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How to Choose the Perfect Pair of Black Pumps

Louboutins2Photo via La Modella Mafia

I’m a shoe girl more so than a purse girl, and one staple I can’t live without is the perfect black pump. Because this shoe is so timeless, there are a few pointers to finding the perfect pair that will last in your wardrobe and hit all the right notes, whether you wear them to an interview, a first date or a night out with the girls. While we can’t all afford the ubiquitous red-soled Louboutin, here are a few quick tricks to ensure that you pick up the right shoe under any budget.

blackpumpsPhoto via The Native Fox

Invest in quality… It sounds obvious, but if you are going to be wearing these repeatedly to work, or dancing the night away in a cocktail dress, you want a solid stiletto. Opt for shoes that have a plastic piece on the end of the heel for added comfort (some shoes even come with replacement pieces, should you whittle this down). In addition, a good lining, not only improves comfort, but also offers longer wear. Be sure to choose your materials wisely. Of course leather is the best material for pumps, but there are lots of vegan brands out there if you don’t support the use of animal products, such as Free People or Stella McCartney. As a note, synthetics are usually less comfortable and have a shorter shelf life than natural fibers.

Take them to a cobbler… Before you ruin a delicate pair of pumps, you may want to get them resoled at your local cobbler. Preventing damage will create a longer shelf life for your shoes, rather than waiting until the soles are worn and scuffed. While you’re at it, make sure you take the time to spray them with a quality leather protector. I spray mine three times before the first wear to maximize protection.

Choose your shape and cut wisely… Ensure your desired pair of pumps suit your silhouette or body type before making a purchase. Adding a little toe cleavage can actually elongate the look of your foot and leg, creating a more flattering silhouette on your ankles, while ankle straps cut off your legs and may create an unflattering silhouette. Pointy toes also create an illusion of a longer leg, drawing the eye to a single point, and the shape is classic. Slingbacks or peep toes are other great options for those with wider ankles.

Get the height just right… Consider where and what you will be wearing with these  when deciding on a heel height. Will you be sitting at dinners and work, or will you be walking or dancing in said heels? Louboutin makes classic pumps in a basic range of 85mm, 100mm, 120mm or a bold 140mm, and most retailers replicate these sizes. For a versatile heel, I prefer not to exceed 100mm. This height is sufficient to match a cocktail dress, but still suitable for interviews or work.

Try them on at the right time… During the day, your feet swell, so opt for evening to try them on, or take them home and try them again before deciding if they’re for keeps. If the shoes aren’t comfortable in the store, they likely won’t be any more comfortable later on. That being said, researching a brand online is always a good way to determine which styles last, and which wear well once broken in.

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