Archive for the 'Fit to Wear' Category

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.

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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.

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.”)

04
Dec
09

Handsome Devil: Morrissey & Stella McCartney design shoes

Furthering the argument that leather-free footwear can be fashion forward, two of the planets most stylish vegans are teaming up to produce an animal-free line of shoes.

Stella McCartney's Koiec flats for Adidas

The U.K.’s Spinner Music broke the news: “Morrissey is to design a range of leather-free shoes with designer Stella McCartney. The designer, the daughter of Sir Paul, said the designs are in the early stages but she hoped they would be in stores next year, the Daily Mail reported. ‘I’m working with Morrissey on a line of leather-free shoes which I’m really excited about,’ Stella McCartney was quoted by the paper.’We are still in the early stages, but the shoes could be launched next year.'” (Also on the horizon: “McCartney is also reportedly set to work with fellow vegetarian Leona Lewis on a new clothing range.”)

New York Magazine’s The Cut blog had this to say: “Finally, the void left by Natalie Portman shall be filled!”

Stella McCartney vegan sneakers for Adidas

Joke all you like; McCartney can deliver. Back in 2004 Discovery Company Treehugger wrote, “High fashion isn’t usually associated with sustainability–at best it does a little greenwashing here and there. But in the case of Stella McCartney, high fashion makes an exception. Miss thing inherited more than just rock royalty genes from Daddy, she inherited Mom’s good-hearted love for animals. All of her clothes are animal-free, including the shoes, which, amazingly, even forego PVC-based plastics in favor of materials derived from plants.”

McCartney’s current footwear lines include an Adidas laceup with a textile upper and synthetic outsole, and a faux-suede perforated bootie to which blogger The Shoe Goddess gave serious props. “While I may think that everyone needs a pair of suede booties for their wardrobe, Stella McCartney has given a beautiful alternative with her faux-suede gray perforated booties,” she writes. “These booties are of course even more interesting and unique because they have the perforations throughout the shoes. The holes are absolutely stunning and turn the shoe into a canvas and creating a piece of artwork on the shoe itself.”

Stella McCartney perforated bootie

So what will Morrissey bring to the project? The former Smiths singer manages to keep his own shoes out of his publicity shots for the most part, but his immaculately tailored suits are epic.

Can you spot Morrissey's footwear?

Racked.com muses, “While the collection is probably going to be more fun that Natalie Portman’s, it has posed a major dilemma for us. What’s the best Smiths reference to make in this situation? Grazia went with ‘Shoplifters of the world uniting…’ Fashionista wrote, ‘We guess all those pleases paid off and he’ll be getting what he wants this time.'”

01
Dec
09

Tess Tuesday: Shanti Shanti Shoes

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.

Namaste.

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!

27
Nov
09

GoodShop & Give Back on Black Friday & Beyond

How would you like to pump up your Black Friday buying power and give back to nonprofits in need at no extra cost to you? Well, if you do click over to GoodShop before you hit over 900 online stores, you can take advantage of stash of coupons. It only takes a few extra seconds and up to 30% of your purchases will be donated to the nonprofit of your choice. (There are over 85,000 charitable organizations registered with the site.)

Trust me, I realize that this sounds suspiciously like a scam but my dance organization, Monkeyhouse,  has worked with this site for three years. Checks really do arrive each fall and somehow they are always slightly larger than we were expecting.  In fact, Monkeyhouse just received another Goodshop donation on Monday.  I am so encouraged by this passive revenue stream that I have personally offered to match all the money that Monkeyhouse earns through GoodShop in November and December.

GoodShop has teamed up with over 180 participating shoe stores, and they have got deals for you whether you are into stilettos, sneakers, or retro roller skates. For instance, if  you got inspired by Shoetube’s recent Tess Tuesday post,

you could cut $10 off a $100 purchase and send 6.5 – 8% to your favorite school, charity, or religious organization with GoodShop.

Or, if Wendy’s romp through nostalgia reminded you to revamp your running shoes, you could save 20% if you rush to GoodShop by 11/29/09. But don’t worry if you miss out on that deal’s deadline, there are several other coupons and they will always kick back 4-8.5%  of your total to a worthy nonprofit.

Even if you have got to get golf shoes after this week’s Quick Fix, you can support your favorite cause by swinging by GoodShop beforehand.

So hop on over to GoodShop and discover how easy it is to give this holiday season.




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