Archive for January, 2010

30
Jan
10

6 Days in Clarks’ Soul of Africa

Clarks' Soul of Africa Mules Warming Up in Somerville

Yikes! Once I freed these mules from their box, they got quite a workout.  For a few decadent minutes, I warmed them on the marble slab above our heater. Barely an hour later, they zipped through the x-ray machine at Logan and headed for Amsterdam.

Less than 24 hours later with water stains waiting for the train in Amsterdam

My socks slid against the slick leather insoles and the tips of my toes got a bit soggy as we  slogged through the snowy streets in Holland. If I had realized that Europe would be seized by such uncommon storms, I might have packed something more sensible for our brief layover. Thankfully, we did not get stranded there.

In Casablanca, we joined up with the rest of  the Somerville-Tiznit Sister Cities delegation and hopped on a plane to Agadir. After a sumptuous feast by the ocean, we boarded a bus bound for Tiznit. At around 2AM, after over 26 hours of traveling, we checked in to the Hotel Idou Tiznit where we stole a few hours of sleep before we launched into a four day marathon of magnificent activities. Our group meandered through an ancient medina, viewed artists’ studios, bounced to irresistible Berber beats, toured schools, explored cultural centers, and attended lavish meals with local dignitaries. Believe me, my jet lagged tootsies were tremendously grateful for the supple cushions in the soles of these mules.

Lounging in an artist's studio in Tiznit

Returning home to the throes of winter, my hand-stitched Soul of Africa slippers were replaced by my Sorel boots. Frankly though, I think they are praying for Punxsutawney Phil to spot his shadow on Tuesday so they can enjoy the quiet sanctuary of the shelf as long as possible.

To comply with recent legislation regarding blogging, you should know that my trip was sponsored by University of the Middle East Project, The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in concert with Sister Cities International, the City of Somerville, the City of Tiznit and the Moroccan American Cultural Center. Please realize that most of my experiences would not be typical for anyone else.

28
Jan
10

DIY Shoetube Style Part 3: Success!

After battling through chipped paint, chipped fingernails, and certainly chipped pride, my Gucci-hued door is finally finished! Fortunately, the paint was dry in time for the Holidays, and I recruited one of my fave florists to create a snazzy coordinating wreath. I’m quite pleased, if I do say so myself.

Avant et Après

As all worthwhile projects eventually come to an end, I find myself satisfied with a job well done and eagerly looking for my next  endeavor. I have lots of projects around the house, since basically everything needs spruced up, so now I just need to figure out what is safe to tackle sans professional help. However, given my slight obsession with shoes, I think it’s safe to say that most of my DIY projects are going to end up being sole-inspired.

Think about it:

Kitchen a la Kate Spade!

Bathrooms by Balenciaga!

A Lanvin Living Room!

A Dior Dining Room!

Kind of makes you re-think that story about the old woman who lived in a shoe…

28
Jan
10

Live Nude Shoes

Following the Spring 2010 runways shows, Vogue reported, “The big story for summer is nudity — the vast majority of shows opened with nude, ice-cream colours, making cut and drapery the big style statements as opposed to eye-popping colours.” And, while flesh-toned shoes did make a showing for summer ’09 as well, they’re back.

Listed among the spring trends at Neiman Marcus: Nude shoes. They’re available on the high end (like these Louboutin cutout booties):

Christian Louboutin's Cutout Bootie

And in the mere mortal price range: “Pierre Hardy continues to design shoes for Gap, for summer 2010,” blogger Nitrolicious writes. “The shoes retails for $98 and will be available at select Gap stores on May 4th. I’m not too sure about the shoes at the moment, would need a better look in person before I decide if I want them or not. Your thoughts?”

Pierre Hardy for Gap

The sole comment thus far, from “Stylish”: “Love the nude cork wedges…perfect for summer with white dresses.”

Easy wedges not your style? Obsessed With Shoes notes Fendi’s summer collection 2010 sandals, which seem to wrap the foot, all Grecian-like, in swaths of pantyhose. “They are simple sandals covered with lightweight mesh material that wraps around the ankle, with lots of extra material for an extra bulky bow,” the blogger writes. “The interesting aspect of the shoe, is the transparent platform, of course. It gives the shoe a futuristic, utilitarian look.

Fendi sandals

“Nude shoes make your legs look miles long. We love it!” enthuses About.com in a tutorial on how to wear the color. Need more inspiration? Style blog What She Wears suggests, “If you’re after a sharp, sophisticated look, the best fit shoe wise would be nude shoes. To be specific; patent, peep toe shoes in a nude colour (also referred to as camel or beige).”

Yep, nude is the new black. And why not? Black, by the time warm weather rolls around, is the absolute last thing anyone wants to wear. And white shoes: Let’s face it, unless you’re 10 years old and attending an Easter egg hunt, or a member of The Strokes, white shoes are pretty ridiculous. Nude, taupe, cream, egg shell, ecru and beige are not just for kitchen appliances anymore: Turns out those skin-colored neutrals make for go-with-everything footwear.

28
Jan
10

The Labradoodle of Shoes

It’s safe to assume that when the first designer dog breeders uttered the word Labradoodle, they got some skeptical looks.

But skeptical looks clearly became uncontrollable grins as naysayers were faced with the ridiculously adorable results of puppy love between a Lab and a Poodle.

Thus, we in the world of shoe breeding have accepted the shoe/ bootie hybrid–the shootie–with similar enthusiasm. Lately though, I sense a new designer shoe hybrid entering the scene to steal our hearts.

The simple sling-back pump crossed with the classic clog:

+

Right now there are some great results from Jeffrey Campbell,

and Clarks.

Plus a vintagey version from Nina Z, that my ahead-of-the-curve roommie turned me on to.

As for eBay, you size 6.5s can check out a pair of Ariats; 8’s, you can find Danskos; and 7.5s, there are some hot DKNY platforms.

But before we run out in our new wooden-soled works of art. What to call them? Clings?

Photo via.

28
Jan
10

Here She Comes, Miss America

I’m off to Las Vegas in a day or so…I’m going to meet the new Miss America, minutes after she’s crowned!

Zappos.com

Obviously, I’m excited – it’s Vegas – but also, it’s Miss America! However, I was shocked to discover that there’s many prejudices that exist about this competition, to this day.

Yes, it’s America’s oldest beauty contest, but what was once fair in its accusation of “objectifying women” (I hate that term), it’s anything-but now. Still, as I tell friends and associates I’m going to Miss America, they treat it as little better than a strip show.

I think the root of a lot of this misunderstanding is people misinterpreting the feminist movement. I mentioned to an old college friend that I’d be at the show, and he’s like “Oh, my wife wouldn’t let me watch that. She’s a feminist.”

What does, then, feminist mean? Women not given the opportunity to compete for scholarships to further their career? That may have not been how the pageant started out – but it’s where it’s become – and that’s a proud reflection of the evolution of American women.

And so I’m going to Sin City, to celebrate women, and womenhood, and being as out there as we want to be – and in my Naughty Monkey Fiesta heels, $79.99 at Zappos.com, a party it will be!

26
Jan
10

New Rain Boots: The Process

At first when I get a pair of new shoes, (I’m talking obsession-worthy shoes, not just just your average flip-flops) I take a mental inventory of my wardrobe in the hopes of finding the perfect outfit with which to debut the shoes. Sometimes I take it a step further and think of the perfect scenario. OK fine, I always take it the step further. In honor of today’s sale on rain boots, I did it for the Barefoot Tess Houndstooth Puddle Jumper.

25
Jan
10

Rock it Out with Rock & Republic Alyana Pumps

Ready to rock ’n’ roll after all those holiday revelries have subsided? Do it in style with a pair of pewter Rock & Republic Alyana Pumps and you’re bound to be the center of attention at the par-tay.

These edgy pumps are designed with a gleaming metal stiletto heel and a ½” platform for extra comfort. You can show off your rocker-chic side with the chain detail on the back heel (it’s removable) and enjoy life in the fashionable lane with the super pointed toe and high arch with the 4 ¼” heel. These heels can be worn season after season, so consider them a necessary investment for your party wardrobe in 2010.

These are the perfect shoes for post holiday parties that demand you show off those recently-learned dance moves on the dance floor, or when you’re playing hostess for your own event. They’re a good match for a little black dress, wide leg satin pants or even a simple black skirt that you’re donning for the evening ahead. Polish off your look with some rocker-inspired jewelry for the complete ensemble and get ready to party the night away like a true rockstar.

25
Jan
10

The Only Pumps You’ll Ever Need

Black and sleek, with just the right amount of shine–these Stuart Weitzman pumps from eBay boutique, McLables, ($99, size 7.5) boast a gold disc on the vamp plus a shiny gold plate along the back heel, so you’ll always leave them wanting a closer look.

20
Jan
10

Cute Clarks (no joke!)

I have to admit, I felt a little sheepish leaving the shoe store with a pair of Indigo by Clarks Sylvie heels. After all, Clarks have always been for sensible English women of a certain age; these were meant to be worn with my new silk dress. On New Year’s Eve.

Sylvie by Clarks

Apparently I’m not alone in my new found appreciation of the staple comfort shoe brand, though. “When did Clarks get so cute?” asks Shoeblog. Yep, it’s true: The brand’s Indigo line is suddenly packed with not just sensible but whimsical/fun/cute/crush-worthy/oh-my-god-am-I-old-or-are-these-actually-hip pumps and booties.

Rae booties by Clarks

On a Yelp thread about San Francisco shoe stores, one commenter wrote, “I used to date a podiatrist and he told me that Clarks makes some of the best shoes. They actually have really cute shoes now as well.”

Flash by Clarks

Söfft is another company that’s ramped up the style aspect of its comfort shoes. High but walkable wedges, patent leathers, stacked wooden heels, metallics and straps number among the options.

Cally by Sofft

One reviewer on review site Tumblr wrote, “These surprised me the most because I tend to get the mental image of orthopedic shoes when I think of this Söfft, but this style is really cute.”

Redondo by Sofft

Still not sure? Even Project Runway’s Tim Gunn gives Sofft the thumbs up, according to a video posted by the shoe manufacturer. “Angela has wide feet and had given up on finding cute and stylish shoes for her hard-to-fit feet. That is until Tim Gunn and Gretta Monahan open her eyes to the world of Söfft Shoes,” reads the intro text.

All of this, of course, beg the question, What other formerly-frumpy brands have suddenly gone cute?

16
Jan
10

A Whole New World

I’m contemplating a big move.

Zappos.com

I’ve kept it on the down low, but slowly started to let some dominos fall into place. I just may be preparing to fly west…and stay there.

The idea fell into my head about two years ago. I went to southern California on a press trip, and fell in love…not just with the environment and the warmth but with the people. I instantly made friends there – true, lasting friends – and noticed there were a lot of people…who sort of got me. I’m not just speaking of on an aesthetic level — blonds in cute little white sundresses in the middle of November – but on a real, personal level. Did I maybe have a California soul?

This became increasingly true as time went on – I’d travel with press groups to OTHER locations, and instantly befriend the people from California. Then I’d travel there for a few days…and secretly not want to return. It’s not that I don’t love what is here in New York, but when I’m there, it starts to feel like home.

Still, I was afraid. It’s a little scary to leave everything you know — all that, while not perfect, is comfortable, and established – and enter an environment that while inviting, is a little foreign. One where you sort of have to drive…and I barely know where the gas pedal is. But there’s advantages to such a life. Like, I could stop wearing walking shoes…and start wearing sexy choices like the Vince Camuto Desmond wedges, $98 at Zappos.com, on a daily basis – year-round, because I don’t have to worry about snow and slush!

So, will I make the big move? Well, the lease on my current apartment expires later this spring – and randomly, job opportunities have already started to come to me, before people even knew I was considering the move. There’s a heck of a lot it’d be great timing to move on – and away – from; and more so, exciting new roads in my life I’d love to move toward, that maybe I can’t do as long as I’m here. The chances look good…will keep you posted!




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January 2010
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