it, but apparently I never wore it – evident by the original tags still dangle from both the dress and the jacket.
And where exactly did I think I was going when I bought this mystery suit? As a rule, I hate to shop and will only do so if I’m going somewhere and then, I’ll wait until the last minute. I must have thought I was going to a funeral. Someone must have rallied.
It's been awhile since I looked at a woman’s suit, or focused on women who wear them - so I have no idea what is in style. Do suit styles change?
My number one concern is my mystery suits shoulder pads. They are not over the top - 80's style pads, but they are undeniably there and their purpose remains unclear. Are they for protection, or a visual attempt to balance out the width of my hips?
I decided to go on a fact finding excursion to the local mall (where I purchased the suit in question) to investigate the latest ultra conservative, fashion frenzy.
I went directly to the Petite section, the only alliance I had ever known, and was abruptly told I needed to “move on.” I tried three different sized before I humbly admitted I was better suited in an averagely proportioned department.
Pads were everywhere - softly sculptured, well rounded, minimalistic, shoulder pads!
Now that I knew I didn’t have to invest in a suit, I focused on the proper pumps.
I headed toward the last name brand, semi comfortable shoes I had purchased – Donald Pliner. An attractive, 30 something salesman informed me that “Pliners are not what they used to be.”
Typically, the first thing I notice about a shoe salesman is his shoes, but in this case I couldn't get beyond his wispy, chocolate brown hair, and slate blue eyes.
I am a women who does not like to be sold or told anything, and yet, I believed him.
He eagerly introduced me to Attilio Giusti Leombruni, an Italian designer who specialized in style and comfort. My initial reaction was FUNKY! Slender, gun metal thin buckle strap across a glossy, patent leather toe with a 2 ¼ inch stacked heel and a elasticized top line. YUMMY!
I watched in wonder as kinky shoe man raised the pump to the point just below his nose, in hailed deeply, inserted his palm into the soft fold of the frame - demonstrating the flex of its construction, and then exhaled as he marveled at the padding of its sole.
I was sold.
When he emerged with my size (7 1/2) , my size plus a half size (8), and a mysterious orange box, I could barely contain myself. “Whats in the other box?” I asked. “Not yet” he told me.
Seconds after I slipped them on, I knew, I was in love with these funky, fuck me pumps.
After confirming that I’d take the size 8's with a “pad” inserted inline with the ball of the foot - I begged, “okay, now show me what’s in box number 3.”
Same shoe - minus the heel. Same gun metal thin buckles, strapped across a glossy patent leather toe - only in a bold, brazen, pumpkin orange.
I looked up long enough to connect with the delight of Mr. Kinky, who I now realized was sporting an orange tie. “Orange is all the rage!” he assured me.
“I’ll take them” I said, and quickly handed him my card.
I’ve hidden the orange flats in the back of my closet – behind luggage and failed handbags. I’m not hiding them from my husband; I’m hiding them from myself. I need to see if these Capitol Hill Pumps will take me where I want to go with minimal pain before I commit to the orange flats.
To prepare myself for my upcoming journey, I have broken them in at the office, at home and even, when walking the dog. As a precautionary measure, I’ve packed bandaids, liquid skin and a cream labeled “Blister Elixer.” For extra protection I’ve tossed in some “spot pillows” and “cushy comfort sweet spot inserts.”
Apparently, I’m not the only one struggling with pain free fashion footwear. Damn, we’ve come a long way since Dr. Scholl’s!