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“Be The Shoe” Puts A Spring In Your Step
by Thea Wood, TheaWood.com
book illustrations by Bridget Davies
Did you ever wonder what it would be like to walk in someone else’s shoes? California-based stylist and author Kathy Kelada studied hundred’s of women’s shoe preferences and literally wrote the book on her new form of shoe therapy.
Kathy’s book “Be The Shoe, Live The Life You Want In The Shoes You Love” is the result of Kathy’s studies as well as a vision that is just as exciting to receive as a box of Jimmy Choos. The book’s design and cover feel like a shoe— satin cover, playful colors/drawings, and fold out pages that are like a sexy reveal. It even comes in a shoe-style shoe bag! It’s a great gift idea for Mother’s Day, birthdays, and even graduation parties.
“From the moment I started writing the book this is how I visualized it,” says Kathy.
“I feel like I understand what women are drawn to and what they appreciate. The size was all about sticking it in your handbag and pulling it out at cocktails or lunch to talk with other women about. I’m a Strappy Sandal, so it had to be beautiful!”
Kathy uses 14 different shoe styles as metaphors for the personalities that love to wear them. From the Pump to the Flip-Flop to the Work Boot, you’ll find yourself identifying with one or more of their traits.
Kathy took time to answer questions about the book, shoe therapy, and how it took a team of women to bring the dream to life.
SS: You explain how one client’s conversation inspired the idea of connecting women’s personalities with their shoe style. When did you realize your philosophy was applicable as a style practice?
KK: I use a lot of metaphors in my coaching because it helps visualize instead of just words. I talked to my daughter, her friends, my son, his friends, and my friends. ‘Do you think that’s a shoe you want to be?’ This all went on for several years. The one thing is that all women immediately got it! The language is really simple. I’ve talked with women in Europe and Egypt. They all said ‘I know what shoe I am.’
SS: When a woman determines her shoe personality, how do you match that to the colors, prints and designs in her wardrobe?
KK: I feel that lifestyle and location have a lot of impact, as does personal preference. I try to give a range of styles and colors so the person’s personal style comes through.
SS: I, myself, identified with three different shoes types. They revolve around high heels, which my knees can no longer suffer! What’s an over-40 fashionista to do?
KK: I hear this a lot… The high heel shoe is really the inner inspiration for us. I know a lot of women who will buy the shoes just to look at them. They need the inspiration in their closet to spur them on to be the Strappy Sandal or the Pump. Many transition to something like the Wedge. You can do a Kitten Heel, it elevates you above the flat. A greek flat sandal can BE you strappy sandal!”
SS: Is there a story you can share about a client who experienced positive style turnaround by connecting her personality with her favorite shoe?
KK: Aside from the book story (the work boot), I have a client who’s a loafer and is very much about the details and being pragmatic. I encouraged her to try a wedge which was elevated and had an exposed toe. She thought I was crazy. I encouraged her to wear them for one day. She walked in wearing color— which she didn’t do before. She started to move outside of her comfort zone. I asked ‘What places would she wear that shoe?” You have to be willing, but once you get there it’s amazing at how many possibilities present themselves.
I encourage women to experiment and explore other possibilities. Shoes are a great way to do that. If you’re used to wearing high heels and you put on a comfortable pair of clogs or flats, you move differently. You see the world from a different angle, and maybe find some new possibilities.
SS: How long did it take to publish “Be The Shoe?”
KK: Bridget Davies is a fashion illustrator in London. We worked together for three years.
It needed to be a reveal, like you are checking out who that woman is. My daughter said, ‘Ya know, Mom. You really need to look at your terminology and how you speak to this from a gay woman’s perspective.’ I wanted to make it accessible to all women.
When I took the traditional publishing route, feedback was ‘It needs to be denser, gotta be longer, gotta be a bigger size.’ I was getting a lot of no’s. At this stage of life, I decided no one is telling me I can’t do this. And I’m doing it.
I found an editor and she introduced me to Stone Song, owned by two women. The printer was a woman, graphic designer was a woman. “To me, the end game of the book was that it followed the ‘yes.’ It made the actual experience wonderful. I took them to lunch and said ‘I’m so happy with all of your contributions.’ We were able to create something that I’m very proud of!
We need to trust ourselves, and move toward the people that will help contribute to our vision.
“Be The Shoe” Retail: $40 and that comes with the shoe bag.