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Really Pretty Shoes for Really Big Feet

No, you don’t have to shop in the drag queen department. Unless you want to, of course.

Being a big-footed girl in a world where most people assume the average woman’s shoe size is still a 7 ½, when it's actually a 9, isn’t easy. Anything above that new average size is a struggle: some places carry 10s, most don’t carry 11s, and heaven forefend if you’re a 12 or 13! And when your local shoe store does carry the occasional 11 or 12, they’re likely to hew toward the dowdy, frumpy, or hippie-esque. What’s the stylish, big-footed girl to do?

Online retailers like Barefoot Tess and Boden cater to big-foot girls, but if you want to actually try on a pair of sweet platform pumps in size 12, you’re likely SOL. J. Crew, which does a lovely job of making beautiful shoes in sizes 11 and 12 rarely stocks them in stores because, I've been told by sales associates, "the boxes are too big" and "won’t fit on the shelves." (Why they don’t just store them with the men’s shoes I’ll never know.) And sadly, Barneys rarely stocks 12s and has a limited supply of 11s.

But don’t despair just yet: You do have options. Many outlet style stores, like DSW, Loehmann’s, and Nordstrom Rack, carry shoes for us. And Bergdorf Goodman and Saks Fifth Avenue are a wonderland for the big-foot set, especially at sale time.

Online, big players like Gilt, Zappos and Bluefly stock styles in bigger sizes. Just be sure to check the return policy before hitting that buy button. There's little consistency between brands when it comes to big shoe sizes.

And one last word of advice: If you’ve got big feet, don’t be afraid to shop in the men’s section. Just this week I scored a gorgeous pair of men’s Bass Weejuns, for almost 70 percent off. Fashion rules are made to be broken! Enjoy breaking them!

Click through our slideshow for nine beautiful pairs of shoes, all available in big-foot sizes.

Perfect with a pair of jeans, the contrast stitching on these platform heels set them apart and make them look chicer than their price would suggest.