I have a new, grown-up job and would like to upgrade my shoes accordingly. It's turning out to be more difficult than I expected. I'm looking for recommendations of brands, brick-and-mortar stores (east coast US city), and online places to shop. Details inside.
By way of background: I like clothes and style and I enjoy shopping, in general. I'm working on turning my current favorite outfits into a pseudo-capsule wardrobe involving lots of pencil skirts, sheath dresses, straight-legged slacks, feminine blouses, etc., often with a bit of vintage flavor. I don't work in a corporate setting, and in fact could probably get away with jeans, but as a matter of my own taste and self-presentation I'm aiming to look polished, stylish, professional, and feminine. Shoes have always been my Achille's heel, style-wise (no pun intended).
So here's the shoe problem: I LOVE heels, aesthetically. I own many sexy going-out heels and can walk well enough in them. Everything else about my style points to pumps. But I just CANNOT do it. Five minutes into a work day wearing heels and I want to rip someone's head off while growling about the evils of the patriarchy. It just makes me so very, very grumpy. I'm coming to terms with the fact that I need several pairs of flats that will fit in with the themes of "polished, stylish, professional, feminine." I like ballet flats a lot and will keep wearing them casually, but I think most of them don't quite rise to the level of professional grown-up-hood that I'm aiming for.
I'm ready to spend $100-200 on flats, so I'm looking for a cut above the Steve Madden tier in terms of quality. But I don't quite have it in me to spend $300-400, so something like Stuart Weitzman is mostly out of range (sadly). This Cole Haan skimmer
is right on target in both budget and style, and I'll probably buy a pair. But I feel like it's one of the very few good options I've seen, and the reviews seem kind of mediocre.
I've been trawling threads here on women's shoes, but not getting as far as I'd hoped. I have no particular foot problems or special shoe needs, besides my need to not wear heels. Indeed, if a shoe looks like it has any kind of orthotic merits, I will probably not like it. I'm a pretty normal women's 8.5. Up to an inch heel or so, if it's a very wide flat heel like on a loafer, is manageable. I do not necessarily need shoes that will last me a lifetime, I just want them to last maybe a couple years.
Is this type/tier of shoe so uncommon? What am I missing? What should my reliable go-to brands be, and where can I find them?
To help narrow it down, especially given common recommendations on the past threads I've read, here are some things I don't like, or do like but don't want right now:
- off-the-wall fanciful shoes like Fluevogs, Chie Miharas, Cydwoqs
- playfully vintage-girly shoes like at ModCloth or Liebling
- overly high vamps
- shoes that my mother would think looked both practical and stylish, like Mephistos, Clarks, or Borns (for example, I really hate shoes like this)
- open toes