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Designer Shoe Sizing Guide

As many of you will agree, there is no feeling quite like putting on a brand new pair of heels. However, shoe purchases are not all glamour and no work. Be honest – when buying new shoes, how many times have you had to ask, “Do these Louboutin / Manolo / Jimmy Choo / Chanel / Valentino / Prada / Aquazzura / etc. heels run small or large or true to size?”

For many of us, it can be tough to estimate the best size in a brand or style we have never tried, especially when trying on (or even returning) is not an option. But fear not, as I have found that most designer shoes follow a fairly predictable pattern of sizing depending on the designer and the style, which I will outline below. It took me a long time and a lot of mistakes to figure all of this out, so I genuinely hope that this post helps save anyone else that waste of time and money.

Also, please note that I am a true US 6.5 / EU 36.5 (TTS = true to size).

TO USE: combine designer + style to determine sizing recommendation.

Example: Christian Louboutin (TTS) + platform pumps (size down) = size down.

SIZING BY DESIGNER

  • Aquazzura: TTS.
  • Chanel: TTS or size up. Runs narrow and sometimes small (eg. ballerinas).
  • Christian Louboutin: TTS. Note, Louboutin varies so much by style, especially in older styles. Usually, older = smaller, and modern styles are TTS. I have 35.5 to 37.5.
  • Gucci: TTS.
  • Fendi: TTS.
  • Jimmy Choo: TTS or size up, especially in boots. Narrow toe box.
  • Manolo Blahnik: TTS.
  • Prada: TTS.
  • Saint Laurent: TTS.
  • Stuart Weitzman: TTS or size down. Runs wide. I always size down.
  • Valentino: TTS.

SIZING BY STYLE

  • Sandals: TTS or size down. Open shoes, especially when open-toed, leave room for the foot to breathe, and thankfully some room for error. I usually take 36.5, my true size, but can go smaller or even larger without a problem.
  • Pumps: size down. This is the type of shoe that has to fit right and fit tight, especially when hosiery is worn. In my experience, leather pumps always stretch and become impossible to wear if my heel begins to slip. Thus, I take 35.5 to 36, a half to full size smaller than my true size (ie. the tightest size into which I can reasonably fit my foot).
  • Athletic Shoes: size down. I usually take 36, a half size smaller than my true size.
  • Flats: TTS. Flats vary most depending on brand. I find that 36.5, my true size, is usually a good bet.
  • Boots: TTS or size up. Most people prefer a looser fit in boots in order to have some breathing space and to wear thick socks when needed. I agree that with boots, sizing up is always a safer bet than sizing down. I like to take 37, a half size up from my true size.

NOTE: Platform and heel height are important considerations when determining sizing. As a general rule, the higher the platform, the more comfortable the shoe and the bigger it will feel. Likewise, the taller the heel, the more likely that your heel will slip = the more likely that you should size down. My smallest 35.5 shoes are all sky-high platform pumps.

I truly hope that this was helpful. As always, feel free to contact me with questions!

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DUPE ALERT: Louboutin Susanna vs. Nine West Nanura Pumps

Good morning, lovely people!

A few months ago, I came across the Christian Louboutin Susanna Pumps and fell in instant love with their criss-cross ankle strap and sexy pointed toe. This, I thought, is the kind of genius shape that made Mr. Louboutin a staple. However, my two reasons for not jumping on them then and there were (1) I did not want to settle for black leather–God knows I have enough black heels–and (2) they were, of course, out of stock everywhere in my size.

Then, just a week ago, I discovered the Nine West Nanura Pumps, which had a suspiciously familiar gorgeous shape as well as two additional color options. Well, needless to say, I ordered them immediately and I have since been waiting patiently to share this review with you.

Now, I am going to do a point-by-point comparison of the differences between the two, amended by action shots. Hopefully this helps give you an idea.

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Price: CL $845 vs. NW $99.99 (but on sale now!)

Heel: CL 4 in. (but feels taller) vs. NW 3.75 in. (but feels shorter)

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Sizing: my size was CL 37 vs. NW 6

Leather: Unfortunately, NW in this case skimped on leather quality. NW: thin and stretchy vs. CL: thicker and sturdy 

Toebox: Now this was the dealbreaker for me. CLs have mastered the art of the curved pointed toe, but the NW felt too long in the front and too flat in terms of leather (my toes would definitely leave unseemly stretch marks there). If you have large feet, I would highly recommend against the NW. Winner: CL.

Colors: CL has 6 (black leather, nude leather, multicolor suede, animal patent, green patent, spiked) and NW has 3 (black leather, nude suede, blue suede). I personally like the NW suede best.

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VERDICT: NW made an admirable dupe which may work for those who prefer lower heels, but for me, the curves of the arch and toebox are dealbreakers.

Reveal: My Holy Grail Ankle Strap Louboutin Pumps

As a shoe addict matured far too late, I have a frustrating amount of discontinued Christian Louboutin styles on my “if I get ridiculously lucky” wishlist (which, unfortunately, grows much faster than I can fulfill it). You know that feeling when you randomly spot a shoe that is just perfect and you frantically search for it for hours online and you finally find it on season-end sale at Barney’s Warehouse only to discover that it has been sold out? Well, that is the story of my love affair with Louboutin…and the exact narrative of how my wishlist gained its longtime number one. I introduce to you: Christian Louboutin La Favorita 140 Pumps.

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See, there are two things about this designer that are as disheartening as they are defining: sizing and scarcity (well, at least for seasonal styles). Sizing is an all-time concern that requires several levels of mastery: (1) of the brand in general and its toe-crunching cuts, (2) of the time of production, eg. old vs. new Pigalle, and (3) of course, of every individual style, which inexplicably vary up to three whole sizes (I am serious–I own a 35 as well as a 37.5). As if all this does not make it difficult enough to find the right fit, Louboutins are also inexplicably scarce, limiting themselves to only a handful retailers with very limited stock online. I mean, we live in a time where you can buy hundreds of thousands of dollars of the finest jewelry with a click. Are you really telling me that your $700 shoe warrants an exception?

Anyway, this whole rant is merely background for my four-year search for these strappy babies that began, as usual, with a picture. A picture of a model/socialite/whatever whose long legs ended with the nude version of the La Favorita and had me obsessed under three seconds. I had to play quite a bit of the creative keyword game on Google before discovering this style’s name, then quickly finding that I had just missed the end of its 2012 sale term. I then looked on Far Fetch, eBay, Yoogi’s–anywhere I might possibly find it in boxed and new, but no such luck. I repeated this process regularly over almost four years until I magically came upon my size (or so I guesstimated) just last month. Note: in case it helps you, I bought size 37, which fit fine though my TTS of 36.5 may have been better.

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Needless to say, many outfits have ensued. I am the type of girl who proudly wears impeccable outfits no matter the situation because, hey–it feels good to look good, and even better to look better than everyone else. So if you are wondering how a medical student gets to wear so much Vero Cuoio, there is your answer. And yes, I can walk in these heels…easily. Give me platforms and I will sprint in six-inch stilettos if you want.

Now, as you may guess, my tastes have changed over four years. I actually have more boxes of Jimmy Choo than of Louboutin, and my favorite heel of all time is currently a drop-dead gorgeous pair of suede Aquazzura stilettos–a designer which mostly has me infatuated. You will hopefully be seeing more of my shoe closet as I figure out how to more smoothly integrate OOTD posts in the future.

Black Friday Game Plan

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Well, with Black Friday also upon us (and being a measly student miles away from my family), I decided that it was a good idea to share my overview of stores and deals after days of shopaholic researching. Note that I have no suburban stores (JCPenney, Kohl’s) because I live in one of the biggest cities in the U.S. and there are none around me.

1) Today: Online shopping! Stores have already started their online sales as of 12 am today and actually have a lot of their in-store deals conveniently online. Since most of them also offer free shipping, it’s quite tempting to stay on your butt and shop from home. What have I bought so far? Well, thanks to PT, I took advantage of the Urban Decay sale last night already, but I’ll keep looking today.

2) All day (?!): Express Although I am not a huge Express fan myself (and I have no idea why they are open all day), I guess they are one place to browse while I wait for other stores to open downtown. They have 50% off everything (also available online) throughout today.

3) 4 PM: Old Navy Old Navy is opening its doors controversially early today with 50% off everything, and the first 100 in line have a chance to be a millionaire. They also have a text-to-win game for 1,000 $200 winners. I might do the texting game, but I don’t think I’ll be standing in line for what is basically a lottery.

4) 6 PM: Macy’s This one actually has some serious doorbusters–I have already placed a hold on a pearl earring set, a memory foam pillow, and a panini grill in our giant store downtown. They are my favorite in terms of placing their entirety of deals online and even letting you make a list–on my list is their $10 Smashbox set and $9 Tarte eyeshadow palette.

5) 8 PM: Sephora Unfortunately, my Sephora does not open at 8 pm *sniff* but I did hear that they have 31 items under $10. Hopefully next year.

6) 8 PM: H&M They have scratch-offs for the first 100 in line and certain percentages off certain amounts spent in store. A bit disappointing, in my opinion.

7) Power sleep!

8) 6 AM: Neiman Marcus Last Call So excited for my first NMLC deal. First 100 in line get gift cards up to $1000 (per store!) on top of 40-60% off everything. Can you say YES?

9) 7 AM: Everything else Our mall opens at 7 am, including about every store you can imagine. Some stores I will be visiting are Banana Republic with 40% off your purchase and 50% off an item until 1 pm, Nordstrom Rack with 30% off all clearance (including designer!), Zara, Mango, and Bath & Body Works…honestly, probably shopping til I drop.

Happy deals!