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Shoes With Which to Overawe the Natives | Manolo's Shoe Blog

Shoes With Which to Overawe the Natives

Manolo says, one of the Manolo’s dear internet friends has asked him the question.

Querido Manolo,

I have just received an invitation to present a paper in Helsinki this summer at a conference on the laws of war. This means that I shall be the only twenty-something-year-old female in a hall full of big, gruff, snarly, manlymen. Since genetic constitution and chromosomal make-up render it impossible for me to project an image of gruff, snarly, girlitude, I prefer to present myself as both a lover and a fighter. Could you please recommend a pair of show-stopping shoes that would convey this image?

Further considerations:
(1) Price and heel altitude are distant seconds to superfantasticness.
(2) I think it’s time for me to buy my first Manolos.

If you decide to post this query, could you please leave my name out? Muchisimas gracias!

With warmest wishes from frosty NYC,

Manolo says, mucho-macho, snarly, gruffy-huffy, law-of-war manly men? In Finland?

Oy, to the Manolo this does not sound like fun. Indeed, it sounds as if the Manolo’s nameless friend is riding out to the annual Mongol Golden Horde company picnic, featuring all the roast badger and curdled mares’ milk you can eat, followed by the spirited game of “Kick the Head”.

In this case, she should do as the Manolo does when forced to participate in the strange native rites, behave as if you were the eccentric 19th century British explorer.

Be polite, be friendly, be sympathetic, but make it clear to the cannibalistic savages, through your dress and your comportment, that you represent the superior culture, one which offers these benighted souls the benefits of indoor plumbing and the afternoon tea.

Thus, when the lawyers of war offer you the drink of honeyed mead in the polished skull of their slain-in-battle senior partner, you must sip politely, and smilingly promise them, in your best Queen’s English, that you will return soon with the Royal Navy gunboat and destroy their God-forsaken way of life.

Of the course, in the meantime, the Manolo’s friend must dress in the manner that shows them that she is the powerful and important person in her own culture, one who must not be trifled with (or, at the least, one who must not be cut up and tossed into the bubbling cauldron of lunch.)

What better way to do this than with the aggressively beautiful shoes?

Here are two classic pairs of the Maestro Manolo Blahnik’s shoes that one should not live without.

Carolyne by Manolo Blahnik   Manolo Loves!  CLICK!Carolyne by Manolo Blahnik   Manolo Likes!  Click!

Either in the mid-heel or the high-heel, in the dark brown or the black, these shoes are serious enough for the everyday work, and yet, kick-ass enough to quell the native insurrection.

If one truly wishes to leave the savages speachless, however, then the Manolo suggests these slightly less practical pumps from the Christian Louboutain.

Louboutin Metallic Python Pumps

Metallic python?

Expected reaction: “Ooooooh, shiny! Lawyer Grog think pretty lady in glittery snake shoes have mighty mojo. Must listen attentively to presentation.”

22 Responses to “Shoes With Which to Overawe the Natives”

  1. Occasus March 13, 2007 at 1:00 pm #

    Manolo, I think this is perhaps your greatest post ever. Magnifico!

  2. MademoiselleX March 13, 2007 at 1:26 pm #

    Helsinki is actually a lovely city. If you have time to do shopping, do not miss the Hanna Sarén boutique on Fredrikinkatu. She makes the prettiest shoes.

  3. Shoetopia! March 13, 2007 at 1:43 pm #

    Muchisimas gracias, Manolo! You have, as ever, dazzled me with your wit. I am humbled at your elegantly appointed feets. I will take this advice to heart and sole(s).

  4. Tom March 13, 2007 at 1:46 pm #

    Speaking from experience as a man who has attended many similar conferences I can say without hesitation that no man has ever noticed the shoes of any presenter, male or female. A) you are standing behind a podium, and B) we are men; even if our eyes dropped that low we wouldn’t notice them. So sorry, but the idea that your shoes can convey any impression at all to a male audience is the equivalent of deciding which aria to sing to an audience of the deaf.

  5. Shoetopia! March 13, 2007 at 1:52 pm #

    Well noted, Tom. At the podium I plan to have everyone’s rapt attention focused on my paper. These shoes are for mixing and mingling and eating hot steamy crayfish during the breaks.

  6. mbill March 13, 2007 at 1:57 pm #

    Please post pictures of toes with bright red polish….will help us immensely.

  7. The Blackberrie March 13, 2007 at 2:24 pm #

    Hi! We love your blog…and especially those python Louboutins! Check our style blog The Blackberrie (www.theblackberrie.blogspot.com) and if you like what you see we should link up! xx, the blackberrie girls

  8. Evert Visser March 13, 2007 at 2:28 pm #


    first shoeblog added to the blogroll.

    Muchos G’s.

  9. KD JEWELRY March 13, 2007 at 2:36 pm #

    LOVE the gold python shoes. DEFINITELY go with those!

  10. Jessica March 13, 2007 at 3:36 pm #

    we love Christian Louboutin!

  11. meels March 13, 2007 at 5:17 pm #

    I saw a paper once given by a woman wearing black leather knee-high lace up platform “f**k-me” boots (as the masses call them) and a short skirt. I think even the men noticed.

    But these… what beautiful recommendations! If only conference grants included wardrobe expenses!

  12. Ray March 13, 2007 at 5:48 pm #

    I disagree with Tom who wrote “Speaking from experience as a man who has attended many similar conferences I can say without hesitation that no man has ever noticed the shoes of any presenter…”

    In fact, the way that you can recognize an extroverted mathematician is that you you find him looking at your shoes!

  13. Arvay March 13, 2007 at 5:50 pm #

    Tom, I agree with you in theory, but not in practice. First, my credentials on this topic–I am a geeky, professional woman in a vastly male-dominated field. Both men and women in my field (myself included) tend to be fashion-oblivious. I scarcely notice what my colleagues wear. I couldn’t tell you right this second (three quarters into my day) what my colleague across the hall is wearing. But all that being said, sometimes a person passes me on the street and gives me pause.

    Well-fitting, high-quality clothes and shoes make the wearer stand taller, walk with more confidence, and handle situations with more grace. You don’t have to slouch to keep your lousy bra underwire from poking into your ribs, you don’t have to walk gingerly to keep your lousy shoes from causing your feet pain, you don’t have to keep your arms stiff to keep your lousy jacket from riding up. Etc.

    The fashion-oblivious observer of a well-dressed person doesn’t say, “Wow! He sure does dress nicely! Those are great designer shoes!” NO! That is not even the point! The fashion-oblivious observer says says, “Wow! She sure looks lovely, and I’d like to hear what she has to say!” Which is sort of the point. :)

  14. desertwind March 13, 2007 at 7:14 pm #

    Lordi! But, caution! Steer clear of the Pontikka if you want to stand upright.

    Helsinki is a beautiful city. Good luck to you!

    Don’t forget to have a lovely sauna and a refreshing jump into the lake.

  15. La Petite Acadienne March 13, 2007 at 8:03 pm #

    Regardless of whether anybody at the presentation notices the shoes, the WEARER will notice the shoes. Wearing such kickass shoes will make her feel kickass, and she will carry and comport herself thusly. That beautiful, beautiful confidence will be what people notice.

  16. janlorraine March 13, 2007 at 8:12 pm #

    My father-in-law told me a story about how he received an honorary degree from the University of Sweden and, just after the ceremony, a woman recipient who wore very high heels, tripped on the way down the steps and fell into him and toppled over. So much for high fashion! p.s. My father-in-law was equally uncomfortable in his dress shoes, but much more stable on his feet.

  17. Marc in Iraq March 14, 2007 at 2:26 am #

    First, I recommend wearing some desert tan combat boots- they are comfortable, easy to clean, provide significant ankle support and give you the confidence to blitzkreig any hecklers or naysayers in the audience.

    Second, men DO notice shoes- but as part of the whole ensemble. I may not see a woman and be able to tell you specifically about her shoes, but I know when I see someone who looks sharp, sophisticated, and confident. It’s much like when a civilian sees a military dress uniform, you don’t know what all the pretty little ribbons and shiny things are, but they look ‘superfantastic’. As a guy, I may not be able to put my finger on it, but I know when a woman looks ‘superfantastic’. If the shoes give you that look and aura- then they work!

    Third, go with the metallic python shoes. They are shiny and men, like fish and birds, like shiny things. Plus, and this is very important for me, it’s not my money so I am free to recommend a purchase careless of the cost.

    Lastly, the other choices are very nice too, but don’t go with something much pointier. Much pointier and people will expect you to also be wearing a fur coat made from Dalmation puppies.

    Good Luck! If it get’s rough, I’ll lend you my body armor and kevlar!

  18. Poochie March 14, 2007 at 8:10 am #

    I say “Go for the Louboutins” they are awesome, will make you feel amazing and you will stand out, which is what we should strive for every day. Then don’t be afraid to wear them all the time. You are worth feeling amazing all the time. Don’t just save them for special occassions. This is how wear mine and let me tell you – I get compliments all of the time from men, women, co-workers, strangers. And having an amazing item like this is also a great conversation starter for others, which can be crucial in those “mix and mingle” break periods.

  19. Shake-it-sheikha March 14, 2007 at 10:32 am #

    Choices, choices!

    Il Manolo yet again presents some *lovely* choices for the *lovely* lady-in-question. May I suggest that she stay away from the mid-heels? The high heels, after all, are far better for impaling il professores who dare approach her with the come-ons, while the Louboutins will dazzle them into submission. ;

  20. Katrina March 14, 2007 at 11:08 am #

    Absolutely, go for the Louboutins! And good luck in Helsinki. And coming from Finland myself, just a hint, the people (especially men) there can seem a bit gloomy, but it is just on the outside. If they just listen quietly and stare at you, do not get freaked out. It just means that they are very interested and listening carefully to your super-fantastic presentation. Might come as a culture shock.

    Have fun, I hope you have time to see a little more of the Pearl of the Baltic Sea! For beautiful shoes, check out the quartier Punavuori, where you can also find Hanna Sarén, which MademoiselleX mentioned.

  21. Mis March 14, 2007 at 12:48 pm #

    I recommand to be very careful with the manolo slingbacks. I have the black version and can’t wear them as the strap keeps on sliding. Impossible to walk! I would say the Louboutins might be a little too much for such an event. Having a lot of finish coworkers, I can tell that black patent mary jane do the job perfectly (one size bigger).
    All the best!

  22. Alexandra March 15, 2007 at 3:33 pm #

    Congratulations to you for being the kick ass chick that you obviously are! Good luck in Finland. If you don’t choose the beautiful gold python shoes then please take Marc in Iraq’s offer of the military boots – they are easy to wear and go with everything! And may I say Marc – you and your compatriots are in my thoughts every day and I wish I could bring you all back home from the desert (good luck Marc and God Bless) – and lastly thanks Manolo for your superfantastic words of wisdom! XOXO