While Germaine Greer was speaking figuratively, us moms can certainly take a literal translation of this quote. High heels make it tough to be an engaged, involved mom. I can't climb the jungle gym in my heels, I can't kick a satisfying amount of leaves in my heels, and baby-wearing? Not for any length of time in heels.
Prior to having kids, I only wore heels, and consequently, was able to get by without hemming my jeans or revealing my true height. But once the little man was born, most of my heels were set aside so I could find out, like Germaine Greer said, "how fast could she run". (NOTE: Just fast enough to keep my toddler from throwing himself into the street, but not fast enough to prevent him from launching off the back of the couch.)
The shoe thing has been one of the biggest fashion challenges I've faced since becoming a mom. It's amazing how so many of my "go-to" outfits now look a bit off when paired with flat shoes. Trying to figure out the whole stylish mum thing was an exercise in frustration....but was also the impetus to start this blog.
At some point in the last two years, I finally bit the bullet and hemmed several pairs of jeans to be worn with flat shoes. Based on feedback from some of our previous shoe posts, I know many of you are also struggling with this same cute-yet-flat shoe dilemma. Can one actually be stylish (and warm) in flat shoes?
Yes. Absolutely. Based on current trends, and the fact that winter has arrived, here are a list of mom-friendly shoes that I think every mom should have in her closet.
(NOTE for working moms -- this list is does not include any of the fabulous heels you can still wear to work. My definition of mom-friendly shoes are shoes you can wear when the little ones are actually with you.)
1. Boots to Wear in the Snow
Unless you live in the South, the need for this one is obvious. But the good news is that this year's crop of winter boots are the coolest I've seen. Well, the coolest I've seen since my hot pink moon boots at age eight. Check out M's post on Hot Cold Weather Boots For Moms - the name pretty much says it all.
2. Flat Tall Boots
Every mom needs a pair of flat, tall boots. These aren't snow boots, you want something a little bit dressier. These are the boots you wear when you and the little one are running errands, going to the museum, the zoo, or strolling downtown. These boots can be worn over tights, leggings, or skinny jeans. These boots can be slipped under cuffed boyfriend (or straight leg) jeans. In the spring (or early fall), these boots are great with skirts or summer dresses. You want something comfortable, yet something fabulous. One great pair of flat boots can make an outfit. If you are worried about pulling off the skinny jean look, a substantial or slouchy pair is the way to go. UPDATE: Here's our list of Fav Tall, Flat Boots.
3. Sturdy Wedge Heels
These are obviously not your playground shoes. However, a pair of cute wedge heels are perfect for family outings or other times when you have HELP. If the whole fam is attending a kid's birthday party, a BBQ, going out to lunch, or for any other occasion when you want to feel a bit more festive but still need to be able to keep up with the kiddo, a sturdy wedge heel is your best bet. You won't be able to baby-wear for extended periods of time, but that's what your partner is for, right? My current favorite wedge heels are in boot form (perfect for winter) but there are tons of other options. UPDATE: Here's our favorite Sturdy, But Cute Winter Wedges for Moms.
4. Cute Sneaks
Cute sneaks are a mom's best friend. Cute sneaks can go virtually anywhere, with the added benefit of being perfectly suited to playground stops, games in the park, and leaf kicking. The only weakness of the cute sneak is snow. In that situation, see #1 above. I've covered my favorite cute sneak options in the guest post I did for Rookie Moms (also be sure to check out the comments for more ideas).
5. Cute, Comfy Flats
A cute, comfy flat is a necessity for those times when your outfit calls for something a bit more feminine than a cute sneak, but you want something just as comfortable. In the winter, cute flats look amazing with thick tights, leggings, or even little socks paired with jeans (especially boyfriend jeans). For specific ideas, M has been hard at work rounding up the cutest pairs of comfy flats. Her post can now be found here!
6. Amazing Going-Out Shoes
All moms need one pair of super hot shoes for parties, date-night, etc. This should be the shoe equivalent of a black lace bra: pure sex. Ideally, it should also go with a wide range of outfits. UPDATE: Here are my current favorites.
Flip-flops in winter? Yes - have you seen the floor of the pool locker-room? Also, winter brings winter storms and stranded travelers, so make sure you throw a pair into your carry-on. I've been in many a skeevy hotel room, thankful for my flip-flops. My hands-down favorite pair for both comfort and style are the Ginger flip-flops by Reef. Go with a solid color - brown, black or white.
C'mon girls - we wear these things all of the time. Let's get some cute ones. And this season, there are many, many cute ones. M has been talking non-stop about the amazing slippers she's found. And after her post next week, you will be too.
9. Trendy Shoes to Change Things Up
If you hate fashion, or just want to stick to the basics, you can skip this last shoe recommendation. However, for those of us who consider fashion a passion, this category is nothing but fun. There are a number of trendy shoes that are, in fact, mom-friendly. They may not be your daily go-to shoe, but for those days you are feeling inspired, or want to shake things up a bit, these shoes help you do it. But because these types of shoes are trendy, you don't need to spend a fortune. If you find yourself considering a trendy new shoe style, you can always do a "test run" by finding a cheap version at Payless or Target. Then, if you find yourself wearing it over and over, trade up for a more expensive (and better made) version.
One last thing to consider: if your shoe wardrobe consists of nothing BUT these types of shoes, you are looking at a dysfunctional shoe wardrobe. It might be time to spend some $$ on more practical shoes.
My favorite trendy shoes for moms include:
Uggs -- I know there is lots of Ugg hate out there, but I am a firm Ugg-lover. So much so that I will be posting (at some point this winter) a post on how to wear Uggs. There is a way to make this style work.
Flat Ankle Booties -- I especially like these with a slight rocker vibe. See my previous post.
Flat or Low Heeled Over-The-Knee Boots -- My favorite picks are in our Mom Street Style post for October.
Oxfords - You know the shoes your Dad wore to work? The slightly glossy leather dress shoe that ties? That's the one. They are making these for girls in patent leathers, and other fun colors. I think I love them...they are very androgynous looking, so I would suggest pairing them with a feminine shirt. Let me think about styling tips and get back to you. My current favorite pair is actually a bootie, the Jeffrey Campbell Berry Oxford Bootie, $158 at Urban Outfitters.
Doc Marten Style Boots - These are basically combat looking boots. I hate wearing actual Doc Martens because they require too much time to break in, but there are a ton of similar style boots. I'm loving black ones paired with leggings and an oversize cozy sweater.
Moccasins - I love mocs. If you do too, just go right to the source: Minnetonka. I've been coveting my friend Jayme's, and will try to do a little write-up on this style later this winter.
A whole week talking about shoes? Bliss.