I always fret — in a good way — about what to wear on a city trip overseas. I have to be mindful of the local culture, I never want to bring anything I can’t afford or want to lose or ruin, and yet I refuse to compromise on style. It’s quite a challenge, and I spend months making lists and new lists.
It’s easier in more rural areas. When we went to Rajasthan India, for example, we needed to be somewhat covered up and yet try to stay cool in humid 90-plus-degree weather, even in October, so that kept me in light cottons and loose linen pants that I rolled up to keep me from looking too frumpy. Flip-flops were the norm.
In cities, however, especially in a sharply-dressed city like Istanbul, I want to avoid too-casual sandals and tourist gear. The problem is I’m a huge heels person — I’m rarely in anything shorter than 4-inches — but heels do not lend themselves to exploring the Sultanahmet District or the Grand Bazaar in any sort of comfort. In Bangkok, I compromised with a 2-inch gladiator sandal in a taupe hue that at least didn’t make my legs look too short. (I’m convinced I have short calves, but that’s another story.)
After numerous shopping excursions, I finally found what I think may be the perfect city shoe: the pointy-toed, lace-up, 2-inch heel flat. Since I’ll be wearing skinny pants and a poncho-like wrap in a graphic tribal print, the lace-up shoe (I consider it a flat) has just enough interesting details while still allowing me to walk for hours at a time.
Of course, I’ll have plenty of Bandaid blister pads on hand nevertheless. After all, if I can develop a blister after walking around for hours in my comfy Havianas flip-flops — flip-flops! I mean, seriously? — in India, there’s no avoiding a few pedal mishaps in closed-toe shoes. I’ll take comfort in the fact — if not my shoes — that I’ll at least look cute in the photos.