Gracey the Giant
Being a tall girl can be challenging in the fashion world, especially when it comes to finding shoes in bigger sizes. “Gracey the Giant” knows all about that plight. A Pennsylvania transplant who started her own plus-size fashion blog, Fashion for Giants, Gracey has become a pro at finding fashionable kicks. This week, I had the pleasure of talking shoes and shop with the fabulous Gracey, and we discussed everything from style inspiration to the dream shoes we wish we had in our closets.
- What are your style inspirations?
I get inspired by all sorts of things: blogs, books, Pinterest (I LOVE Pinterest), movies, all of it.
- What inspired you to start you blog, Fashion for Giants?
I started Fashion for Giants because at the time, I couldn't find any bloggers who were built like me, both tall and a bit bigger than average. And I thought that if I was looking for inspiration, others might be too, because, personally, I am able to relate more to bloggers that I have something in common with.
- What are your top 3 must-have shoe styles to own?
A cute flat; preferably something printed and/or colorful. Also, something animal print; I love animal print and popping on an animal print shoe can completely perk up an outfit. And, finally, a perfect black pump. I'm sad to say I'm still looking for that one.
- What are the biggest challenges you face shopping for large-sized shoes?
Finding them in stock is a huge challenge, especially in brick and mortar stores. That's why I prefer to get my shoes online where there is a better selection. Yes, I'd like to be able to try shoes on first, but it doesn't always work out for those of us who wear larger sizes.
- What do you look for when finding the perfect fit for shoes?
I want a shoe that fits comfortably enough that I'm not walking out of it in the morning, but not so tight that by the afternoon when my feet have swollen a bit, it feels like I've lost all circulation. Basically, I need to be able to wear a shoe all day, or all night, long without wanting to cry and/or be carried everywhere.
- What is one style of shoe to splurge on? And is there a particular style of shoe you don’t have to spend a lot of money on? If so, what are they?
I'm thinking the perfect black pump might be the shoe I need to splurge on. They really are a great wardrobe basic so I think spending more on them is worth it. As for shoes I won't/don't splurge on, I'd say flat summer sandals. I get a pair from Target every year and they do the job for less than $20. Now, of course, if I had a job where I was wearing sandals every day and only wearing black pumps for funerals and graduations, I'd reverse that and splurge on the sandals and save on the pumps.
- Are there any styles you avoid when finding the perfect shoe? And why?
Clogs, I just don't like the way they look on me. I know they're comfortable, but they're just not my style. The same is true for menswear-inspired oxfords and such; I don't like how the high vamp looks on me, so I usually avoid those as well.
- Do you have a favorite shoe at the moment? If so, what is it?
I just got a pair of black, heeled Isola sandals with buckles and they are the most comfortable shoes ever; I want to wear them everywhere, every day.
- Many tall women feel intimidated wearing heels with their height. How do you feel about wearing heels, and what do you have to say to those who are iffy to try them on?
I wear heels all the time because I believe that the proportions of some outfits look better with heels. Also, I've never had a problem being tall and therefore don't mind being three or four inches taller. And finally, heels, especially a well-proportioned wedge, have the advantage of making large feet look smaller, so, they have that going for them.
For those who are hesitant to wear heels, I say start low and chunky. A low-heeled shoe won't make you feel too much like a giant and if you're unused to heels, a chunky heel will be much easier to walk in.
- Are there any styles of shoe that you haven’t been able to find in larger sizes, and would like to? If so, what styles are they?
I'd like to see more printed flats - I really do love a printed shoe! And I'd also like to see more fun tied and tasseled heeled sandals. Ooh, and fringe. I'd love some fringed shoes!
- Have you ever had a shoe fashion faux-pas? If so, what was it and what did you learn from the experience?
Yes, actually, I have. I purchased a pair of studded 1970s sandals at a local vintage shop and when I wore them to a production of Mama Mia! the strap broke. I had to walk to and from the venue with my sandal just flopping around on my foot! The lesson I learned is to beware of vintage shoes. I love vintage, but even leather starts to deteriorate eventually, especially if it's not cared for, and can cause shoe wardrobe malfunctions!
- Lastly, any tips and tricks on how to take care of your shoes so they last longer?
Waterproofing! Before I moved to Pennsylvania, I lived in Oregon and therefore got in the habit of waterproofing everything. I cannot recommend it enough. You can usually get great waterproofing products from your local cobbler. Oh, speaking of the local cobbler, I also recommend resoling any leather-soled shoes with an all-weather sole. It will add years of life to your shoes.
Rachael Kuhl is an aspiring fashion journalist and certified shoe diva. After graduating from California State University, Fullerton with honors in both English and Film, Rachael decided to pursue her passion for fashion and became a shoe specialist. With tons of retail experience, and a love of all things shoe-related, Rachael devotes her time to shopping and writing about the latest, greatest, and best in the fashion world. When she’s not spending her paycheck on shoes, Rachael is either traveling the world or wine tasting with her friends.