Sun, 15 Jun 2003

The answer to looking more beautiful may lie at your feet

Most women want to experience a miraculous transformation to become more attractive, taking vicarious pleasure in the fairy- tale of Cinderella.

"Every woman has a conscious or subconscious desire to feel romantic," said shoe designer Stuart Weitzman, as quoted by Linda O'Keeffe in her book, Shoes -- A Celebration of Pumps, Sandals, Slippers and More.

Like Cinderella, the answer may lie at their feet.

Of course, a good pair of shoes will not cancel out other fashion flaws, but they provide their own personal satisfaction to many women.

Like the character of Carrie Bradshaw and her obsessive love and devotion for Manolo Blahniks in the TV series Sex and the City, a pair of shoes holds much more meaning than a mere piece of footwear.

"Shoes make women look prettier. They form our feminine image, and high-heeled shoes give us a neater step," said top model Arzetti.

"For me, shoes are like cars. They can be stylish for daily activities and comfortable for standing and walking."

She wears designer high heels on the catwalk and is a confessed shoe "maniac".

"I'm crazy about shoes. I can't help buying whenever I see lovely shoes," she said, declining to reveal how many pairs she had collected.

On her return from a show in Beijing, she brought home a trunkful of shoes, but only a few are for daily use.

Pop singer Mayang also acknowledged the transformation she feels when she puts on a classy pair of pumps.

"Shoes make me feel cute and elegant. They help me look taller and enhance my self-confidence," said the owner of 50 pairs.

Which shoes do women pick to make themselves more attractive?

As a rule, their first choice are high-heels, which provide extra height, with attendant feelings of power and sexiness.

Designer shoes are their next consideration.

Mayang, who said she bought a new pair of shoes every month, favors trendy but hard-to-get models.

Women are also drawn to designs which bring out the woman in them.

"I like feminine looks such as slim heels, a tapering tip with pearly decorations on top," Arzetti said.

Comfort figures as important in sizing up suitable shoes.

"I'm always convinced that beautiful shoes are to no avail without perfect comfort, which is of the same value as the shoes themselves," maintained Weitzman, who designs over 300 shoes annually.

Both Mayang and Arzetti recounted bad experiences after they were convinced by the design alone and did not consider the fit of the shoes.

"Comfort is number one. I've bought good models but they were uncomfortable. My aching feet had to be massaged," said Mayang.

For Arzetti, she learned her lesson the hard way through public humiliation: The heel of a cheap pair of shoes broke as she stepped out in front of a crowd.

-- Muara Bagdja