Tip: What to do when you REALLY, REALLY want those shoes

4 04 2014
Envious? You don't have to be...  Photo: www.hcs.harvard.edu

Envious of these Christian Louboutins? You don’t have to be…
Photo: http://www.hcs.harvard.edu

A co-worker of mine came into my office the other day to complain about her daughter’s prom wish. “She wants a pair of red bottoms,” she exclaimed. “I didn’t even know what that was, and when I looked it up, I said hell no! You’re not getting shoes that cost $1000 for prom!”

Her indignation made me laugh, but I completely understood the concern. That is a lot of money for someone who a) doesn’t have a job, b) is still in high school, and c) should be taking any extra money she gets to put towards college. To calm my co-worker down, I suggested a few places she may be able to find a pair of Christian Louboutins for cheaper than $1000, and also what she could get as an alternative. She seemed to see red in her eyes just a little less after our conversation, so I was pretty happy. And then it hit me — I’ve never shared these with you all, so here we go!

I think we’ve all been there, right? It may not be a pair of Louboutins, but we’ve all seen a pair (or two or three) of shoes that we absolutely want, but we know we shouldn’t spend that kind of money on. Heck, I’m going through that dilemma right now (!) with a few pairs from the SJP collection. So what do you do when this happens? Well you can curl up in bed and cry and wish for a money tree, or you can try some of these suggestions instead:

Find legitimate sample sale websites — Hey, listen, the internet is your friend. And on the internet, you will find sites like Outnet and Gilt to help you with purchase designer shoes at a discounted price. Now, fair warning, if the shoe is from this year’s collection — it probably won’t be on any of these websites. But if it’s not, you may just luck up and see your favorite pair on there.

Go discount shopping in person — I know I just said the internet is your friend, but if you’re blessed to live in or near places like NY, DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, or really any major US city, you can probably find sample sales in person occurring on at least a monthly basis (NY is more like daily). In person, you also have the option to check out some of the higher end consignment shops that will feature designer shoes that richer folks have decided to part ways with.

Set the purchase as a reward for achieving a goal you have — Remember how I told you all about the SJP shoes I want? Well, I decided a good way for me to get a pair and not feel too bad about my splurge was to tie it into something else I’ve been wanting to do: create a gratitude jar. So that’s what I did. I started a gratitude jar this week (well technically, right now it’s a vase, because I couldn’t open the big jar I have in my house), and I told myself that I wouldn’t buy those shoes until the vase has been completely filled. This way, it’s a win/win for me. It gives me time to decide if I really want the shoes as badly as I think I do, save the money for them, and appreciate the things and people I currently have in my life right now.

If all else fails, check to see if your favorite boutique or department store has a similar version — I know this will sound sacrilege, but no item is one of a kind. So while it may not look exactly like the shoes you have your eye on, chances are you can find a pretty good alternative version at stores like Dillards, Nordstrom, Macys, Aldo, or Lord and Taylor. I almost said Neiman Marcus, but they would have the original ones you wanted, and then you’d be back to square one.

Those are my top tips for when you really want a pair of costly shoes. Do you all have any to add to the list?


Quick blog update — I will be heading out of town for a spring vacay next week, so this will be the last blog post until the week of April 14th. In addition, when I get back, the blog will be downsizing to two posts a week. This is so that I can spend a little more time focusing on completing my book (!!) and living life outside of writing. I hope you all will still come through and join in our discussions. In the meantime, please take this time to catch up on any posts you’ve missed and find some fun in the sun!



Tips: Protecting Your Feet During Sandal Season

5 06 2013
Photo Credit: Victoria's Secret

Photo Credit: Victoria’s Secret

Well, we’ve already established it’s sandal season over here – but while I’m the biggest advocate for shedding those boots and busting out your favorite pair of sandals, I’m not a fan of what some women let those same shoes do to their feet. You’ve seen it. The cracked heels, the dry sides, the peeling feet – ewww, it’s the worst!

So because I love you all, I had to give some of my top tips on making sure the sandals you love don’t destroy the feet that wear them.

Start off the summer with a pedicure treat!

Some women get a pedicure every 2 or 3 weeks. As much as I’d loved to pretend I fit that bill, I just don’t. But in my preparation for sandal season, I always make sure to start the summer right: with a major pedicure for my tootsies. This does not just mean getting a polish change. It means getting them to do a scrub, a massage, a buff, etc… and for the love of all things holy – it means not letting them use that scraper on your feet (it only makes it worse!).

Get/do a maintenance pedicure at least once a month.

You can choose to do this on your own if you’d like, since there are plenty of do it yourself pedicure options available now. But regardless of how you do it, it must be done. That beginning pedicure will not last you through the summer, so don’t even fool yourself into it. Your feet will end up dryer than some sandpaper sitting out in the desert on a hot August day, and that’s not hot. While I don’t normally make it to my nail shop every month during the winter, I do manage to get there once a month to get a touch-up pedicure until I’m back to normally wearing closed toe shoes. I know it sounds like a lot, but as cute as sandals are – they do nothing for protecting your feet from the elements and dirt in the streets, so you have to help them out a bit.

Keep your feet moisturized.

It’s purely up to you on what you’d like to use (Lubriderm, Vaseline, cocoa butter, shea butter, whatever), but the best time to lotion up your feet is right out of the shower or bath. This allows your feet the chance to soak up as much moisture as possible. Also, you need to lotion them more than once a day – I would suggest at least twice, once in the morning and once in the evening.

Date a guy who likes giving foot massages.

No. Really.

Don’t wear your sandals every day.

I know, the horror – right?! But just like with wearing your heels, moderation is always best. Throw in a closed toe shoe at least twice a week to give your feet a break from the wear and tear that comes with wearing sandals. I promise you they’ll thank you for it.

Anyway, I hope those few tips help you all get through the next few months of sandal season. Did you have any you’d like to share?

A Shoe Video for Shoe Lovers

22 02 2013

One of my fave girls and readers sent me this video the other day on Facebook, and I just had to share! Kudos to all the women who dressed up in their finest shoes even in inclement weather! I’m far too protective of my babies shoes to have done such a thing.

But since they did, we might as well celebrate it, right? Here’s my favorite line of the video: “The erogenous zone, if you will, in fashion, and there always is one, is definitely on the foot.”

So the million dollar questions, ladies, are A) what shoes would you wear if you had the chance to attend Fashion Week and B) would you still wear them if it snowed a day or two before?

Tips on Wearing the Appropriate Shoes for a Specific Occasion

24 09 2012

Photo: http://www.feministe.us/blog
These heels may be cute, but should NEVER be worn to a football game.

Y’all know that I’m a woman who appreciates a good heel, but I also know that there’s a time and a place for everything. And just like I would never wear my pretty white loafers to a camping trip, you also wouldn’t find me wearing heels to say walk along the National Mall (for those who have never been to DC, it’s not actually a mall, but is the vast plots of land where you can find many of the historical monuments in the city).

Why? Well for one, the National Mall is filled with grass. Could you imagine walking along in the grass with some stiletto boots? Talk about trying to create a new irrigation plan. Also, it’s just huge. And I don’t care how much you think you’ve broken in your heels – you haven’t broken them in enough to walk from Martin Luther King Jr’s monument to Abraham Lincoln’s monument.

And yet, for some reason, I see misguided women do it all the time. I don’t know if they’re trying to look cute for good ol’ honest Abe or what, but I see them and think “girl, why didn’t anyone tell you this was not the appropriate time and place for those 5 in booties?” Well, because I love you guys so much – I would never leave you out there like that. You may not agree with me on all of these, but you won’t be able to say that no one ever told you.

So without further ado, here are my top 3 tips to consider when deciding what footwear to wear to an occasion:

Think about the surface you’ll be walking on

This should go without saying, but like I said, I see women wearing heels in grass all the time. Sure, everyone can slip up every once in awhile, but for the most part – the first thing you should consider when deciding on footwear is what type of ground you’ll be walking on. Will it be grass or marble floors or brick sidewalks? These are all places that you should try your best not to wear heels to. And in the case of the marble floors, it would be best to wear shoes with some type of grip on them (trust me, I learned the hard way). If you don’t have those, you can buy some sleek grips at your favorite shoe store for less than $5.

Think about the type of event you’re going to

Is this an athletic event? Then why are you wearing heels? Listen, there’s nothing sillier to me than seeing a woman dressed up like she’s going to the club and she’s sitting in the 400 section at the football game. Ma’am, where do you think you’re going with the 5in boots with the fur?? Now, I realize that Beyonce’ and some of the basketball wives wear heels to basketball games, but they’re sitting courtside or in the basketball wives’ section. Unless you’re doing that, please put on some sandals or sneakers so everyone’s not laughing at you while you go sliding down the ramp at the end of the game.

In that same token, you can also make the mistake of not dressing up enough. If you’re going to a fancy ball, you should wear heels. You don’t have to wear 4 1/2 in heels like I would, but you should not have on your favorite ballet flats either. A nice 1 in sling back can work for those who are not quite ready for the sky high heel life.

Think about the look you want to convey

One thing I try to remind my baby sister is that every shoe gives off a distinct impression. So while a gladiator heel with 5 different colors may be awesome for one occasion, it could spell disaster for another. That’s why it’s so important to understand what look you’re going for. Is it confident and sleek? Or maybe edgy and fashionable? Modern and professional? Whatever it is, it’s extremely important to make sure that that shoe gives off that same look. You should never find yourself wearing your favorite orange and pink peep toe pumps to an interview, just like you probably would want to go a little more daring than your classic black NineWest pumps for a fashion show event.

If you remember to consider these three things before choosing your footwear, I promise you’ll find yourself in far less situations where you wish you’d brought a change of shoes. And you won’t have women like me wondering “girl, what happened?”

Are there any other important tips you think I’m missing?

PS: Thanks to some of my amazing readers, Choices, Voices, and Sole was nominated in 4 categories for the Black Weblog Awards. Please take a moment to head over to their page to vote for yours truly in the following categories: Best Writing in a Blog, Best Personal Blog, Best Blog Post Series (for the Shoe Stories) and Best Sex or Relationship Blog. You can vote here –> Black Weblog Awards voting page. Semi-finalist voting ends October 1, 2012.

Walking Across the Stage: Shoe Story

6 06 2012

Yes, this is what I imagined the stage of my high school graduation ceremony to look like./ Photo: IllustrationSource.com

“Those shoes are so hot,” exclaimed my best friend. “But how are you going to walk across the stage with them?” At the time of her original question, I deadpanned Annie* with one of those looks that could only mean “are you serious?” and kindly informed her that I would have no problem with my new silver, strappy 4 inch sandals. Twenty minutes later, and with our procession into the UNO Lakefront Arena quickly coming upon our graduating class, I was now ridiculously nervous.

What if I hadn’t practiced my strut enough, and I looked like one of those girls who’s never walked in heels? Or what if (gasp!) I actually tripped on. the. stage? It was more than I could handle, and I gradually began to psych myself out. Here I was, standing in front of the line (yay for a last name early on in the alphabet!), and I was practically sweating through my graduation cape. This was no easy feat either, since I had on a particularly cool feeling, flowerey summer dress, and the powers-that-be had managed to crank the AC to infinity in the arena. Yet, I was starting to sweat so much, I was worried that not only would I trip on stage, but I’d also be the girl who tripped on stage with the huge arm pit sweat stains.

Seriously, I was wreck.

But as we began walking down the makeshift aisle they’d made for us, my nerves slowly went away. “What was I so scared about really,” I thought to myself. “This was nothing new! I walked around in heels all the time.” And as I sat with the rest of my class, having made it through the first part of my test without any issues, I knew I’d have no problems whatsoever when the time came for me to get on that stage. That stage was going to be my runway! And I…. was going to be Naomi.

We sat there for what seemed like hours, but was really only minutes, especially since our valedictorian and salutatorian were nice enough to do a combo speech. And then it was time for the names. And the walking. My row was the first one to get in line near the stage, and as I watched some of my classmates seamlessly walk across the stage, my confidence continued to swoon about the likelihood of me not making a massive fool of myself in front of the maybe 700 people in attendance.

I raised my head (like the good society lady my grandmother taught me to be throughout the years) and began my Naomi Campbell walk. Up the steps. To the middle of the stage. Step by step, I made my way to my principal and that diploma he held in his hand. Step by step, my smile widened as I realized not only was I receiving my high school diploma, but there would be no hidden rocks on the stage to trip me up.

Away from the middle of the stage, I walked, confident that the worst was behind me. Grinning to my family. Palming the diploma in my hand. And then it happened.

I missed a step.

Horror meet my face, please.

I tried to quickly gather myself and pretend as if the world didn’t see the mishap that occurred. I hurried down the rest of the steps and practically flew to my seat. “I didn’t actually fall,” I told myself. “A mere trip wouldn’t register on anyone’s radar.” And I comforted myself with that proposition until I saw my family after the ceremony.

My mom, bless her heart, ran up to me with such pride in her eyes. “I’m so happy for you baby,” she cried out. “And don’t worry, I’m sure no one saw you trip down those steps.”

Right. No one saw but it was the first thing you mentioned, mom? I could have died right then and there. But I wouldn’t have bequeathed the curse of those shoes to my worst enemy. So I stood there and smiled like all was okay – vowing never to wear them again.

* Name was changed.

PS: If you’d like to be featured as a brief shoe story (anonymous or not), send me a pic of your favorite pair of shoes and information detailing a moment when you wore them. You can send the information to me @darbybaham on Twitter or email me at contact@darbybaham.com. *NOTE: I may have to contact you more for information, depending on the details of your story*

Sweet Summer Shoe Steals

29 06 2011

Hey guys, I looked up and noticed that I hadn’t done a shoe post in awhile. So guess what? Here you go…. Now you all know (or should know by now) that I tend to consider myself somewhat of a knowledgeable person when it comes to shoes. I can look at someone’s pumps and immediately know how tall the heel is. I can also spot out a few specific designers when I see them, and I mean things a little harder to detect than the red bottoms on a pair of Christian Louboutins. BUT… there were a few sites I was not aware of for those of us that like to get designer shoes at a fraction of a price. Below, you’ll find a list of pages I think you should check out for the nice summer splurge (some I knew of before this past week, others I just recently had the pleasure of visiting) and an example of a cute shoe I saw on each website.

Please note – not all the prices are reasonable, but you can definitely find some cuties for less than $200.

The Outnet.com


Zappos Couture

Dulce (yes, that Dulce)



Enjoy, ladies!!! Just don’t blame your account balance on me… m’kay?

Pretty Girl Rock – Shoes

12 01 2011

All eyes on me, when I walk in. No question that this girl’s shoes a ten. Don’t hate me cuz I’m beautiful… doing the pretty girl rock. ~ Keri Hilson

I know I’ve been MIA a bit lately guys, but I’m getting it together. Promise. I won’t give the litany of excuses for why you’ve only seen one post per week recently, instead, I’ll just assure you that next week – we’re back on schedule. In the meantime, here’s a look at some sequined shoes that have caught my eye. Enjoy fashionistas!

Report Signature Shoes (Neptune Sequined Platform Pumps) $225


Badgley Mishka (Sequined Peep-toe Pump) $159 at Lastcall


Sergio Rossi (Sequined Over the Knee Boot) $1,110 from Neiman Marcus


Belle by Sigerson Morrison $240 on Zappos Couture

BCBGMaxaria Sequined Slingback Heel (Mariah) $178


If you have the money to buy any of these, let me know… I am on the lookout for a fairy godmother and you could kind of count either of these a type of glass shoe/slipper, right? ha ha