You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘flats’ tag.

Get ready for a time warp (remember the CD/video warehouse clubs that used to come in the mail with the huge sheet of colorful stamps?) – the hottest thing in shoes right now is monthly shoe subscription sites.

I’ve noticed 3 major competitors on the scene: ShoeDazzle, JustFabulous and Sole Society. All of these companies will give you some pretty great shoes for very low prices with free shipping. But realistically (well, for all but the most ardent shoe addicts), if you’re going to subscribe to get inexpensive shoes every single month, you probably don’t have a ton of extra cash (or else you’d be stocking up on Manolos instead), so you’ll have to choose just one to try out first. I decided to do the dirty work for you and figure out what really separates these companies from one another. From fashion founders to who has the best pictures, here’s the lowdown:

HOW ALL 3 SITES ARE ALIKE – ShoeDazzle, JustFabulous and Sole Society all offer free shipping and free exchanges within 30 days (items returned for a cash refund are a different story). Each site will also give you personal shoe picks (based on VERY similar “Which shoe/celeb/runway pic do you like better” quizzes) along with additional shoe options on the side that are available to everyone. And if you don’t like the shoes that were chosen for you, each site will happily provide you with new options. You can have shoe selections sent to you to view for free for as long as you want, but once you make your first purchase, you are automatically enrolled in that company’s monthly club. After you’re enrolled, your credit card will be charged, and you get 1 item, every month unless you actively opt out before the 5th of each month (gotta stay up to date on those emails!). But there’s no limit to the number of months you can opt out. Surprisingly, there’s little else that the sites copy one another on.


Sole Society, launched in February 2011 by shopping site Hautelook (which is owned by Nordstrom), is the newest shoe subscription site around. Their team of 6 Fashion Insiders (or Sole Sisters – read more here) includes actress Bree Turner and experienced fashion bloggers, editors, and buyers from all over the web.

COST – $49.95 a month for 1 shoe every month

WHAT YOU GET– At the beginning of every month, Sole Society will send out an email announcing that 6 pairs of shoes picked just for you are available to be viewed in “My Closet.” If you don’t like their picks and request alternate shoes, the original 6 pairs are all put back into their inventory and can no longer be purchased (well, not easily). Sole Society does not ask you for any feedback on what types of shoes you’re looking for instead. Sole Society does encourage you to contact them though, if you see a shoe from one of their Trends page fashion spreads that you’d like to have added to your Closet, so I’m sure the same could go for a shoe from your previous Closet picks. You only have the option to request new shoes once per month.

Your shoe choices are centered around high heels, especially platforms right now, but they also have flat sandals and wedges for April.

Fantasia from Sole Society

VALUE – All the shoes Sole Society offers are from their exclusive Marco Santi collection. They claim Marco Santi is a designer quality label which I believe is supposed to justify the slightly higher monthly membership; but since the brand was created just for them, you kind of have to take their word for it. However, it is significant to add that many of the shoes in your personal selections are genuine leather, unlike the shoes featured on the other sites I’ve reviewed here, which can definitely be worth an extra $10 (Note: there are fabric and faux leather shoes offered on Sole Society too).

SHOPPING EXPERIENCE – Sole Society gave me a cool, in-depth Style Bio after I finished their introductory quiz, which they told me they’d be basing my shoe picks on. Apparently I’m “Fierce, Sexy, Modern – you make a statement wherever you go with your daring and unexpected style. You stamp a hip aesthetic over every look, whether you’re in sweats on the weekend or wearing a show-stopping mini-skirt and heels. You’re all about confidence and individuality, and are able to pull off anything from vibrant print tops to curve-contouring pencil skirts. Your closet is full of sexy items including tailored jackets, faux fur and anything leopard.” Oh yeah! (except for the leopard part – only in moderation ;)). But if, after a while, you think that bio just isn’t getting you the shoes you really lust after, you can easily change it at any time in your My Closet page. ” Daring, Unexpected, Cutting-Edge” instead, maybe?

In My Closet, you are not shown whether other color options are available for the shoes selected for you, though often there are 2 colors to choose from when you click on the shoe to view more details. On the pages describing each individual shoe, each picture has a nice zoom option. Be careful not to miss the extra pictures though; only 4 are displayed initially. You have to press the light gray arrows above or below the picture list to view more. Sole Society also usually includes 2 model outfits that would work with the shoes. However, there is are no links or brand names given to identify the clothing in those pictures. There is also a box with Notes from the Fashion Insiders that often gives an outfit idea or some other comment about the shoes.

Sole Society lets you see the number of people that have liked a shoe on Facebook when you hover over a picture in My Closet, unfortunately when you click on the shoe to view more details, you don’t get anything else review-wise. Sole Society does want you to rate how much you like the shoes visually based on color, style and the heel and you can see your own ratings (not sure how that’s helpful), but there are no statistics shown from other users. Hopefully though, since they’re gathering that information, they will display or do something with it in the future.

Also on the website, Sole Society has a fun Fashion Insider of the Month feature (this month it’s the owners of nail polish brand Ginger + Liz). Unfortunately, you cannot add the polish to your Sole Society cart and there are no links either. The Trends page is similar: outfits are displayed pairing the shoes with fashionable clothing (brand names are given) but there are no links or information on where to purchase the clothes (VERY surprising since the company is owned by Nordstrom!).

RETURNS – Sole Society offers free exchanges within 30 days as mentioned above for all sites. But, they deduct a $7.95 restocking fee and a $9.00 return shipping fee for any items returned for a refund. There is no fee for items returned for an exchange (continental US only). So, basically, sell the shoes to a friend if you don’t want another pair as an exchange.

BONUS – Thanks to Marie Claire magazine, you can get $10 off your first pair of shoes until April 30, 2011 with the code SPRING10. Also, you can earn a free pair of shoes for every 3 friends you refer who also make a purchase.

FINE PRINT – If, for some reason, you forget to check your email for years or just never manage to make that 5th day of the month cut-off, you actually won’t end up paying Sole Society thousands of dollars. Once you accumulate 3 credits (or $150) in your account, you will not be charged a monthly membership fee again until you redeem a credit for shoes. So, if you’re super forgetful (and/or are a chronic amnesic shoe-a-holic), Sole Society’s credit limit will costs you the least out of all the sites reviewed. However, please note that that $150 can be charged to you EVERY YEAR (per their FAQs, credits are only valid for 12 months).

The one year expiration date for credits also means there is the possibility that you will not get shoes you technically paid for – and this is probably one catch that made these subscription sites lucrative in the past: If you forget to skip months and try to use your credits as quickly as possible so they don’t expire, you open yourself up to another monthly membership charge, and if you don’t use the credits, you could be paying $150 for nothing (except looking at pretty pictures).

If you wish to cancel your membership, Sole Society is, by far, the easiest site to work with. You can cancel by calling their customer service (6am – 6pm PST or 9am – 9pm for the East Coast crowd), emailing them or just visiting your My Account page online – there’s a link at the bottom of that page. They also have live chat!!

JustFabulous started in 2010. Founded by Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr (also co-founders of WhoWhatWear, an online fashion magazine), the site also boasts 2 celebrity stylists completing the team. The site promises you access to up-to-the-minute trends without the expensive celebrity price tags.

COST – $39.95 a month for 1 shoe or bag every month

WHAT YOU GET – JustFabulous features shoes and handbags! At the beginning of every month, JustFabulous will send out an email announcing that 6 pairs of shoes and 6 bags picked out for you are available to be viewed in “My Boutique.” If one or more options have sold out, you will also be given some Sold Out Solutions for each unavailable item (JustFabulous recommends that you view your Boutique as soon as possible on the 1st of the month since they do tend to sell out of popular items quickly). And if you’re totally shoe crazy, there’s a link to 3 more bonus options that almost made your Boutique (but are still available for you to purchase). If you don’t like the shoes and/or bags they found for you, you can complete a short questionnaire detailing what you’d prefer instead and select to keep any of the original shoes and bags you liked.

In The Haute List tab at the top of the site, you also can view/buy the top 4 shoes and 4 handbags chosen each month by JustFabulous’ Style Experts. Plus, there are approximately 10-14 more items updated weekly under the Featured Styles tab (for April there are lots of rainboots) which are available to everyone for a limited time. AND you get access to the W3 collection (17 items) with a great Style Guide inspired by the WhoWhatWear website.

The shoe options are heavy on the towering heels, especially platforms right now, but they also have flat sandals, wedges, ankle booties, chunky heels, ballet flats and knee boots. The bags range from clutches and hobos to totes and cross-body styles.

JustFabulous is also carrying a full line of Fab Soles, from the makers of Foot Petals. Since they’re from Foot Petals and are priced identically, they appear to be exactly the same (just less petal-y in shape).

Jackson from the W3 Collection at JustFabulous

VALUE – I noticed that many of the handbags JustFabulous sells (for $39.95 each) are from the Vieta brand and can be purchased online at the company’s site ranging from about $60-$100. For an example, check out JustFabulous’ Dusk barrel bag on The Haute List, which is also here on the Vieta site. I think Vieta’s prices are really inflated for man-made/PVC bags, but if you don’t agree, you can say you’re getting a great deal! I do think JustFabulous has priced the bags pretty accurately though – you’d usually pay about $40 for a similar bag in New York City’s Chinatown, for example.  So for people without the desire to hunt or who don’t live anywhere near NYC or another major metropolis where I’m sure similar stores exist, JustFabulous’ bags could be a great low cost option. All their shoes are also made from man-made materials or fabric (no leather); so think Payless quality (side note: Payless has given me a few of my favorite shoes of all time, so I’m not knocking it!).

SHOPPING EXPERIENCE – JustFabulous gets tons of points for their videos of someone walking in every pair of shoes (surprisingly useful), their Reviews section and their styling ideas. JustFabulous is the ONLY site that lets customers post full written reviews for any item. They also display a handy Member Fit Survey, an Overall Summary rating, and tell you what percentage of members who purchased this style would recommend it – all in case you just want a quick overview. And, proving that the site is run by experienced style watchers, JustFabulous features 2 really amazing style boards with complete outfit options underneath each shoe (with different shoe colors). The best part about the style boards is that they actually link to the other sites where you can purchase the clothing from like TopShop and ModCloth! A+

Things that need improvement mainly involve the handbag section: bad partial interior shots, bad partial descriptions (how many interior pockets?), no video (which would be cool to see the bag opening and closing or how much can fit inside), no style boards, and no photos of the bag on a person or mannequin to scale the dimensions (measurements are in the details). However, the Haute List does have a video posted for ideas on wearing those featured bags.

RETURNS – JustFabulous offers free exchanges within 30 days as mentioned above for all sites. But they deduct a $5.95 restocking fee for any items returned for a refund. There is no fee for items returned for an exchange.

BONUS- Get 1/2 off one pair of shoes on the day you join. You can also earn a free item when you refer 2 friends who make a purchase and another free item every time you reach 100 points (20 points earned per shoe or bag bought, so every 6th item is free). Plus, right now you can get free shipping if you add a pair of Fab Soles to your order along with a pair of shoes or a handbag.

FINE PRINT – If, for some reason, you forget to check your email for years or just never manage to make that 5th day of the month cut-off, you actually won’t end up paying JustFabulous thousands of dollars. Once you accumulate 5 credits in your account, you won’t be charged again until you use one. So your maximum debt at one time is capped at a little under $200. Their FAQs do not state that credits here will expire – the only site that doesn’t.

To cancel your membership, you must call customer service (which means you have to reach them during their business hours, 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM PST or 10 AM to 7 PM for us East Coasters). But JustFabulous does also have Live Chat available during those same business hours.

According to co-founder, Kim Kardashian’s Showroom bio, ShoeDazzle began in March 2009. She, along with Anya Sarre of ‘Entertainment Tonight’ and ‘The Insider’, and 8 other fashion stylists with extensive resumes make up the team which promise an intimate shopping experience customized to make you feel beautiful and pampered.

COST – $39.95 a month for 1 shoe, bag or jewelry set every month

WHAT YOU GET – ShoeDazzle features shoes, handbags and jewelry, plus a chance to score some clothing and random fun stuff too! At the beginning of very month, ShoeDazzle will send out an email announcing that 5 pairs of shoes, 5 bags and 5 jewelry sets picked out for you are available to be viewed in “My Showroom.” You can also see 14 or 15 more shoes that almost made the cut. Plus, if you don’t love your personal section of the first 5 shoes, you can request alternates be chosen for you once per month by completing a short survey about what you’d like to see instead (and you’ll still be able to view and purchase the items from the original picks – so I suggest ALWAYS requesting alternates for more shopping fun!)

The shoe options here are mainly crazy tall heels, especially with platforms, as on the other sites, but they also have flat sandals, wedges, ankle booties, ballet flats and knee boots.

Scroll down further in your Showroom, to browse a frequently changing (but often sold out) assortment of monthly Featured items. Here ShoeDazzle has listed shoes that were styled into their Featurettes (fun fashion photo shoots that appear on the homepage and across the top of My Showroom) as well as items like their multi-pack of Foot Petals brand foot cushions (at ShoeDazzle’s $39.95 price it’s actually cheaper than retail) and their current Casual Chic shoe collection of 14 sneakers (the first of these websites to offer sneakers!).

ShoeDazzle really dazzles when you connect your Facebook account. When you link up, you can use ShoeDazzle’s Friends’ Showroom feature to view the Showrooms for stylists Kim Kardashian, Anya Sarre and Heather Zweigel as well as any of your Facebook friends’ who have joined. This means you can buy the stylists’ and any of your friends’ 15 Showroom items (as long as they’re not already sold out) for tons of extra options.

And there’s more: ShoeDazzle is taking a cue from other limited time only sale sites and sending Dazzle Deals every Tuesday and Thursday via email. The Deals start at 9 a.m. (PST) and go until 9 p.m. (PST) the following day or when the item has sold out, whichever comes first. Recent Dazzle Deals have displayed dresses, beachwear and a Proliss curling iron set all for the same $39.95 per item membership price.

Unfortunately, ShoeDazzle does NOT give you more options if some of your handbags or jewelry selections have sold out and you cannot request alternates either if you don’t like the options they gave you (you’re only allowed to choose alternates for shoes). But you can add yourself to a Waitlist for any item to be notified via email if more are re-ordered.

Nellie from ShoeDazzle

VALUE – While most of the heels are marked as ShoeDazzle brand on the insoles, the sneakers in their Casual Chic feature are all brand name items like Chinese Laundry Wash, Skechers Sport, Pony, Mia and Converse. I also spotted a few brand name handbags like Melie Bianco and Nila Anthony (usual range $50-$99). But, please note that all the bags and most of the shoes are made from man-made/synthetic materials, not leather. The only exceptions I found were the Casual Chic collection of brand name shoes.

SHOPPING EXPERIENCE – I liked that ShoeDazzle tells you what they’re basing your selections on; when you complete their Style Quiz, they give you a style category along with your matches for designers, colors and patterns. Mine said I was artistic, whimsical and free-spirited – I think so! But if you think they’re totally off, make sure you don’t leave that area until you’re satisfied. There is a link to re-take the quiz on that final results page, but no way to do it again after you leave.

ShoeDazzle only allows shoppers to rate an item on a scale of 1 to 5 stars and they let anyone rate, not just people who have purchased the item. Usually this wouldn’t be a problem (I like being able to rate things without being required to buy them first), but without any written reviews or fit information available (except what’s listed in the About the Style section where most every shoe is “true to size”), the rating becomes almost worthless. You can’t tell whether the ratings are mostly based on the look of the shoe or important things like fit and comfort. The exception is when you connect with Facebook. When you have your Facebook account linked with ShoeDazzle you can post shoes you like to your own wall and get comments from your own friends (could be helpful if you just want opinions on looks or choosing between 2 styles). Facebook connecting also gets you access to the Stylists’ Showrooms, where you can view and reply to random peoples’ comments on those picks (and vice versa) – so at least for some shoes, you might be able to give and share info about fit.

When you click on an item to see more information, ShoeDazzle lists detailed photos including a shot of someone wearing the item (including wearing the bags! Extra points!), a zoom feature and, for most styles, a complete outfit. The model’s outfit specifics (like brand and price) are not provided, but if you’ve connected to Facebook, the stylist that picked that item will give you another idea in a sentence or two about how to wear the item. Another functionality comment though – since you can see that alternate colors are available for an item in My Showroom, I wish you could click those boxes to change the color of the picture there instead of having to open the item description page each time to see those other color choices.

Unfortunately, there was one other thing I was not happy with on the ShoeDazzle site. After you’ve signed into your free account and start shopping, ShoeDazzle will allow you to add items to your Shopping Bag but they will not let you view or edit your Shopping Bag until you’ve provided them with your credit card information – although they do still promise not to charge you until you’ve actually made your first purchase. I found this unnecessary and annoying since I add, compare and delete items from my Shopping Bag constantly – but maybe that’s just my strange habit and this won’t bother most of you. (Let me know your thoughts on this, readers. I’m curious to see how your online shopping habits compare.)

Luckily, ShoeDazzle does have a pretty fantastic YouTube channel with news, tips and behind the scenes fun, so that leveled the scales again.

RETURNS – ShoeDazzle offers free exchanges within 30 days as mentioned above for all sites. They also deduct a $5.95 restocking fee for any items returned for a refund. There is no fee for items returned for an exchange.

BONUS– Get 20& off your first item. You can also earn a free item every time you reach 1000 Style Points which can be amassed through referring friends who make a purchase (200 points for each friend) and buying items yourself (100 points for each item purchased, so excluding friend referrals, every 11th item is free).

FINE PRINT – If, for some reason, you forget to check your email for years or just never manage to make that 5th day of the month cut-off, you won’t end up paying ShoeDazzle thousands of dollars. Like JustFabulous, once you accumulate 5 credits in your account, you won’t be charged again until you use one. However, please note that that $200 can be charged to you EVERY YEAR (per their FAQs, credits are only valid for 12 months). Their one year expiration date also means that if you don’t use your credits, you could be paying ShoeDazzle up to $200 for nothing.

If you wish to cancel your membership, you can ONLY do so by calling customer service (which means you have to reach them during their business hours, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Pacific time. That’s 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for those on New York time). ShoeDazzle specifically states accounts cannot be closed via email.

And that’s it. I hope you can find the right site for you and may your closets be filled with shoes.

Let’s start off with Lucky Magazine’s Spring Shoe Guide (March 2011) as an intro. They list these shoes to add to your warmer weather wardrobe: wood platforms, jeweled slingbacks, bold loafers (as in bold colors), platform pumps, flat espadrilles, sliver-wedge sandals, pointy-toe slingbacks and cork wedges, followed by 2 strap sandals (on strap around the ankle and one over the toes) as their shoe-of-the-month in the April 2011 issue.

My thoughts: The wood platforms, cork wedges and flat espadrilles are pretty standard, every-spring-they’re-for-sale shoes (although I realize there’s a 70s vibe going around which is making shoe stores a little extra wood heavy). And I’m going to skeptically say I’ll stay on the lookout for someone wearing jeweled slingbacks as daywear in NYC. I also doubt you’ll see many people in bright loafers this spring/summer, especially with wide-leg trousers and maxi skirts trending now (can’t really wear loafers with those). But, I think the pointy-toe slingbacks, sliver-wedge sandals and 2 strap sandals are all spot-on. The sliver-wedge sandals are a nice progression of winter’s version popularized by Loeffler Randall’s sliver-boots. And I think pointy-toes will become more and more plentiful as the year progresses.

But I’ve also spotted a few other (more?) interesting spring shoe trends popping up and they actually all involve espadrilles!

First, I’ve noticed espadrilles with frayed straps. These are definitely more for your casual days but hey, if you already have a pair of strappy canvas wedges, don’t be afraid to dip into D.I.Y and rough them up a bit ;). And if you prefer the new versions, below Steve Madden, Coconuts and others have done the distressing for you.

Second, I’m seeing a lot of espadrille heels that continue up the ankle to form the heel cup; I’m calling them endless espadrilles. These shoes are AMAZING because when they’re on, at first glance you look like you might be wearing impossibly tall heels.  They’re also especially nice because the style could hide a much lower heel like the 2.5 inch (I know!) version by Sam Edelman. And as a side note – yep, that brand in row 5 is Hunter of rainboot fame, apparently making some leather heels now.

Honorable mention goes to espadrilles that do not have covered ankles but instead feature an extra tall side portion or “cut-out” ankle strap that creates a similar illusion. Surprisingly, I found a nice example of these shoes at Old Navy which are a great option if you’re on a budget.

I still have one more trend for you further below, but for now, some picture proof!

FRAYED EDGES

Coconuts Avery

Bettye Muller Saffron

Steve Madden Fraid

ENDLESS ESPADRILLE HEELS

Matisse Asher

BCBGMAXAZRIA Malaga

Sam Edelman Leroy

Enzo Angiolini Ramie

Enzo Angiolini Romario

Hunter Anegada

HONORABLE MENTION

Old Navy Espadrille Wedges

Corso Como Decoy

Boutique 9 Illy

Not Too Coy Lydia

And last I’ve collected some irregular espadrille combos. Brands like Tory Burch and 3.1 Phillip Lim are marrying espadrille soles with a chukka or desert boot upper. This is probably best with a canvas boot and an excellent option when we’ve got those New York days where it’s warm for just a few hours in the afternoon sunshine and then you’ve got to put your jacket back on (like today!).

A few other brands, like Jeffrey Campbell and Prada, decided to add in an espadrille layer to a shoe that normally wouldn’t have it. This might technically shorten the seasonally appropriate lifespan of the shoes, but fashion rules are made to be broken. However, I’m not sure we should even call them espadrilles, and at the same time, I don’t think we can leave that out – it’s pretty distinctive. How about Espamaybelles? (I’ll break that down: espa-maybe-lles…? ok, well, I love it, haha).

Anyway, that’s it for now. Happy shopping all! And if you spot any other crazy espadrille hybrids, let me know.

Tory Burch Desert Bootie Espadrille

3.1 Phillip Lim lace up espadrille

Prada Lace-Up Cutout Wedge

Jeffrey Campbell Mary ESP

Mark & James Magnolia

Chinese Laundry Dragonfly

For over a decade, Pantone (the self-professed world-renowned authority on color) chooses a single color that they predict will be influential in the coming year. In case you missed it last year, their pick was 15-5519 Turquoise, because, as the official press release declared, “Turquoise transports us to an exciting, tropical paradise while offering a sense of protection and healing in stressful times.” For 2011, Pantone selected 18-2120 Honeysuckle – a medium reddish pink, and  released this statement: “Energizing honeysuckle lifts spirits and imparts confidence to meet life’s ongoing challenges.” Pretty heavy stuff. But if that isn’t a great reason to go shopping for a new pair of shoes, I don’t know what is 😉

So, the official color is Honeysuckle, but I think any pink or coral colored shoe will be in the spirit of things. And designers are knocking out tons of pink shoes for resort and spring collections, so finding a pair right now is easy. If you’re looking for something to start you off early and keep you cozy as the winter slowly ends, I recommend the Koolaburra ugg boots in a soft pink below or an enclosed pink suede pump like the pair pictured by Kelsi Dagger (with the cutest removable elastic bow!).

Pantone says that you can easily pair Honeysuckle with basic colors like black, navy, charcoal or light to mid gray. But, for something more exciting, they suggest mixing in complementary bronze greens or a pinkish Apricot Brandy brown hues into your wardrobe with it. I vote pairing these with a maxi dress or with jeans and a drapey cream-colored blouse. Just remember these shoes are made to be the focal point of a basic outfit.

For the start of warm weather, Manolo Blahnik flip flop sandals are actually an almost-affordable way to enjoy the brand. You should also take a look at jumping on two trends at once by going for a platform style (or a “flatform” – an essentially flat shoe as far as feel goes, with equal or near equally tall platforms front and back) or an espadrille (always a summer favorite). And of course, since I have a special place in my heart for Melissa shoes, I was happy to see they’re also making a few pink shoes this season so that I could feature one here.

You know, maybe there is something to what Pantone said; I already feel my spirits lifting just by imagining walking out of the house with these shoes. I’m sure we can rationalize a pair of two now, especially if our mental health is at stake 😉

Jeffrey Campbell The Turino Shoe

Koolaburra Savanitty

Kelsi Dagger Tiffany

Manolo Blahnik Suede-Flower Thong Sandal

Dolce Vita Strappy Platform Wedge

Prada Cutout Espadrille Wedge

Stella McCartney Raffia Crossover Sandals

Lanvin Ankle-Wrap Platform Wedge

seychelles harlow

Vivienne Westwood for Melissa Anglomania

Traditionally, the vast majority of couples in the US have their weddings in June, the first month of summer. But this June was super rainy (I think record-breaking) and I’ve noticed more late summer weddings planned for this year and next. But regardless of when exactly it happens, you can bet that at some point in your life you will be invited to a summer wedding, maybe even your own! (I’m realizing now that I actually crashed my own wedding, since I technically never got an invite ;)) Anyway, I think that’s a good reason to have a blog strictly about Summer wedding shoes! (P.S. if you’re still undecided, see my Winter wedding shoe blog too).

So, you may think anything goes when pairing shoes with summer toes, but you’d be wrong! Well, ok, maybe not wrong, but some shoe styles are far superior to others depending on the location of your ceremony:

1. All Outdoor Weddings – If you’re having a summer wedding, its safe to say you’ll probably be having your ceremony outdoors to enjoy the nice, warm weather. First of all, do yourself a favor and avoid cooping your feet up inside hot closed toe pumps (ew, foot sweat!). If temps top 90 where you are, even gladiator style sandals may start to rub and feel not-so-good, so just cross all those shoes off your list now.

Next, even if you opt for a location that can reserve an indoor area in case of rain, remember that you’ll have to have your shoes picked out long before you’ll know Mother Nature’s decision. Any shoe will work indoors, but not every shoe will work outside. So, the main thing to consider when choosing your summer wedding shoes is the ground you’ll be walking on: sand, grassy lawn, packed dirt path (garden), flagstones, loose gravel, etc.

2. Beach Weddings – Trust me when I tell you that you will get sand in your shoes. And I’ve had even those most comfy shoes turn evil at the beach. So now the question is, do you want to have to take your shoes off every 5 seconds to dump them out? Or will you stay strapped into your shoes all day to suffer while a few misplaced grains rub your foot raw? If your answer is “yikes!”, then when trying out shoes, think first about how easy they are to get on and off. Unfastening ankle straps, for example, can require some pretty awkward movements if you’re in, say, a long, straight, low-cut dress. But if your shoes are open to let the sand in and out freely, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about removing them. Here’s a good beach shoe philosophy: don’t fight the sand, go with it.

Also, thin heels are not going to work so well if you plan on walking in sand, so I’d take those out of consideration now too. Even if you could manage the walk, I’m sure you don’t want to have to focus all your attention all day on not falling. If you really have to have a heel, you could try a shoe with a wide sole like a wedge. But honestly, I suggest you embrace the beachy vibe and go for flat sandals! There are lots of dressy options now:

Flats are the best way to go

Guiseppe Zanotti – just beautiful, and in buttery soft leather

Rampage

Rampage – the jeweled flower on the toe is so cute!

Stuart Weitzman - gorgeous jewel detail, click to see larger

Stuart Weitzman – minimalistic glamour with just 2 tiny jewels and a snake chain

Office (UK)

Office (UK) – your shoe could be your something blue!

Colin Stuart

Colin Stuart – perfect for bridesmaids too

Nine West

Nine West – wear with your wedding gown now and all summer!

3. Lawn or Garden Wedding – Let’s say the weather has been super rainy (not a far stretch of the imagination if you’ve been on the east coast the last few weeks), but just as you’re beginning to panic, the forecaster says it will all end right before your wedding is scheduled, phew! – the clouds part and the sun shines beautifully down just in time. But when you get to the botanical garden you reserved years in advance, you find that all that rain left a lot of mud that couldn’t possibly dry out fast enough! No problem, right? Right! Because you read this blog and you were prepared ;).

Ok, if mud is a possibility (and it probably will be in any garden or lawn location), thin stiletto heels could sink or get stuck and cause you to fall. But, you can avoid all that trouble by choosing a wide heel like a wedge (I’ve got some great picks for you below). Also, if you hate having your wet toes slide around after coming in contact with dewy grass (it’s one of my silly pet peeves) or if there’s a possibility for loose rocks to get into your shoes, you may also want a platform front style to keep those tootsies out of the danger zone. Last, don’t forget about the possibility of grass or mud stains (especially if you’re trying out your footwear during the rehearsal) – it’s a great impetus to try a metallic or colored shoe!

Jill Stuart

Jill Stuart – sweet wedges for a fairy tale wedding

matiko - nude shoes look great with white dresses

Matiko – nude shoes look great with white dresses

Alexandra Anouket - yes, you can do suede in the summer, when it's like this!

Alexandra Anouket – a delicate shade of summer suede

Nine West - classic, elegant and on sale for $30 as of 8/1!!

Nine West – classic and elegant

Oh! Deer - the delicate scalloping offset the chunky wedge heel

Oh Deer! – light scalloping offsets the chunky wedge heel

Mark Fisher - amazing with a yellow sunflower or tulip bouquet

Mark Fisher – these platforms would look amazing with a yellow bouquet

Unfortunately, I’ve found that most wedges are designed as casual shoes (who knows why!), so if you can’t find a pair that work for you, try searching for a chunky heel instead – the wider the base of the heel (where it touches the ground), the less likely it’ll sink in wet soil. But, if you’ve already found your dream shoe and they happen to be a stiletto, don’t worry! SoleMates could be your solution. I got a pair at a wedding expo in NYC last year and they’re pretty fantastic. Basically, the SoleMates High Heeler (in black and clear) slides onto most thin heels to make the base of the heel wider (and as above, that’s key for not sinking). They also don’t damage your heels at all and are totally reusable so, besides maneuvering muddy obstacles, you may find yourself using them all the time to walk fearlessly over sidewalk grates and cracks too.

expert sand walkers only

Christian Louboutin – totally risk worthy

L.A.M.B - muted enough to not steal the spotlight... unless you want them too

L.A.M.B – muted enough to not steal the spotlight… unless you want them too

Pollini - I did python with my creamy vintage dress last summer

Pollini – I did python with my creamy vintage dress last summer

Cole Haan Air -

Cole Haan Air – a romantic style for the traditionalists

A Few Words on Color – If you’ve read my other wedding blogs and as you can see from above, I am not a traditionalist that believes you can only wear white shoes with your wedding dress. But, I admit there is something about the crispness of the color white and the heat of summer that just seem to match. Maybe it’s also because summer shoes are less solid, and their openness is both warranted for the heat and breaks up the color.

But, I will say quickly that there are some nice benefits to not going with white shoes. Since many of today’s wedding dresses have colored accents or, at the very least, silver or gold detailing, you can bring some of those colors to your shoes to compliment to your whole outfit. Also, cute metallic shoes (and colorful shoes in general) are much easier to find in a wide variety of styles than plain white shoes are (In my experience, pretty much all “bridal shoes” look the same). And, since most of my picks are not technically “wedding shoes,” the prices are often much lower!

The End! – For one last side note, remember that it’s all the better for you if you’re a last minute shopper (or a super early one), because starting in July and through August, all the summer shoes go on sale! Happy shopping!

swamisz logo

You may have already met in my previous blog on crazy new flip-flop styles, but now I’d like to formally introduce you to Swamisz! Founded in 2006 in Australia, Swamisz were previously sold only in the land down under, but they are now shipping all over the world from their fun website to the delight of toes everywhere! Swamisz sandals are unique because of their disconnected toe plug (imagine a mushroom shape) that keeps the shoe on your foot without your having to grip them actively with your toes; your feet can actually relax while walking… and running at traffic lights, going down stairs, etc., things other flip-flops have problems with (yeah, personal experience talking here).

Swamisz are made with natural rubber (a renewable eco-friendly resource, of course) and their sandals are a lot sturdier than your basic rubber flip-flops. Not only are the straps and toe plug made a little thicker, the Swamisz strap is extra reinforced at the bottom, so you don’t have to worry about these plugs pulling out while you’re walking (the fate of so many old flip-flops). All that and they’re seriously comfortable!

IMG_0884

The shoe bag! (reverse has brand name & logo)

IMG_0886

Note the extra reinforced bottom - love that unique slightly pointed shape too.

My Swamisz (above) arrived in a standard brown shipping box, but inside the box, they were wrapped in a super cute (and hand-stenciled!) cotton shoe bag. A shoe bag coming with shoes that cost less than $300!!? I’m in heaven! (and, yes, a little ridiculously obsessed with shoe bags ). The tag booklet (printed on 100% recycled eco paper) was equally as cute, if not more so, so I have to share part of it below:

“Swamisz (swaa-meez) n. – 1. Designer footwear made with natural rubber and held securely on foot by distinctive toe plug and support strap. 2. Contemporary footwear; an evolution of design modeled on ancient Indian wooden shoes names ‘Paduka.’ Dating back over 5000 years.. ‘Padukas’ are said to be worn by the Gods. 3. Chosen footwear of India’s Swamis; respected, enlightened masters of self-realization* 4. Chosen footwear of those who know that mere ordinary flip-flops are “so passe.”

*wearing Swamisz may not lead to enlightenment…buy hey… at least you’re looking good.”

Swamisz colors 2

Now let’s get to the important part, Swamisz retail for $35 plus shipping!!! And you were getting worried, weren’t you ? They currently offers soles in 11 different color for you to choose from, all with a black strap and black toe plug, except for their signature orange version which is solid orange. I chose the not too girly-girly purple color which is dark enough to go with any outfit but still bright enough to be fun; but honestly, it took me hours to decide. You should also note that sizes are in AU (Australian) from 4-12 but their website does give you a nice size conversion chart complete with US, Canada, Euro, UK, Japanese sizes and centimeters to compare your foot to. I’ve found that women wearing US sizes should generally order one size down. If you wear a size 8, you’ll probably want to order a Swamisz size 7.  Now get out there and start being a flip-flop free thinker!

As they say, “Swamis and Yoga masters don’t wear them for nothing.”

my kitty stopped scratching to sneak a peek at these shoes

Even my kitty had to stop mid-scratch to take a look!

avatarJune, and springtime in general (the first official day of Summer isn’t until June 21!), is such a crazy time for picking out what shoes to wear. No, not necessarily because designers are trying our new things or because stores are ready and waiting for high school-ers on vacation; it’s all because of the weather. In June, anything can happen, at least in New York: downpours of rain, sunshine, ridiculous heat, a slight on/off drizzle, etc. This morning the forecast was partially cloudy, 60% chance of rain, temps 55-75. I took the subway and half the people were wearing full boots (rubber, suede, leather – all kinds), some were in canvas sneakers, some in closed toe heels, and the others were in exposed-toe sandals or flip-flops (commuters love to be comfy). So do you keep every single pair in your shoe collection out all this month for an overcrowded closet or just risk cold, wet feet (at least for part of the day) when the sky goes gray?

I think there’s a better solution and one that allows you to start packing away your winter clothes now (my favorite time of the year!). All boots can go into storage with the exception of rubber rain boots, depending on where you live, although I hate wearing them: I’ve never found a comfy pair yet, and they’re always so heavy! This is probably why one of my favorite picks for June are waterproof shoes (not boots)! I love the faux lace-up detail on the Sigerson Morrison pair below and the simple bow on the pair by Kate Spade; they’re cute worry free ballet flats. The glossy black Sperry Top-Sider loafers in the center of the second row are actually rubber too!

Another shoe I love for spring are loafer styles. Loafers are so under appreciated but they can really be super cozy and yes, un-old lady like too ;). You can still go for suede even with temps slowly rising (now’s the time to test out the year-round claim Uggs make), but I’d choose more of a moccasin style if you do, otherwise you’ll look a little crazy wearing them whenever your city tops 80 degrees. Moccasins are “supposed” to be suede, at least in my mind, so they don’t looks specifically like a winter shoe (like the moccasin sneakers by See by Chloe below) – just don’t forget the water resistant protection spray. If suede isn’t doing it for you, pick up a patent leather loafer in an off-white or bright color like the Prada scrunch version below; water’ll just slide right off.

Sigerson Morrison purple rubber flats Prada scrunch loafer Kate Spade Kerry rubber flats
see-by-chloe-hi-top-sneaker-moccasins Sperry Top-Sider Pelican Loafer Ugg Dakota Loafers

Wow, I can’t believe I actually have a blog with no high heels in it! I have been doing a huge amount of walking lately, maybe its subconscious. Don’t worry, I’ll make up for it next time. Happy Leave Work Early Day!

avatarSorry about being M.I.A. everyone! I wish I could say I was yachting in Capri or sightseeing in Paris, but it was something far far less glamourous that kept me away… Actually, I was working on crafting a baby mobile for an expecting friend. It had 7 cute little characters (dragon, princess, frog prince, etc) which I crocheted during every waking hour (thank you crocheting class at the community center!). Luckily I finished it one week before the baby is due and it turned out great! And now I’m back to the real world. 😉

One trend I noticed recently is multi-strap black sandals (ah recession, everyone chooses black) with various types and sizes of studs, grommets or other metal hardware covering just the straps. Popping up in innumerable variations (toe rings, flat slides, wedges, stiletto heels and more), this strappy studded look is everywhere from high end to super store. I found my first version at Kmart (!). Next to it is a version by BCBGirls, available at Macy’s, and the last top row selection is a pair of very affordable heels by Rampage. The three examples in the bottom row are by Frye (check out the pretty citron color too!), classic Calvin Klein and master craftsman, Giuseppe Zanotti.

Bolaro Stud Sandal BCBGirls Banny Rampage Madalyn
Frye Margot Studded Sandals Calvin Klein Devora Giuseppe Zanotti Ornamented Sandal

Last for today (but more coming soon), I finally I’ve found someone making a cheaper version of the Chanel Resort gun heel shoes which debuted like a year ago (I can’t believe it look this long)! Compare a couple thousand dollars to $49.95 at Shiekh! I’m sure I’ll find a reason to wear these heels at some point (even if it’s just Halloween – maybe a Rose McGowan in Planet Terror look-alike?); I just wish they were a bright lime green or something less actually lethal, more super-soaker looking. As I’ve heard other blog writers say, don’t even try to go through airport security in these heels.

Shiekh Mellina chanel runway gun heel

 

And here’s some shameless bragging 😉 :

Baby Mobile small

my crochet project being unwrapped by the lucky new dad

avatarHow did you procrastinate this long, it’s already Halloween!?  Now don’t expect me to tell you how to become Marie Antoinette out of toilet paper; your costume will probably have to be fairly basic unless you’re super lucky – most costume stores will be picked bare by the time you get out of work), but never fear, you can work with what you already have and I’ll show you how to get inspiration from your shoes (of course!). You won’t have to dress up with a “My Name Is…” sticker on my watch! (side woot to The Office).

Do you own a pair of mary-janes? Or do you have time to run to Payless to scoop these up? If you do, you’ve got an instant school-girl costume. Add knee high socks or tights, a short skirt (pleated is better but not necessary), button a white button down shirt half way from the top and tie the ends in a knot (or tuck it in but I’m going to just assume that most people aren’t going for modest), then add a neck tie. Put your hair in pig-tails for a Britney Spears twist. Add fake blood if you want to be a zombie schoolgirl (ooh or vampire fangs; more people should be scary).

 

Any platform shoes hiding in your closet? Seriously, why are you worried about a costume when you have an instant hippie outfit waiting to go? Add some jean shorts or wide leg or bell-bottom jeans, a brightly colored t-shirt (or something covered in a floral print, or tie-die… seriously, if you have a tie-die t-shirt you better wear it!). If you have none of these shirt options but you do have a vest, go with a white tee and the vest instead (if you’re really ambitious, make fringe out of a piece of plain paper or brown construction paper and duct tape it onto the inside edges of the vest). Wear your hair down or recycle any long wig front last year, tie a piece of string around your forehead, draw a heart or peace sign on your cheek in lipstick, and hold your fingers up in a piece sign.

 

Last but not least, the I’ve-got-nothing-but-I-have-to-wear-something-better-than-just-a-fake-mustache-or-they-won’t-let-me-into-the-party costume. If you have a pair of shoes that are a solid color (easy enough) but I suggest not black or white, you can work this costume. The brighter the color the better and if they’re patent leather or glossy, that’s even even (yes, double the even) better. Now get a long shirt and some black tights or tights in that same color. Next, make yourself a cone out of matching colored paper and wear it like a party hat (or find an actual solid colored party hat). Then… ready? Draw or use tape to spell out the Crayola logo on the front of the shirt!! Yay you’re a crayon!! This is an excellent group idea too if you have friends also stranded in the costume quagmire.  If you want to see some girls pull it off in a super cute way, click here.

Happy Scare Day / Pumpkin Day / All Hallows Eve / Candy Day / Halloween!

Make sure you wear comfy shoes to work next Friday because everyone (even fashionistas) should take part in this excellent holiday for your health.

The excerpt below is taken straight from the Road Runners Club of America’s website, because I really couldn’t explain it any better than they already did:

“In 1997, the Road Runners Club of America (RRCA) founded the National Run to Work Day. The purpose of the event was to get runners to leave their cars at home and run to and from work. While the event was successful in cities with well developed pedestrian networks and mass transit, the organization realized that running to work was probably not feasible for most of the working population.

On September 19, 2008, the Road Runners Club of America will promote the 3rd Annual National Run@Work Day. The goal of National Run@Work Day is for RRCA members and individuals across the country to host community based events that encourage people to incorporate at least thirty-five minutes of exercise into their daily lives. This goal can be achieved by a running club, an individual, or a corporation hosting a running or walking event with the duration of at least thirty-five minutes before work, during lunch, or immediately after work. The RRCA encourages the American public to incorporate at least thirty-five minutes of exercise into their daily lives which can markedly improve one’s overall physical health.”

I love these cute white flats above by DKNY because they’re actually sneakers!! (You were wondering what these cute shoes were doing in this running related post, right?) The design over the toe is like an avant garde mary-jane and the thumbnail of silver in the back is the perfect finishing touch. I am strangely drawn to these Pastry hi-tops in my second spot. If you’re digging the 80s vibe crowding street style right now, you probably can’t pull your eyes away either. Try wearing them with something a little more neutral on top (white tee shirt, black or gray vest and black skinny jeans?) though unless you want to look like you walked straight out of the set of Clarissa Explains It All.

Starting the second row above I selected some super cozy Juicy Couture ankle bootie sneakers. They’re lined with sherpa so think of them like training wheels for getting off your UGG addiction! These shoes definitely promote cozy toes and a healthy heart all through the winter! My last pick are these equally as chic Miss Sixty sneakers. Maybe you won’t want to run a marathon in them, but I definitely wouldn’t mind walking miles and miles around New York City in these flashy patent leather stunners (not to mention sprinting from the occasional red-light-running taxi cab).

Who says you can’t be fashionable and still feel your toes after walking 10 blocks to work!

P.S. If you really really can’t live without your heels, maybe try this adorable style by Pedro Garcia (and stay on the lookout for sneaker heels, I’ve seen more than a few versions recently).

The stores are talking about it, the magazines are putting it at the top of their trend lists and blogs everywhere are talking about how to wear it – rich purple hues, especially those reminiscent of berries. But what’s the most fool-proof way to incorporate any color trend into your wardrobe? Via shoes, of course!

Your feet are far enough from any visible skin (especially when the weather starts getting chilly – and with colored, opaque tights still being so big) it doesn’t matter what your skin tone. If you are in love with a color that doesn’t quite love you back, put it on your feet! Although I think purple is one color that looks good on everybody anyway.

Lucky Magazine’s Fall Shoe Guide in their September issue lists a bunch of great shoe styles (stay tuned for their complete list and other magazine’s choices in my next blog post) so I definitely wanted to mix some of those in when giving you examples of perfect purple shoes. First on Lucky’s list were Colored Suede Pumps, so I think this first pair by Nine West are fantastic. They’re also a High Heeled Mary Jane which was also on the list; Bonus! Second, I selected some Imagine by Vince Camuto heels because of the great color and crocodile texture. I want to wear these right now with black (footed) tights, a short gray skirt and a boyfriend style sweater – but that will have to wait at least a few weeks (still too warm in nyc).

In the second row, I’ve included two more hot styles for Fall according to the shopping guides at Lucky Mag (don’t worry, they picked 9): Patent Flats, mine are by Steve Madden, and Pointy Ankle Boots, below right by Nina (love that silver heel too). Happy Shopping!

Add to Technorati Favorites

Follow Us!

Enter your email address to be notified when we post new shoe articles.

Join 37 other followers

More of my Shoe Articles

Bookmark and Share
%d bloggers like this: