Day 23,693:  Stepping Out – Finding Fashion  without Aching Feet. 

For the first time in my life, my closet is filled with more flats than heels of any kind. It’s one of the few things that reminds me I am older and wiser.

As a younger woman, I always wore heels. Being just 5’4” tall and working with 6ft men who liked to talk over my head in many prior jobs, made me put on the heels. I don’t think I owned one pair of flats other than sneakers for Jazzercise.

It should be no surprise that I also had back issues from my early twenties on. My back particularly flared up after trade shows and business trips where heavy cameras, and communications equipment had to be lugged around long before lighter weight laptops came on the scene.

Today I work in an environment that requires more walking than most of my previous jobs.  My wardrobe has subsequently changed to all flats. It’s one area of my life where I’ve leveled down instead of leveling up.

Related Post: Leveling Up vs. Leveling Off

At first wearing flats to work felt very strange and not exactly professionally put together. I also had to invest in several pairs of new pants that were shorter hemmed.  Now, I so rarely wear heels that when I do, I feel off center and my walking stride is more tentative. When I now pull out a pair of long jeans that require a heeled boot, I think twice and usually just switch jeans rather than deal with the  higher footwear.

Not All White Sneakers Are Equal

Shoes are a fashion statement for women, but as women get older fashion isn’t keeping up.  Nothing says elderly faster than sensible walking shoes, or big, white sneakers that might as well be orthopedics. Sadly, not all sneakers are equal.

White, low-top Converse sneakers look terrific  on young women, but the white sneakers sneakers-2770091_1920most older women wear are not half as cute. Check out the pictures on this post about the best white sneakers in today’s market and tell me if the Skechers don’t scream old lady compared to all the others?  I once had  a 70-year old doctor who had a variety of Converse patterned sneakers and I always admired her foot fashion. But, she was tall and towered even in her sneaks.

I work hard to find weekend flats that are not sneakers and weekday flats that more easily carry me through the work day.  Yes, it requires additional shoe shopping. No surprise or hardship there.  Not complaining.

Even so – two weeks ago my back went out. It’s still out. Although improved, I’ve spent the weekend walking around in my ugly, expensive Dankos, and am working hard not to pull out even uglier more sensible shoes purchased once to get through a week-long trade show in Chicago when my back went out before rather than after the work event.

I still have a good sum of heels in my closet. I’m not ready to completely part with them, and with some outfits, particularly dresses, it’s hard to beat a heel. And maybe that’s why I rarely wear dresses anymore even though they’re back in work style. I prefer my various colored flats to match my various colored pants to get through the work day.

When it comes to 6 foot men who like to talk around women, I’ve learned a few tricks. One is to have a standing desk at work. Another is to ask them to sit down. Still another is to sit or lean on my desk rather than a chair while talking to them, or just be conscious of my posture when standing, because despite my height, I’m still senior (in both age and position) to many of them.

P.S. Not sure why it’s Day 23,693?  Check out the post on Personal Calendars.  

Staying Focused on Common Sense Gun Sanity: Don your sneakers to march with the students of Marjory Stoneham Douglas on Saturday, March 24 either in D.C., or at 415 other locations with one hopefully near you. To locate march information, go to, and follow the movement on Twitter @AMarch4OurLives.