Archive for ‘Shoe Lust’

April 13, 2012

Fresh Off The Boat

Anchors Away!

Those of us who were children of the ‘80s all remember when Preppy reigned supreme.  And the ubiquitous Preppy outfit for both girls and guys was gently faded Levi 501’s, Ralph Lauren or Izod polo shirts – layered with collars flipped up, a coordinating sweater draped rakishly over your shoulders, Vaurnet or RayBan sunnies on your head, and on your feet –Sperry Top Sider boat shoes, no socks.  It was nearly a school uniform where I went to school.

This spring Preppy is back with bright/pastel pants, polka dots and stripes, semi-tailored layers, brass buttons, and most notable of all – the boat shoe.  But for us girls this is not the boat shoe of our misspent youth, indeed not.  Back in the day Top Siders– for men or women – were dark brown, oiled leather with a white flat sole.  I do recall someone sporting them in an obnoxious Kelly green at one point, but otherwise brown was it.  But not this time around.  No girls, not any more!

THE boat shoe – the Sperry Top Sider  – has reinvented itself and is clearly having some fun doing it.  Sperry is taking their go-to shoes and making them truly fashionable.  You can now get the traditional boat shoe styling but in a myriad of fun media – quilted or woven leather, suede, patent, fun canvas prints – super preppy plaids, tropical prints,  or bold leopard, metallic leather, sparkle – even sequins!  To further amp up their style “cred” they have partnered with fashion house Milly to create – Milly by Sperry.  Featuring super cute colors, prints and some great shoe styles – including a fab platform cum loafer that still sports a deck shoe vibe – these little guys are so kicky and amusing they scream “wear me!!!”.

Best of all, they are readily available at major retailers and online.  A quick scout of Nordstrom, Bloomingdales and the Sperry site itself yielded me with a bunch of fabulous choices for every mood and moment.  In the definitively preppy category I liked the Milly traditional versions in uber-on-trend coral or the fun tropical print.  For comfort the Angel Fish or Blue Fish styles reign with structure and support that is more like a running shoe; while they don’t come in the super fab media they still have some good colors and prints.  If you are looking for something a bit less traditional the Milly platform in the signature print is a standout, as is the fun leopard print wedge that really doesn’t look like it will say “Sperry Top Sider” on it.  If you are looking for a nautical vibe but don’t want a boat shoe the Milly wedge, which comes in several colors, is just the thing.  And last but not least my favorites – traditional boat shoe styles in silver sequins which would rock with jeans and the black or grey sparkle versions with the lacings in velvet – such a witty riff – both designs make me want to cuff my pants and wear a playful hat. 

While these boat shoes are great to make the most of the preppy trend or spice up a nautical look, I think I like their sense of irony even more.  How fun to have bright flowery, shiny silver or sparkly black deck shoes!  They are such a fashionable way to spice up traditional weekend or vacation wear. 

Bravo to Sperry!  They have done a great job of keeping up with the changing tastes of the marketplace while still delivering on their tradition with tried and true basics. Now myself, my family and countless sailors like us have who have worn many pairs of Top Siders over the years will suddenly be super-cool alongside the Fashionistas.  Check it out Dad – Sequins!!!!

January 12, 2012

Shoes That Feel Like….Butter

It is no secret that I simply adore shoes.  But frequently I find they are like those boys we fell for in our misspent youth – gorgeous and irresistible, but deep down we knew they were wrong for us and they would eventually break our hearts.  It’s the same with a beautiful shoe – I will fall in love, even when I know they will be too high, will pinch, or will have some fatal flaw that will torture my toes and leave me aching.  I will wear them and as I take them off my bruised feet will swear never again; then they will sit prettily in my closet luring me to wear them again…and I will.    

Keeping this footwear codependence in mind with a vow to change this time, I started the hunt for shoes for a recent event.  I needed dressy sandals – fabulous looking with a bit of height but comfortable enough to do some major walking and quite a bit of standing.  While this requirement meant a comfort style was going to be the best choice, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it – most comfort styles are stodgy and a bit depressing.  And the most stylish comfort shoes are still too high a heel for my tottering little self to manage these days.  So, I needed something fashionable in a mid-heel, and if that didn’t make it challenging enough, throw in my desire for luxurious materials and good craftsmanship and I was looking at the nearly impossible.  Or so I thought. 

Then I happened upon a pair of shoes that might just be the ones; platform sandals that were nearly, but not quite flatforms.  They were a truly lovely proportion – a good platform height, but with a stance that was not so flat that it had that heavy, awkward look that many flatforms have.  Made by Butter Shoes, they came in a suede that looked amazing especially in a rich magenta.  They were pricey enough that I couldn’t really justify magenta when I needed black, so I controlled myself and ordered the black along with several other designers’ options at varying price points. 

When these sandals arrived they outshone every other pair I had ordered.  With suede so soft I felt like cuddling them!  When I put them on I totally understood the brand’s name – they did indeed feel as soft and rich as butter.  The other competition didn’t have a chance.  And when I wore them I was amazed – I walked and stood comfortably, I even danced! 

Butter Shoes are a super find, especially for a girl like me with my love of retro/embellished/quirky footwear.  They have a fairly comprehensive line from flats to high, stiletto heels and even some cute boots.  While they have many lady-like and retro-inspired numbers, there are some terrific modern takes such as the flatforms, as well. 

The designs are feminine, flirty and fabulous while still feeling modern and being wearable.  What make these shoes really exceptional are the details in each design. Whether it is with interesting embellishments or just terrific materials – shiny patents, lush suedes, unusual metallic treatments, colorful tweeds, or fun quirky material combos like grey flannel and gunmetal sparkle, each shoe has something that makes it special.  Even if it is just a peep toe, an unusual ruffle detail or a bow set at a jaunty angle, there is something a bit different.  Add to that a color palette mixing both great basics and fun colors like a zingy turquoise or an intriguing purply-blue/navy; along with metallics and some great prints such as a fab leopard  and you get some really “ah” and “oh” inspiring footwear. 

For Spring 2012 they are showing great on-trend color block designs as well as some really cute shoes in Liberty print florals and they are doing these looks in both high heels and flats – thank you!!!  Also, if you are looking for evening or bridal shoes, they have a sister line – Something Bleu featuring designs with great silhouettes and the same element of specialness.  There are a few numbers with feathers that are on my watch list for my own wedding.

Check out their website at buttershoes.com where you can see more styles and locate stores.  They have some key pieces for sale on line at retailers such as Anthropologie.com and a wider selection at Endless.com; also, for bridal and bridesmaid inspirations, check out BHLDN.com.  The price point is squarely between fast fashion and high fashion, in the $250 to $350 range for shoes, but these are collectible and covetable enough to justify the occasional treat.

Needless to say, the first experience left me wanting more, so back I went to Endless.com.  Loving that platform design I found a few more options that happened to be on sale (cue the angels singing…ahhhhh).  They were still a splurge, even on sale.  But every pair is beautiful and unique, and with the wonderful materials and comfortable design they will be worn to bits. 

Now for a confession – I succumbed to the lure of those magenta numbers – yes I know, I already have them in black, but really they are too fabulous not to have, especially when they feel so good.  Better yet, they were ON SALE!!!  And every woman who sees them says the exact same thing – OOOOOHHHH!!! 

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