Saturday, February 25, 2012

Balancing on Islands

People always ask how I can walk in the heels I wear, and that was never more prevalent than when I wore my new Fergie Footwear island platform pump.

Island platforms have been popping up intermittently over the past few seasons, and I have to say I was weary. Having a platform smaller than the shoe on a five inch heels seemed like a disaster waiting to happen. At least for me.

But then I'm a little bit of a disaster.

I finally bit the bullet and got Olivia, a pair of black snakeskin pumps with a gold platform from Fergie Footwear. They were beautiful and would match that gold and black skirt I have and never wear. They may match other things too, but the skirt is really what I wanted them to go with.

Once they arrived I took them on a stroll through the apartment, and managed not to break my neck. Good news. One day at the office, and the same thing. All good.

These are my new black pumps
A week later I wore them again (and not with the gold skirt) and the unexpectedly got to leave the office and take my heels on an adventure that included driving, cobblestones and shopping (among other things).

Cobblestones were rough, but they're rough in anything other than a flat.

Other than that I have decided not to be afraid of the island platform. Deceptively easy to walk in, they add a great look and unexpected lines to the traditional platform pump. The contrasting platform is also a great element on an otherwise traditional pump.

The black and gold is great because they can both act as neutrals.

Yes, they're actually easy to walk in.
Aside from almost taking a header on the cobblestones, and figuring out how to drive in them, they were great. By the end of 12 hours my feet were screaming a little, but that's just about any heel I own.

I'm still a bit weary of the split island platform (the one with the space between "levels") but that's mostly because I don't like the way those look.

Lots of designers and brands have shoes with the island platform heel, including Charlotte Olympia, Alexander McQueen, the aforementioned Fergie, Chinese Laundry, Le Silla and more that I'm not mentioning because it's too numerous to count. I'm not sure who did it first (although Charlotte Olympia has some great, versatile designs), but it looks like they're taking hold and will be here to stay.

So next time you're looking at a pair, and not sure if you can manage to balance on a smaller platform than the rest of your foot, while it's coupled with a skinny, sky high stiletto, jump in. Or take small steps and avoid cobblestone. Whatever, just don't fall.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Girl's First Heels

This weekend I got to do something I always dreamed of. Teach my niece how to walk in heels.

It happened a little sooner than I thought it would. I figured I had years before this. It would be for her first dance or a special event. Instead it was this weekend. She's two and a half years old.

We had a family party this weekend and my niece got a few belated Christmas gifts from some of her many admirers (family we don't see a lot). This included a bunch of stuff to do hair (she loves playing beauty shop) and a fairy princess set, complete with crown, wand, earrings and bracelets, and her very first pair of high heels.

She was ecstatic. Of course she had to open it at once, get pieces all over the place, put on all the bracelets she could find, and shed her little red Mary Janes for a more sophisticated pair of pink plastic high heels, adorned with sparkly flowers on the toe.
Baby Girl's first heels.

She always loves my shoes, so she shuffled over to show me, and I of course had to encourage this behavior. Her mom (my sister) was not a girly-girl, so her daughters love of all things sparkly and fabulous delights me to no end.

I took my niece by the hand, and promised to teach her how to walk in her amazing new shoes, and we shuffled into the living room to show her dad how grown up she is. Her shoes were too big, and she wasn't used to the extra height. There was a little bit of wobbling, and a full-on wipe out down a step, but she was so proud of herself in those shoes. Nothing was going to slow her down.

They're her beautiful big-girl shoes, and look like the ones her crazy Aunt Hoppy (that's me) wears. One day we'll go out together and buy heels that fit and aren't made of plastic. And I'll try to keep her from falling down.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Man Up and Buy Some Shoes

Outside basic brown.
When it comes to fashion men usually get the short end of the stick.  Never more so then when it comes to shoes.

Sure, they had some good fashion sporadically between the 1800s and now, but when it comes to shoes it was always a little dull (unless you were Louis XIV). Brown and black. Boots or shoes. Loafer or oxford.

Those choices suck.

For some reason American men seem especially wedded to the idea and concept of totally uninspired shoes. And once the gym shoe was accepted as OK for everyday wear (regardless of wether or not you actually go to the gym), it was over, and suddenly it's pulling teeth to find men who have shoes that are made by someone other than Nike.

This is really a shame because I think you can tell a lot about a person by their shoes, and gym shoes say nothing interesting. When I was single I refused to date guys who wore gym shoes to bars.  If you're someplace other than the gym and wearing a pair of New Balance, I'm out.

Aldo men's boots
Lucky for men everywhere New York Magazine has declared this season that men's statement shoes are a thing. Nice to know America is catching up with the rest of the fashionable world. Designers are taking another shot at marketing shoes that don't suck to American men.

Come on guys. Try buying something other than combat boots, Sketchers, gym shoes, or traditional dress shoes.

That doesn't automatically make all the choices out there fabulous, but it offers a little more choice. Men shouldn't be afraid to add color or texture to their shoe collection. A colored shoe can serve as a great statement piece with a suit, or make jeans and a t-shirt a little something more.
Pony hair and patent men's loafers. 

Guys, that doesn't mean you have to abandon your collection of safe brown and black dress shoes and go-to gym shoes, but move out of your comfort zone a little and see how it feels to walk in a new, more stylish pair of shoes.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Surviving Valentine's Day

I am not a sentimental person. I don't celebrate my birthday, Sweetest Day is something I actually forget about until the day after, and Valentine's Day is just another day.

I know you're going to say that it's because I'm married that I can write off Valentine's Day, but that's really not the case. I didn't care about Valentine's Day before I was married, when I was dating or when I was single. In fact, I struggle to think of any time that I ever got flowers or in some other way celebrated February 14. Sure, it probably happened, but I don't remember it.

It doesn't have to be a holiday....
But I realize to some people it's a big deal. It's a day to declare your love of another human, and gorge yourself on small candies and buy overpriced, roses that are 90% stem. Or you openly declare your disdain for everyone who has love and isn't you. 

And if you really, really hate Valentine's Day, you can join the legions of women who have made survival lists and anti-parties (and eat chocolate and drink).
My favorite list of stupid shit that makes women sound dumb comes courtesy of Refinery 29, who was nice enough to put together three different "survival kits," two of which involved shoes. (The first one is shoe free, but seems to assume you're getting drunk on absinthe while scrawling hate messages and angst ridden poems in your diary and burning pictures of your ex).

So apparently single women everywhere have now been given the tools to embrace their running shoes and a pair of color block heels, bust out the juicer and a bottle of wine, and swear off men this Valentines Day. Because nothing says "I'm independent and don't need anyone" like eating a whole box of truffles in one sitting.

My recommendation this Valentine's Day is to give a big old "fuck you" to the whole damn day. Married, single, divorced, happy, miserable...it's Tuesday. Treat it as such. If you want to get drunk and buy shoes, please be my guest (and invite me), but don't make up excuses on why you get to do it. You don't need some crap-tastic holiday to drunkenly buy new heels and eat chocolate.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Preggos, kids and heels

Being pregnant has got to be awkward. I've never been pregnant, but by the time month 7 or 8 rolls around, most girls look uncomfortable. Their belly is somewhere between beach ball and basketball, the waddle is setting in, and they're generally just uncomfortable and kind of bitchy. 

Plus everyone keeps rubbing their belly like they're some kind of Buddha and their belly is public domain.

Being knocked up doesn't mean you can't wear heels. 
Of course this is also the time when friends and family throw a shower, forcing these poor women to dress up and be nice for hours at a time and dress up. Today I attended a baby shower for a friend and she looked fabulous (which she always does) and smiled and was nice, despite the fact that she was probably exhausted, and she did the whole thing in a really sharp pair of nude to black ombre heels. 

At the end of the day we took a photo together, and she commented on how tall my shoes were (because we were eye to eye for once), and we both looked down.

"I am so done with these heels," she said laughing. 

Once willing to wear skyscraper heels, her growing belly has downgraded her heels to a few hours and three inches. Once the baby arrives I doubt she'll be spending all her days in heels either, and by the time it's a toddler, forget it. I've tried chasing toddlers in heels. It's not pretty. 

So pregnant women, enjoy your heels now. Even if you're waddling and hating the way you look, because once the baby is here you probably shouldn't be picking it up while wearing three inch platforms and five inch heels because your center of gravity is nowhere near center and you could drop the baby. Although if you do, more power to you. And if you decide to play it safe and not pick up babies when you have a jacked-up sense of balance, don't get rid of your sky-scraper heels yet. The kid has to learn to walk sometime. May as well start working on that sooner rather than later. 
Don't let good heels go to waste. 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Three Inch Rule

I have a new rule. All shoes with heels over three inches must have a platform. 

Why? Because I have walking around like a freaking ballerina on my toes. You know how slow you walk when you're in a pair of five inch heels, no platform, uneven sidewalks, and are really only 5'4"? 

Really blasted slow. 

They look so great. Too bad they suck.
Such is the problem with my new red Colin Stuart boots. The ones I love. I was so excited to get them. Red suede scrunch boots. They were going to go with everything. Become a wardrobe staple over jeans and sweaters. Pull them on and go on adventures throughout the city. Maybe even travel to new cities together. I had such plans for these boots!

Then they showed up with their five inch heel and no platform and force me to stand in releve and walk en pointe. Suddenly my red boot adventures went straight to hell (which is where some people think you go if you wear red boots anyway). 

Now I can't traipse around the city, or anywhere. I can teeter along, hoping to not hit the sidewalk at a funny angle and fall all stupid, ruining the suede when I inevitably land in a dirty puddle. Plus all my weight is now jammed onto my first four toes (because the little one is useless) and I'm in pain after a block. 

This simply will not do. 

So one shopping trip in and my red boots are being all but retired. Now they are the boots that allow me to stand a look pretty, or sit and be the girl with the great shoes. But they won't go anywhere. They won't be worn as much as they should have been, and I don't love them as much. And all because they violated (and created) my new three inch rule. 

Over a three inch heel: you need a platform. Otherwise you're just a pain in the foot. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fluevog, Art, Wine and Whines

I love art, and when I saw there was a FluevogCreative Art Exhibit at the John Fluevog store near me, I knew I had to go. I love art, Fluevogs, and wine, all of which were going to be there.

Fluevog art and shoes.
Everyone knows booze makes shopping better.

The store was unveiling their new ad campaign, which was predictably great. The exhibit featured four finalists from FluevogCreative's first eight briefs, showcasing a total of 30 artists. And of course shoes from their new spring line had started to arrive, which gave me new things to drool over as well.

My sister fell in love with a pair of over the knee boots with a chain detail around the ankle and heel of the boot that were on crazy sale. I fell in love with a pair of red, black and gray heeled loafer style shoes that were calling out to be a part of my wardrobe.

The shoes I want in the wrong color.
Unfortunately for me, they were only available in my size in tan, gray and black. Rebecca, the fabulous Fluevog rep helping me, looked all over the U.S. only to find there aren't any of the red, black and gray shoes left. Anywhere.

I almost cried.

Instead I drowned my sorrows in wine and more fabulous shoes, making a wish list of everything I want from Fluevog, which is pretty much almost everything.

My sister and an amazing new design.