As a fashion stylist I travel with a kit. Whether I’m on a photo shoot, or at a celebrities home prepping her for the red carpet, or backstage with a celebrity at a performance or award show, my kit comes with me. It’s every stylist’s secret weapon for any fashion related crisis or issue that might arise. Everything from nude thongs to safety pins to a leather hole puncher is found in my trusty kit. Today I wanted to share some stylist tips for those moments when you realise the shoes you bought, (and can’t return), are a little bit too big or small. When stylists pull shoes for a celebrity, or model to wear, we may not get their exact size. This works better for photo shoots when we can fudge things a bit with angles, or retouching after, but for red carpet and any kind of performance, it’s far more important to try to get the fit and feel right. So, without further adieu, here are some of my tricks revealed!
The Problem – The shoe that’s too big.
Sometimes, you try on a shoe in the store and it fits. But, wearing the shoe for real, the heel height may force your foot to slide further down than expected and you can find yourself actually walking out of the shoe. This happened to me whilst racing to a show at London fashion week, of course, in front of a long line of photographers. My brand new Louboutin pigalle’s were so darn high, I literally came right out of them, went flying, landed flat on my face, having left one of my shoes some ways behind. Its was humiliating and a lesson learned.
Insoles. There are insoles to help the full length of the foot, just the heel or even for strappy sandals. They not only help keep you in your shoes, but they also add extra cushion for comfort. Here are some of my favorites:
Sometimes insoles alone just aren’t enough and you still find yourself coming out of your shoes (Especially true for narrow feet in super high heels).
Solution – cotton balls. This only works with close toed shoes but as a stylist I put cotton balls in the front of the shoe to push the foot back and keep it in the shoe. Simple and something you probably already have at home…
For those ankle straps that are just a bit too loose – I use a leather hole puncher to custom size the straps to the ankle. Also comes in handy for belts!
Now, for shoes that are a bit too small…
Certainly the more challenging as comfort is compromised and it’s far harder to deal with. First, you need to remember that leather stretches and sometimes you just need to wear them a bit to stretch them out. In these cases – don’t try to wear them in on a day that you’ll be on your feet the whole time – that’s just torture… And prepare yourself for the discomfort. As a stylist I use moleskin on the areas of the shoes that I know are going to rub the most and potentially cause blisters. This will help protect your feet while you work in the shoes.
Another option is to try to stretch the leather… This doesn’t always work but it can. There are sprays that will help give the leather a bit of stretch but, truthful, your best bet is taking your shoes to a shoe repair place or cobbler to see what can be done. Certain fabric aren’t so easily stretched as others so I usually opt to leave it to the professionals…
Finally, for the brand new shoes with the slick bottoms you’re afraid of falling in… For my celebrity clients who are attending an award show, red carpet event or performing this is a very serious concern because (unless you’re Jennifer Lawrence who can fall with some humility, humor and in Dior) the thought of falling on stage, in front of a massive audience, is just as terrifying as it sounds. The easiest thing to do is to score the bottoms of your shoes. Take a knife of pair of scissors and draw diagonal lines along the sole of the shoes with the blade criss crossing. This gives you some traction to prevent a slip and slide. You can also buy no slip petals that you can adhere to the soles of your shoes that provide the necessary traction.
Good luck – and next time, really take a stroll around the shoes department (or if you order on line – around your house) before you decide to keep a pair of shoes – getting the right fit is the key to whether you’ll actually wear the shoes! But, for those amazing shoes you have to have that are on sale and the only size is a half size off – I hope my tips will help you get more wear and enjoyment out of them!