It’s a Nice Day for a White Graduation

By Amalah

Hi Amy,
You are fabulous and Noah is absolutely adorable. You always give such great advice so I am hoping you can help me. For graduation I have to wear a white dress, white gloves, and white shoes. After many shopping trips I have finally found a dress that I am happy with. Unfortunately, I have not been able to find suitable shoes. The shoes must be white and closed toe. They should also be comfortable since I’ll have to wear them for hours at a time. My graduation is coming up in a few weeks and I would really appreciate if you could help me find a great pair of shoes. My dress is nearly floor length but my shoes will be mostly visible. Thank you,
P.S. Even if you don’t post this on Advice Smackdown I would really appreciate if you have any suggestions. I’ve already checked many stores in San Francisco but I can’t find shoes that fit the specifications that my school requires. I am hoping to not spend more than $100 on shoes since that’s how much I paid for my dress. Everyone in my class seems to have already gotten shoes but the ones they bought are way more than I can afford.
P.P.S. Thank you for your last article about body image.

Oh man, the closed-toe thing. That’s the killer here, even more than price. White shoes are typically either 1) bridal or 2) super-summery, and both of those tend to be open-toe. What does your school have against TOES? What’s wrong with toes? Are they trying to protect your little white, virginal selves against those creepy foot fetishists? Because I think those guys tend to skip graduation ceremonies in favor of sitting on the computer favorite-ing shoe photos on Flickr.
(TANGENT! My lands, isn’t it time to do away with the head-to-toe white clothing for graduating girls? Why must we equate the admirable completion of education with a wedding, like these are similar high points in a modern woman’s life? I went to my niece’s graduation from a prestigious, academically-rigorous all-girls’ school last year, and was kind of icked out by dozens of Ivy-league-bound young women walking down a church aisle in floor-length white dresses, clutching roses. I at least got to put a white cap and gown over my white dress back at my graduation [the boys wore red gowns, natch] so I felt vaguely more scholarly and less bride-y, at least until the reception afterwards, when all the girls sat around awkwardly in white dresses we would NEVER wear again, petrified that someone would spill punch on us.)
So, obviously you know already that white closed-toe shoes are just not that common. I couldn’t find anything at most department stores, and then smaller stores were all kind of…teenybopper and cheap-looking. Searching for that exact term online predictably turns up a lot of prom boutiques and the same two or three satin dyeable styles, all of which LOOK perfectly serviceable, not probably not very comfortable. And then there are a couple beautiful styles by designers like Kate Spade and Stuart Weitzman, all of which are multiple hundreds of dollars and I’m guessing exist SOLELY to appease the prep-school graduation crowd. Whatever. You will probably not wear white pumps many times in your life, unless you regularly participate in local Easter parades, or something.
It took me awhile to figure out, but Zappos does let you sort by both color and toe style (my biggest complaint with that site remains the crazy MASSIVENESS of it). I ran searches for both round toes and pointed toes — I personally think round toes are more comfortable, but some people prefer the look of a point. Here are my under-$100 faves….
rocketdogotto.jpgRocket Dog Otto, $69.99. I picked these for two reasons. 1) Rocket Dogs are incredibly comfortable, and 2) check out the striking resemblance to this pair by Kate Spade. Plus there’s something both classic and funky about them that would double your odds of being able to wear them again, maybe with some skinny jeans or a bright-patterned dress.
rsvp Jewel, $90. Depending on how you feel about bows and/or patent leather and/or wedge heels, these do stand out in a sea of plain white pumps. They’d be less wobbly to walk in if you’re not accustomed to a high heel height, and the wedge makes them a lot less bridal/prommy than a lot of the other styles.
Gabriella Rocha Flore, $70. I go back and forth on the heel of this shoe, but I love love love Mary Janes and always will, particularly with longer-length dresses where the strap just peeks out.
BCBG Girls Nice, $93. If you look at Zappos’ collection of white pointy-toed heels, you’ll see at least half a dozen slight variations on this style. It’s about as basic of a pump as you can get. I picked out the BCBG Girls’ version not because it’s drastically cuter or different, but because it’s a brand I wear quite often and am always happy with the quality and the comfort — which is essential when you’re up on a long, skinny little heel like that. I am pretty sure I have this exact style in black leather, actually.
akdorsay.jpgAK Anne Klein Christa, $83. I love the look of D’Orsay pumps, but if they don’t fit properly, you can go nuts trying to keep your heel in the shoe — these aren’t true D’Orsays, but you might still have some fit issues. Another potential downside — the “ivory patent” color might not be a true white, although it’s hard to tell from the photo. These would be one of those “oh, what the hell” styles I toss into my order just to try on even though I know I’ll most likely return them. (Free return shipping, yay!) One plus? A recent purchase of Anne Klein patent peep-toes turned out to be the most comfortable heels I’ve worn in ages.
I’d encourage you to run those searches for yourself, since I did leave out a lot of shoes that *technically* fit the bill, but didn’t seem to jump out at me. I wasn’t sure how your felt about ornamentation (buckles, contrast trim, etc.) and I personally will never, ever wear a slingback style because they literally tear my ankles into shreds and I hate them. But that could just be my own freak foot. I also skipped completely over Zappos’ selection of satin dyeables, since I assume you’ve already seen and rejected most of them. Plus, the minute you say “comfort” I say “leather.” (Although owning a pair of dyeables is nothing to sniff at, since they’ll certainly come in handy the first time you’re asked to be a bridesmaid and are tasked with finding closed-toe tangerine pumps.)
Good luck finding something soon, and hey, maybe you can wear them to your wedding someday! Gosh, wouldn’t that just be sooo peachy keen?

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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