Arlene's London Tango Pages

An Homage to Comme il Faut

I had been dancing for two years solidly and I was finally ready to take it to the next level.

I was ready to go out and buy my first ever pair of Comme il Faut Tango shoes.  I don’t know why, but for some strange reason I thought you had to be a good dancer to wear these shoes.  Don’t get me wrong – I had some lovely Tango shoes, but they just weren’t doing it for me anymore.  I was finally going to go for the Cadillac (Ferrari, Porsche) of all shoes – the one’s they call the Manolo Blahniks of the Tango world (at a quarter of the price).  I had been scared – the heels were so high!  I seemed to recall that the really good dancers wore these shoes and I didn’t feel ready until now.  Oh silly me – live and learn.  On the contrary, wearing these shoes makes you a better dancer – and I will tell you why.

But first, let me tell you about my CiF experience.

Buying a pair of CiFs isn’t like buying a pint of milk in the supermarket.  On the contrary – it is an experience that requires careful thought and consideration.  It is also an emotional experience – you just can’t rush it – it needs to be savoured.  You need to feel the shoes calling out to you – there is always one pair (or two or three) saying, ‘Look at me, aren’t I pretty?  I know you want me.  Just come over, pick me up, and try me on.  It won’t hurt you to do that, will it?  Before you know it you’ve blown the budget on the credit card!  They are worth it!  They don’t sell these shoes in a store.  You either need to go to where they are being shown (usually at a Milonga) or you can purchase them online.  I heard that Krissy and Angie were selling them at The Crypt. So that being one of my regular Milongas, I was more excited than normal when I went out that evening.  Oh what joy to see the beautiful colours, the smell of leather, the feel of the material – it was like being a little kid in a candy shop and not knowing which one to go for first.  What do I do?  I had to narrow down my choices – so the easiest thing to do was to start with my size.  It still didn’t make things any easier.  There were so many different styles and colours to choose from – how would I know which one would look good on me?  I only had a budget for one pair, so it had to be the right pair.  I needed value for money as they were going to have to last.  I already had black shoes, so that narrowed things down a bit – but what colour and shape?   Well, being a practical lady and not much of a frilly person, that narrowed down the shoe dilemma even further.  No bows and frilly bits – although they looked great, they weren’t for me, and I couldn’t imagine myself wearing them.

Ok, I had been doing the logical brain thing up till now – it was time to get physical.  I tried them on!  Talk about That Tango Feeling!  Divine!  I couldn’t even remember what I had been so worried about.  They felt great.  They looked high, but were really comfortable.  I tried on a few different styles and decided on a pair of pearl beige sandals with a single toe-band, exposed arch and closed heel.  The heel was gold.  Very simple design, neutral colour – goes with everything, and fit like a glove.  In America my feet are normal sized with a high arch – but in the UK they are considered narrow.  So, imagine my extreme pleasure when they fit me perfectly!  To top it all off – they made my feet look so pretty and sexy!  Making me look taller was an added bonus.

Here they are now nearly two years later.  A little battered and bruised, but still doing the job.  My toes have rubbed off the veneer on the insoles, and they may be a bit crinkled and have a few marks from being trod on (I was wondering one day why I had red marks on my shoes and realised that it was from toe nail polish – and not mine!).  The heels are still pristine and they still look great on.  They are my comfort Commies when I can’t decide what pair to wear and are slowly getting relegated to street status – but I could wear them out on a date and still make a good impression!  They may not look that great in the photo, but with the right outfit and a pedicure – Wow!

Apparently there are technical reasons as to what makes CiFs excellent dance shoes.  I was sent an e-mail by The Dance Matrix explaining this recently – and although it was interesting, I don’t need convincing as I already own a few (!) pairs now.  If you really want to know you can contact them here.

These are the reasons that I feel CiFs make you a better Tango dancer:

What do any of these things have to do with making you a better dancer apart from putting you in a better dance position?  Well, they make you look and feel beautiful!  When you look and feel beautiful, you hold yourself differently.  You feel more confident.  When you feel more confident, you become more relaxed.  When you are more relaxed…do I really need to go on here?  Do you get the picture?

If you look and act confident (even if you don’t at first feel it), you will eventually become that way.  Fake it until you make it.  I was told by a very experienced Argentinean that looking good was half the battle of learning to become a good dancer.  It’s like being the flower to the bee.  If you look great and feel good inside, then more people will ask you to dance.  Things might turn out a little differently on the dance floor, but at least it is a start.  You could always blame it on the new shoes that you are not used to!  But you will get used to them.

Have you ever caught a man looking at you from the corner of your eye when you were changing into your dancing shoes at a Milonga?  One moment you are wearing a pair of flat and comfy shoes or boots that might make your legs not look their best – and the next moment, viola! – your feet and legs are transformed into beautiful instruments for dancing.  I don’t know that many men who haven’t been mesmerised by a woman’s feet in a pair of 3-4 inch stilettos.  There is a reason that ladies of the night wear high heels – and female Tango dancers are ladies of the night, but with a different agenda.  Though the way some women dress would make you wonder!

Some men might complain about the amount of money that their partners may spend on a pair, or two, of CiFs.  They soon shut up, so I’ve heard, when their ladies offer a ‘private viewing’.  I am single and buy my own shoes, so what I do with my money is my own business – I once bought three pairs in one go.  I think I could be very grateful if my future partner were to buy me a pair of CiFs every now and then.  After all, it’s cheaper than going out to a fancy restaurant.  Some men just don’t think out of the box.

So, that is how I feel about Comme il Faut Tango shoes.  I love them so much – I joined the Comme Il Faut Tango Shoe Addicts Non-Anonymous Group on Facebook.  So until I can get to Buenos Aires to buy some more shoes, bring in the shoes from Buenos Aires!

There are a couple of videos on youtube for the shoes here and here.  Enjoy!