Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Black Pump Problem

It's well known that I keep a couple pairs of shoes at the office. And by a couple, I mean a drawer full. So it's never really a surprise when I'm looking for a pair of heels and it turns out they're in my filing cabinet and not any of the 100 different places scattered about my house.

Sometimes that can be a problem though. Like when I was packing for a business trip the nigh before I left and realized I left my black pumps at the office. I posted a Facebook message about it, and my mom (who loves to tease me via comments) said, "You have ONE pair of black pumps-no I don't think so."

Well, she's right and wrong, and my black pumps made me have a total meltdown in Nordstrom last week where I tried on a ton of heels and then decided they were all kind of like something I owned, and instead bought nothing.

These were left in a drawer.
Ironically, I now also have buyers remorse over one pair. In the sense that I didn't buy them.

My black pumps, that are work appropriate are a pair of square toe Aldo heels that I got a few years ago. They look awesome, and also happen to be one of the more uncomfortable pairs of shoes I own. But I love them and they're a reasonable heel height, and easy to walk in, so they win for the office. 

I also have a pair of black patent and suede Mary Janes (also Aldo) that are so wonderfully broken in they may actually be breaking. They're sky-high stilettos and look just a little too porno with pencil skirts and button downs, so I keep those for going out.  Then there's the gold platform Fergie Footwear 'Olivia' heels, but since I was going to be walking through airports in these, I knew that wasn't the best choice either. Island platforms and moving walkways seem to be a disaster waiting to happen. 

So there I was, staring at my suitcase wondering what the hell happened to the black patent pumps I bought a few years ago specifically because they were boring enough for work, and wondering why I didn't buy those black suede Sam Edelman 'Cilela' pumps at Nordstrom

This is what happens when I go to Nordstrom
When I was there it seemed like an OK idea to skip them. They're suede, a moderate heel, cute without being ostentatious. I also tried on a pair of Michael Kors that looked a little too much like the shoe I wore into the store (but in a different color) and a pair of Joan & David 'Quimberly' pumps, which are Mary Janes with a muted gold platform (just like two pairs of shoes I have melded into one). 

I'm trying not to buy shoes just like what I already have. It's a new goal I made for myself.

It also seems to be something I should just stop trying to do. If I had just bought a pair that day then I wouldn't have had to unpack and repack my suitcase so I could wear a different pair of shoes. But then I also wouldn't have anything to bitch about. 

I just need to go back to Nordstrom and buy a pair of black heels. Then at least this won't happen again. Unless I somehow manage to leave two pairs of black pumps in my drawer. Or I guess I could just clean out my drawer. 

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Getting My Feet Wet

Late last fall I did something I never got around to sharing with the blog. I bought a pair of boots, but they weren’t cute. They were a pair of black, Sperry “Pelican,” knee high rain boots that fit my calves. I even bought the inserts to go with them so that I could wear them in the snow. 

Leopard made them more tolerable.
Winter was mild, and snow never really came, spring wasn’t that rainy, and summer has been a scorching bitch with little to no rain, so since last fall my traditional rubber rain boots, made by the company who is known for deck shoes, sailing and all things water, were barely ever worn. 

So you can imagine my surprise when I wore them to work the other day (because it was finally raining) and they were hurting a spot on my ankle. I got to my desk, pulled them off and found that they had split apart along the seam and were ripping. 

Apparently that’s what you get for $100 and deciding to look silly so you don’t ruin your shoes or clothes. 

Needless to say I was livid, and after a bunch of tweets back and forth with Nordstrom (where I bought them), I brought the offending boots back and they were kind enough to give me a full refund since they had nothing comparable in stock. 

Nordstrom customer service is awesome. I will shop there forever. The only problem? I still don’t have boots (although they are trying to help me find some).

This is bullshit.
So like this morning when it was some kind of apocalyptic monsoon outside when I left for the office, I got wet. I spent the whole first part of my day wondering if I could dry the hem of my pants under the hand dryer in the ladies room. 

Luckily the commute home was a little less eventful. 

As if it wasn’t painful enough to spend $100 on a pair of rubber boots when I can only think of all the heels I want that are under $100, now I have to do it again, less than six months after the initial trauma. 

Maybe this time I should listen to the masses and just buy a damn pair of Hunters. But I swear, if those split too I’ll just start staying inside on rainy days. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Unattainable Shoes

I get lots of links, pictures and emails sent to me that all have the same thing in common. "You need these."

Well, I don't have the money to buy every shoe I love, or that someone loves for me, and while I take gifts, shoes aren't exactly showering down on me. Therefore, I am pretty picky (seriously) about which shoes to buy. Assuming they're something vaguely classic and quality. Trendy, affordable shoes are all over my closet because apparently when it comes to something crazy that won't be in style next year, I have no self control.

I'm trying to work on that.

There are a few designers that I regularly obsess over who manage to do quirky twists on classic shoes, at which point I save my pennies, make an investment and love the shoes forever.

John Fluevog is is one of my quality, quirky obsessions, and recently my sister sent me a link that came with the following message: "Um, hi. I know these are 'mens,' but I think you should own them. Because ohmygod."

And there they were. The "ohmygod" shoes that really did take my breath away. I literally start to drool every time I look at them (it's almost embarrassing).

There's only one problem. I can't wear mens' shoes. Women can subtract two sizes from their shoe size to figure out what size they wear in mens. So if you're a 10 in women's shoes you wear an 8 in mens. I'm a 7, which means I wear a 5 in mens. The only problem is a 5 in mens is actually kids. Apparently men don't have smaller than size 6 feet. Which admittedly would be super weird if guys had bizarre, tiny feet like me. Unfortunately, now I can't buy these shoes from Fluevog, and they are all I have been thinking about. I'm pretty sure these would be the perfect boots for just about everything.

Any men who wear these should also be given massive props. Yes, these have a heel, but they're a fantastic, artistic take on a classic boot. And if you're looking for something that gives you a little lift, without making you look all Victorian, this is the shoe.

Maybe I can start a letter campaign and have John Fluevog make a pair in a men's 5 just for me. Or I'll just call my friend in New York and tell him to buy them so I can live vicariously though him.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Daring to Go Nude

Nude heels are perhaps the most popular, and perplexing shoe to gain popularity recently. Suddenly known as the “must have" color, the question everyone asks the second they get them home and look at them next to their closet is, “What the hell do I wear these with?”

I do that with pretty much every shoe I buy, so I know the feeling, which is probably why I get more emails about shoe pairings than anything else (except sales). 

These Jessica Simpson nude heels are the perfect shade. 
Part of the trick to nude heels is to make sure you get them in patent, or another leather that doesn’t look like skin.  Otherwise the second you put them on you’ll look like a Barbie doll with no shoes on. (I love bringing Barbie into the mix). Also to be avoided is a color exactly like your skin tone, and nude heels with an undercurrent of orange.

If you want orange shoes, buy orange shoes. There is no such thing as “neutral orange” (yes, someone tried to tell me there was) and the last thing you want is to look like you had some kind of foot bath accident with a spray tan.

Back to the closet. So you’re trying to figure out what to wear with your fab new heels. Pretty much anything. Nude heels go really well with slacks or crop pants, particularly with darker colors. While I’m not a huge fan of nude shoes with black, I love them with navy, they can be great with a salmon or red, and anything that’s some kind of pinstripe.

Cork is an alternative to nude - Sam Edelman
Avoid pairing them with orange, as it can create all kinds of havoc. Unless it's a dark orange, at which point it will probably look fine.

Dresses and skirts also work well with nude heels. You can wear them pretty much anytime your outfit calls for a shoe that’s not black. They’re also great with shorter dresses because they create a longer look to the leg. Or maybe that’s just the heel. Just to be safe, only wear heels with short dresses.  And long dresses.

Actually, it’s kind of a rule to only wear heels with dresses no matter the length. We’re not in grade school anymore ladies.

So basically you can pair nude heels with just about anything, except orange, black (there are exceptions), and I’m a little iffy on pairing them with jeans. That can be taken on a case by case basis. If you love the look of nude, but aren’t ready for it or find it dull, go with a cork shoe. It serves the same function as the nude heel but has a little more dimension.

If you hate nude, and cork, then I guess you can just ignore me entirely, not take any risks, and cuddle up with your plain black pumps. Just be sure not to wear them with navy.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Farewell to Shoes

Sometimes shoes wear out.

It's a sad fact, but after years and years of being loved and worn on a regular basis they just start to wear down, and sometimes they get to the point where even a cobbler can't fix the problem.

This weekend some of my favorites, which had been dying, long, painful deaths, were put to their final sleep (which is really the garbage cans behind my building).

The pile of dead heels, and one flip flop Thor ate.
A pair of my favorite heels was among the deceased was my red Nine West heels with the black and white piping around the edges. I bought these heels about a year after I got my first real job, and I spent all my grocery money on them and ate nothing but cereal for a week.  I also wore them constantly and with just about everything. Eventually the sling back was falling down, the leather was peeling, the heels were ripped up, and they were just sad looking.

The gold heels were Jessica Simpson , and were some of the first that came out. Before her first marriage, first divorce and the chicken/tuna conundrum, I bought these heels, kind of hating myself because her music sucks. Still I wore the hell out of those heels. The perfect muted gold with a neutral wooden heel they went with everything from jeans to dresses. At some point though I broke the shoe and the heel was all wobbly.

I was probably drunk when it happened.

The purple shoes were a gift from my sister and matched this fabulous silk purple striped skirt. I can't even tell you where they were from or who made them because pretty much every part of those heels was falling apart. For someone who doesn't wear a lot of color, I wore the hell out of those.

It's the snakeskin ones are the ones with the black strap that really destroy me. Only a few years old, the leather on these Steve Madden peep toes started to crack along the edges, and not on the seams. One of my go-to pair for just about everything when I can't afford to be in sky-high heels, I'm pretty sure I just walked these to death.

Luckily I have managed to replace almost all of them with something comparable, and more or less fabulous. Unfortunately, I can't replace these exact shoes with the same styles, but they have a hell of a lot of stories behind them, and they can all say they were well loved.

They were also so worn out that when someone went digging through my garbage a few days later, they left every single pair.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Champagne and Heels

I’ve been working pretty much non-stop for a couple weeks now, so when my husband suggested getting dressed up this weekend to attend the ’80s Champagne Retrospectical at Beauty Bar I kind of jumped at the chance thinking it was a great way to cut loose a little while drunkenly singing old Madonna songs in public. Plus I love that Beauty Bar has glittery walls.

I've decided this color goes with everything.
So we spent the afternoon running errands, shopping and watching a movie while I tried on pretty much everything in my closet that wasn’t on work rotation, looking for something that was ‘80s inspired, without being anachronistic.

Finally I settled on a leopard print dress with a short circle skirt, and was secretly freaking out about what shoes to wear because I knew we were walking. Ultimately though it didn’t matter because when I finally put the dress on, I walked around a few minutes, and suddenly the fact that it was cheap and bought on sale reared its ugly discount head when the zipper split, completely pulling off track.

I swear the dress wasn’t too tight.

As I cussed like a sailor I decided on another outfit, tried it on, and my husband, who will probably never make another suggestion again, said, “Try that top with your black cigarette pants. They’re a little dressier.”

Kissing shoes. 
Problem was I couldn’t find my black cigarette pants. Anywhere. I tore through the laundry, the closet, the other closet, three drawers, a pile of dry-cleaning and even a bag of stuff slated for Goodwill. Nothing. As I continued looking I got more and more agitated, even more annoyed with the fact that not only could I not find the pants that I have now decided I had to wear, but I also didn’t know what shoes to wear with that outfit. Then I found a spot on my top and just about broke down in tears, which were laced with word combinations that would have made a sailor blush and made my husband retreat to another part of the house.

Have I mentioned I’ve been a little stressed out lately?

Finally I settled on going a little ‘80s country club in a pastel, ruffled skirt and matching top, which were perfectly finished off with a pair of attention-getting orange heels. Luckily, even with the outfit breakdown, we still managed to get to the bar in time to enjoy some of the free champagne and get a little tipsy before starting in on the real cocktails.

I also got compliments on my shoes all night, which lessened the sting of losing those pants and not wearing what I wanted. A girl stopped me on the street, another slurred at me in the bar, and one guy  insisted on showing me his shoes, even though they were a ratty old pair of red Keds, but good for him on being proud of them.

All night, I danced, walked, got booze spilled on me (what else is new), sang Madonna songs, and Sunday, as I felt to effects of my good time and put away my orange heels, I renewed my search for the black cigarette pants, which are somehow still missing. At least I'm a little less stressed about it though.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Surviving Summer

July marks the unofficial beginning of barbecue season. Suddenly the rest of the summer is full of picnics, grilling, and drinking beers on friend's porches.

Nautical inspired wedges
While this is fun and all, it does pose the issue of suddenly aerating people's lawns, heels falling between slats of decks, and risking tripping on a crack of a pool deck and falling in.

OK, so the last one has never happened to me, but I live in fear of it.

So what's one to do to get through the whole summer without running around in dreaded flip-flops and being pocket size (or hobbit size) all summer?

Super cute with just about anything. 
Wedges. They're like cheating. You can walk, not fall through decks or into lawns, and get a little height. And they're more flattering to the profile than a pair of flatforms, which I just can't seem to get behind.

The best part about wedges is that you can find pretty much any kind of them all summer, and they go with pretty much everything. Shorts, dresses, sundresses, capri pants...maybe I'm missing something but they probably go with that as well.

Although they are probably just as risky around a pool. If you're going to be around a pool just minimize risk and take your shoes off.