avatarUp to 50% of women asked by America’s Research Group to rate Spring clothes this season responded that they had not even noticed what stores were selling! Of course, the experts are saying that’s more because of the economy than fashion itself; I don’t think anyone would contest that (The heel-less shoes this year?!!). Even though I don’t have a car nor do I own a home to pay a mortgage on, I know all about the rising gas prices and problems with national debt. On top of those consumer troubles, stores and clothing labels themselves are facing higher costs for raw materials and labor and due to the dollar being weak compared to international currencies. So, sadly, the price of fashion goes up when few could really afford to pay for it even at the original prices. As the story from MSNBC (that I found my interesting opening tidbit from) continues, “It’s just too many stores with too much square footage chasing too few shoppers,” and “…Beemer [head of America’s Research Group] isn’t expecting discretionary spending on things like clothes to really bounce back until May 2009, after next year’s tax refunds start to kick in.”

Yikes. But maybe it means we’ll see lots more creative dressing on the sidewalks as people try to re-invent their old clothes and accessories. That would be a plus. Unfortunately for me, as this blog indicates, I do have a teensy tiny in-the-way belief that I will not be able to live without another pair of shoes (repeat infinitely). So, even if I did have all the bills of an average middle American, I’m pretty sure I’d still find a way to get a new pair every so often. If you’re in the same “situation,” or if you just haven’t gotten yourself a treat in a while, try to make the best of the bad times. For me that means… shoes on SALE!

As much as I would like these Moschino heels for $320, or even the Jcrew version in the middle for $195, the Steve Maddens below right, fit my strappy blue shoe wishes just as well and when they’re on sale for $24.99, I can’t even make myself cry about it.

Moschino Cheap & Chic Cristobal patent Steve Madden Maud

I’ve also selected some other great sale items, priced right for the economy. These cute gold sandals by Baby Phat would look great with a long dress (I’m obviously still on a bit of a cork trip from learning about how great it is as a renewable resource during Earth Day), and a fun, casual pair of bright pink kitten heels by American Eagle are the kind of easy, go-with-anything-as-your-running-out-the-door kind of shoe I love. A runner-up for the blue strappy sandal title above was these MIA wedges (also cork, yay!). I really like the gold trim on the straps. And the green heels are by Enzo Angiolini. They have multi-colored crocheted (!) detail down the front that makes them looks like they came straight out of a couture house (but, of course, not couture price). But I can’t decide if the detail looks more like flowers, berries, leaves or pieces of coral – it reminds me of different things on different days, which is probably why I like them so much. What’s your vote? (there’s a red-brown-orange version too).

Baby Phat Cork Wedge American Eagle Kale
MIA Bianca Enzo Angiolini Chan

Happy May Day tomorrow!

And P.S. I am newly obsessed with the iGoogle Artist Themes. They’re featuring a crazy awesome range of people: from Jeff Koons to Tory Burch, Coldplay to Anne Geddes, Akira Isogawa (their featured piece would look gorgeous as a wedding invite print!) and Diane von Furstenberg, among others! Very cool! (listen, Tory Burch makes shoes… it’s still shoe related).

And double P.S. (P.P.S ?), I can’t end this blog without mentioning these crazy shoes I just found (warning- not to be confused with the inexpensive business above). They’re called Camileon Heels and they adjust between a 3.25 inch height and a 1.5 inch height. Yes, one shoe, two heel heights! There’s a little video that demonstrates how they work if you click on that link I made with the name of the shoe.  Awesome idea, but I can’t get over the feeling that they heel will snap off when you’re wearing them tall since they are made to collapse. I think I’ll wait for a few more reviews before trying them out. Maybe by then the company will have some brighter colors too (all their styles are fairly basic and browns and blacks for now), but definitely a brand to watch! Let me know if you try a pair before I do.

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