Category Archives: Shoes

How to shop for shoes

A little metal goes a long way (a.k.a. my fave flats for spring)

While spring is a relative term here in San Francisco (it’s kind of always a cold spring or warmish fall), I still get excited to bust out spring and summer styles come April and May. Lately, I’ve been on a flats kick. Maybe I’m just getting older and my feet are less patient? Or I’m sick of carrying commuting shoes. Regardless, my favorite flats for spring all have a common theme: metallic detail. I love this subtle addition, as it makes the flats instantly appear more edgy and dressy. Two things that flats need in general. All three of the below styles are entirely work-appropriate. And they can actually give evening heels a run for their money.

enzo angiolini danville flats

I ADORE these flats from Enzo Angiolini. White is one of my favorite colors for a spring shoe. It’s neutral in a fresh way. And the silver hardware gives just the right amount of interest. I ordered them and can’t wait to start wearing. They will go with everything. So psyched.

j crew janey patent flats

 

J.Crew’s Janey collection of patent flats is my favorite shoe of theirs in a long time. The structure and stacked metallic heel make them totally okay for the office, and the color range is darling. I’m partial to the coral, as I can see it amping up more muted clothing, like navy, denim, black, and beige. Keep in mind that warmer colors (reds, pinks) are usually easier to insert into a darker outfit than pops of blue or green. They make more of an impact.

rachel roy metallic flats

 

For something more traditionally neutral, I’m feeling these ballet flats from Rachel Roy. The thin metallic band is unusual in the best way. These will work with anything in your closet.

Join the flats revolution! Your feet will be so happy.

Here’s the thing with high black boots (part two)

Following up on the heeled high boot talk I started a little while ago, let’s discuss what to look for when seeking out a flat high boot.

Flat boots can be taken through February, March, and even into April/early May, depending on your weather situation. I strongly (strongly!) suggest you do not go the boots/bare legs route, as I have seen it happen and it’s not pretty. Flat boots are most successful when paired with slim jeans or leggings-style pants. You can do them with a skirt, but unlike heeled boots, not every skirt or dress will work. Pencil skirts, sheath dresses, and more fitted work-like wear is best paired with a bit of a heel. More casual, fluid skirts can work with a flat boot.

And if you choose a timeless style, they will be your best friend every fall and winter for years to come! A super solid investment.

As I mentioned with heeled boots, fit is king. The boots should FIT YOU. This may sound like a duh, but it’s a point that people tend to overlook way too often. Make sure the calf is neither too tight nor too loose. It should be form-fitting without cutting off circulation. And keep the ankle slouching to a minimum.

Here are a few of my faves:

tory burch black riding boots

Tory Burch does a great riding style boot. When going the riding route, think minimal detail. Too many bells, whistles, buckles, and straps will make the boot look busy and cheap. And nobody wants to look busy and cheap.

madewell

For something a little more laid back, look to Madewell. These boots offer a hint of western style while remaining cool and relaxed.

corso como boots

And for those purists out there, I love the simplicity of Corso Como‘s boot. It’s simple but not boring. Clean, structured, and expensive-looking (without being so).

Here’s the thing with high black boots (part one)

Last night, instead of reaching for my sleeping pill, I used the Zappos app to calm the brain. It worked brilliantly! And while scrolling through an endless number of shoes, I started to develop a strong feeling towards high boots… and felt inspired to write.

Let’s break the topic down into heeled high boots and flat high boots.  The latter will come in another post.

So here’s the thing with high boots (that are heeled). They’ve been on the fashion scene forever, and I know a lot of women who count them as absolute essentials. That said, there’s a fine line between looking chic  and polished, and looking hooker.

While black boots may seem to all look the same, that’s not the case. There are subtle differences to look out for when seeking out the most flattering and elegant of the bunch. I’ve broken down heeled boots into my two favorite sub-categories: the 70s structured style and the sleek ‘n’ sexy (but not slutty).

loeffler randall boots from zappos dolce vita boots from piperlime

The structured 70s style tends to look more retro, with a stiffer shaft and chunkier heel.

Kate Spade wedge bootsvia spiga boots from nordstrom

The sleeker types offer a very slim, fitted shaft that contours to the ankle and calf, and a thin, stiletto style heel, or sometimes a skinny wedge.

In both cases, there are some pitfalls to avoid in order to remain on that chic and polished side of the fence:

1. Make sure the boot fits you at the top! This means the top of the boot should hit below the knee. If a boot hits you at the knee-cap (or above) it is too big. Furthermore, the top should fit snugly or semi-snugly around your leg. For 70s styles, it will not be as snug due to the design, but it should never ever resemble a moat around your leg.

2. Avoid boots that unintentionally bag or slouch near the ankle. This looks messy. Of course, with most leather or leather-like boots, some pouching will occur, but with a good boot, it should be minimal.

3. Not everyone can pair with a shorter skirt. Some can, but this is not the norm. If you can rock it, do it. Just remember to wear opaque tights. As an alternative, try a knee-grazing pencil or swing skirt.

4. If you’re gonna do them with jeans, make sure those jeans (or leggings) are FITTED AT THE KNEE AND CALF. Otherwise, you’ll get all sorts of sloppiness coming out of the top of the boot. And if you’re going the pants/boots route, think about adding some volume to your top half to balance out the severely streamlined feel of the jeans/boots. This means a chunky sweater, or a longer blazer.

Stay tuned for part 2, where we’ll tackle the weird world of flat boots. It’s gonna be awesome.

UPDATE:

These chunky retro style beauties from Elizabeth and James are currently on sale at Gilt. Happy early xmas, all. 

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Reader dilemma: Sneakers. Need help.

Here’s a great question from a reader/former client who’s looking to stay both cute and comfy:

What sneakers are “in” (aka Converse, etc)? I saw some semi-cute ones at Marshall’s that had the Converse look to them, I think they were Coach. But I have no idea how to wear them…. like with skinnies, etc? I always feel short and chunky in them when i try them on. Meh.

Sneakers can tend to be meh in general, and a double meh if you’re trying to figure out how to wear them in a non-gym kind of way.

As far as what is in, Converse will really never go out of style. I have a several pairs, and will probably continue to wear them as the years go by. That said, there are other options out there that are a bit more flattering. Because while I adore my Chuck Taylors, my partner calls me Long Foot every time I wear them (see above). They tend to make my feet look gigantic, especially when paired with skinny jeans.

So here are some other options:

 

Jack Purcell Converse. 

As I mentioned before, Converse sneaks are considered one of the footwear classics that won’t ever really go out of style. But instead of a Chuck Taylor version, you can try something like the above Jack Purcells, which look slightly softer and more feminine.

Superga.

This Italian brand has also been around quite a while. I like them because the shape is less, well, Bozo the Clown. Plus, they come in a variety of fresh colors.

Sperry. 

Sperry is best known for that super preppy Topsider style. But they also make sneaker styles that are perfect for attractive casual dressing. The designer, Milly, collaborated with Sperry on a few spring-ready styles, like the coral one above.

So now that we’ve established some attractive, non-Long Foot options, how exactly does one wear them? Well you can definitely rock these with skinny or straight leg jeans. (Reserve the wide-legs for shoes with heels.) You can also wear the sneaks with casual dresses in the spring and summer. That’s completely acceptable! Whites, blues, and greys are never wrong, while colors and patterns can also be fun, albeit more trendy.

Have a style dilemma of your own? Hit me up on Twitter or the TRS Facebook page… I’m always hanging out there.

Booties. A love story.

While out at dinner the other night, a lovely new friend asked me about booties. She had some valid concerns regarding how to wear them, and if they’re flattering in general. I absolutely love booties (also referred to as ankle boots), and want to spread that love around! So I was more than happy to discuss. Booties, both flat and heeled, can serve as total outfit game-changers in the best way possible. It all depends on how you rock ’em.

A few of her questions below:

Bootie concern #1: Won’t they make my legs look shorter?

Answer: Not necessarily! If you don’t have the longest legs on the block, then try pairing a heeled bootie with tights of the same color.

This will create a monochromatic look that elongates. Plus, the bootie will give your ensemble more edge than a simple pump would. Playing with different textures works too… for example, grey heathered or cable knit tights with soft suede booties. Since the colors are the same, the mix of textures will add depth to your look.

Bootie concern #2: Are flat booties ‘in’? If so, how do I wear them?

Answer: Yes, yes, and yes. Flat booties are most definitely in and here to stay.

If you’re a skinny jeans fan (which my new friend was) then pull on a pair of booties wtih your skinny jeans and either leave the hems long and bunched at the bottom, or roll them up to just above the top of the shoe. If you’re looking for a bit of height, there are tons of flat-esque booties out there with a very low heel–either kitten or thick. I just found this amazing pair at Aldo. The color goes perfectly with all of my fall neutrals.

Style note: If you want to flaunt a bold colored pair, then keep the rest of your ensemble in a more muted color family. That way, the booties won’t compete with anything else that you’re wearing. 

Have a sartorial concern? If you don’t catch me at dinner, then just hit up Facebook or Twitter! I’m always there.

Finally, rain boots I can work with

Amazing news on the dressing for rain front: Loeffler Randall’s fall 2011 rain boot collection is adorable… and available for the taking!

This could not come at a better time, as I have spent the last few mornings cursing the threat of rain and what it does to my wardrobe choices. I am NOT a fan of going out in a downpour. I know, I know, who is. But I truly despise it, especially since most of my regular shoe options are suede, which water does not treat well. I  have relied on my La Canadienne knee boots for a few years now, but they’re always so heavy looking (and feeling). Every time it rains, I long for a shoe that’s less bulky and stiff. Especially if I want to change after a commute.

Well, said wish has been granted with these LR boots. I love the ankle styles… and the $150 pricetag isn’t so bad!

Check them out here: loefflerrandall.com.

Is it time to buy for fall yet?

The Sartorialist

Labor Day is almost upon us (where did this summer go??), and it seems like the days are cooling down. So is now the time to buy fall clothes? Well, yes and no.

Regardless of the season, I don’t advocate a big spend-all shopping spree for everything you will ever wear this fall and winter. That’s a lot of bags to carry.

Instead, buy some ‘essentials’ now, and save your other purchases for later. Because you really don’t want to be paying full price for that new winter coat when in a few months–when you are really going to need it–it’s bound to go on sale.

What are these essentials you should be spending money on now? Jeans, work trousers, blazer, and shoes.

Jeans. Whether they’re skinny, straight, or wide, you should start looking for a pair now. These are also the easiest to transition with, since you can pair with sandals and a lightweight blouse today, and then bring them into winter with boots and a sweater.

Work trousers. I’ve covered the new colors you should seek out to spruce up your work wardrobe.

Blazer. This is also a year-round essential, but if you don’t already have one, get it now. A blazer will allow you to squeeze a few more weeks out of your summery dresses, shorts, and even white jeans.

Shoes. The feet are the first to feel the chill, so invest in a pair of autumn-ready shoes. The range is wide, but I suggest a neutral pump for work (and out), and either a ballet flat or casual loafer for hanging around.

They are GIVING things away

I’m not big on sales posts, but I feel it is my duty to spread the word about the incredible discounts I’ve been seeing on my shopping excursions around New York and New Jersey. Sure, it’s all summer stuff, but it IS still summer. And the prices are really good.

Most of the sales are in actual stores, but there are decent e-deals to be had if you don’t feel like leaving your air-conditioned home. Some of the prices are the same online, while others are cheaper in-store because of random discounts.

Here are five you should check out:

Old Navy – Their skirts are 75% off, which means I paid six bucks for a slouchy, wear-with-anything black one.  Also great deals on swimwear.

LOFT – Dresses are 40% off, including some easygoing cotton ones.

Filene’s Basement– Lately, Filene’s has been offering very chic designer labels for very cheap. The one in NYC has a bunch of D&G, Missoni, and Piazza Sempione for 75% off. I found $400 white Dolce & Gabbana jeans marked down to $99. (They don’t currently have an online store.)

J. Crew – If you’re a shorts kind of gal, then go to J. Crew now. I don’t usually shop there because I think they’re a tad overpriced, but I found the above pair for 32 bucks.

Lord & Taylor – Good ol’ L&T always has some sale going on, and right now, it’s on shoes. I stocked up on three different sandals–one evening, one dressy day, one casual day–all for under $100. You often need a coupon there to tap into the sale, but you can print it directly from their site.

Know of any other fantastic summer sales? Share the love in the comments section or on our Facebook page!

Comfy not frumpy: Gentle Souls by Kenneth Cole

I haven’t exactly been quiet about my foot struggles this summer. And although Aerosoles is my comfort shoe retailer of choice, I have been keeping myself–and my feet–open to other possibilities.

So, when browsing the outlet racks at Eileen Fisher last weekend, I took notice of the line of good-looking shoes they had sprinkled throughout the store. To my surprise, I learned they were Gentle Souls by Kenneth Cole: A line of comfort shoes that are made to look chic not frumpy. And the combo of flaxseeds and memory foam is supposed to make them feel like total heaven on your feet. They did feel pretty great, I have to admit.

For summer, they had neutral frills-free wedges and funky metallic sandals.

And there were some nice office-appropriate flats, too. I especially like the preppy loafers for fall.

Gentle Souls can be found online at the Kenneth Cole site and also Piperlime (one of my all-time favorite places to shoe browse).

FYI: Be prepared for the prices. They’re not exactly bargain-basement, but I have a feeling these styles will last you a long time.

My poor feet

It’s no secret I have always loved shoes. And my tallish 5’9″ stature has never stopped me from flaunting high, HIGH heels ever since I was 17. But years of choosing looks over comfort has finally taken its toll on my feet.

I was recently diagnosed with having excessive pronation, which could eventually lead to plantar fasciitis (a fancy term for really bad heel pain). It means my ankles go inward like this:

And in case that’s not enough information for you, I have also developed what I like to call foot blemishes (because I loathe the word bunion), and they are beginning to cause pain as well.

So, this has left me at a sort of crossroads. From a stylist perspective, I consider shoes to be an integral part of creating a successful look, and it KILLS me to think that I could now be limited in my choices. Because, it’s not only about quitting high heels, although that certainly helps. Flat shoes are bad for this condition too, as they don’t offer any sort of arch support.

Here’s how I hope to strike a semi-happy medium between comfort and style.

Come winter, I will be investing in a custom-made pair of arch inserts. These are going to be pricey, but because of my extreme case, it’s necessary. There are also over-the-counter ones like these from Birkenstock that will work in boots, flats, and other cool-weather choices. However, I’m hoping my custom pair will be flexible enough to stick in heels, as the ones above are too stiff for anything but flats.

 

Summer’s a lot tougher since most shoes are strappy and open. So, I will be opting for Dr. Scholl’s gel supports, and sticking them in walking shoes from Aerosoles. Although these shoes aren’t on the cutting edge of fashion, they’re cute enough for walking around the city, and offer a cushioned bed and subtle lift at the heel. Then I can switch into my preferred sandals or heels when meeting up with clients, friends, the world.

Do you have the same issue? How are you handling it? Let me know!