My surprising shoe shopping adventure

One of my closest friends (Jill) is getting married in August, and I’m one of her bridesmaids!

Although I think the world of Jill, I did hesitate for a split second when she asked me. I’ve been a bridesmaid a few other times and it can be stressful! Especially if you have small children and you’re trying to juggle work and study at the same time.

But so far, so good - since we’ve already found the perfect shoes.

This is no small feat, considering there are three other bridesmaids and we’re all different shapes and sizes!

Billini in Parramatta was the first store we walked into and the last. We found everything we wanted there. This is my dream come true, since I actually loathe shoe shopping with a violent passion. But we had so much time to spare; I even found a pair of gorgeous suede boots. I plan to wear these with two cute dresses I purchased from Fresh Soul Clothing (also in Parramatta, conveniently).

Jill told us all we could choose different shoes (as long as they’re a nude colour) but we ended up going for the same shoe that suited us all perfectly. It has an open-toe and isn’t ridiculously high. I felt comfortable walking around the store, although I could probably use some more practise, since I don’t often wear heels. The last thing I want is to trip down the aisle!

How to choose the perfect high heel:

I’m no expert on shoe shopping, which ironically makes me the perfect person to tell you what to look out for, since I love to feel comfortable.

If you’re buying heels for a special occasion, chances are you’re looking for shoes that compliment an outfit you already have in mind.

A pair of simple black or nude coloured heels works best with clothes that have a lot of colour or embellishment, so that your outfit stands out, instead of competing with your shoes. But if you're wearing all black, or something simple, you have more freedom to choose bright colours and patterns.

Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and buy a vibrant heel that you wouldn’t normally choose. Having said this, it’s always handy to know how to match different colours to your outfits.

A good tip is to bring a photo (or even the outfit) into the store, so you can see how the colours work together.

Practise makes perfect

High heels may elongate your legs and add the final touch to your outfit, but there’s no point buying a pair if you look like a baby giraffe learning how to walk while wearing them.

It’s important to make sure you can actually walk (and stand) in your heels, before making the commitment.

There are a few tricks to finding the perfect fit:

  • Assess how your toes feel in the shoes - is there enough wriggle room or are they squashed? If it’s a bit cramped in there, go up a size or opt for a different style (unless you don’t mind blisters!).
  • Cushioning in the shoe will lower the pressure on the ball of your foot.
  • Choose a pair of heels with a platform under the toe area to minimise the angle and reduce pressure.
  • Go for chunkier heels if you know you’ll be doing a lot of walking or dancing, since they give you more stability.
  • Heels between 3 cm and 9 cm tend to be most comfortable to walk in.

Practice walking around the store while wearing the heels. Close your eyes and focus on how your feet feel. Can you feel slight pinches or any discomfort? If so, these are not the pair for you.

Look for quality

If you’re planning on getting a lot of wear out of your new heels, you may want to spend more on options that last longer. Shoes made out of leather or high-quality vegan materials last for years and mould to your foot shape (which prevents chafing), while synthetic materials (like nylon and plastic) fall apart a lot quicker.

Other tips:

Wear your new pair of heels around the house before taking them out for the day, so you can break them in.

If the soles of your new shoes are smooth, then rub them against sandpaper or rough surfaces to boost traction and reduce the chances of slipping and falling.

You can get insoles to reduce the pressure on the ball of your feet, if your shoes don’t have enough cushioning.

Other things I need to do before the wedding:

Organise the hen’s night!!!

This will be in July, but we can’t decide what to do. Tiffany (maid of “honour”) is pushing for male strippers and novelty straws that make grandmothers blush. I’m going to suggest a night of Latin dancing at a Sydney club instead.

Personal grooming

Going to the beauty salon is pretty expensive! The bridesmaids and I are organising a “spa treatment” day at one of our houses. We’re going to have facials and paint each other’s nails. I’ve also ordered a wax kit, so we’re going to have a go at waxing our legs from home. I hesitate to do this, because it seems messy, but Catherine (one of the other bridesmaids) swears that you can’t go wrong with the Auswax kit.

Prepare my body for a night of dancing

I recently injured my lower back while shovelling mulch in the garden (nothing major, but still). My friend swears by her physio. Considering I’m going to be in Sydney so much over the next few months, I’m planning on having a few sessions before the big day. Hopefully I’ll be able to dance the night away, without worrying about making my back worse!

Go for our final fittings

Jill found an awesome dressmaker to design our dresses and we have two more fittings to make sure everything is looks perfect. I can’t wait to see the final results!