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Emmanuelle Richard's $2 Shoes
Today's foray into cheap chic is by a friend who usually even has me beat. (Here's a dress she bought for $15, which has even LA's philanderer-in-chief, the Mayor, impressed. And here's one she got for 50 cents!)


These are Marc Jacob pumps (and excuse the dirt and such stuck on them -- we were at a garden party and tromping around through the grass). The only problem, Emmanuelle said, was how shockingly cheaply they were made (considering they were originally pricey Marc Jacob shoes), with plastic inside. She had them redone by a shoemaker, which added $40 to the cost, but still...pretty sexeeee bargain, n'est-ce pas?

The event, by the way, was a fundraiser for the Democrats (Emmanuelle was invited, and she forwarded the invite to Gregg and me), where I was reminded of one of the biggest problems with the left -- how much more boring and long-winded they are than the right.

Where the right makes emotional appeals to the voters (and swells they want thousands of dollars from) the left just goes on and on and on...and then some. The worst offender of the evening was the guy who promised he'd speak for three minutes. I guess he meant in dog years. I was reminded of Cathy Seipp, who was always so great at keeping boring people down when we hosted an L.A. Press Club panel. She would've given him the hook three weeks before he ever spoke.

P.S. The right also dresses better.


This guy later told me (I had to ask) that he was holding this old couch afghan for his friend. (But why was she wearing it instead of giving it to Goodwill?)

And these drapes, I mean, this dress, had to be pricey...the poor dear.


And one more little fun fact: One of the speakers bragged about how the organization had recently gotten loads of Blacks and Latinos involved in the Democratic cause...none of whom, Gregg pointed out, were in attendance at this chi-chi white gay guy and aging rich white hippiechick-populated event.

Posted by aalkon at July 27, 2007 11:46 AM


Ok, I know I am in a tiny minority here, but...

Why do women wear high heeled shoes like that? You can't walk properly in them, they dent otherwise lovely wooden floors and they ruin your feet.

And at least some of us males find them not sexy but ugly.

Posted by: bradley13 at July 27, 2007 3:56 AM

What, like two of you? Not to worry, there are plenty of women running around in those hideous Crocs to keep all two of you busy for years.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 27, 2007 4:14 AM

Here, Bradley, from a post by Anjali Vaidya on shoes and sex:

When a woman puts on a pair of heels, she walks differently. Her legs appear taller and thinner and her calves more shapely [2]. Most women say that they feel more sensual in high heels because of the way they push the body forward, causing it to undulate in a way that is sexually stimulating [4]. Femme Fatales and sex goddesses will always wear high heeled shoes. Think Mae West, Marlene Dietrich, Jayne Mansfield, and Marilyn Monroe. Can you imagine any of them without their trademark heels?

Can you imagine any of them (horrors!) in...Crocs? (They don't make movie stars like they used to.)

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 27, 2007 4:19 AM

Like most men I love a leggy women in high heals. However I have had arguments with my wife that I usually win by default, the topic being. Why would anyone wear pointy heals, or worse stilletos to a garden party? She usually wears them (pointy heals) to garden parties and I have to run to payless or some such local place to get more reasonable shoes.
I finally convinced her to at least bring a pair of matching shoes with a chunkier heal so she stops sinking into the grass.

To the lady wearing the yellow and white drapes. Did she leave the strings for the sash in? Is that why the dress is pulling up in such a strange way?

Posted by: vlad at July 27, 2007 5:49 AM

The shoes your friend is wearing in the picture with the 50 cent dress. What is the name for that style of shoe? They give the effect of wearing heals as you describe above without the sinking feeling.

bradley13. Few, very very few. If you have quality well maintained wooden floors and she's not doing aerobics in heals you will not damage the floor. Also if you know a women who can do aerobics in high heals and you are complaining I'm just going to duck and let you take all the flak you have just called down on yourself. If you had new hardwood put in and a women or anyone for that matter in heals is damaging your floor, you got soaked by the contractor.

Posted by: vlad at July 27, 2007 5:58 AM

Vlad, those are either platforms, or wedges. And yes, those give much more support than stilettos!
I just can't wear high heels for too long anymore, they hurt my feet. When BF and I go to a wedding or other fancy function, I usually bring a pair of flats along, and leave them in the car, so that when my feet are screaming at me halfway thru said function, I can go change.

Posted by: Flynne at July 27, 2007 6:13 AM

>Most women say that they feel more sensual in high heels because of the way they push the body forward, causing it to undulate in a way that is sexually stimulating.

Stimulating to whom? If it's supposed to be stimulating to random guys, it's dishonest. Take it from me, the pickup line "Great shoes -- wanna fuck?" never, never works.

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at July 27, 2007 7:07 AM

> And at least some of us
> males find them not sexy
> but ugly.

If not ugly, then just pointless. It's a shoe. It's a little bit of plastic and some cellulose or whatever. Sometimes the strappy part goes over this way and sometimes the little wedgy part goes over that way... Sometimes theres a little flowery ribbon of foil-ish plastic, and sometimes there's a couple of faaaaabulous red buttons going up the side. So for the love of Christ, where's the music? It's a fucking shoe. There haven't been any innovations in a couple thousand years. All these freaky little distinctions of taste are meaningless. Women are buying this frogwash at hundreds of dollars per ounce, and a high-healed bargain need to be judged very harshly.

The piece cheats it's own best theme:

>> Jeffreys asserts that they merely
>> "feminize" the step by "causing a
>> shortening of the stride and a
>> mincing step that suggests a degree
>> of helpless bondage.

You can't run in heels, is all, or at least you're dreaming of the day that you won't even try. All the fascination women feel for these shabby little articles is about that notion that kicks around in the back of the skull while that admire the precious ribbons and darling buttons.

Women be whack. There are no exceptions.

Posted by: Crid at July 27, 2007 7:12 AM

...while they admire... etc

coffee coffee coffee

Posted by: Crid at July 27, 2007 7:15 AM

Women be whack. There are no exceptions.

Umm, yes there are! At times. In a vague sorta way. I don't live my life for shoes. Give me Sketchers over Jimmy Choos any day!

(Silly Crid.)

Posted by: Flynne at July 27, 2007 7:39 AM

I can hoop in heels. You get the right heels and they don't hurt. Actually, flats hurt my calves, probably because I have spent such a majority of my life in heels. Sometimes, however, beauty ain't easy, and you have to go with a stinger of a wedge, heel, or strap...but gaaaawwwwddddd did I look good!

Posted by: kg at July 27, 2007 8:38 AM

We didn't know it would be a garden party.

My usual secret is wearing boots. You buy them a half-size too big and wear thick socks. Last night, I happened to be wearing Cole-Haan G-series kitten heels...designed with Nike technology. They're very girly looking, but I could run a mile in them.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 27, 2007 8:51 AM

I'm gonna have to try that secret for boots. Now if I could just find boots that accommodate my Clydesdale-like legs (backdraw to a eastern European heritage).

And regarding the curtain dress, does anyone else have 'Do-re-mi' stuck in their head now?

Posted by: Elle at July 27, 2007 9:01 AM

I completely understand that if you don't know it's garden party, that's different. I was commenting on the fact that there are several women (my wife included) who will wear heals to a garden party.

"Women be whack. There are no exceptions."

Um, define whack? It looks like a question of perspective. There is plenty of stuff guys do that are so utterly unfathomably to women. Do we (some men my self included) need a 62" HD Plasma to watch the game or blow shit up on the PS2? I need a 62" plasma for these purposes, my wife thinks I freaking nuts. She wants (and will be getting before I get the TV) a coach bag. I can't for the life of me see any difference between the real thing and a knock-off. I want a Vet for weekend driving (while using the most fuel efficient option during the week) she thinks I nuts. She wants a pair of shoes that cost more than a PS3 which she will only wear a few times a year. My question is like your, why? I don't know and no one has been able to prove definitively the reason for the difference (nature, nurture etc.) but perspectives do differ across gender lines. A different view does not make one whack for the most part.

Posted by: vlad at July 27, 2007 9:27 AM

Looney. Crackers. Certifiable.

Posted by: Crid at July 27, 2007 9:36 AM

Elle, it's heresy in cowboybootland, at least, but get ones that either have stretchy tops or zippers.

P.S. Gregg told me (when I told him about this blog post) that when he and Matt Welch were standing on the other side of this trellisy thing with curtains, all that were visible were Emmanuelle's legs and mine in our girly heels, and it was quite erotic.

So there. Better that than to have your boyfriend notice how grass-worthy your workman boots are.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 27, 2007 10:23 AM

Oh, and I love the Do-re-mi comment, Elle. Right on. Even the curtain pattern is similar!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 27, 2007 10:24 AM


Crid's use of 'whack' should have been an indicator that he was fulfilling an age old tradition of jibing the female gender, just like the ladies do towards the male gender. Second clue, the significance of insignificant shoes. Also, his use of loony, crackers and certifiable towards your comments. I suggest developing, mimicking, buying a sense of humor for future references and laugh it off. It’s the best form of meditation.

You may now stop reading forever...

Posted by: Joe at July 27, 2007 10:24 AM

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 27, 2007 10:25 AM

And here, most hilariously, from the Fug Sisters, is the Von Trapp Family pimp:

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 27, 2007 10:26 AM

I swear by all that is good and decent in this world, if you made it yellow instead of blue he could've stolen the material from my grandma's couch.

Posted by: Elle at July 27, 2007 10:33 AM

I propose a new net-term:

Stiletto's law (just a suggestion, naming rights still up for grabs)

--Any mention of high heeled shoes will automatically become the main topic of discussion and generate a substantial number of posts regardless of the board's gender balance.--

But seriously, women look great in heels and they seem to either like them and wear them or not like them and not wear them by choice so...where's the problem?

Amy, it won't surprise me if your comments about this event get you some coverage in the tin-foil hat crowd before the day is out. I certainly agree with you about the quality of conversation you find at politically oriented gatherings. Right wingers tend to view politics as a means to their ends while lefties look at politics as a way of life. Conservatives might talk about a wide range of topics while liberals will turn every conversation back to their political views.

Posted by: martin at July 27, 2007 10:37 AM

He was being funny? I never would have guessed, thank you for enlightening my simple mind.

Posted by: vlad at July 27, 2007 10:39 AM

Ok... Please excuse me for a moment while I let my inner fashionista out: its "MarC Jacobs" not "MarK Jacobs". If her shoes said "Mark", then she got screwed.

As far as spending lots of money on shoes, I can buy a pair for 20 bucks, but 2 hours later I have blisters everywhere. I can shop all day in my BCBG's and while I won't exactly be tap dancing at the end of the day, my feet are in good shape. And I can get my shoes for a pretty good price at nordstrom rack or ebay.

I must admit, part of the allure of a 4 inch heel is the attention I get while wearing them. They make me about 5'11" and project a femininity that is very appealing. Also, heels and feet are a very common fetish for men who pay a pretty penny to look at and touch them. So they make about as much sense as any of the other tools women use to make themselves attractive. And they make me happy.

Posted by: christina at July 27, 2007 10:40 AM

Thanks, Christina...I knew that...must avoid blogging at 3am. Will correct.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 27, 2007 10:58 AM

I aim to please, Vlad.

Posted by: Joe at July 27, 2007 11:49 AM

If my wife posted here, she would vouch for Amy's suggestion that some sexy boots can be an comfortable and practical alternative to little high heels in many situations without sacrificing femininity.

Posted by: justin case at July 27, 2007 11:56 AM

Also, certain heels can be deceptively heely. Like Kitten heels. The shape of a heel makes a big difference in how high it has to be to make your leg look good.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 27, 2007 12:21 PM

Stu says:
>Take it from me, the pickup line "Great shoes -- wanna fuck?" never, never works.

Sometimes, Stu, it does.

Posted by: Kimberly at July 27, 2007 12:35 PM

I'm with you, Kimberly.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 27, 2007 12:51 PM

A shoe is a little bit of plastic and some cellulose in the same way a mammary just is a billow of fat. I tell you, there is magic in this world.

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at July 27, 2007 1:03 PM

> but perspectives do
> differ across gender
> lines.

Right, and I want to know what they see when they look at unremarkable shoes. (And they're all unremarkable.) If an Amy or Emmanuelle can find or restore the value at a great price, then hat's off. Nobody who visits here can doubt her sincere love for clothing. But there are a few women in my life who are happy to pay full price (originally typo'd as fool price) for Choos or Blahniks or whatever. They too are sane women whose judgment you'd admire on many topics. So what is the deal?

A few years ago I was eating lunch at a Pavillion's supermarket in Burbank. Sitting down at their little counter was always a chance to read whatever magazine the last diner had snuck over from rack across the aisle, usually something you wouldn't normally read, like Modern Bride or Gun's 'N Ammo or Needlepoint Quarterly. On that day it was a magazine for hot rod enthusiasts, or whatever they're called nowadays... Burbank is kind of the west coast's headquarters for that kind of thing, right? Lowriders, rice, headers, spinners etc.

If you look at the ads, you see that most of the space within each individual ad is tables of specifications describing precisely which model of car their hubcaps (whatever) will fit on. (Mazda MX-6 1993, 1994, 1996, six-bangers only, won't fit the Ford series so don't even ask.) It's incredibly specific and detailed. People who look at the ad and only see the bigtit teenage girl in a bikini bending over the fender are missing the point.

Most of these guys (in Burbank, many of them now Hispanic) are going to be skilled and semi-skilled technicians who spend their lives reading schematics for HVAC or aircraft or computers. As they build elaborate fantasies about what their car they buy for the parts they want to add, they're training their brains for their careers. When they look at a guys car, they see the catalogs and the haggling with mail-order vendors and all the rest of it.

You already knew that. Affinities cluster across a person's life so, like, what else is new? But I was amazed how the throbbing teenage horniness of masculine car love turned so quickly into something practical and dry as dust.

So ignore that chirpy noise about straps and darling straps this and divine bows. What's the low-frequency buzz for a woman staring at shoes in a window?

Again I think it's all about not being able, or inclined, to run when wearing heels.

Posted by: Crid at July 27, 2007 1:27 PM

Bungled typing. Starting next month, I'm go to pay someone to make my blog comments. It's gosh-darned important to do badly!

Posted by: Crid at July 27, 2007 1:36 PM

Case in point - did you mean:

It's too gosh-darned important to do badly!

But I was amazed how the throbbing teenage horniness of masculine car love turned so quickly into something practical and dry as dust.

Well, for geeks of any sort (and these guys are geeks, even if they would never admit it), it's the details that are where the fun is, the mastery is found and demonstrated. It's dry as dust to those who aren't into it, but juicy as hell for those who are (I can forward some messages from a music production list to demonstrate in another area. People get excited about noise reduction!).

I'm guessing there are parallels in the fashion world. Those who are fashion geeks probably excel at knowing designers, styles, and all sorts of etc. that those who aren't don't see. And just like the gearheads you describe would be likely to look down on somebody whose rid is just a bad-ass off-the-floor Viper or whatever, I'm betting the fashion geeks probably have disdain for the people who only know how to to the chic boutique and whip out the platinum card.

Posted by: justin case at July 27, 2007 2:28 PM

> did you mean:

Smartass. You're hired.

Posted by: Crid at July 27, 2007 2:43 PM

You might reconsider your offer if you read my last paragraph. I'm not sure I'm qualfied for blog quality control patrol.

Posted by: justin case at July 27, 2007 3:45 PM

I like that Afghan. But it does make you wonder what that war is about when no one over there wears them.

You are very tough on the girls, Advice Goddess. What's the best thing to wear to ride the Velib?



Posted by: MATTHEW ROSE at July 27, 2007 4:58 PM

Bonjour, Matthew...great to hear from you! (Je suis la bientôt.) I'd say an evening dress and a the middle of the afternoon.

Les infos:

Posted by: Amy Alkon at July 27, 2007 11:17 PM

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