"Accessory" sounds so optional, "footwear" so pedestrian. A woman's shoes speak volumes about her personality. "Shoes are really more attitude than fashion statement," said Lauretta Rundgren, co-owner of Lula's Vintage Boutique and a self-described shoe fanatic. She is one of three women who talked about what they wear and why.
Fun and Funky
Rundgren's shoes run the spectrum.
"You name it: brand-spanking new or nicely broken-in vintage, sandals, flip-flops, heels, flats, sneakers, pumps, peep-toes ... oh, and don't forget the biker boots," the 49-year-old said. "They can totally make your day if they are cute enough."
Yes, cute trumps comfort.
"Wear what you love, the funkier the better. If they are cute beyond belief, you can always scrunch your toes and find a spot to sit for most of the night -- somewhere they will be seen, of course. Nah, go ahead and dance. Go barefoot all day tomorrow."
Rundgren loves pricey shoes, such as Prada, but she does knockoffs, too, because "cheap is always great for seasonal, trendy looks."
If her shoes could talk, they would speak of a woman who doesn't take herself too seriously.
"Truly, I don't act my age. Never have and never will. I have a passion for life that goes beyond comfortable shoes."
Knows her Priorities
Becky Lichty, 56, of Rockford says her love affair with shoes goes way back.
Lichty's high school yearbook calls her "the height of fashion," an honor probably bestowed because of all of her shoes and matching purses.
Sometimes the shoes come before the outfit.
She bought a pair of black patent leather pumps with big white buttons, then bought a black dress with polka dots to go with them.
"If I am in a daring or devious mood, then the brighter the color," she said. "If you went through my shoes, I think that you would see me as adventurous. You would think that I enjoy fun because most of my shoes are fun."
She owns about 35 pairs of shoes and boots -- and has the inside track on many more.
"Since my daughter Julie Thomas is part owner of Girlie Girl Shoes, I get phone calls from her saying, 'Mom, you should see what we just got in!'"
Joy Sockwell admits having a shoe fetish.
The 32-year-old owns at least 150 pairs of shoes -- "I quit counting" -- and that's just from the past couple of years. If a pair goes unworn for a year, it gets kicked out of the collection.
"I just took a bunch to the Goodwill store," the Loves Park resident said. "I don't keep shoes because the heel styles change and the toe changes."
Sockwell's job as a pharmaceutical rep requires business attire, but she's just as likely to wear a pink suit as basic black or blue. Her favorite color for shoes is red, and forget about boring flats; she's all about the stiletto.
She likes designer Jimmy Choo, but life isn't "Sex and the City"; price matters.
"I haven't bought a pair of $100 shoes yet. I'm just not ready to go there."
You'll more likely catch her at a Nine West outlet or T.J. Maxx, where she knows which day of the week new shipments arrive.
Just like the license plates she used to sport ("Foxy Brown"), her shoes make a statement: "I am sophisticated but outgoing and fun ... and frugal."
Contact Edith C. Webster at firstname.lastname@example.org.