Archive for the 'Street Chic' Category


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).


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 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.


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.


Tess Tuesday: Combat Boots on Trend

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.


Boot It Up

There’s no better city  for boots than San Francisco and it so happens shopping for the perfect pair is a lot like searching for the elusive Mr. Right  (wouldn’t life be a lot easier if men were lined up on a sale rack for heel-to-heel comparison?).

Too short. Too loud. Too off-color. Too difficult to care for. Too cheap. Too clingy in all the wrong places. Better suited for your best friend. Oh, and your mom hates the way they slouch and thinks you can do better.

And then, just when you’re feeling like you’re about to give up (though you never really give up, you just say you will), into your life walks the pair that makes you glad that you held out this long and proves that, no, you’re not too picky you just have excellent taste and know what you want, thank you very much.

You know it when you find it because they’re unusually comfortable and when the salesgirl tells you they’re designed to stay with you for a lifetime, your commitment issues don’t surface.

For me that warm feeling comes from Michael Kors’ Kincade boots in  buttery-soft suede.  Michael Kors boutiques are popping up all over the Bay Area and I’ve quickly fallen in love with all the pieces they carry. I scored these in an of-the-moment—but still classic—shade of grey that compliments any wardrobe, whether it’s boho or rock and roll. The design allows you to push them down for more of ankle bootie feel or yank them upward toward the knee. Rock them with skinny jeans in faded charcoal or with a short dress in a curve-hugging material to get noticed.


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.


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!


Moving About in Macau

Just hours ago, I returned from a whirlwind week in Macau, China.

Every so often we have an experience that we unequivocally know will change us — make us somehow different, maybe even a little better. This often occurs when we remove ourselves from our comfort zone and do something that may feel a little scary for us, but ultimately, makes us feel stronger and more confident.

I think part of what draws me to web-writing is an inherent shyness -it’s easy to be outgoing and confident when you are alone in a room, staring at a screen – but out and about, I’m different. More hesitant, less sure of myself.

So, when I was invited on a press visit to the other side of the world, a location where I knew no one, had never been, and did not speak the language, I was a little nervous. Granted, I go on press visits all the time – but to Asia? Wow. That would be a biggie.

The day I was packing to leave, I got notification that a cold front was to pass through China, and I should pack accordingly. I took the info I had at hand: A great deal of walking, a chic but cozy city and my need for versatile footwear that would work in various settings — it’s the key to avoiding overpacking – and I knew my choice was clear. On my feet during those long walks would be the comfortably cosmopolitan Michael by Michael Kors Derby Boots with shearling trim.

And so, wearing my fabulous boots, I walked the historic sites of Macau: Saw the mystically beautiful Senado Square, with its historic churches, ruins, and well, Starbucks. Visited St. Paul’s ruins. Ate the locally-famous delicious egg tart…a lot. Rode the ferry. Discovered the beauty that is Portuguese-Chinese fusion. And learned Macau is much more than a town of casinos and piers, as nay-sayers will tell you. It’s a beautiful place to visit, with a stunning history needing to be heard.

But most importantly, I learned I could walk through the streets of a city 8,000 miles away – where I didn’t know the language – and not only be okay, but feel amazing. And that, more so than the mysterious black chickens or 1,000-year-old eggs I discovered, will change me forever.

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April 2020