Archive for November, 2008


City Boot, Country Boot

My college was way up in Maine—the kind of place where the sidewalks get a thin coat of ice in October that only seems to thicken in the ensuing months. By the time April rolls around, we had a veritable skating rink.

It was not the kind of place where we got dressed up to hit the bars on Friday nights, unless by “dress up” you mean Patagonia over LL Bean.

Like all hearty New Englanders, we were a practical sort, used to taking a beating all winter long and we dressed to take it, especially when I compare us to my sister’s college photos—full of midriffs, legs and heels, heels, heels. And she was hardly in California. At her Midwestern school, they chose style over practicality, but we New Englanders are descended from the same hearty pilgrims that believed in working until death. No puritan would be caught dead in a belly shirt.

I am mildly jealous when I think of how every day I get older and I wasted four years of my prime largely clothed in pajama bottoms, sweatshirts and Bean Boots.

Now I am almost a decade older and still living in a New England climate. And while I am a city dweller, the sidewalks in my little metropolis are often no better than the ones I encountered in the wilds of Maine (let’s just say I sport a pair of Yak Trax when I go on winter runs).

Last week I started the search for a pair of winter boots. These are the kinds that will need to take me from my family lake house where skiing, sledding and snowman building are all on the weekend agenda, but also manage to look decent should I decide to slap on a pair of skinny AGs and go meandering down Newbury with my children.

And so my search began. No longer was I in college when a rubber pair of boots with good traction was all I needed. Now I needed something stylish to boot (pun intended).

When I stumbled upon these on Zappos, I hit paydirt in one pair of shoes that both satisfied my New England sensibility and my wannabe New York sense of style.

Slap some waterproofing on these suckers and they will take me from dirt roads to city sidewalk in no time.

Comfortable, stylish, warm AND able to meet my practical New England standards? It seemed an impossible task. But these Weitzmans can do the trick. If I play my cards right, they may even last me more than one winter.


An Early New Year’s Resolution

Get in shape. Volunteer more. Learn how to cook Thai food. They’re all top priorities on my soon-to-be New Year’s resolution list, but this year, I’m also committing to only buying the necessities in shoes and clothing.

This is partly because the closet is now overflowing with things I’ve managed to wear once…and then I’m over it. The magic is gone after just one showing of my latest find, so I’m resolving to ONLY buy things that have a utility factor of at least 5 – I must be able to wear the item at least 5 times within a year to justify the purchase. I’ve even bought a little notebook to keep track of the events I plan to attend sporting my new ensemble, and plan to carry this by my side on every shopping adventure.

This will all happen, of course, after the New Year’s party. Buying a new outfit for New Year’s needs no justification.

As a result, I’ve resolved to find the most eye-catching, glamorous and ‘can-you-believe-she’s-wearing-those-in-winter?’ shoes. Otherwise known as this pair of Giuseppe Zanotti stiletto pumps.

You see, it’s not every day that you get to wear snake-embossed leather and glossy patent leather in one step. These red hot shoes with black trim and a sleek silver snake embossing are the perfect way to draw attention to the red and silver dress I’ll be sporting for the New Year’s bash. They’re chic, elegant, and even have an up-to-there heel to take the va-va-voom factor up a notch. To the second power, in fact.

I’ll be kicking off the New Year with a pair of over the top heels that demand no justification beyond the New Year’s bash. These might make an appearance on my birthday, but they’re officially my last overindulgent purchase from the shoe department.



Guys and Shoes: Round II

“Heels are like lingerie: pretty, but impractical”

Wow. Needless to say this one caused quite the chatter at Junior League Happy Hour that night!

It all started after a friend of mine bought this amazing pair of Lillybee peep-toe mary janes. Not only were these shoes amazing, but they’re by a local D.C. designer, Kassie Rempel. It took some slight arm-twisting to convince my dear friend that these shoes were totally Capitol Hill appropriate, but I knew all along she was not leaving the store with those shoes.

I digress, so my friend was on her way to work the next morning and decided to try out two things: her new shoes and my theory about Nice Shoes=Nice Legs. Her bus driver was the first lad she won over and it was nothing but compliments all day, except for one gentleman. The man in question commented that “shoes are like lingerie: pretty, but impractical.” My friend didn’t really know how to react, and who could blame her? Later that evening, the interpretation of that phrase was up for debate. Is it good, bad, does he have problems with patent leather? If a man disses your shoes, does that mean he doesn’t like your legs?!?! I told my friend not to fret. Obviously, her man friend had not been reading Shoetube, because if he had, he definitely would have said “nice shoes.”


Style to Boot!

Whilst trying to decide if I do or do not like the new Puma’s Speedcat Model Equestrian Boot, and wishing I could afford these amazing, albeit suede, Via Spiga boots, I got to realizing that fall is around the corner.

Whilst trying to decide if I do or do not like the new Puma’s Speedcat Model Equestrian Boot, and wishing I could afford these amazing, albeit suede, Via Spiga boots, I got to realizing that fall is around the corner.

Now, I have notoriously been a huge boot fan, although Florida’s fall of 2007 led to a fledgling need for boots, as it was exponentially hot. (Too many adjectives and adverbs??? Very likely.) In other words, I wore a lot of flats last year, and I miss wearing boots. I have a few trusty pairs of boots, but I want to find some new boots that are on the fashion up and up, but that are also affordable, and comfortable. (And by the way, I want your thoughts on Uggs, because they’re still widely available.)

Here are some fall kicks that caught my boot-lusting eyes:

Comfortable and casual boot:

Forever 21, $29

More than just a boot-boot:

Nine West, $150

One day…-boot:

Urban Outfitters, $125

Kick booty boot:

Target, $35

And finally…

Gotta have ‘em boot:

Urban Outfitters, $78

What are your top boot picks for fall?


From Russia with Love

Yellow Box Galleon

It took me awhile to appreciate Russian literature. Actually, what it took was Kiera Knightley, starring as the luckless but diaphanously gorgeous Lara Antipova in the 2002 TV remake of Doctor Zhivago. Lots of snow and ice and bleak grey skies, not to mention endless war, peasants with chapped hands and an overabundance of gruesomely pointless death. But, amid all the gloom and doom, are the most wonderful thick fur hats, coats, and fur-lined boots.

I doubt that author Borsi Pasternak penned Doctor Zhivago with an eye for costume design. The book, set between the Russian Revolution of 1917 and the Russian Civil War of 1918, is a political commentary and star-crossed love story — neither theme a ready-made platform for runway fashion. And yet… what is more romantic than men in heavy top coats, women in velvet cloaks and volunimous skirts, faces flushed from riding in horse-drawn sleighs through chill air? It’s so over-the-top plush in the face of wintery minimalism.

Honestly, beyond that one small-screen version of Doctor Zhivago, I’m still not sold on the Russian canon. I need a happily-ever after with my fiction just like I need a crackling fire, a cup of hot cocoa and a rousing chorus of “Jingle Bells” with my sleigh rides. Nonetheless, since there isn’t actually a required reading list when it comes to the clothing inspired by Russian lit, I find myself drawn this time of year to furry boots.

Were I to find myself in Lara Antipova’s actual shoes, I suspect I’d be wishing for thickly comfy Uggs or Napoleon Dynamite-approve moon boots. However, with no immediate plans to travel across Siberia, I’m much more inspired by suede and fleece booties with an “I laugh in the face of black ice” heel. There’s a chance that, had Lara Antipova worn such shoes, she would never have lost-then-found-then-lost-again the tragically dashing Doctor. There would have been no need for daring escapes, a pantry holding nothing but a single potato, and a trainfull of soldiers with bad attitudes. With these shoes, Lara would have been a little less, well, Lara — and a little more Keira.

Eat your heart out, Borsi Pasternak.


Boot Hides in Iceland

The Catfish is Out of the Bag!

I love secrets but sometimes I hate to keep them. Iceland, however, is just the opposite. It is riddled and defined by enigmas. After all, how can one island be the home to Europe’s largest desert and glaciers? Why have so many elves or “hidden people” chosen to migrate there? Why does anyone expect tourists to know that the road from Hafnarfjörður to Grindavik is impassable if they don’t put up a sign? You have no idea how easy it is to get stranded on an ice bank in the middle…

Oops. Perhaps there are some stories that shouldn’t be shared (especially with rental car companies).

At any rate, now that the Icelandic economy has imploded, it is quickly becoming a more affordable option for Americans. Even if you aren’t interested in the Northern Lights or the Blue Lagoon, Maria K Magnusdottir might lure you there. This statuesque, blonde, mother of two who just happens to be fluent in Icelandic, Danish, German, French, English (and studies Chinese in her spare time), is an independent, shoe designing mastermind. Seriously, look at those boots.

Psst. They are made OUT OF CATFISH SKINS!! (See I told you, I am hopeless with an inside scoop.)

While many people politely peel off a catfish’s skin and abandon it at the side of their plate, Maria has 7.5 of them shaped into the sophisticated front side of these shoes. Maria also employs salmon and perch in her distinctive designs.

Personally, I relish the unusual and am very curious about alternative leathers, such as my limited edition elk leather boots. However, I know some people might get freaked out by putting fish skins on their feet. Perhaps I should mention that they feel fabulous and don’t smell funky. Also, these durable hides age wonderfully and they are naturally waterproof.

Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden just announced a $2.5 billiion bail out plan for Iceland today. So do your part to help out too and rush up to Reykjavik to get a pair (or two while the exchange rate is so good). Even if you just pop through on a layover to London on Iceland Air, you can still snag these beauties at the duty-free store in Keflavik airport.

Ok, ok, I guess I will let you in on one last secret. You can catch them on her website.


Nice Shoes: Guy Speak for Nice Legs?

How many times have you been out on the town, a guy compliments your shoes and then promptly offers to buy you a drink? At this point, I usually put in my martini order (Bombay Sapphire, dry, with a twist) and then enthusiastically proceed to talk about my fabulous shoes! I was silly enough to think that guys were actually developing good taste in shoes, until an episode of Seinfeld burst my pipe dreams.

Several weeks ago, I was bustling about my apartment and something on TV about shoes happened to catch my attention. I paused for a moment only to catch a dialogue about how when a straight guy compliments your shoes, he’s actually commenting on your legs. I was absolutely dumbfounded. I started to mentally page through all of the guys that have commented on my shoes, and it’s really rather appalling! How did I not realize that guys don’t care whether you’re wearing Payless or Prada? All that matters is if you’re showing off those “shoes” in a cute little skirt or dress. I feel like such a fool, but there’s something even worse: ladies, our shoes are being used! What is a girl to do?

Personally, I am not about to give up wearing “sassy” stilettos. However, if a young man wants to comment on my shoes, he best be prepped to chat extensively about Choos!

Shoetube on Twitter

November 2008