Archive for October, 2009


These Boots Are Made for Banking

 When I think of bankers, my pea brain conjures up a very straight-laced image of tailored suits, briefcases, and proper black loafers: think the guys from the Fidelity Fiduciary song in Mary Poppins. 

 MP Bank

Imagine the shock, wonder, and amazement I experienced yesterday when I was at the bank and  my favorite teller, Ben,Right On Boot told me that he was wearing boots, platform boots, to work today! I was in a rush, so sadly I didn’t have time to ask for a full description of his footwear. I’m hoping to find some banking matters to tend to today, so I can catch a glimpse (and hopefully a photo) of his Halloween heels. I’m really hoping they look something like these gold sparkly platforms.

Needless to say, any company that understands shoes need not be serious–especially around Halloween–is a place I want to do business!  

P.S. It never ceases to fascinate me how some guys actually manage to walk (or run!) quite well in heels, yet I still see young ladies that can’t seem to walk without wobbling…


Masquerading, Mayhem and Matching Shoes


A beautiful, brilliant friend is throwing a masquerade ball for Halloween this year. Guests will be donning grand dresses and suits with masks that spark the imagination. Best of all, it’s a surprisingly pressure-free way to dress up.

If you’re stressing over an original, cool and sexy costume concept without crossing the slutty line (we like to stay just shy) start with that dress in your closet–the one you sigh over every week but only had the chance to wear once (No, we are not counting the time you put it on to eat ice cream and watch 27 Dresses). Then run out for some coordinating shoes at Payless and hit the nearest Hallowen pop-up store or make your own matching mask. Soon you’ll be masquerading as your spectactular self.

Here are some looks to inspire your inner mistress.

Refined in Red

Pair this red lacey creation with ladylike d’orsay rosettes and admirers will come running.



Dark and Daring

Gentlemen callers will swoon over a decadent swan in satin t-strap sandals.



Prim Pierrot

You may look like a sad clown, but these oxfords will keep you happy.


Golden Goddess

Perhaps “Style Goddess” is a better title for any lady donning this golden Venetian mask and the Christian Siriano for Payless Carolina Pump.







Celebrity Shoes: The Motherload

While I enjoy reporting on celeb-fueled footwear lines, this Fall’s offerings are less of the occasional mention and more of a full-on deluge of A lister-backed collections. So here’s a roundup of who’s designing what and when shoppers can expect to test drive the star-powered shoes:

1. Nitrolicious reported that singer Beyoncé will launch the Sasha Fierce (Beyoncé’s alter-ego) for Deréon Collection. Beyoncé’s mom/mamanger Tina Knowles described the line to WWD as “edgier and trendier;” in addition to outerwear, handbags, lingerie, jewelry and eyewear look for “heavily studded shoes.”

sasha fierce

Sasha Fierce for Deréon

According to Style Guru, the line, which launched in September for back-to-school shopping (because what 9th grader doesn’t need heavily studded heels?), “comes at a very affordable price ranging from $25 to $75 and is available at Macy’s and Dillard’s.”

2. It its Oct. 23 issue, New York Magazine’s fashion blog The Cut revealed that, on the heels of Heidi Klum‘s dropped jewelry line, the Project Runway host will launch a 48-style show collection for Fall 2010. (Or, says StyleNews, the collection will “be the first to hit stores in February 2010 and will include everything from sky-high stilettos to tall boots.”) Writes the blogger, “The inspiration is the same as every celebrity’s with a fashion line — what’s currently in her closet.”

LouisVuitton 2009SpiceySandal

Louis Vuitton's 2009 Spicy Sandal, worn by Klum

The project, according to  WWD, is a collaboration with “Modern Vintage and Majestic Mills co-founders Rick and Brian Cytrynbaum.”

3. In all the excitement about the launch of the Olsen Twins’ Olsenboye line of J.C. Penny (they’re promoting it in a cupcake truck!), has Mary-Kate and Ashley’s other project — the Elizabeth and James line — fallen under the radar? Say it isn’t so! Nitrolicious previewed the 2009 Elizabeth and James footwear collection, pronouncing it “so amazing.” Pictured here, the lace-up flat ankle boots, available at Saks.

EJ LACEUP flat ankle boots

Elizabeth and James ankle boot

4. Paris Hilton frenemy Nicole Richie is to (says blogger Fantastictoe) partner “with Modern Vintage shoes and Earnest Sewn jeans. Richie will add a line of around 20 shoe styles to her House of Harlow 1960 label for spring of 2010.”

5. Black Eyed Pea Fergie‘s shoe line, launched in Spring of 2009 through, is offering up fall and winter looks like a shearling-lined boot and a magenta suede peep-toe. Blogger Fergie Freak writes, “Recently, I have been asked about where to get some of the fabulous shoes Fergie has been seen performing in. Well, it turns out that they are part of her own line of shoes. She’s come out with a lot of new styles for the fall.” (A poll on Beauty Xpose’s Foot Fetish Friday showed that voters were evenly divided when it came to the hotness or notness of the singer’s spring footwear.)


Fergie's magenta kid suede heel


Play It Up with DSquared2’s Tic Tac Sandals

dsquared tic tacWhen you’re heading to the soiree to make a fashion statement, lay on the glitz and glamour with some uber-stylish sandals decked in jewels and beads. DSQUARED2’s got you covered with these Tic Tac Tic Tac Velluto Raso sandals, a pair of scene-stealing shoes that will bring out your party-lovin’ ways in no time.

These swanky shoes are covered with shiny crystals, oversized baubles and charms, giving your feet a much-needed makeover for the season. Teeter on over to the dance floor in the 4 ½” heels and enjoy your moment in the spotlight, oh stylish one.

And what should you pair these deviously dangerous sandals with? A leather mini skirt will make you the diva of the night, but you can also make the most of this look with an A-line LBD, a pair of wide-leg pants or some fancy capris to create a showstopping look. Go on, you deserve to play diva for at least one night this week, Halloween perhaps? Try these on for size and let your playful side run wild.


Tess Tuesday: A Scarring Memory From My Childhood

I was invited to my very first wedding at the age of seven, that of a distant cousin whom I had no recollection of meeting but I knew, from the wedding invitation, that he existed. Upon learning of my cousin’s existence and his imminent nuptials, I began dreaming of a beautiful gold dress, with ruffles and taffeta, lace and brocade paired with a tasteful tiara and black patent leather ballet flats. (I was seven, living in New Jersey, and it was the early nineties—there’s no accounting for taste.) I related my pageant-worthy costume choice to my mother, but only got as far as the taffeta before her face fell into an “I feel sort of bad for you, but you’re ridiculous” grimace. “Laura,” she said, somewhat gently, “This is a daytime wedding.” What that had to do with anything, I hadn’t a clue, but the point was that my dress was not appropriate. “You’ll wear a suit.”

She whisked me away from my cartoons the following Saturday morning to shop at Saks for this ill-fated suit. I sat in the back seat, pouting all the way for the loss of my delusions of grandeur, and maybe a little because I wasn’t allowed to sit in the front. We were greeted at Saks, with offensive enthusiasm by Carol, who had gone ahead and picked out a bunch of suits for me. As we walked through the beautiful party dresses in a parade of crushed dreams, I couldn’t help but wonder why anyone else didn’t find it preposterous that a child would wear a suit. At seven, I looked up at two grown adult women and thought, “You want a child to wear a suit. And I’m the ridiculous one? ” But sure enough I began trying on suits. We finally go to one that had a nice top (a cream vest lined with black satin) but I was wearing pants with it and worked up the nerve to put my foot down. “I saw a skirt out there that goes with this. Can I please wear the skirt?” My mother agreed and I handed her the pants.

“Carol,” she called. “Would you mind bringing the skirt for this top?”

“And which top is that?” Carol called back.

“Oh, come in and see it,” my mother answered without a second’s hesitation.”

“What? Mom, no!” I pleaded. I was in my underwear. Carol was not allowed to see my underwear. First these women were robbing me of a beautiful party dress and now my dignity? Absolutely not! But in Carol came. I stood there awkwardly feeling my face getting hot and trying desperately to pull the vest down to cover myself—in vain. Carol acted like the sight of my underwear wasn’t no thing, but the damage had been done. I got that “my throat is hurting because I’m trying not to cry” feeling. My mother paid for the suit and a sensible headband and off we went to Stride Rite.

paulmayerbingoblack012I still had hope for the black patent leather ballet flat, which I fondly referred to as ‘big-girl shoes.’ (My favorite shoe to this day is the black patent ballet flat.) I made my wish known to my mother, who agreed, assuring me they would definitely have those. I spotted them the second we walked into the store. Perfect. I sat on the bench shaken by the panties incident, but thankful that at least I wasn’t afraid of the metal foot measurer. The salesgirl came over, measured, looked down at my dream shoe, then up at my mother. “She has a very broad foot,” she stated. “These aren’t going to work, but those will.” She pointed to a Mary Jane. My heart sank. “But what about another size?” I asked. “What about something you have in the back?” I was grasping. “PLEASE!”

I couldn’t believe it. My last chance for some semblance of elegance and they were sticking my stupid broad foot in a Mary Jane? A Mary Jane is the opposite of a big-girl shoe! It’s a little-girl shoe! “Sorry,” the salesgirl said—still no sympathy, and in fact, maybe a taking some sick pleasure in all of this. “These are all we have.” My mother agreed and she bought the Mary Janes. I was so depressed I didn’t even want to stop at Mrs. Fields. I hated the mall, I hated my life, and I hated my fat fat fatty fat foot.

This feeling, being denied the shoe you want because of the size of your foot: avoid it. Shop Barefoot Tess.

Now, you know I want your traumatizing childhood stories. Let’s hear ‘em. And mind the contest ($50 to our commenter of the week)!


Stepping Up and Out

Recently, I underwent a little life tumultuousness.

pinkhighbootsThe recession is hitting lots of people in various ways. Some are losing their jobs, some are taking on second ones to make ends meet. Others are just living in fear, afraid to order that takeout lunch or buy a new pair of shoes, because who knows what tomorrow will bring.

In my own case, after having a delusional period of security in the face of chaos – I even joked the recession was good for freelancers – I left a longterm gig -and despite having a dozen other jobs, I immediately began to obsess about everything from rent to whether I could still afford to exclusively buy organic vegetables.

Everyone told me everything would be alright – that historically, when one opportunity ends, I have a knack for finding a bigger and better one. And, not a month later, I did.

I realize that nothing in life is certain, and I think that moment of doubt taught me to be careful, and to think ahead, rather than in the moment. No matter how secure something seems – whether it’s a job, friendship, or a relationship – ultimately, you need to just be able to rely on yourself, your abilities, and your strength to move on and onward.

Shortly after regaining my mojo, I invested in these Two Lips Kitty Kat high  boots from, a steal at $99  – and their vibrant seductive suede is reflective of the me I’m ready to show the world. Sexy, tall, and sure – with a whole lot of sassy pink to share.


The Taming of the (Halloween) Shoe

shoeI’m all about buying footwear with enduring value and comfort—you know, rather than indulging in fleeting trends that collect dust in the back of the closet. This is precisely is why Halloween always stirs up some commitment issues. Last year’s challenge was to find white, high heeled boots that would complete my Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader costume. Quel nightmare.

Being a glutton for punishment (in the form of driving to every costume and consignment store within a 50 mile radius), I’m considering going as Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz this year. The search for shoes will be no easy task, especially since I’m looking to buy a pair of ruby red dazzlers I can wear again and again after dark, any time of year.

Enter Christian Louboutin’s glittered pump platform. The veritable wizard of ooohs and aaahs has turned out an aggressively sexy ruby slipper (with signature red sole) that’s built for more than a one night stand. At $775,  it better be. Available at


Sneakerball 2009: Who’s That Chick Rockin’ Kicks?

At the Greater Washington Sports Alliance (GWSA) 2009 Sneakerball that “chick” may have been Sheila C. Johnson, Lindsay Czarniak, or Cristy Oglevee.

Shelia C. Johnson (pictured right)

Sheila C. Johnson (pictured right)

For 6 years running the GWSA has honored outstanding members of D.C.’s sport’s community at this unique black tie event that encourages attendees to wear tennies with their tuxes! But I had to wonder, do women actually ditch their stilettos for sneakers?

As I approached the venue in my pink sparkly Converse, I was slightly apprehensive; however, my fears were assuaged as I saw not just men, but many women sporting sneakers as well. I talked to several women who fessed up that they too were afraid they would be the only heeless gals, but in the end swapped their pumps for Pumas anyway. Quite a few ladies, though, could not part with their heels and sported some killer stilettos. The hands-down most asked question of the night? Why on earth WOULDN’T you wear sneakers?! Most of the guys assumed it

Mike Easby, Mrs. DC Deanna McCray, Justin Scango

Mike Easby, Mrs. DC Deanna McCray, and Justin Scango

was a vanity issue, but Mrs. DC, Deanna McCray raised a very valid point. Her evening gowns are hemmed for heels (as are most of ours), so wearing sneakers would leave her dress dragging on the floor. She promised she tried–and wanted to–wear sneakers, but they just wouldn’t work.

As for the guys and gals that sported sneakers, there were some very impressive shoes! Converse were probably the most popular choice as one can find them in an array of colors and textures. I also discovered that Nike and Puma make some pretty sharp sneaks as well! My absolute favorite shoes, though, were the DIY projects. Sheila Johnson spruced up her sneakers with ribbon laces in shades of salamander, and I was totally jealous of Julie Hoyt who added rhinestones to the toes of her silver Converse (why didn’t I think of that?!).

Sheila Johnson wore salamander laces
Sheila Johnson wore snazzy salamander laces
Julie Hoyt jazzed added more sparkle to her Converse using rhinestones
Julie Hoyt jazzed up her Converse using rhinestones

While there were an abundance of stand-out shoes, the real stars of the evening were the GWSA honorees, including the late Eunice Kennedy Shriver and the Washington Capitals Alex Ovechkin. I must say, that whether you’re more into sports or shoes, the Sneakerball is truly a one-of-a-kind experience and a black tie event that you will never forget.

[rockyou id=154334281&w=650&h=216]


Step Things Up with Zanotti Leopard Heel Pumps

Zanotti LeopardLeopard print is back for another season but you don’t have to go overboard in the print department to pull off the look in style. Just grab a pair of heels decked out in leopard print accents and party the night away. These Giuseppe Zanotti leopard print platforms are a great addition to your Fall heel collection, giving you the chance to rock it out in 5” heels and a comfy ankle strap.

These cute and sassy shoes are complete with a crystal and rhinestone embellished flower on the vamp – you know, to show off your sweet and innocent side. The almond-shaped toe and suede-covered platform offer plenty of comfort without compromising on style.

They’re the perfect balance of wild and innocent, all wrapped up in an eye-catching heel and are a great addition to any all-black or single-color outfit. Just make sure you’re wearing something short enough to show off that leopard print – skip the long pants and skirts and opt for the knee-length or above ensembles for the ultimate Fall party ensemble this season.


Tess Tuesday: Winter is Coming and I’m None Too Pleased

I spend the vast majority of the winter months tucked up into the folds of many layers of blankets on my couch, watching DVR’ed television and sipping cocoa. Fine, that’s not true, but often I wish it were. Instead I spend my winters shivering, traversing the sidewalk hunched over with my head down, and complaining about the inexorable cold the second I arrive at my destination with chapped hands and a runny nose. New York winters are brutal, but as I understand, I’m actually spoiled having to put up only with this. Here the temperature rarely plummets below 0˚F, whereas in other cities, they’re dealing with temperatures below zero on a daily basis—I’m talking to you, Minneapolis.

Here they are.

The Top 5 Things I Hate About Winter:

5. When you’re in someone’s home and they just don’t have the heat high enough. You hint. You chatter your teeth. They don’t offer you so much as a cup of tea and they inevitably have one of those cold leather couches.

4. Falling on the ice. (This happens to me a lot because among my favorite winter pastimes is “ice skating,” though it’s most always met with the response, “Stop sliding around on that black ice, Laura, you’re going to fall!” And then I do, and I hate it.)

3. Runny noses and teary eyes. (Every time I come inside I have to wipe the tears from my eyes and blow my nose. Even then, it never really stops running. And do I ever carry tissues? Of course not.)

2. (a.) The great heaps of gray snow that are a permanent fixture on every sidewalk until mid-March. Upside: when the pile gets really tall, you can climb on it—it offers a sizable deal of fun in the cold while you’re waiting for the bus and you’ve grown tired of ice skating on the sidewalk.

2. (b.) Falling off of the gray snow pile into the street—people stare.

1. Cold feet. If you don’t wear the right boots, your feet are cold for months straight. And once they get cold, they never get warm, especially if you’re hanging out at this person’s house: See 5.

There’s just one solution and I’ve got it: Appropriate winter boots. Now, appropriate very seldom implies cute and fashionable, but I would never suggest something that wasn’t. I’ve got your backs, girls.

The Cosmosis Alaskacosomosisalaskabrown012

The Sorel Caribou Bootbft091709_026The Australia Love Corsetlovecorsetbrown012

Obviously, I want to hear what everyone else hates about winter—you know I love your stories.  And remember commenter of the week (here or over at Tess HQ) wins $50.

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October 2009