Thursday, May 31, 2012

Jelly Monsters

When I was little I had a pair of jelly shoes, and they were the most beautiful things in the world. They were purple peep toes with lace lining so the lace showed through the purple tinted plastic.

In my child’s mind these were the best shoes I would ever own, second only to the black patent leather shoes with bows on them that I got at Christmas. Then I got a little older, jelly shoes went out of style, plastic shoes stopped being a thing, and the world progressed.

Now apparently we have regressed, because everywhere I go I find plastic shoes peeping out from shelves in almost every store. And while these aren’t the jellies of childhood, they’re not much better, although the price would like you to think otherwise.

Heels should not be made of plastic
Sometimes referred to as vegan these new adult jelly shoes are riding the trends all the way into your closet, and taking up some valuable real estate. While they are technically vegan, so are plenty of other shoes that don’t revel in looking like cheap plastic crap. These look like plastic, smell like plastic, and probably wear like plastic (which is to say not well at all), so why are they all over?

Some of them even go so far as to mold cheap-looking plastic heels onto the back, making high-heeled jelly shoes. I’m sure that’s the dream come true of six-year-olds everywhere. Personally I think it’s more of a nightmare.

Pretty jeweled jellies that will make your feet stink
The argument here isn’t even vegan vs. leather, because I could give a shit either way. It’s the fact that they’re plastic crap being passed off as fashion.

The last time I saw that was when vinyl pants were all the rage.

A note to the clueless; obviously plastic has never been at the height of fashion. Shoes, pants, rain slickers. Whatever. You don't see it on the runways in Milan and London year after year. And as far as shoes go, they’re also not comfortable. They don’t breathe, they chafe, your feet sweat. Sure they’re waterproof, but so are rain boots, and they’re at least functional. These glorified jelly shoes even come with vents in them.

Vents people. Vents. Like a house or car. 

Let’s just rest for a second and all vow to never wear shoes that require vents to keep them from getting all steamed up.

Maybe I’ve simply lost my childish edge in that I can no longer see the delight in wearing plastic, candy colored footwear. I remember my mom hating my jellies, although even now I remember those hideous things fondly. What I also remember is that they quickly become discolored, always made my feet sweat, and were quickly out of style.

I guess I’m just not up to repeating history on this trend.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Overdressed in Horseshoes

Summer is great because there's never a lack of things to do. Memorial Day weekend usually kicks off the summer season, and Sailor Jerry Rum did it right this weekend.

Sailor Jerry set up shop at Deuces and the Diamond with a poolside pig roast (complete with whole pig) and complimentary Sailor Jerry Rum drinks.

Since it was about 1,000 degrees out this weekend figuring out what to wear was an issue. A black halter sundress won out, and than came the shoe challenge.

I felt they fit the theme of the event. 

As I was getting ready my thought was that I'd just wear my black wedge sandals that I got in Vegas a couple years ago. They're comfortable, easy to walk in and cute. Then my dear husband reminded me that I was attending the event as "Cat in Heels" and representing the blog. That meant every shoe I own had to come out and get tried on as an option.

Finally, I decided to channel the Sailor Jerry vibe and with my black, red and white TUK peep-toe heels with the horseshoe on them.

The thing I didn't think about was navigating around a pool in a pair of giant heels after having a few rum and lemonades or rum and ginger ales or a few of both.
The whole pig. Head and all.

Most of the people there had the sense to wear flip flops or some sort of other summer appropriate shoe that belongs poolside. But no, I had to go ahead and complete an outfit perfectly (although I was dissatisfied with my earring choice) and leave logic totally out of it.

Luckily I managed to teeter all over the party and not fall over, get drunk or otherwise embarrass myself, and I looked good while doing it (must have been the horseshoe). Still, it would have been easy to wear a pair of sandals or flip flops and no one would have looked twice.

Well, maybe if someone knows me they would question me being in a pair of flip flops, but that wouldn't happen, so we don't even need to speculate.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Spring to Summer Trends and Travel

Manhattan called again, and here I am. Too bad I never get any time to do anything fun while I'm here. Like shop. I'm in a city known for its boutiques, and I see the inside of a hotel and the airport.

This trip I did manage to steal one hour, which was spent power walking down Lexington Ave. looking for places to shop. My ultimate conclusion: this part of New York has most of the same stores Chicago does. I did find one little shoe store with a couple gems in it, but none in my size. There were also a bunch of jewelry stores (speaking of gems), but I'm not here for purchases of that kind. 

Aldo and a lovely color block.
Unfortunately, I'm not here to shop at all. 

What I did realize as I swept through the stores at warp speed, was that some trends that were around last season are here to stay for a little while. So breathe easy, because those color block heels and cap toe shoes are going to slide right through summer and seamlessly into fall. 

Leopard print, pony hair (shoes and bags) and anything and everything with studs is also still on everyone's radar, which is good, because I have been wearing that stuff for years, regardless. 

Cap toe, spikes and pony hair. Steve, I love you.
One thing I did notice is that while neon is still red hot, platforms are getting lower or disappearing. The shoe that Manolo Blahnik considers "vulgar" (I love that) is finally sinking away and we're seeing a more traditional stiletto heel, complete with pointy toes, emerge. Albeit in florescent orange, so it's hardly shy. 

That's not to say platforms are gone, but they will continue to get lower and more"conservative." And after the heights they've reached lately, there was no where to go but down. 

The one trend that has been popping up more and more is the ankle cuff. I personally love this look, but it can go wrong easily and isn't for everyone, so buyer beware. (We'll discuss that more later).

So let's all give a big cheer for summer, bright colors, and more manageable heel heights, and a big sigh of relief that the money spent on shoes over the last two seasons can be considered an investment, because the trends are here to stay. For a little while anyway. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Too Sexy for Work?

It’s pretty common knowledge that cleavage is generally not suitable for work. At least if you work in an office environment, it’s not suitable. Appreciated, sometimes, but really lacking in professionalism and generally still considered a stuffy taboo of corporate America.

Toe cleavage, on the other hand, can be something that’swholly accepted at the office, even if some consider it a little dirty.

I personally don’t find anything wrong with toe cleavage. It’sjust a different fit to me, like the peep toe, open toe, sandals or strappy gladiators.To other people, it’s apparently the foot version of a nipple slip.

This is how it's done right.
Some people do this look very well. They’re probably also the women with long fingers, that look good decked out in rings, and never have a broken nail or marred polish. They’re slender and sexy, and can pull off the look without thinking about it or even realizing it.

And yes, it is a look to be pulled off, because the wrong move and it can go terribly, terribly wrong.
If the vamp is cut wrong for your foot, your toes can end up looking all bunchy and fat, or all spread out and monkey like, as if they extend forever into a pair of pointed-toe pumps. Or it can look as if your toes may pop out at any second, making you instantly shoeless. 

The right to do it is to show a little, without getting crazy or looking like you have sloth toes. Your feet aren't supposed to look fat or like your shoes don't fit. Suddenly you’ve totally sexed up an otherwise common, perhaps boring, heel.

Until recently I never gave a lot of thought to the appropriateness of toe cleavage. It was kind of a joke, and something that I generally don’t do well because I have small, fat little toes on small feet that can start to look squishy pretty quickly. But a little un-smooshy toe cleave has never stopped me from getting a pair of heels, but I never really considered it sexy.  

Then there was the day I got called out on it. There I am,wandering through the office on my way from one meeting to the next, dressed conservatively, and someone (a woman) pointed out that I was showing a daring amount of toe cleavage. Really? Daring?! (I suddenly feel so scandalous)!

This left me wondering how is toe cleavage daring but sandals are not? Are we in corporate America so starved for the real thing that we are making up shit like “inappropriate” toe cleavage? What happens if someone takes their shoes off of comes in wearing a pair of commuter flip flops? It’s pearl clutching time! There’s toes about.

I’m still not even sure why the cracks between a woman’stoes peeping out of the vamp of her heels is even sexy.  And who the hell notices? I love shoes, look at everyone’s and can’t even tell you when the last time I saw toe cleave was.  But I guess if that’s what some people like,then have at it. But don’t call me out about it. Until it’s written into the dress code as a “No,” it’s fair game.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Shoes, men and the movie ‘every woman should see’

After the fabulous “God Save My Shoes” event in Chicago, hosted by the Service Club of Chicago of Chicago, the production company, Caid Productions sent me my very own copy of the shoe-centric documentary “God Save My Shoes.” The envelope it came in, all official and yellow, was even stamped with a huge “God Save myShoes” stamp, easily making it the coolest package any of my mail has come in all year.

All my mail should have this stamp
This weekend I finally got a few minutes to sit down and do something I wanted to do (that wasn’t working), and my husband, being ever obliging, agreed to watch the documentary with me. His reasoning was that he “makes me watch plenty of stupid stuff.”

I love equality.

So we sat down for an hour and a half between cleaning the house and taking Thor to get his nails clipped, and I gave my husband some insight into my obsessions.

Ladies, we should all make our significant other’s watch this film.

First, I’m pretty sure he is now relieved that I only own shoes into the three digits. So many of the women they talk to have thousands of pairs of shoes or multiple shoe closets, he now thinks he’s getting off pretty light.

Second, a few hundred dollars is no longer a staggering amount of money to spend on shoes. After seeing the heels that run well into the thousands of dollars, my occasional foray into three figures is now a calming thought.   

Christian Louboutin doesn't care about comfort.
It also gave him some much needed insight into the world of shoes and shoe obsession, although I did get a bit of a sideways glance when it was mentioned that the average American woman buys seven pairs of shoes every year. I’ve easily bought more than seven pair this year already, but I like to think of myself as an overachiever.

When all was said and done, he turned around and looked at me and said, “There’s not a woman in the world who can’t benefit from watching this documentary.”

My predictable response was “Why?”

“Because some women have busted ass shoes.”

As long as we all know what’s important.

If you’re interested in owning your own copy of “God Save My Shoes” on DVD, you can buy it here, and use code GSMS4EVER to get 20% off.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Traveling in Heels: What to watch for

I travel for work, and it always involves airports. The walking, security lines, finding cabs, calling cars, and running around hotels and offices kind of traveling.

I promise you it is not glamorous and I do not get to see the sights. I get to see airports and hotels and office buildings. Board plane and repeat.

With all the traveling I do I was recently asked what is my minimum heel height for traveling. I'm not sure I have a minimum heel height for traveling, or even a maximum, but I do have certain heels that are better for racing through airports, towing luggage, taking off and putting on in security lines, and the various other nonsense I put my heels through in an average trip.

Perfect airport heels - from Nine West
My go-to heels for a business trip are my Nine West Mary Janes. They have two straps and a pointed heel, so they're cute and go with anything, but they also have a small platforms (totally helps with comfort) and a three to four inch heel.

If I was ever going to run in heels these would be the ones.

They even have a rubber sole so there's no sliding on the tile. I also recommend straps if there's the possibility you'll be in a rush, otherwise you could find yourself slipped out of you shoe and sprawled on the ground, with one heel in your wake among luggage and laptops. And yes, I speak from experience. Slingbacks, ankle straps, straps across the foot, even espadrille style ties. Anything to keep you from stepping right out of those heels on your way through Terminal B.

What you don't want to do when you're traveling (business or pleasure) is wear a pair of sky-high stilettos that look amazing, but slow you down, are difficult to maneuver on the moving walkways and escalators, and slow up the people behind you.

Generally I'm sympathetic to the plight of girls in giant heels, but if I'm behind you and have somewhere to be and you're walking all Bambi on your new deer legs in a pair of fab heels, I lose all sympathy and secretly wish you'll fall.

Security will stop you, and your feet will hurt.
Same goes to the ladies who wear knee-high lace up boots into the security line. Seriously, use your brain people.

There's no excuse for showing up to the airport in you pajamas and sneakers, and if you're traveling for business you better look business appropriate when you travel too because you never know who may be on your flight. But leave the sky-high stilettos at home or in your suitcase. Because while they may look awesome on your feet or with that suit/dress/pants you have on, you will piss people off if you're moving too slow. And if you fall, they'll totally laugh at you, even if it's only on the inside.

Friday, May 4, 2012

In the Club

Monthly shoe clubs are all the rage right now. Actually clubs of all kinds are, but let’s focus for a hot second on the million shoe clubs out there.

Just Fabulous, Sole Society, Shoe Privee, ShoeMint, ShoeDazzle…the list can continue on, but really, why bother. That’s a wide enough sample for discussion purposes.

Each one offers something different than the other one. With exclusive designs, celebrity collaborations, company collaborations, and fixed prices on everything you generally know exactly what you’re getting, and you always know how much you’re going to pay.

Yeah for flat pricing!

ShoeDazzle gets points for leopard, red and studs
On the other hand, are the designs really all that exclusive? In the 39.95 range clubs the Iron Fist designs that Just Fabulous carries are available through Iron Fist, Shoe Privee carries mostly Qupid, which are available in various retail outlets and online stores, and ShoeDazzle actually carries their own brand that are some kind of knockoff of various designer shoes (as is everything).  I own a couple pair, and I pretty consistently get compliments on them.

Moving up the cost spectrum a little is Sole Society at $49.95, and some of their shoes are at least leather, but all they ever offer me are towering heels in neon colors. Other options are so locked down on their site I can’t ever find anything outside my “Closet.”

ShoeMint, in the $80 price point, offers exclusive Steve Madden/Rachel Bilson designs, but I’m pretty sure they slipped Steve some downers before allowing him to design because it all looks like tamer versions of what’s in the store. (Seriously, try a little color). Plus I’m pretty positive that my closet is the same as every other freaking closet in the entire world because they release all of three designs a month.You also still have to go in and skip the month if you're not interested in dropping $80 the same time the rent is due.

This ShoeMint heels is great, but snake isn't hard to find.
The problem lots of people had with shoe clubs was the reoccurring fees. If you don’t remember to skip by some magic date then your account is hit for $40-$80 and now you can’t buy Fluffy cat food. Awesome. Luckily, most places have wised up and realize that forcing people to shell out money for something they haven’t picked out simply because they bought something once was a bad idea. Even ShoeDazzle, the last holdout in that price point, recently did away with the reoccurring charges.

So are shoe clubs really worth it? I don’t really have the answer. I guess it’s cool to have new shoes emailed to you every month that were picked by some algorithm driven web bot. And admittedly shoe club shoes are not the best shoes I own, but if you’re looking for a hot trend, it’s a good way to get the look without spending a fortune.