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Dawn's Column How Do I Choose?
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At the risk of sounding self indulgent, I've recently found myself partaking in a little retail therapy. Shoes and jewelry have been a recent focus. It started with me needing them for an upcoming special event. But then I found my eye wandering to other shoes and jewelry items that aren't currently needed instead of just focusing on what I went shopping for in the first place.

Although my selection of shoes and jewelry is one that has been added to and edited over time and should be sufficient, it seems like whenever I have some occasion come up, whatever is in my collection isn't quite right. Why is that?

This fundraising event my husband and I will be attending is one we've talked about for the past couple of years but haven't been able to make. Last year, we were kind of busy planning our wedding, and coincidentally, it seems I was having a similar need to find new shoes and jewelry then, too.

I have the perfect dress in my closet to wear to this affair, but a couple weeks ago I thought it'd be a good idea to try it on because it's been a while since I've worn it. It's a good thing I didn't wait until the night of the event to do this. Shockingly (insert chuckle here), it was a little snug and while my husband thought it looked great, I felt it was important that I not have a wardrobe malfunction in front of friends and strangers.

Fortunately, I hit the right boutique and found a great dress that fit perfectly without need for alterations and I was pretty sure I had the right shoes, but may need some different jewelry. The stuff I wore with last year's white gown, doesn't really work with the new black one.

I bought a necklace and earrings when I got the dress, but then changed my mind when I got home about wearing it all together. But I still like the necklace and earrings, so I plan to keep them. I told my husband that I can wear them with other outfits.

I've decided that instead of the necklace and earrings, that long earrings and bangle bracelets would work best. But my long earrings that looked good with the new dress are heavy and tug a little on my earlobes. Another pair that I thought would go with everything weren't quite the right look for it either.

Conveniently, there's a great boutique near my work and I found some beautiful earrings there. Actually, there were two different pairs, but I only bought one. However, the other pair is still calling my name.

Later, I took a look in my closet and began pulling out various black high heels to try on, any of which should have looked great with the dress. Would it be closed toe, peep toe, platform, strappy, patent or fabric? Well, it came down to just a couple of pairs, and really it was one pair in particular that looked the best. They look really fabulous but wouldn't you know they're the most uncomfortable pair I own.

Knowing I'll be on my feet most of the evening and possibly even dancing, wearing these shoes would be like asking for an aching back and barking dogs. Not even those little padded shoe inserts would help me now.

My husband thought the sexy, tall, stiletto heels looked good, couldn't I just wear those, he asked. Unfortunately, my days of wearing shoes like that for any period of time are long gone. I'm positive that he wouldn't find my complaining about my hurting feet before the night was over to be very sexy. I had to hit the shoe departments at a couple of my favorite haunts to see about finding a more age-accommodating heel.

I think it makes my husband nervous whenever I go shoe shopping. He knows I can never just look at the particular type I need or just try on one pair. I think he worries that my shoes will one day overtake all of his closet space.

This hasn't happened yet.

Since I had some other business to attend to and to ensure greater selection, I took a little drive to shoe shop at a mall on the other side of the Altamont.

Right now is like the best of times and the worst of times to go shoe shopping. The sales are on (best) and it's prom season (worst). There were so many people in the shoe department at one store; they clogged the aisles and cash registers and seating areas while the sales people balanced precarious stacks of shoeboxes and hurried around to meet their customers' demands.

I tried on two pairs and selected the most comfortable pair, but if you bought two pair you'd get a larger percentage off. So I informed my shopping companion that it would be a good idea for her to find a pair of shoes as well. It was a better deal for both of us. But don't think I didn't notice all the other cute shoes that were on sale.

Hitting the jewelry department of another store for the aforementioned bangles resulted in the jackpot ... for the department store. I purchased three of the gorgeous sparklers. But, wait, I'm not really sure if they work with those earrings that I already bought...

Dawn M. Henley is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News, and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.