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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 ūüėČ

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 ūüėČ

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

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avatarEven if you don’t have young relations dragging you through the toy aisles, you may have heard that Monday is Barbara Millicent Roberts’ (aka Barbie) 50th birthday!! I know, I know, she looks like she’s barely aged a day (or does she?!). My shoe-conscious readers will likely have heard about this event because Christian Louboutin was snagged to design the shoes for the Barbie runway show held during February’s New York Fashion Week – in addition to their selecting 50 different designers to each do an outfit for the show.

Louboutin made the shoes, pictured below, in Mattel-owned Pantone Pink 219 (I still find it strange that some companies can own colors, like Tiffany’s blue). But honestly, I’m a little disappointed with his design. When I think of Barbie shoes, they’re pumps (although, yes, I know there have been many different Barbie shoe styles manufactured). I also understand creative variety and giving the shoes a fresh taste for her 50th anniversary, but he decided on plain d’orsay peep-toe heels with an ankle strap. He should have either used the iconic Barbie pump style or made something way less basic. There’s just nothing special about these shoes.

Louboutin Barbie shoes
So I decided to look for some alternative directions Louboutin might have taken (besides the obvious option of just adjusting the color of his Very Prive pump to Barbie’s trademarked Pantone pink – you couldn’t fault him for using his own classic shape) and I also searched to find some suggestions for you (if you want to join me on March 9th, I’ll be in hot pink ;)).

My 3 suggestions in the first row by Payless, Davis by Ruthie Davis and Dior are a classic Barbie homage done right. I am completely in love with the flash of yellow on the front of the Davis platforms, but I wonder now if I’m biased because all my Barbie dolls were a product of the neon 80s, haha. Anyway, even something simple like a not so ordinary fabric, as in the velvet fuchsia Kate Spade slingbacks in the second row, can be enough to re-invent a classic style and make it your own. A bit of ruffled frill like that on the Poetic License t-strap heels also works.

Payless Lance Flex patent pink pump Davis by Ruthie Davis Sushi mary-jane pump Dior Miss Dior II stawberry patent pump
Kate Spade Grammy slingback heels Poetic Licence Body Talk heel

And now for those creative deviations I was talking about before. A few of the guest clothing designers made some questionable Barbie outfits for the runway (the bondage-inspired bathing suit comes to mind) but at least they tried to show their own interpretation. So, with that in mind, my favorite not-so-basic and totally fabulous real-life Barbie shoes are these pyramid studded wedges by Betsey Johnson and these cut-out bootie sandals by Givenchy. I’ll try to remember to have my camera out on the New York streets on Monday – wear a pair of Barbie inspired shoes that speak to you and make me proud!

Betsey Johnson Deborah wedge heel Givenchy cutout shoe boot

avatarWinter is when most people get seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and it’s no wonder; except for the occasional snowy wonderland, winter is full of gloomy gray skies and hide-your-face cold. So why does everyone pull on black boots with their black coats when moods are already darkening? The only time I’ve really seen color in the winter has been the occasional handbag or scarf. It’s sad that people are afraid of color or don’t know what to do with it (other reasons?). I know that fear and thrift are¬†the main reasons for the black coats (yes, I have one too), especially in this economy: what will show stains the least (i.e. last longest) and match everything and never go out of style?

Okay. But shoes? Sure some colors become more popular than others, but I’ve rarely, if ever, seen a fashion magazine tell people to NOT wear a specific color. Maybe not with a specific outfit, but that’s a different story. orange in nycSo were you worried about those bright¬†shoes going out of style? As long as you pick a basic shape you’ll be fine (maybe leave the fringe and cut-outs out).¬†And worried about longevity?¬†I suggest you just don’t pick suede; leather boots will look better for way longer than suede one ever will. Plus bright colors are also a great way to transition your winter boots into fall/early spring when all fashion becomes saturated.

Shoes are one fantastic category to experiment with at all times and in all seasons. Try a bright green wellie this winter and I swear you’ll bounce a little when you’re walking. Or try orange with a neutral gray jean like the girl above! Just incorporate color into your outfits the same way you would with black but reversed: If you can wear black boots with almost any outfit¬†then so to can you wear¬†colorful boots with almost any neutral outfit. Hues of brown, gray, black and white on top = party colors on your feet!

Don’t worry, I have even more ideas for you below to liven up your black coat (I’ll leave that to other fashion blogs).

First, these Steven by Steve Madden boots are a fun shade of pink and the puffy fabric (and faux shearling lining!) will definitely keep you warm. Wear them with a black tights/skirt combo and add a top with some pink in it (maybe florals?) or tuck your jeans into them with a button down in khaki and a white sweater. Second, these ankle boots by Calvin Klein are suede, but how can you resist those straps and that rich royal blue color?! Some colors look¬†richer¬†in suede and since I’m sure not everyone shares my aversion to the material (and even I make exceptions), I thought I’d add one worth the risk.

Steven Puffe Calvin Klein Peg
Dr. Martens Nellie Pull on Boot Jeffery Campbell Flawless
Frye Jenny Shortie Jessica Simpson Halk

You might think the bright yellow rain boots in the second row are a little cliche but take a closer look… they’re actually Dr. Martins with the famous stitching and chunky anti-slip sole! If Doc’s standard lace up mid-calf boots¬†make you feel a little too punk/goth high schooler but you miss the durability of the brand, these might be a great alternative. And I think rain boots are the one shoe category where crazy colors and patterns¬†are mainstream; no one will bat an eye. Next to those is a scrunched leather boot by Jeffery Campbell. These are a great wine red that doesn’t stand out too much or too little. And,¬†you could wear these boots with almost anything: greens, browns, black, white, orange hues, other reds (although don’t go overboard), etc.

In the last row I wanted to add these olive green ankle boots by Frye since, in addition to¬†color,¬†they have a very walkable heel height and the brand usually makes great quality footwear. I’m sure you can see by now that you can ease¬†color¬†into your shoe-drobe¬†starting with darker shades¬†and eventually adding those special bursts of bright. But I’m sure some of you are still unable to pry yourself away from the easy stability of an arsenal of black boots, right? Ok, then at the very least I may be able to tempt you into the blackest of all non-black colors (no, not dark brown or navy – they count the same in this discussion): how about pewter!? Even though it’s shimmery, since the color is not mirror-reflective, boots in this color can work as a staple in the same way black does. Black dress and black boots = professional, but a black dress and pewter boots = professional & hip.

I hope I see some bright toes on the sidewalks soon! I have my camera ready.

avatarAre you one of the thousands of people out there planning a trip to the post office to stock up on Forever Stamps before the USPS raises prices one cent in May? I get it. $1.00 for every 100 letters, it adds up ¬†(and that’s only until they raise it again!).

Well, if that describes you, you’re probably looking for a nice but inexpensive Valentines Day gift for yourself or your significant shoe-inclined other (I’m convinced that anyone who says “diamonds are a girl’s best friend” works for a diamond company- and you don’t want to spend all that money on diamonds anyway, right?).¬† Take a look at these Valentines ideas for your lover (yes, you can love yourself too!) all under $30! (P.S. Happy National Pancake Day!)

steve madden rudin red flats amanda smith cage red heels
converse slip ox pink rampage yemina pink

Left to Right, Rudin flats in patent red by Steve Madden, red Cage platform heels by Amanda Smith, Slip Ox pink canvas Converse sneakers, Yemina dusty pink velvet heels by Rampage.

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