My Killer Shoes — Brought Down to Size by Those Four-and-a-Half-Inch Heels

Silver satin  1/2 inch high shoes with clear stone pave straps at Nordstrom $129.95. Photo by BF Newhall.

The Killer Shoes: Silver satin with with 4 1/2-inch heels and a funky zipper up the back. By Glint, at Nordstrom, $129.95. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Jon picked out his wedding attire in a half hour. I’ve devoted several all-day shopping trips to my wedding outfit and I’m still not done.

Jon feels sorry for me. All that shopping. So many trips to the mall. So many trips into San Francisco.

Father of the groom trying on coat for the wedding at Men's Wearhouse Emeryville, CA. Photo by BF Newhall

Jon tried on the jacket chosen by Peter and his fiancee. It fit. And that was that. Photo by BF Newhall

I feel even sorrier for Jon. His visit to our local Men’s Wearhouse was over and done with in forty minutes.

Our son and his bride had already picked out coat, tie, vest, slacks and shoes for the men in the wedding party. All Jon had to do was go into the store, get measured, try on the ordained shoes and jacket in two different sizes, fill out some paperwork and, boom, he was done.

It’s at times like this that I’m glad I was born female. When there’s a fancy occasion we women, unlike the men I know, don’t settle for a de rigueur uniform. We have choices. We get to shop.

I’ve picked out the dress I’ll be wearing to Peter’s wedding. It’s long and purple and pretty. Last week I was ready to decide on some shoes to go with it.

I was thinking strappy silver sandals with the same one-and-a-half-inch heel I’ve been wearing since I married my – sorta short – husband thirty-six years ago.

Chrome colored wedge shoes with buckle over green socks on a mannequin at the entrance to Nordstrom SF. Photo by BF Newhall

Chrome wedges at Nordstrom. Photo by BF Newhall

That shouldn’t be too hard to find, I thought. Wrong.

Dress shoes for women right now, as you may have noticed, sport heels that go on forever. Wedge heels, spike heels, stack heels – everywhere I looked I saw nothing but heels of skyscraper proportions built to lift their wearers an ankle snapping four or even four-and-a-half inches off the ground.

Ridiculous, I thought as I passed the mannequin at the entrance to Nordstrom. Who would wear those silly chrome wedges with the astronomically high heels?

And who would wear those preposterous gold pumps with the swollen toes in the display case at Steve Madden?

Not me, I thought. I’m sticking with practical, sensible, safe. One-and-a-half inches max. Like always.

Deevaa shoes in 2013 display case at Steve Madden store, with very high heels and thick sole and gold glitter. Photo by BF Newhall

Steve Madden’s Deevaa shoes, $149.95. The heels looked to be 5 inches tall. Photo by BF Newhall

Until I saw The Killer Shoes.

There they were, on a table at Nordstrom, daring me to try them on.

Elegant pavé rhinestone straps wrapping just so around ankle and instep. A funky zipper up the back.

And a four-and-a-half-inch heel.

I asked the saleswoman to bring them to me in my size.

I put them on. They were beautiful. My feet were beautiful. My ankles were beautiful.

I stood up. I was beautiful. Statuesque, for heaven’s sake. No longer was I my modest five-foot-three-inch self. I was tall. I was elegant. I towered five feet seven-and-a-half inches above the crowd at Nordstrom. I could see over the tops of their heads.

Barbara Falconer Newhall tries on a pair of Glint pave shoes with 4 1/2-inch high heels. BF Newhall photo

Statuesque in the 4 1/2-inch high Killer Shoes. BF Newhall photo

I could actually see the point of wearing those ridiculously high-heeled shoes.

But then I took a few steps, and I knew right away that The Killer Shoes and I had no future. No way was I going to get through a wedding, let alone a reception, in those heels. I’d fall on my face. I’d break something essential, a hip maybe.

Chastened, I stepped out of The Killers. I put them back in their box and returned to my old reliable, five-foot-three-inch self.

I spent the following days scouring the department stores for a pair of simple, low-heeled, strappy sandals. I found a few. But they were either too expensive, too informal or a poor fit. I settled on too informal as the least of the three evils.

I thought of Jon and his shoes. Shiny. Black. Presentable. Comfy.

Sometimes men have all the luck. But only sometimes. For example, they don’t get to shop for earrings, most of them . . . And that’s what I’m going to do next.

Silver, low-heeled sandals by Marc by Marc Jabobs, $248 at Bloomingdale's San Francisco. Photo by BF Newhall

Too expensive: $248 at Bloomingdale’s. Marc by Marc Jabobs.

Silver low-heeled wedge sandals by Nina. Photo by BF Newhall

Didn’t fit: Silver wedges by Nina. At Macy’s $79. Photos by BF Newhall

Alfani silver sandals with low wedge stack heel from Macy's.

My best bet: Alfani’s Victoria stack heel is a little informal, but comfy.








If you enjoyed this post you might also like “I’m the Mother of the Groom, Now What Do I Do?”   Also, “Shanghai Chic: Where a Woman’s Style Starts With Her Shoes.”   Share this post with friends by clicking on the Facebook, Twitter or Share icons below.

The father of the groom tries on patent leather formal shoes for the wedding at Men's Wearhouse. Photo by BF Newhall




  1. Dee Myers says:

    To really jazz up your appearance as mother of the groom, get your toenails painted a luscious blueish red to complement the purple dress. Pedicures are my secret vice. Even in athletic shoes or bedroom slippers, I know those polished toes are sparkling. Dee

    • Barbara Falconer Newhall says:

      Dee, I wondered if someone was going to notice my pristine toenails and suggest a pedicure. That would be something new for me . . . but I’m into new these days, so maybe I’ll give it a whirl.

  2. Wow, really A+ article. I especially like Jon’s pose for the camera.

    Emily still hasn’t found the right pair of shoes yet. She found a couple that would work really well but walking around in them on the rug at home hasn’t been as comfortable as she was hoping.

    • Barbara Falconer Newhall says:

      It’s tough to find nice dressy shoes if you don’t want to wear the totally flat shoes or the 4-inchers.


  1. […] her stuff? She’s dressed up in her favorite floaty, feminine cocktail dress or evening gown. Her new shoes are strappy and sexy. Her In the stores: This black beaded bag was $40 at Macy’s. Too skinny to hold […]

  2. […] Want to see more shoes? Check out Shanghai shoe chic at “Shanghai Chic: Where a Woman’s Style Starts With Her Shoes.” And follow my adventures in shopping for shoes to wear to my son’s wedding at  “My Killer Shoes: Brought Down to Size by Those 4 1/2-Inch Heels.”  […]

  3. […] Just me and the fashionistas. And their trendy shoes. […]

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