Shoe Strategies – Goldilocks Style

A luncheon of my professional women’s group was my first chance to wear a new shirtdress I bought in Charcoal coated denim.  It has an almost leather-like look and lots of topstitching a la jean jackets – overall a  tiny bit of “rough” vibe.  So what footwear to choose?

I’m pretty much a shoe hound, so I had 3 choices to consider – all equally comfortable on my foot.  I photoed all three and seeing the pictures made the choice very easy.

The zip-trimmed bootie on the left was very compatible in style terms, but the height cut a bit above my ankle, creating an awkward horizontal design element and making my legs appear shorter and heavier.  I’ll save those for times I’m wearing dark tights to avoid the extreme color break.

The low-vamp peep-toe pumps provided the maximum elongation, and certainly wouldn’t have been a bad choice.  But the felt a little prim and prissy for the styling of the dress.

The middle photo – a perforated suede bootie with a lower cut, peep toe and sling back – was the Goldilocks choice. The chunky styling balanced with the weight of the dress, the lower cut exposed the narrower part of my ankle and the cut-out areas expose enough skin to keep the eye moving in a vertical line.   Just right!

Have you ever used quick selfies to preview the look of a combination?  It really makes the impact more obvious that just looking in the mirror.


About Nancy Nix Rice

I help other women feel confident about how they look every day - regardless of their age, budget, lifestyle or the size tag in their pants - so they put wardrobe concerns on the back burner and go share their gifts with the world.


  1. Janee on February 13, 2022 at 11:53 am

    I love how you post these comparison selfies! I’m also pleased that before I read your description of each look, my eyes had already made the choice – and I reached the same conclusion as you did. Great look, great shoe choice!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on February 13, 2022 at 4:10 pm

      It never fails to amaze me how much more clearly I see the impact of a wardrobe choice in a selfie compared to just looking in the mirror. When I’m in a fitting room with a client, I can see it better looking over her shoulder at her mirror reflection than if I jut stand back and look directly at her.
      Distance = clarity I guess.

  2. Ruth on February 18, 2022 at 12:18 pm

    Why didn’t I think of the camera? Really great tip, Nancy.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on February 18, 2022 at 12:39 pm

      It really does amaze me how much better I can evaluate things that way. Hope it i equally helpful for you.

  3. Alison Rigby on February 18, 2022 at 12:38 pm

    Love this! Unfortunately, I can’t wear anything like them as I had a severe ankle/leg injury a few years ago and for safety need a flat shoe. Could you possibly consider showing flats that can be worn in a professional environment sometime? I just seem to wear the same shoes with everything! Boring! My ankle doesn’t bend so boots are out.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on February 18, 2022 at 12:41 pm

      I hear you Alison. I admittedly take a lot of ribbing about my shoe choices, and I dread the day when I have to give up tall heels. The same principles apply to a shorter shoe. And I have a much deeper dive on footwear in the works, tied that big new project I teased in the newsletter. Stay tuned.

  4. Marsha on February 18, 2022 at 9:45 pm

    With large legs, even as tall as I am, I avoid shoes that appear to shorten my height, giving me a stocky look. So, basically my shoe styles are pumps or flats that are lower cut in the top. My right foot swells a lot (cut nerves for a TKR), so the shoe has to be open and unadorned (but no open toe or slingback). Works for me.

    • Nancy Nix Rice on February 18, 2022 at 10:14 pm

      Sounds as if you’ve found your own Goldilocks solution.

  5. Marlette on February 19, 2022 at 2:25 pm

    Here in NE Ohio those cute shoes would get skipped over for may months of the year. Why not a mid-heel somewhat chunky looking shoe?

    I can’t wear heels any longer either and because I have avery low instep, open vamp flats won’t stay on my feet. Oh, I also wear a 12 N/M, so my choices are limited that way too! Love summer and my sandals!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on February 20, 2022 at 11:28 am

      Footwear choices are always subject to weather, safety and comfort concerns for sure. Being one who prioritizes style over comfort to a degree, these 3 were the options in my closet.
      The real message of this post isn’t that my style choices are better than anyone else’s, but rather the process of assessing the visual impact of the various choices we each consider when putting together an outfit. Your chunky mid-heel shoe could look great with this dress too.
      Fortunately more companies are offering shoes in sizes 10 and up these days, so hopefully your options will continue to expand. Charleston Shoe Co goes up to an 11, which might work in open sandals. They describe their styling as “cobblestones to cocktails”.

  6. Sue on February 19, 2022 at 9:52 pm

    Absolutely love that smile, in all the pictures! You look so attractive with it, and here’s my questions:

    Are you eating? 🙂 You look so very nice and slender in these pics.

    How did you decide whether to wear dark tights or the nude color? I wouldn’t know which to choose.

    Is the length of the sleeves what they should be? What’s the rule these days, if there is one? Thanks!

    • Nancy Nix Rice on February 20, 2022 at 12:04 pm

      1. Finally learning not to grimace when taking a selfie. Confession: I’ve been know t copy my smiling face from one shot and past it into others in the same series.
      2. I am certainly eating – it’s one of my favorite things – but paying more attention to WHAT I’m eating helped me drop about 15 pounds. Eating out less often helped too. I use a lot of the meal kits from Blue Apron and – besides being easy and delicious – they offer healthy options as well as the heartier ones.
      3. Black tights would certainly have been another options. I just preferred the slightly dressier look of a nude-tone leg for this particular occasion. Have to admit I’m puzzled that so many gals HATE pantyhose but love their tights. To me it’s the very same feel.
      4. BUSTED! Those sleeves are indeed too long. But with a separate cuff, they’ll be a pain to alter so I didn’t get it done in time and I was too excited about the dress to wait to wear it.
      5. My length guideline is this: Stand with arms down, flip hands out pointing away from your body with palms parallel to the floor. The ideal sleeve length should just graze the back of your hand.

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