Boot Envy and Disability Depression

boots: stevemadden tights: h&m dress: pseudio lipstick: kat von d
boots: stevemadden
tights: h&m
dress: pseudio
lipstick: kat von d “wolfvesmouth”

I’ve been promising to talk about my new boots for a couple posts now– so here we go! But to discuss boots is to discuss my crazy boot envy and disability depression. I don’t often discuss how my disability impacts and limits my fashion choices (I have touched on it in my anti-pants manifesto, here) but today I am going to try.

Basically, having lymphedema means that my lymph system (in addition to a circulatory system your body also has a lymph system) doesn’t drain properly. There are various types of lymphedema; if you have heard about it before it is likely in the context of secondary lymphedema which is a fairly common complication following mastectomies (breasts and armpits have a great deal of lymph tissue). My brand of lymphedema, however, is primary or congenital lymphedema, which simply means that I have had it since utero. My lymphedema primarily affects my left leg and some internal organs. It has led to some lovely risk factors for things like blood clots (which is why I wear my oh-so-fashionable compression stockings).

It's pretty tough to find sneakers, let alone boots, to accommodate that leg size difference
It’s pretty tough to find sneakers, let alone boots, to accommodate that leg size difference

Tl;dr– I have a disability that affects my left leg and leads to a retention of lymph fluid (because it can’t drain properly) from which we get the word “edema”, or swelling.

Now, aside from my “woe is me” pity parties, I try not to dwell in on my disability, but when boot season comes around I just want to weep and scream. But this year- oh this magical year- I actually found boots that aren’t Uggs that accommodate my thick lower leg and lack of ankle, and, guys, they rock!!

Disability-friendly footwear
Disability-friendly footwear


You may remember that I was visiting my pal C in Cali and we went on more than one shopping excursion! One of the first stores we went into was Steve Madden and I bee-lined to the “Sale” section; however, after not finding any loafers that were that “amazing” I started to look at the fall trends and new arrivals.

I suffer from SERIOUS boot envy every fall– I pout and have been overheard saying “Ughhh! Those boots! I want them! They look so gooooood.” To which my partner B normally consoles me by reminding me that when I am raking in the cash (haha *weep*) I can afford to have custom-made boots. But back to Steve Madden…


I saw a pair of purple leather lace up ankle boots (*similar) and sighed (lace-ups usually mean that they have a narrow foot which is just not doable with my leg) but I took them down and pulled at them– my heart raced! Maybe, oh maybe, I could squeeze my leg into a size or two up from my usual size (and wear five socks on my good foot to make up for the extra space). I pulled the boot on and gasped because it fit! It didn’t squeeze but actually fit. Cinderella moment! While I did have to size up from my tiny size of 5.5 to a 7.5, the fact that they laced up meant that I could tie my right shoe (on my good foot) as tight as possible and get away with only one (!) extra sock!

This was a huge deal to me. C was prowling around looking at shoes and came across me sitting on the floor- I probably looked like I was going to cry. Anyways, I bought the shoes and they flew home to Hali with me and I have worn them a couple times since and they are so comfortable and my new fall wardrobe workhorse! Expect a lot of purples, wines, and reds when I post my Fall Capsule Wardrobe later this week [now posted — see it here!], so that I can wear these boots every day!

Happy dance!
Happy dance!

Today I paired the boots with a simple black dress and gray cable-knit tights. I played up the purple tones in my makeup.


Have you ever had an epiphany or Cinderella moment about a much coveted piece of clothing or accessory?





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