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.
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I bought a pair of vintage combat boots around this time last year. Upon spotting them, I thought they were cool and edgy and they gave me a bit of nostalgia for the last time they were in style. (I rocked them in the fourth grade.) So, quite pleased with myself, I skipped home to show them to my roommates. I didn’t even much like having roommates, but I will always treasure this ritual of ours. Fine, it was just my ritual– no one else liked showing off her new purchases. One of the guys once showed us a new DVD though, and I made sure to give it a lot of praise.
Anyway, I was used to the unveiling of my new finds being met with oohs and ahs. The combat boots however, were met with an uncomfortable silence and a cough for comedic effect to cut the palpable awkwardness of the uncomfortable silence. I was shocked! These boots were so cool. I tried to explain to my roommate how I would wear them and what I loved about them, but it was in vain. They refused to agree with my taste. I forged on though, and wore them out of the apartment in front of my closest friends, only to be met with ridicule. To be fair, my closest friends are allowed to ridicule me and I them, which is why now I can say to them, “Ha ha, look who’s wearing them now!”
There you have it–they are in fact a trend. So as not to give myself too much credit, I will admit that although mine were vintage, I picked them up at Urban Outfitters. They’re great for balancing an ultra feminine look, they flatter the legs in skinny jeans, and they exude an air of bad ass no matter what you pair them with. They’re all around winners and I think, due to their versatility and undeniable chic factor, that they’re here to stay.
My latest pick, the J. Shoes Meadow Combat Boot, have the added detail of ribbon laces for a feminine contrast. Love ‘em.
Yoga Class is a funny place to travel. You’re in athletic-wear, but you don’t need sneakers and it’s not really the same kind of athletic-wear that you would sport, say on your way to spinning. And since the sneakers aren’t mandatory, you’re really blessed with endless possibilities in the shoe department.
Now listen, I’m not saying you shouldn’t wear athletic sneakers to Yoga class. Maybe you want to run there (I’m too lazy for that, but good for you). And they’ll look perfectly appropriate, as you’re wearing matching clothes after all. But yoga has its own style. You’re not wearing shorts and a t-shirt. You’re wearing sleek leggings or flowing fold-over pants, or tiny shorts if you can pull them off. I cannot.
Yoga is supposed to relax you, and so looking cute to and fro should not stress you out. It’s just that sometimes the instructor is really hot and you want to impress him, sometimes the other girls in class are really annoying and you want to show them up, and sometimes you just want to look nice because when you look better you feel better. And isn’t that what yoga is all about, doing something for yourself? Yes, it is. So here are some suggestions on how to incorporate cute footwear into your practice.’
With leggings (cropped or full-length): A ballet flat always looks delicate and feminine. Hence, the All Black Woodstock flat.
With a wide-leg yoga pant (full-length): A moccasin is in keeping with the peaceful tone of your practice. They’re of the earth. You could be taking a vinyasa on a riverbank. Try the Manitobah Trapper Moc.
With wide leg yoga pant (cropped): These are the most athletic-looking pant in the yoga-wear family. A stylish sneaker like the Ed Hardy Low Rise Dubai completes the look.
With tiny yoga shorts (short): A big boot is an adorable contrast and warm feet will enable you to walk around with bare legs even when it’s not warm out. Additionally, wearing bulky boots is always a great way to make your legs look tinier, not that you need to! Pull on the Australia Love Short Nomad.
P.S. Barefoot Tess is offering 25% off for the rest of the day (a few exclusions apply). So you can get your cute yoga footwear on sale! Use code ‘CYBER’ at checkout!
It happens over brunch on Sunday morning, in the locker room after yoga, by drunk-dial at 3am, and via text, causing me to ignore the red hand and walk blindly into traffic: I find out about an upcoming event. It could be a house party, or a dinner party, or a fondue night, or some fabulous gala that requires a gown. Whatever it is, once I get word of it, my mind jumps immediately to what I’m going to wear. Of course, there are endless contributing factors to consider. The most basic are the occasion, its venue and of course, the season. Some of the more minute considerations however, include, who else will attend, if there will be dancing, and whether or not I’ll be drinking red wine. (Its stains have notoriously ruined dresses forever.)
Occasionally, I hear of the event and an outfit that I own and have been meaning to wear pops into my head straightaway. It’s perfect and I’m golden, despite the fact that I’ve almost been hit by a taxi. More often though, I have to spend a good half hour-who am I kidding? An hour and a half-trying on clothes and shoes and scarves and bracelets to construct the perfect look for the party. Once in a great while, I hear of the event and the perfect outfit simply appears. I know what it looks like and how to accessorize. It will be flattering and flawless. The only problem is that I’ve invented this outfit-it’s merely a product of my imagination. I might own a few pieces of the look, but I certainly don’t own the majority of it.
At this point I should say, “Well, that would be nice. Too bad it doesn’t exist.” Instead, I start taking a mental inventory of all the stores in the area, who carries and what, and hours of operation. The quest begins: building the nonexistent look. If it’s made of separates, the task is easier, but the journey is long. If I’ve designed a dress in my head, the mission is in serious risk of ending in failure, through no fault of my own. I’ll take a second to brag here. If it exists, I will find it. E-mail me!
I find that when I’m going crazy to build a look, the thing I am most thankful for is my shoe wardrobe. A shoe wardrobe full of staples will never let you down. Here are some I think every girl should own so when she’s built the perfect outfit, she can rush home from the stores, just in time to get ready in a hurry, and the shoes will be waiting in her closet to complete the ensemble.
The Black Patent Flat (All Black for Barefoot Tess Banded Flat)
The Accent Flat (Barefoot Tess Edie)
The Metallic Party Shoe (Gwyneth Princess Heel)
Speak up! What are your favorite staples?
And speaking of dreaming up styles, are there any that you’d like BFT to carry? Tell me what’s missing!
When I wrote about The Eternal Battle: Cute vs. Comfy and the daily struggle that accompanies it, I got a lot of feedback about the difficulty of getting ready in a hurry. Very few of us have the will to wake up two hours early to straighten our hair, construct a flawless outfit, and make sure we don’t dash out the door without our iPhone. It’s tempting to throw on sweats and schlep through your daily activities. And sure, they’re comfortable, but they belong on the couch. When you look better, you feel better and it completely changes the way you go about the day. Here are some insider’s tricks for pulling your look together in seconds and feeling great for hours.
The Headband: Tempted to twist your wet hair into a bun and check that off your list? Part it on the side, twist it into a lower bun, and wear a headband. All of a sudden, you’ve got yourself a hairstyle.
The Accessories: A set of bangles, a strand of pearls, or a cocktail ring will polish a work outfit and dress up even the plainest white t-shirt.
The Cardigan: If it’s chilly, it’s true, a big hoodie would be comfy and keep you warm. But a cardigan will show your shape, pull your look together, and keep you just as warm. Again, even over a plain white tee, it adds something. In an ideal world, you’d have one in every color, but an easy alternative is having a black one and one in your favorite accent color. (Mine is yellow.)
The Structured Boot: It’s tall and it’s elegant. Wear these over skinny jeans, tights, or your leggings and a plain tee (and cardigan.) They add sophistication and style to any outfit, and you only need one pair. They define staple.
The Soft Jean: Often women don’t want to wear jeans because they’re uncomfortable, cut into their side, etc. Try a soft, dark pair with some stretch or a pair of jeggings. You’ll be more willing to put them on if they’re comfortable and the Lycra will keep them from looking stretched out and sloppy. Jeans are infinitely more stylish than sweats (even if they’re juicy velours.)
The Makeup: No time for applying a full face? Me neither. Take 30 seconds to apply a bit of blush, a swipe of mascara, and a dab of lip gloss. All of a sudden, you’ll look 10 times brighter.
The Flats: Don’t stuff your foot into a smelly gym sneaker unless you’re actually planning on working out. A simple ballet flat matches everything and adds a touch of femininity. Black patent is my dear old standby, while metallic or a leopard print is a great accent.
The Coat: I know it’s cold outside. And if you live in one of those cities whose weather requires the floor-length down parka, you’re out of luck. As for the rest of you, fleeces are sloppy, ski jackets are not glamorous, and nobody likes a girl who wears a way-too-tiny jacket while shivering and sniffling her way through the day. A coat will keep you warm and you’ll look pretty while you walk. A trench, a pea coat, anything with a bit of structure and you’re great to go. Pair it with a matching scarf (maybe a hat and gloves) and you’ve got your outdoor look.
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.
I 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)!