Big, Beautiful Feet


July 24, 2005|By Tanika White

For Karen Williamson and her daughter, Tess Russell, persuading manufacturers to produce women's shoes in sizes 10, 11, 12 and up was no easy feat.

Sizes larger than 9 have long been considered hard to sell. But the Baltimore-based duo knew of what they spoke. Russell wears a size 11. Many of her friends do, too.

"There are so many women out there with big feet," Williamson said. "So we went to designers and said, 'If we can order enough, will you make these bigger sizes?' "

And that's how Barefoot Tess, an online shoe store for women with big feet, was born.

The site -- offering a broad range of large-size options: heels, flats, boots, high-end designers, all available in sizes 10 and above -- has met with nothing if not pure adulation.

"This is the most fantastic website which, I hope, will bring wonderful things to my family, ... who all have 'long, elegant but impossible to shop for' feet," wrote Laura from the United Kingdom.

"I feel better about your webpage for larger sexy shoes," Gabriela in Dallas offered.

So successful has Barefoot Tess been, that Williamson and partner Susan Flinn plan to open a bricks-and-mortar store at 5724 Falls Road by the end of this month.

Too often, women with large shoe sizes are directed to "comfort" brands or athletic shoes as their only options, Williamson said. But their store sells shoes that are funky and fashionable, from such names as Lulu Guinness, Jeffrey Campbell, Patricia Green and Via Spiga. They're reasonably priced, too, Williamson said -- from $28 to $235.

And most importantly, the shoe fits.

See more shoes at Barefoot Tess will have a pre-opening trunk show at the store on Wednesday from noon to 7:30 p.m.

A jolt for your skin

Skip your morning Starbucks' run.

Philip B's new energizing body washes give you a jolt of energy before you even leave the house. All three -- Chai Latte Soul and Body Wash, Thai Tea Mood and Mind Cleanser and Chocolate Milk Body Wash -- smell as good as they feel. Chai Latte has hints of cardamom, cinnamon, ginger root and nutmeg. Thai Tea has an aromatic coconut blend with naturally exfoliating milk proteins and honey. And Chocolate Milk contains cocoa butter, oat protein and conditioning aloe.

Best of all: no jitters.

Chai Latte Soul and Body Wash and Thai Tea Mood and Mind Cleanser are $32.50; Chocolate Milk Body Wash is $30. All are available at

You can always change your mind

Hey, commitment-phobes! Want to punch up your hair but still have your natural color back the next day?

Streekers, temporary, vivid hair color, looks like permanent hair dye but washes out with the first shampoo. The color actually attaches to each strand of hair (instead of coating it like mascaras and gels) so you can brush, without dulling or flaking the color.

Available in eight candy colors -- blue, pink, orange, red, green, ultraviolet, yellow and purple -- Streekers can be purchased at select salons and cosmetic specialty stores for $8.95 a bottle. Or try www.streekers. com.

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