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Act (less than) your age with your shoe size!

One of the ways we can regain our youthful appearance is by ditching the loafers and sliding into some heels. Nothing ages a woman more than boring sensible shoes. Loafers, athletic shoes, clogs, oxfords, top-siders… these shoes can have their purposes, but thick uppers, Velcro tabs and rubber soles can also be very aging.

Fortunately, shoe designers have been working overtime to create spectacular shoes in a range of styles, fits and heel heights. Ballet flats and smoking slippers provide very stylish options when high heels are not possible. And, for those times when the occasion calls for a stunning pair of heels, take a look at the many great options that marry style, comfort and sex appeal. Here are some of my recent finds, conveniently placed under the Christmas tree:

Here’s a Madden Girl black patent shoe with 3.75 inch heels with a one inch hidden platform. Hidden platforms are a girl’s best friend. They minimize the height difference between your toes and your heel, but give the appearance of soaring high heels. Choosing a narrow heel is more age-appropriate that the chunky style that younger girls wear. Also: avoid platforms that are higher than an inch – thicker platforms are usually found on shoes headed for the nightclub.

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This nude shoe with flower detail from Naturalizer (yes, Naturalizer) is a comfortable, yet sassy shoe with a 3.5 inch heel. And because it’s Naturalizer, the shoe is super easy to wear, with all day comfort. Inside, padded insoles provide cushioning that cradle your feet.

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When you’re feeling especially adventurous, this nude and black Nine West shoe, with enticing ankle strap, has a sky-high 4.25 inch heel for a look that is both sophisticated and sexy. Perhaps choose this shoe when going to the theatre or ballet – times when you need to make a stunning entrance, but will be seated for most of the evening.

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TIPS: buy gel shoe inserts for the ball of your foot. These not only provide extra cushioning, but also keep your foot from sliding forward in your heels. If you haven’t worn heels for a while, start gradually. Re-train your muscles to handle the new demands and practice walking gracefully. Slowly increase the heel height as you get more comfortable. Don’t push it – don’t risk an injury by wearing heels that are too high for you.

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Ultimate holiday gift guide

Ok, folks. You have a wife, mother, sister or aunt to shop for and have no clue what to get. You want something useful… or significant… or memorable… or fun. But you don’t know what she wants.

Huh.

I do. You see, I am a wife, mother, sister and aunt. So here are my suggestions to help you choose the perfect gift for the woman in your life.

EXPERIENCES

  • Tickets to a concert, ballet, opera or symphony. Festival passes. Art show admissions.
  • Salon gift card for mani-pedi, cut and colour, day of pampering.
  • Brunch. With you.

STUFF

  • Gadgets – Samsung Note 2, iPad Mini, Kobo or Kindle.
  • Skincare products – Be a detective: check out her vanity shelf for her favorite brands. Don’t just randomly pick a bunch of bath products. Instead, what’s her favourite skin regimen? I love Estee Lauder and Kiehl’s products – and you can find them on my vanity shelf.
  • Charms and bracelets – if she collects Pandora, Thomas Sabo or Tiffany, choose a charm carefully and thoughtfully to reflect your special memories with her.
  • Scarves – every woman loves a luxurious scarf. Indulge her with a Hermes or Chanel scarf.
  • Small leathers – a beautiful wallet with matching key fob is a lovely gift. What colours does she wear predominantly in her wardrobe? Choose colours in small leathers to match or coordinate.
  • Magazine or newspaper subscription – for the news hound in your life, choose magazines that reflect her special interests. Those who love politics may enjoy a subscription to the Globe and Mail, National Post, New York Times or Washington Post.

SOME GENERAL NOTES:

  • Sue’s basic rule: if it plugs in, it’s a household item not a gift. (Gadgets notwithstanding) This is what women mean by “it’s the thought that counts.” Make it personal.
  • Research the woman on your list. How? Does she have a Pinterest account? Polyvore? What does she talk about on Twitter or Facebook? Is there a shop she loves to frequent?

In other words, with just a little effort you can easily find special gifts for all the wonderful women in your life.