One of the things we never talk about when we talk about size is foot size.
Mine are pretty large – I wear a size 9, and in the summer, I buy my sandals in 9.5…which is the biggest size available in a lot of brands.
When that happens, I think of my friends who wear even bigger sizes.
I’ve got a lot of friends who do, actually. It might be because I know a lot of models, but I think it’s also because girls have gotten bigger, in general. I have two friends who wear a size 10.5. My gorgeous (and very tall) friend Ashley, who you’ve seen here on the blog, is one of them, and she has a lot of interesting things to say about it…
“To be sure, fashion favors the tall. Maxi or mini, bodycon or full volume – stylish silhouettes generally fall best on long, lean frames. Our luck runs out, however, once you hit the bottom.
Boats, flippers, planks…. call them what you will, I got ‘em. I have been genetically blessed with height but cursed with size 12’s…with a curiously long second toe to boot. Their unconventional size has rendered me a misfit, literally, and has been a source of (serious) anxiety since I hit the age of thirteen. My dreams of raiding my mother’s shoe closet were dashed as I crept past size 11 to a 12 and occasionally a 13…
Shortly after arriving in New York a decade ago, I found myself emboldened by the lack of choice. I enrolled in a shoe design class at Parsons, on a quest to perhaps one day be able to manufacture shoes for women who suffer from my affliction. There, I learned that most shoes are crafted on a size 6 “last” (a model of a foot), which helps explain the strange proportions and clunky look as they reach size 12…
Not pragmatism (balance and stability!), athleticism (speed!), or even superstition (wealth and good fortune!) softens the blow of the pitying look on a saleswoman’s face when she emerges from the stock room, empty-handed, yet again. “I’m sorry, we don’t have your size.” No Lanvin flats for you, Cinderella!
To complete an outfit with the right shoes is already a challenge; to find a designer heel with that X-factor, head-turning quality that actually makes your look is exhausting. During the summer, my heels awkwardly hang over the back edges of sandals and come winter, my cramped toes bare the burden of ill-fitting boots.
I’ve always been envious of the therapeutic shopping trips my friends take to Barneys, post break-up, to splurge on a pair of Alaia cut-out heels. And as I look ahead, I wonder, what would I do if, God forbid, my feet were actually to grow during pregnancy? Might I be relegated to an island living in men’s flip-flops? (I guess it could be worse…)
Since that class 10 years ago, I’ve watched designers slowly become more aware, that on average, the human population is getting physically larger. Today, it’s easy to find denim for amazon legs and beautiful bras for zaftig figures. But we’re seriously lagging behind in the shoe department. Most designers still tend to cut production off at 40 or at most, 41. I know there are lots of women like me who still dream of the day when Tabitha Simmons extends to a size 43, and end-of-season sales are flush with options the 11-12 section.
In the meantime, I have made peace with my feet. And after all, it’s about where your feet take you, not their size, that’s important.”
- Ashley Wick
PS: Want to join the cause? Ashley started a Facebook group for all the women with feet of heroic proportions. Check it out here!
PPS : Thank you to Barneys for having us over to shoot!
PPPS : More tips from Ashley coming soon!