Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Vending Shoes

Vending machines are generally bad ideas. Nothing good can come out of them. They’re full of fattening, sugary snacks that go right to your ass, coffee that tastes like pissed on dirt, cigarettes, and shoes.  

This girl is about to ruin that dress.
Yep. Shoes. 

What the hell kind of shoes come out of a vending machine? Canned flats.  Canned. Like fruit or vegetables. As in grocery. They’re described as “ballet flats” and are sold for $19.95/ a can. 
The machines are made by British company Rollasole and have been brought to the U.S. by Ashley Ross and Lindsay Klimitz. Props to the ladies for their entrepreneurial spirit, but dear god, we couldn’t have just left this on the other side of the ocean? 

So when you’re out clubbing in LA or Las Vegas and your feet are screaming you can slip a $20 into a vending machine and get some slipper-looking canned flats. 

Of course this doesn’t solve the problem of what to do with the heels you’ve just abandoned, what if the flats don’t match your outfit or if you suddenly resemble an Oompa Loompa with your pants dragging on the ground. At least your feet don’t hurt. Congratulations. You’ve just lost $20 and a little bit of your dignity (and my respect for what that’s worth). 

Granted, canned shoes are better than taking off your shoes in a club and traipsing around in bare feet, splashing your toes in someone’s sloshed martini, but not a lot. Plus those girls usually get thrown out, so I don’t worry too much about them. 

Yes, I spend entire nights in these. 
How about instead of wasting money on silly bullshit like canned shoes and complaining about hurting feet, you (wo)man up and pick a pair of shoes that you know will get you through dinner and drinks. If your feet hurt while sitting it means that your shoes are too small or cheap, and I have no sympathy for either mistake. If they’re killing you because you’ve been walking in 6 inch heels for three hours, have a cocktail with your $20 to numb the pain and find someplace to park it for a while. 

Ross and Kilmitz also coughed up some bullshit about the streets in LA being crappy and hard to walk on in heels. While I haven’t been to LA, I have no doubt of that. I have, on the other hand, walked miles of Las Vegas in three inch platforms, and have traversed the streets of Chicago in heels through rain, snow, and potholes that can swallow a house. Granted, this has not always been successful, but at least you have a good story when you take a header onto the sidewalk in front of Beauty Bar in six inch stilettos and your Gaultier outfit (true story). 

So suck it up ladies. Shun the canned shoes, slide your literally bloody feet back into those heels and prance around like you own the place. Or you can just go home. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Rodarte Unveils Fall/Winter Perfection

Rodarte has unveiled their new shoes, made in house for Fall 2012/Winter 2013, and they're amazing.

I promise I'd wear these all the time.
I love anything with insane collars, feathers, metal, mesh  or other bizarre fabrics, textures or shapes, so of course I love most of their collection. Black Swan made me want to shun my bad knee and tape my breasts down so I could pretend to be a ballerina and wear their tutus. Not to mention the headdresses. (The makeup I can do myself). 

I'm such a sucker for looking like a total maniac. 

Now there's the upcoming season's shoes. Dear God they're beautiful. Chunky heels, Mary Jane shapes, ankle ties, mock boots and puffy Joan Jetson-esque strips. Some even have metal detailing on the heels. None of the shoes have feathers, but they aren't really practical for Fall and Winter anyway. 

I literally started salivating when I saw all these shoes.

How can these be more awesome?
This Fall ready-to-wear shoe collection makes me want to hunt down these heels and charge up my credit cards until they begin to melt. Which would probably only take one pair of shoes, but whatever. That one pair would be the pride of my collection. 

For a little while anyway. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Kids, Crap and Flats: Tips for Surviving Summer (without looking like a muppet)

I'm totally overdue on an answer to someone looking for shoe advice. If it wasn't for that damn day job and all the daily life tasks I'd have more time for important things like answering shoe questions.

Fellow blogger and fashion conscious mom, Jenna, (author of High Gloss and Sauce) called for shoe help.

"I need something to wear to the beach. Not just any beach, but a long stretch of dirty sand at the city beach plowed with my double stroller and 80 lbs of children/bags/etc. 'Cute' is like the third priority, but clinging to the list."

Perfect for the beach and walking. 
After I read the question a few times and realized that it's not 80 lbs of children's crap, it's 80 lbs including kids, and decided to say something other than to find a less dirty beach, or how can two kids require so much stuff; I instead decided to appreciate the fact that cute is still clinging on (albeit by a thread).

Let's make something clear. There is no rule, written or unwritten that says as soon as you have children you must automatically wear ugly shoes. Maybe that's what they tell you at the hospital, or ingrain in expectant mothers between breaths at Lamaze class, but it's simply not true. I've spent plenty of time with kids, chasing them around parks, through yards, playing catch, football, grabbing collars as skateboards go flying from under them, and I've managed to not waste money on hideous shoes.

I also realize that heels are not always a practical choice for moms, and the beach and heels are pretty much the worst combo ever.

Before I could ever respond to her question, Jenna had invested in a pair of Jambu Women's Odyssey Sport Sandals, which are totally not awful. At least she didn't give into the Teva or Keen suggestions. They may be comfy as hell, but they look ridiculous if you're just wearing them to hang out in.

Beach (and kid) friendly gladiators
Another brilliant idea for those sandy days, long walks and child chasing is Sperry Top-Siders. No, not the heeled ones, the original gangster boat shoes, now available in a variety of colors and prints (including leopard) so you don't have to look like you've just gone sailing. Although with windblown hair, a nice tan and crap-tons of cash, looking like you might own your own yacht isn't a bad look.

Let's also not forget or underestimate the basic ballet flat. They're not only available from either Payless or Tory Burch. Plenty of great brands offer mom-friendly flats that look cute and won't rip apart your feet. Clarks makes some nice ones, as does Aerosoles.

Affordable and practical, paired with fashion and function. Doesn't it make your brain want to explode?

Just writing about flats makes mine feel like it might.

Now granted, this isn't exactly advice I would take myself, but that's because I'm a nut who chases my two-year-old niece around the house in a pair of pony hair heels (she loves to pet them), but everyone has to find out what works for them.

So to Jenna of High Gloss and Sauce, I wish you luck (and more than one pair of shoes). Because chasing children around at the beach, and pushing a double stroller sounds so exhausting I'm ready for a stiff drink just thinking about it.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

RIP Red Heels

Years ago I bought what instantly became my favorites shoes. Red, round toe sling backs with red and black piping by Nine West.

They were the perfect combination of trendy and classic. Something simple with a '60s flair that went with everything. I wore them more than I ever thought I would wear red shoes.

It turns out when your entire wardrobe is black and white, red shoes go with everything.

They look so much better in the picture.
Then this week they died.

I slipped them off at the end of the day, looked down, and realized that they were really done. Little red flecks from the inside leather inside of the shoes had peeled off and were all over my feet. Plus the white piping along the side of the shoe was cracking and peeling, the red heels had become discolored from being subjected to water, snow and whatever other stupidity I had subjected the heels to over the years.

All this simply adds up to their ultimate demise.

I really am way more upset about this whole thing than I should be. I've been watching these shoes slowly deteriorate over the past year or so, and knew this was coming, but they were still one of my favorites.

Now I have to find new red shoes, and every pair seems to pale in comparison to these. I can't find anything with that '60s, flair, and the perfect combination of red, black and white. I wish Nine West would reissue them I'm not even sure that happens, but if it does that would be awesome. Plus then I could buy multiple pairs so I can wear them forever.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Night Clubbing

Dance clubs are great places to people watch. You can see all kinds of degenerate behavior, rhythmless people, failed pickups, and of course, all the crazy clothes.

They're not all bad, but not for the nightlife.
Also prevalent this weekend: flats.

I apparently missed when it became OK to wear flats out to clubs and bars. I mean, girls always dressed like idiots and maniacs (myself included), but it somehow looks less stupid when paired with a nice pair of heels.

Everywhere I turned they were there. Flats. ballet pumps, peep toes, garish bows, and plain old boring flats that weren't even worth noticing. The worst was when they were paired with mini skirts. I wish I had my camera to document some of these atrocities. Maybe I could have done some people a favor by posting photos of their hideous wardrobe mistakes.

A tip to the girl in the sequin mini; next time don't pair it with a t-shirt (pretty sure there was a unicorn or panda or some such shit on it), open toe flats, and remember that a hairstyle (or a hairbrush for that matter) won't kill you.

If you can't wear these to a club...
It wasn't all bad though. Two girls had raided Akira this weekend. One was rocking the hell out of some Jeffrey Campbell Nightwalk heel-less shoes on the dance floor, and her friend had on a great pair of spike Litas, but that was about it.

Sure there was the regular stuff. Gym shoes, boots, probably a pair of flip flops, and general bullshit, but it seemed like everyone around was making an effort to dress not to impress. Ladies, this is just not acceptable. Married, single, coupled, whatever, there is no excuse for not dressing up if you're planning on going out for a night on the town. A pub is one thing, but if you're going to make googly eyes at the guy in the plaid shirt while convulsing in a way that may or may not be dancing, step up the effort.

Remember that dressing up always, always includes heels, wedges, or some kind of lift.

Or dress so your shoes go with your outfit.  And for the love of all things holy, leave the unicorn shirt at home.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Stepping Out in Green

John Fluevog can do green
Saint Patrick’s Day always calls for people to make themselves as green as possible. Literally. Hair, face paint, eyes, lips, clothes and of course shoes. In Chicago we even take it a few steps further and make the beer and the river green(er). 

I’m not Irish at all, so I don’t usually take part in all this greenness. Once I went to the South Side Irish parade and my dark hair, lack of green and North side “look” stuck out like a sore thumb in the middle of all those pale, Irish redheads clad in head to toe green. 

Luckily everyone was also really drunk, so I’m pretty sure no one cared. 

Now with the greenest of all holidays just around the corner again, I feel like I should at least make some sad attempt at giving a crap about it, and drag out something green. After all, my husband and brother-in-law are both part Irish, so at least it’s somewhere in the family. 

Plus St. Patrick’s Day gives the opportunity to buy new, green shoes. 

If you’ve never wanted green shoes, let me assure you that you will wear them more than you think. At least you may. And if not then you get to say you own green shoes. 

These aren't for St. Patrick's Day
You can go with neon green and hit the parades and bars in a pair of day-glow pumps, and they’ll still be on-trend after the holiday. 

If more subdued is your thing, look for something with more of a minty-pastel color. It will be great with floral sun dresses and cropped pants. 

I actually do own one pair of green sandals, although they’re hardly all green, and I’ve owned them so long I forgot where I even got them, but with their garish flower and ankle ties, I have managed to wear the hell out of them every summer for the last few years. Usually they don’t make an appearance on St. Patrick’s Day because in Chicago it's usually still snowing, but with this March’s unseasonably warm temps, I guess it’s a possibility. 

Whatever your green decision, make sure it’s something that can continue to be worn well after the river is back to normal and the local Irish have scrubbed themselves of the green glitter. Then your shoes can simply be fabulous green, no matter the day. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Wedging into Summer

No 6 from DSW
I recently went shopping with my sister, hunting for a pair of black wedge sandals. The kind of fabulous basic sandal that will get you through all summer.

I have a couple pairs of black sandals, all split wedges, peep toe, strappy and in both cases fabulous. They're the perfect shoe to go with a pair of capris, shorts or sundresses, and can be dressed up or down.

After a failed attempt to find the perfect sandals at a couple different places, I promised to look for her and find a couple different options.

Fergie Footwear
DSW has a ton of options available, one of the best being the Mix No. 6 Erin Wedge Sandal. The wooden platform gives a great contrast to the black leather, and the woven detailing across the top of the foot it a nice detail.

Fergie Footwear has a great pair of black wedge sandals too (and they're on sale), these with an ankle strap, which is one of my favorite styles out this spring. The Queenie Too sandal gives more of a peep toe look than a traditional sandal, which makes it easier to dress up than a more traditional sandal.

If you're looking for something that's a little more of a traditional wedge, the Lynn by Matiko (available through Zappos) has a black wedge, criss cross straps and a buckle. It's guaranteed to go with just about anything and serves as an understand shoe.

In the event that espadrilles are your thing, then you're totally on your own. That's one trend I haven't bought into. There's something about a woven wedge that just seems off to me, and the traditional espadrille with their canvas shoe and weird toe shape are something I'm out on. Plus I am convinced that those woven wedges will look, and smell, like ass as soon as they get wet in some inevitable summer storm.

So embrace the unseasonably warm weather and pretend Spring is here to stay and start ordering sandals. Hopefully my sister finds one soon because I'm ready to start looking for more fun shoes. Mostly for me, but I can look for other people too.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Blocking Out Heels

I'm really into this whole color blocking trend going on right now. In reality it's simply the absence of patterns and wearing more than one color at a time, so it's basically how I've always dressed because my wardrobe is totally void of patterns.

When it comes to shoes though, color blocking gives a new aesthetic that wasn't so prevalent before. This season it's easy to find shoes of every color with contrasting platforms, heels and toes.

Three basic colors will go with anything. 
I finally broke down a got a pair, and in pearl clutching surprise, they are not sky-high heels in obnoxious colors. Instead I went classic and subdued with a pair of beige, tan and black leather, round toe color block heels from Banana Republic.

I saw them when they first hit the store a couple months ago, and had somehow (and for some unknown reason) resisted buying them until this weekend. Finally I gave in, realizing that not only are they some kind of retro-inspired amazing, but they'll also go with damn near anything I wear to work.

That certainly doesn't men I am going to temper my use of colored heels in the workplace, but instead this provides another option when my look is a little more conservative and classic. They'll also go flawlessly with suits, which means they can be a go-to shoe for traveling and cut the anxiety of needing multiple pairs of shoes. (We'll see how that theory works out).

These amazing little shoes have also given me a billion new outfit ideas, at least half of which involves buying new clothes, so they're also acting as a catalyst to expand my wardrobe.

As for all the other colors out there, don't worry. I'll get to the bright, obnoxious color blocked shoes. In fact, I may already have some sitting in my closet. It's getting kind of hard to keep track.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Celebrity Shoes

I decided I should have my own shoe line. I mean why not? I like shoes, probably know more about them than a lot of women, have some great design ideas...all good things if you're going to start a shoe line.

Who'd have thought this guy would make women's shoes?
Oh, then there's also the fact the apparently now anyone can design shoes.

Halle Berry has joined the long (and ever growing) list of celebs who has a shoe line. She will be "designing" 40 pairs of limited edition shoes for Deichmann, which will launch next month in the UK. Many others preceded her, some with their own brand, including Carlos Santana (love the shoes but does that even make sense?), Fergie (she actually wears her own line), Madonna (will never wear her own line), Jessica Simpson (better at fashion than singing), Cindy Crawford (also designed for Deichmann), Kanye West (I wish I was kidding), Gwen Stefani (we all love L.A.M.B.) and a bunch of celebs who designed shoes for Stewart Weitzman.

Dear Brian Atwood, I am obsessed with these.
This isn't even including the partnerships shoe clubs like ShoeMint, ShoeDazzle, JustFabulous and countless others.

So I've decided that it stands to reason that if all those people can launch their own shoe lines, I should too. Except I'd like to actually design my own, as opposed to having a bunch of other people designing them.

So what's stopping me?

That would be money. That's a big difference between Madonna, Jessica Simpson, Halle Berry and me. They all have ass tons of dough at their disposal, financial backers, and knows all the right people. I work my ass off 60 hours a week at a non-fashion related day job in a sky-scraper to pay the bills. Sinking money into making my own shoes isn't really practical at this point in my life.

And sure, I'd be happy to partner with someone who would slap my name on some mutually agreed upon designs, but it turns out I'm just not that important yet. Maybe one day I will be, but not yet.

So until the day Brian Atwood calls me for a meeting (he's got to return to Chicago sometime), I'll just keep jamming my closet with shoes from other people, both designers and celebrities. Because if there's one thing I do know and appreciate, it's a good pair of shoes. Even if I can't always afford them.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Obtaining Obsessions

Sunday early afternoon I was sitting back with a cup of coffee after yoga and breakfast, and checking Facebook on my phone. It's the usual threads of what people had for breakfast, pictures of their kids and weekends, and shoes.

Shoes fill my feed. Between every image of a smiling child and drunken smiles were pictures of shoes. From the affordable to the unaffordable they were all staring at me until something really caught my eye. Charles David shoes at 50% off.

I have been obsession over these for months.
I clicked the link and browsed through the teeny tiny pictures of Charles David fabulousness on my phone, then I moved onto page 2, and there they were, staring at me. Charles by Charles David black phony hair heels with tie tassels across the top of the foot, trimmed in black patent leather. Perfection. The ones I first saw at Fashion's Night Out, saw again in Miami on a business trip (but they were out of my size) and that I couldn't find on the Charles David website. And there they were, and there were only three left in my size.

I almost tripped over myself running into the other room to grab a computer and my wallet. I logged into Facebook to find the link again and find the shoes. I had to move fast because I was convinced there were undoubtedly legions of other tiny-footed women who love things with pony hair and/or tassels all trying to get the shoes at the same time as me.

Frantically punching in all the information, I hit submit, holding my breath, expecting some kind of message to pop up and tell me that they can't fulfill my order. Instead I got a confirmation message, and a confirmation email.

I squealed with delight, flipped the computer around and showed my husband my amazing find.

"Don't you already have those?" he asked.

Screw him. What does he know anyway?

Friday, March 2, 2012

Spring Flowers

I don’t do pastels and I don’t do floral prints. These two things are going to make Spring fashions kind of difficult for me this year.

Too sweet for me. 
It’s not because they don’t look good on me. With pale skin and dark hair, pastels actually aren’t bad on me. Floral prints probably also look fine, but I can’t get over the fact that even the most clothing-looking floral pattern reminds me of wallpaper.

Gives a whole new mental image to the term “wallflower.”

Instead I’ll go with the bright colors for spring, of course paired with my black basics, button downs and pencil skirts (because in my wardrobe it is the early 1960s), and continue to toss on shoes that act as the statement piece that makes my look defy any era.

Today I spent lunch looking through catalogs and browsing online, and I noticed that there are a lot of floral print shoes for Spring as well.

Flower, snake and leopard? I could do this. 
I guess they kind of look like wallpaper too, but somehow it’s vaguely more acceptable when it’s on your feet. As if you accidentally got tripped up in it on your way out of the house and now your shoes look oh so fabulous because that dining room pattern is to die for.

Perhaps a bold floral pattern with a contrasting color heel will work for me. Or something that is bright and dark, all at the same time.  I need to find the right pattern. One that adds that perfect punch to a pain dress or breathes new life into a colored skirt and coordinating sweater. There are honestly so many color and print options out there right now you’d be hard pressed not to find a floral something, somewhere that you would wear.

But I draw the line at pastel flowers that are reminiscent of watercolors. Because I’m pretty sure those may actually be made from the wallpaper of my childhood bedroom.