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Answer Angel: A shoe-buying challenge: Looking for heels without those offending ankle straps

By Ellen Warren, Chicago Tribune on

Published in Fashion Daily News

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Ankle-strap shoes are everywhere! I am 5 foot, 2 inches with nice legs. Ankle straps make my legs look fat and stumpy. I don't find them flattering at all, except maybe on runway models. I'm having a nearly impossible time finding dressy sandals and heels that don't have ankle straps. Do most women really like or look good wearing ankle straps, or is the fashion industry just forcing them on us? Any thoughts on finding cute shoes that are a bit dressy, but not ankle straps?

- Judy G.C.

Dear Judy: I'm on your side. It is the rare woman (the runway models) whose legs look good in an ankle strap shoe or sandal. Like you, I've often thought they make legs look shorter, heavier and for those of us with cankles (calves than kind of flow into ankles), the straps call attention to a body part we should not be calling attention to. There are way more ankle-strap dress shoes in the past few seasons but you can still find plenty of shoes out there that don't have those straps. Take a stroll through DSW (just one example) and you'll find an ample choice of flattering ankle-strap-free footwear. The same thing goes for big online retailers like By the way, I have long resisted buying shoes online because I thought they wouldn't fit or that I needed to try them before buying. I'm over that now. For a trip to a rainy climate, I bought a pair of Palladium Pampa Puddle Lite waterproof boots for $60 on and am in love with them. Comfy and kept my feet dry. I'd looked in stores all over town with no luck before I decided to give the Internet a try.

Another shoe dilemma...

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Due to a foot problem, I need to wear gym shoes with orthotic inserts almost all the time. I would like to look "summery," but these shoes look heavy with summer pants. Any ideas for a summer pants style when you can't wear sandals?

- Kathy H.


Dear Kathy: I think gym shoes look sporty and great with pants of all styles: Skinny, wide-leg, bootleg, you name it. They're my go-tos (with orthotic inserts!). No matter your age, you can't go wrong with Converse Chuck Taylor All Star low or high tops ($40 and up, that come in terrific colors. When you say "gym shoes," perhaps you're thinking of the heavy-duty styles that do often look clunky. But look again. Your options are almost unlimited. Lace-up styles are plentiful and cute. I do think that a solid color shoe looks better, dressier and more "summery" than the multi-colored ones with big logos.

Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I have a few pairs of Chanel earrings. They are clip-on and heavy enough that I'm afraid they might fall off while I wear them. Does it make sense to convert them to pierced or would that lower their value?

- P.J.

Dear P.J.: If you want those Chanels (or other designer earrings) to retain their value (and depending on style and vintage, they can be quite valuable), don't mess with them. Any alterations, especially dramatic ones like converting to pierced, will definitely bring the value way down. This is true of other designer clothing and accessories too. If the earrings are truly heavy, converting them to pierced will likely drag down your earlobes in a way that is far from attractive anyhow.


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