However, I'm having difficulty pinning down the right pair of shoes. This post covers three pairs of shoes that I recently purchased but I'm still unsure about. Luckily, I ordered them from three great shoe dealers: Endless, Zappos, and Piperlime. All three sites offer free shipping and returns. At the time of publishing, Endless and Zappos both give you 365 days to return your item; Piperlime gives you 45 days.
Nine West Peroxy in Taupe ($98.95 at Zappos)
In my mind, these shoes were perfect, but IRL, they made my legs look very stumpy. My husband also said they made my feet look very long. Neither of these things is good. In skirt picture #1, I tried flipping up the boot flaps; in skirt picture #2, I left them down. (Flipping didn't help.) The shoelaces are also incredibly long, and you have to get pretty creative to make them the right length. (For me, this entailed, wrapping the shoelaces around the back of the shoe, pulling the laces through the holes in the side flaps, double knotting.) I tried tucking in my skinny jeans into the shoes, but I still felt stumpy. I just don't think that the 3/4 inch heel is enough. As for the fit, my regular size 9 was OK. They were comfortable enough, but not amazing sole cushioning. These shoes also come in black leather, black suede, and dark green suede. I would be curious to test the other colors if I had a store nearby, but I didn't like the fit enough to mess with any other online testing.
Seychelle's Cheerrio Bootie in Dark Brown ($90.02 at Endless)
These shoes are a little bit Mary Poppins, a little bit rock n' roll. I'm afraid that these might be a little heavy for what I want them to do. They look much better with a skirt than the Peroxy, but it's a lotta look. I tried tucking in my pants again, but the shoes are so slim that even my really-fitted,skinny jeans look bunchy. I would only be able to wear leggings or tights with these, though I think those would both be flattering. My regular size 9 fit OK, and the 3 and 3/4 inch heel is still easy to walk in and gives me the height I need to elongate my legs. The problem, however, is with the boot opening. Endless lists the measurements of the boot opening as 10 and 1/2 inches around. As you can see from the picture, there's PLENTY of room. It makes them look like they don't fit, even though they do fit everywhere else. There's an inside zipper, in addition to the front shoe laces. Also available in clay and black.
Very Volatile Marlena in Natural Medium ($60 at Piperlime)
I've liked the look of menswear oxfords for a while now, but couldn't bring myself to pull the trigger. The cheap pairs I found all had bad reviews about comfort, and I've spent too much $$$ on shoes lately to invest in a more expensive piece. I thought I'd give these oxfords a try when I placed an Athleta order recently and wanted free shipping. (What can I say, I'm a fish!)
And the verdict? The jury's still out. I like the look of these with a skirt (although I'm not sure how I feel about the socks). And I almost wore these the other day, but I put them away because I thought I might want to return them. They are very stiff, and not very comfortable. Maybe I could break them in a little by wearing them around the house. But as is, I wouldn't keep them. My regular size 9 fits otherwise.