Advice for the Big Leg Lady

By Manolo the Shoeblogger

Manolo says, Furlagirl, one of the the Manolo’s dear internet friends, has asked the Manolo for advice.

Suppose you are a woman born in the same year as Isabella Rossellini, i.e. no long in the first glow of youth, but still prowling the halls of Harvey Nicks and Barney’s when in New York for the superfantastic everything. Now imagine that you emerged (by caesarian section) from your mother’s womb at 9 lbs, 10 oz. a big baby with big bones, prone to building big muscles. Suppose, even when you were the US size 4 (now the US size 10, trying to get back to US size 8) you always had terrible legs By this I mean: wide feet that many shoes do not fit; thick ankles so that ankle straps often will not do up; calves that no conventional bootmaker can fit; dimpled knees – and for the sake of the Manolo I will draw a veil over what lies above, but it’s not any better.

Here is my question: such a woman might have spent all her life thus far drawing the attention AWAY from the legs. Buying the shoes that were not superfantastic because she did not want anyone to notice the feet. Not, I hasten to say, buying the cheap, ugly shoes, but the shoes that do not make anyone say WOW! Yet here she is in these days post-Sex in the City, when everyone else she knows is crying shoes shoes shoes! Has this woman made a big mistake and she must start paying hundreds and hundreds of the British pounds for the Manolo Blahniks and Jimmy Choos, (which are often too narrow) or should she trust her instincts and stick with the tactic of spending the money on handbags and jewelry?

The short answer of the Manolo is that you must never! Not ever? No never! Give up on the shoes. There are beautiful and alluring shoes for every sort of the foot, even those feets which are perhaps not perfect.

The longer answer it is that these sorts of the questions are so difficult to answer; difficult because the Manolo can sense the emotional anguish behind them. Worse, such questions are depressingly common, as perhaps the majority of the womens believe that their lower extremities are not what they should be.

One must remember that there are always the ways to minimize the physical flaws while still wearing the stylish clothes and shoes.

As the Manolo has noted in the past, if you are the big leg professional woman of the certain age, you may take as one of your stylistic models the Hillary Clinton, whose own flaws are not dissimilar. The Hillary she wears the pants suits with the flowing legs, and she is not, to the mind of the Manolo, unstylish.

As for the shoes, the Manolo is certain that the Furlagirl already knows the sensible advice for the women with the thick ankles: no flats, no ankle straps, no stiletto heels. However, what she perhaps does not know is that increasingly, super fantastic shoes are being made for the thick ankled, wide-feeted women, and that there is now the hope for those who’ve had to in the past suffer.

For the example…

Marcia by the Taryn Rose     Manolo Likes!  Click!
This glamorous shoe from the Taryn Rose has the wide foot bed for the bigger foot and the metallic color and the flowery detail that the Manolo believes are of the moment.

Many times in the past the Manolo has mentioned the shoes of the Taryn Rose, as being suitable for the super fantastic girl with the large feets, and many times in the past some of the friends of the Manolo have complained about them not looking super fantastic, however, it has been the hard won experience of the Manolo that the Taryn Rose are the rare shoes that look much better on the feets than they do in the pictures.

Finally, and as always, the Manolo reminds you that you the proper attitude accounts for perhaps 75% of the mystical quality of attractiveness.


25 Responses to “Advice for the Big Leg Lady”

  1. Fausta Says:

    Rather than the over-Botoxed Hillary, the Fausta suggests the Queen Sofia of Spain as stylistic model.

  2. Anne Says:

    Was that a Gilbert and Sullivan reference that you snuck in there? Or did I just imagine it?

  3. jpt Says:

    Excellent question, interesting response. Together, they bring to mind a question I have long pondered. I love the Hollywood glamour shots of Garbo, Dietrich, and Kate Hepurn dressed in men’s clothing, and I believe that worn correctly, masculine-looking clothing can enhance, rather than suppress, one’s femininity. But is this true for footwear as well? Are there men’s shoes that a superfantastic woman would wear?

  4. jj Says:

    While some of the shoes of the Taryn Rose are indeed ugly, some of them are lovely. You just have to be picky. And they are a great blessing for those of us with past foot injuries as well as those blessed with great breadth of foot.

  5. furlagirl Says:

    Sadly, though I have indeed bought a pair of the superfantastic Taryn Rose shoes when I was in DC a couple of years ago, they are not available at all here in Britain.

  6. RZA Says:

    Furlagirl, according to Taryn Rose’s website, they now sell through several stores and other websites. Perhaps one of those stores or websites ships or could be induced to ship to you internationally? Somewhere like Nordstroms, which is known for its customer service?

  7. furlagirl Says:

    The cost of shipping internationally is high, it takes usually a couple of weeks for them to arrive, plus you have to pay customs and excise taxes at this end. Then if the shoes don’t fit, or you need the next size up or down, you have to send them back again by which time your size is sold out.

  8. desertwind Says:

    The English Rose is known for the beautiful skin and the thick ankle. There MUST be somewhere in Britain (Home of the King’s Navy, after all) that sells superfantastic shoes just right for you, Furlagirl!

    The Manolo is right and you must change the way you look at the shoes.

    Go girl!

  9. La BellaDonna Says:

    La BellaDonna, she has the excellent pair of the lady’s monkstrap shoes, like unto that of the gentleman, made of the soft black leather, and styled like the streamlined … monkstrap. It is an excellent shoe for the trouser, but La BellaDonna, she wears it with the skirts as well (and when she goes home, will peek inside to see who made it).

    Does the Furlagirl have to do The Shipping Dance via the Zappo’s? Can she obtain her shoes through them?

  10. furlagirl Says:

    From the Zappos website:

    Q: Do you ship to addresses outside the United States?
    A: We ship to all US States and Territories. Sorry, we do not ship internationally at this time

  11. la petite chou chou Says:

    This is interesting and reminds me of this rather stupid commercial I saw that claims London as the world’s premier fashion setter. Somthing like “all the world’s fashion ideas begin here” which leads me to think I must have been right when I thought the commercial was FULL of IT. If you can’t find good shoes, it must be a lie.

  12. Talmida Says:

    I have never seen Manolo mention the Beautifeel shoes ( from Israel. These are the most expensive (and comfortable) shoes I have ever worn. They are not the highest fashion, but they are discreet and elegant, and excellent for the wide foot, the injured foot, or those who must do a lot of walking. They are available in Canada — perhaps in Britain also?

  13. Tara Says:

    My hopes are dashed! I am of a similar problem shoe-wise. I have very small feet, but they are very wide with very high arches. I will wear very plain pumps which will have the wide widths and I was hoping that Taryn Rose would carry the wide. But all I can find online are the B widths. I can only do that if I cut off a portion of my foot. I have gotten custom boots and shoes, but that tends to just be for my horseback riding boots and paddock boots (or else I don’t get to wear any). Ahh well..

  14. furlagirl Says:

    Talmidia, thank you. They do sell in the UK. Annoyingly I was in Israel less than two weeks ago so could have bought them there. I have seen a lot of Israeli women wearing them.

    Israeli shoes are odd, they are on their own fashion loop – square toe is in, at the moment.

  15. Sarah Says:

    Sierra Trading Post sells a limited number of Taryn Rose shoes (up to a size 13, but don’t know about widths). They ship to the UK.

    The shoes are on sale, so many of them are around $100 (but other pairs cost around $250).

  16. evanajoy Says:

    Do you have plus-size catalogs in the UK? I know Lane Bryant here sells super-wide shoes in their catalog. Of course, they are not the finest quality, or the highest price.

  17. Ed Says:

    Furlagirl, my dream, I am the strong hairy man. The Manolo leads to, and illuminates grace. You will know it and wear it. And I will see it. I see it not on your feet, but in your smile. And I see your smile in your eyes, your dancing, skipping, playful eyes. I see that you wear it for me, and I must have you. Oh, that I were the greater man, That I could wish for your beauty to move mankind. But I am a small man. And as your beauty burns and clarifies me I wish only, that I possess you. To be a part, be I but a photon, of your light. If I may not wear you on my arm, then be kind to your feet. You wear a bit of my heart on the sole of your shoe.

  18. furlagirl Says:


  19. la petite chou chou Says:


    I could say sooooo much about that.

  20. Em Says:

    Oh boy. Manolo, is this the best answer you could come up with? Must have been a hard day at the office today. Please! Those Taryn Rose shoes are fugly!

    I am a big-boned women over 40 and wear a size 10 shoe. Everything about me is big, though I’m not FAT. (Well, maybe by Manolo standards I’m fat: at 5’6″ I’m a size 8-10) My ankles are 10″: and my wrist is 6.5″ (and not an ounce of body fat on these parts). I can only wear extra-large hats! My calves are a muscular 16″. They are shapely, however, not stumpy.

    Here’s what works for me and may work for you.

    Wear a CHUNKY heel. Make it at close to 3″. The chunkiness of the heel will match well with the chunkiness of your calves. Franco Sarto, Enzo and Nine West make mid-priced shoes what fit a wider foot. Here is a perfect shoe for women with larger legs. Incredibly flattering and sexy. (It’s higher than it looks in the picture.)

    Wear black matte tights with your chunky shoes. OR buy shoes that match your flesh tone. (like the shoe above) This way the shoe dissappears into your skin. I live all summer long in suede espadrilles with ankle wrap straps. (That’s right, on my big ankles!) Their color is a beige-y tone that just dissappears into my skin

    Also, certain fishnets, especially larger patterns, can actually make your legs look smaller. (It’s a matter of fooling the eye into noticing the pattern rather than your legs.)

    Finally, don’t let flamingo-legged chicks intimidate you into feeling bad about your muscular legs and bigger bones! Plenty of men like women with meatier legs.

  21. Cindi Says:

    Thank you for this wonderful post! I too am a larger but sexy as hell chick! Thank you for the GREAT advice! I LOVE my chunky black heels! :0)


  22. Mary Says:

    I work as a San Francisco tourguide, which involves a lot of standing and waiting at the airport, in front of hotels and so on… (sort of like another women’s profession…) I have discovered a German brand name, RIEKER’S, which sell for about $100 online, some of the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn, goes with everything, sharp, well-made shoes. Often they’re produced in Morocco or the Czech Republic, I’ve noticed, not in China or Brazil.

    What is also an amazing resemblance to these are the Beautifeel shoes, made in Israel, especially the model called Dana, with the same swirl patterns and heels. I suspect it’s more than a coincidence – who’s copying whom? Oh well – that’s competition in any field; and they’re also more expensive $169 and up. Once you try these two brand names, you won’t go back to the cheaper, less comfortable shoes again.


  23. pbird Says:

    Dearest Manolo:
    I guarantee that you can’t find a stylish shoe for me. I wear 13/14 in an extra wide. For dress I have to wear diabetic type maryjanes or some sort of orthopedic sandal. Its pretty grim. If I wanted to wear cheesy stilettos I could wear stuff meant for transsexuals, but I’m not going to do that. I am seriously considering custom shoes. I am near Seattle. I know of a sandal maker, but no shoemakers…
    For everyday I wear Keen’s weird sandals or athletic shoes in men’s sizes. Sigh.

  24. mari Says:

    I agree Reiker are really comfortable shoes.. but in terms of style, they are no where near as beautiful as Beautifeel shoes. Reiker does not make dress/evening shoes… at best, they make _some_ stylish sandals. Most of their shoes are very ugly. I don’t know what you are talking about Mary with the Dana style. Reiker shoes are named by _general_ style, and Dana is a clunky heeled slip on/loafer. Personally, I prefer the Hilary style, there was once a cute Mary Jane version. They are more comfy than sneakers. The new Elvira style does look promising tho for cool fall boots.

  25. cosmetic surgery Says:

    I like what you guys are doing. Such clever work and reporting! Carry on with the superb works guys. I’ve incorporated you guys to my blogroll. I think it’ll improve the value of my web site. :)

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