Manolo for the Big Girl Fashion, Lifestyle, and Humor for the Plus Sized Woman.

April 4, 2008

The Big Question: Like A Virgin (Hey!) Edition

Filed under: The Big Question,Uncategorized — Miss Plumcake @ 2:53 pm

Last night as I was glamorously soaking my feet in my equally glamorous beige Rubbermaid dishtub full of epsom-salted water and rose oil (ignore the old-folk associations, epsom salt soaks are brilliant) I came upon a picture of The World Famous *Bob* in my copy of Bust Magazine which I’ve almost forgiven for grievously failing to include Manolo for the Big Girl in their write up about Big Girl blogs. She was wearing a blue sequin cocktail dress and suddenly my memory was cast back, Proust-style, to my very first experience of high heels.

It was 1986, I was in 2nd grade and had the lead in a performance of Maurice Sendak’s/Carole King’s “Really Rosie.” Part of my costume –my favorite part actually– was a pair of blue sequined court shoes five sizes too big, which I held onto my feet with those thick rubber bands that come with a head of broccoli, they were a coordinating blue of course.

This little bit of nostalgia leads us to the first Big Question of the month.

Francesca and Plumcake want to know: all about your first pair of heels.


  1. My very first High Heels back in the mid 1960s were black suede, pointed toe, 3 inch, stiletto heels (a la Jackie Kennedy). I had the bouffant hair-do to match. I wore them with a royal blue knit dress that had white cuffs and a white peter pan collar and black buttons on the cuffs and down the back. I felt very grown up and very tall and I walked like I was born to wear them. To this day I seem to buy every pair of black suede shoes that I see. The stockings and garters that went along with those high heels were quite a different story, however. Thank God for panty hose!

    Comment by gemdiva — April 4, 2008 @ 3:17 pm

  2. I was in junior high, and they were white sandals with wide straps and a chunky heel. In retrospect, they were hideous — but hey, it was the ’70s!

    And I was very fond of the ugly things in their day. They felt so girly compared to my wallabees. Actually, wallabees weren’t very attractive either, but absolutely everybody wore them in that place and time.

    Comment by Bridey — April 4, 2008 @ 4:08 pm

  3. I was 17 and had skipped my prom, but needed a dress for Class Night. My mother and I headed to Von Maur where I picked up a gorgeous floor-length black dress with a lace cutout at the midriff for $33, and I got my first pair of heels, a pair of black suede, round-toe, three inch heels that were my go-to dress shoes for four years, until I graduated from college.

    Comment by Amanda — April 4, 2008 @ 4:08 pm

  4. I used to play dress up with my mom’s heels (she had a whole closet full of pumps, and yet she wonders where my sister and I got our shoe obsession). But the first pair of heels I owned myself was when I was 13 or 14. They were Mary Jane’s with platforms and big chunky heels. (Yes, it was the 90s, how did you know? :P)

    Comment by Becky — April 4, 2008 @ 4:25 pm

  5. Besides those horrible clear plastic 5&10 princess shoes (you know, that also came with a plastic tiara and plastic necklace), I was 13, in 8th grade, when I had my first pair of real heels. they weren’t high, only about 2 inches at most, a plain pump which i wore with pantyhose, a peasant skirt, and some god-awful blouse to my 8th grade dance. This was 1980, god help me.

    Comment by Ruth — April 4, 2008 @ 5:18 pm

  6. It was a Saturday morning in 1982, and I was 11 years old. My dad was working and my mom was out and about running errands, when suddenly a fire truck came cruising slowly down my street, with firemen yelling into a bullhorn that the neighborhood was being evacuated due to a gas leak, and everyone had to leave immediately. My brothers and I put our dog on the leash, grabbed a few things, and started walking up the street. Fortunately, a neighbor spotted us on his way out and gave us a ride to my dad’s place of business.

    Anyhoo, we had to spend the night with a family from our church, and we had no church clothes with us for the next day, so my mom took me shopping and bought me a new dress and my first pair of heels. Just like Bridey’s, they were white sandals with wide-ish straps and chunky heels. Let’s face it: they were hideous. But I loved them at the time and practiced walking in them that night so I wouldn’t trip all over myself at church the next day.

    Comment by Cat — April 4, 2008 @ 6:24 pm

  7. I don’t remember what year it was, but Mulan had just come out on home video and it was Christmas morning. My family was pinched for money, so we didn’t get many presents; I got a gorgeous leatherbound copy of the complete works of Shakespeare that my mum had found at a thrift shop, a Soldier Mulan doll and Mulan on video from my grandfather (my sister got an identical doll; the video was for both of us); and, from “Santa” (my father) a pair of black velvet shoes with skinny two-inch heels and a little card saying, “It’s time to put away the childish things and learn to be a lady.” The next day, all my mermaids, fairies, dragons, and teddy bears were out of my room and my mum was teaching me to walk in the shoes.

    Luckily, I’d hidden the Soldier Mulan doll.

    Comment by Calixti — April 4, 2008 @ 6:31 pm

  8. I had the big girl church mary janes with the 1″ heel in 1st grade. My first pair of real, honest-to-god heels were purchased for me when I was 12 or 13 (circa 1994) by my dad. We were going to Colorado and had stopped in Santa Fe to wander around for a couple of days. Mom was off buying more jewelry, so he and I went to J. Crew and emerged with two pairs of shoes for me. The red suede espadrilles were flat, but the last remaining pair of perfectly retro pumps that just happened to be in my size were most certainly not.

    The pumps were round-toed black leather with a 3″ sturdy stacked heel. The toes had a black leather cap with the perforated and zig-zag leather border one sees on wing-tips. They were on sale for $98. I wore them to my first job interview at 20, and I think I probably still have them in my Classic Pieces to Keep clothing collection at my parents’ house.

    Comment by Sara — April 4, 2008 @ 7:10 pm

  9. Ooh, I can get into this one. My mother and I had the same size feet for a little while – mine are now a couple of sizes bigger, boo – and I borrowed a pair of pewter round toed, two-inch stacked heel pumps.

    The first pair of heels that I really remember being mine though, were a pair of pewter (hmm, I did like those metallics!) sandals/slides, with a chunky, 90s heel of about three inches. I was twelve, and I was sooooo grown up.

    After that I swore off heels for a while, as my feet grew and they started to hurt. Now I’m a working girl and can finally afford them, and of course am living in Japan, where there are some gorgeous shoes, but that never go NEAR my size. *sigh*

    Comment by Zoe — April 4, 2008 @ 8:07 pm

  10. I remember my first two pairs. One was a pair of black satin 2 inch heels to go with my dress for the junior class banquet. The second was a pair of natural linen french heels, also about two inches, that matched the linen dress I had for my graduation. My high school had a tradition of having the girls wear white caps and gowns, so it was best to wear a pale dress underneath that didn’t show through.

    Comment by Kate — April 4, 2008 @ 9:51 pm

  11. For a seventh grade Catholic school dance, mom treated me to my first heels. Then I wasn’t allowed to wear them to the dance, who knows why. So, in my kilt, fair isle sweater and knee socks, I slipped on my smuggled-in tan three inch high plastic heeled CANDIES!!! I can only attribute the extraordinary bad taste of mom and me on her fresh divorce from dad. She improved this look with my first pair of eyeglasses: huge Diane von Furstenberg pink plastic frames with a crystal heart on the bottom right of the lens. Be kind ladies. Its still traumatic!

    Comment by Peaches — April 4, 2008 @ 10:42 pm

  12. It was 1970. I was 14 in small town NC. The local college was having a traveling performance of LaBoheme. I had never been to an opera, my family listened either to country or rock. They thought I was so weird for wanting to go. Everything I knew about opera, I had learned from novels so I knew you were suppose to dress for the Met. I took some of my saved babysitting money (supposed to be for college), went to the local Goodwill shop and bought a very Jackiesque long column dress with beading on the bodice, long white gloves, 3″ heels, rhinestone jewelry and a ringlet fall hair piece. I felt like a Princess! I think I spent a huge $18.00 for the whole set up. I practiced walking with a book on my head for 5 days so I could glide like the girls in my books. The night of the opera, my mother dropped me off alone in front of the auditorium. Ever so slowly, skirt lifted just so, I walked up the stairs. I had so many people looking and whispering (I was the only one there in formal wear of course!) and several kind people told me how lovely I looked. It was the most enchanted evening I remember, the night I fell in love with opera and high heels.

    Comment by Jennie — April 4, 2008 @ 10:53 pm

  13. My first heels – 1964 – My mom made me a black and white houndstooth suit (a SUIT) to wear to my cousin’s bar mitzva and we went downtown and bought me a pair of black leather heels – with a little t-strap in the front down near the toe and probably a 2″ heel. The ceremony was 4 hours away; there had been a family fight between my father and my grandfather so we got stuck all the way in the nose-bleed section of the synogogue. My father gave my cousin his “fountain pen” out in the parking lot. Quelle disastre!

    Comment by Toby Wollin — April 5, 2008 @ 8:00 am

  14. My first real pair of heels were the black, strappy Unlisted sandals I bought to wear to my first high school dance. I had no idea that over the course of the next year, almost every girl in my class would purchase knock-offs of that particular sandal, and I would be the only one with the original version. Mine, being of slightly better quality, outlasted everyone else’s–I wore them to every high school dance and my first college dance, and never got blisters or had to take the shoes off. The heel strap kept them on, the chunky heel was the perfect height for me and very comfortable for dancing, and they looked pretty on my feet. I had to let them go six years after buying them because they were literally falling apart, and I’ve never found any dress sandals that were as comfortable.

    Comment by JaneC — April 6, 2008 @ 12:24 am

  15. Oh! High heels! Okay, so my sister and I loooooooooved high heels when we were, like, five and two. We made my mother promise that, as soon as we found heels that really FIT in a real shoe store, we could get them and wear them for real. My mother, who to this day is a ladies’ size 5 1/2, promised, figuring that she had a good long time before that happened. LITTLE DID SHE KNOW that I would have a huge growth spurt when I was seven, and get up to a ladies’ 5. I found a pair of purple 3″ pumps in a TJ Maxx shortly thereafter, and she was bound by her world. I wore them to church, and Mum says that everyone looked at her like she was crazy, allowing this little kid to wear heels, but what could she do?

    My sister, who did not grow quite so precipitously as I had, also managed to get around it a few years later by finding a pair of 3 inchers in a ladies’ size three.

    Comment by Scarlett — April 6, 2008 @ 10:16 am

  16. When I was about 13, taller than all my classmates & my teacher, and one of the tormented “geeks”, my classmates shocked my nearly unconscious by voting for me as our class rep in the school charity fashion show. Like I said, very tall & very scrawny, all I can think of. But it was the first positive social thing to come my way in 3 years, so I jumped at it. They told me I needed low heels to do this, so my equally stunned mother took me to buy white leather 2″ pumps. I wore them for that show, gr. 8 grad (like a prom for wee teens), and modelling classes for the next 2 years.

    Turns out I hated having my picture taken, hated wearing heels, and hated being told when I was clinically 15 lbs. underweight (doctor was after me to eat more), that I needed to LOSE 15 pounds. But the classes did help a lot with my low self esteem because I learned to stand up straight & how to groom myself. Fortunately I was tough enough to shake off the unhealthier programming. And those heels DID pitch me off the class “runway” into the lap of the CUTEST surfer-boy!

    Comment by QuiteLight — April 6, 2008 @ 9:04 pm

  17. I was a sophomore in high school and received my first invitation to a dance: the winter semi-formal. I was also completely out of touch with high school fashion, as I discovered when I arrived in my black pencil skirt, black satin long-sleeved blouse (with lace trim), and black pumps. All the other girls were wearing pastel floor-length dresses with lots of ecru or white lace: the prairie style that Gunne Sax made popular. It was 1977.

    My reputation was made! So to speak. At least I got asked to dance *way* more than the other girls.

    Comment by Kai Jones — April 7, 2008 @ 2:32 pm

  18. A Sears department store in Georgia, sometime around 1978. I was in junior high school and THEY were perched on a clearance sale rack. Black 2 1/2″ heels with a perforated toe, closed back and open sides. Not quite d’orsay and not quite my size. I wore those bad boys till the “pleather” cracked to pieces and my toes were permanently pinched. Good memories…

    Comment by Mrs Mathis — April 7, 2008 @ 2:39 pm

  19. I was 14 and went on vacation and bought these wonderfully high heels with an ankle strap and rounded front. Man, whenever I see some like’m I still wish for them. I will say I wore those puppies until a size 8.5 no longer worked for my size 9s. My great grandmother always insisted on the ladylike stuff…finishing lessons, heels, and garter belts…but that’s a comment for another column :-) I just tuned 40 two weeks ago but what a magical delight having pantyhose in a flat box and a pair of heels were.

    Comment by Roberta S — April 25, 2008 @ 7:19 pm

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