Archive for the 'Fab Finds' Category

01
Feb
10

Full Support from Chinese Laundry

Saturday was my lovely grandma’s 80th birthday. And that is not something you miss.  So I had a whirlwind day of present-buying in NYC, hopping in the Zipcar for a 2 hour drive to Philly, eating a dress-up dinner at a posh restaurant with my family, and getting back to Brooklyn in time for a good friend’s 30th birthday bash, whew.

Normally, I might have worn pumps for my grandma’s soirée. But this time I needed footwear that could go formal and support my on-the-go day.

The answer was my favorite pair of luscious flat, black boots. With work wear stability, but soft to the touch, they got me everywhere I needed to be on foot, and looked plenty pretty under my poufy party skirt. If you’re in need of some double duty boots, check out this fantastic suede pair from Chinese Laundry ($98). Or, if you’re on a budget, these vintage boots on eBay (size 7, $10).

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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

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.

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.

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?

23
Dec
09

Clear & Present: See-Through for Spring

“I can see “clearly” now: Prada’s 2010 spring summer show features clear plastic heels, bags and shades,” writes social diarist The Daily Truffle. “This post is … about the re- occurring theme of plastic, vinyl, and crystal accessories. What caught my attention about the accessories of this collection, was the repetition and cohesiveness of the designs. The shoes, sunglasses, and purses all fit together beautifully.”

Prada, for Spring 2010

As The Daily Truffle points out, Prada is not to the only designer who brought clear plastic accessories to the Spring 2010 runway shows. Chanel and Michael Kors followed suit, though these are a far cry from the the inexpensive plastic “jelly” sandals that dominated beaches in the 80s (and experiences a resurgence a few years ago).

Michael Kors

“Michael Kors designed a sleek and architectural shoe collection for his Spring/Summer 2010 collection,” writes blogger Obsessed with Shoes. “They had a very polished and clean look in basic colors like black or white. Clear plastic was a key component in this collection, and while that can sometimes cheapen a look, that wasn’t the case for Michael Kors.”

Prada collection, images from InStyle.com

In the January issue of W Magazine, Prada’s clear (clearly expensive, that is) heels make a showing in the extensive Spring Fashion spread.

Christian Louboutin's Engin spikes

Even Christian Louboutin jumped on the bandwagon with a pair of peep-toe pumps. The soles are the ubiquitous Louboutin red; the toes are clear plastic with silver cone studs. “Don’t be jealous about the Christian Louboutin men’s spring/summer 2010 collection, the women’s collection is just as good if not better,” enthuses blogger Nitrolicious. (Though one commenter noted, “I just don’t dig the clear plastic on shoes; is it ever flattering? Sorry, not these Loubs for this kid.”)




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