Saturday, October 27, 2012

Digging Though Gilt

Like my closet, but bigger.

Last night I got an advance sneak peek into the Gilt City Raid the Warehouse sale in Chicago, and it was overwhelming.

That's putting it mildly.

I was escorted into the Museum of Contemporary Art Warehouse by a gentleman in a suit, and after walking up a ramp was suddenly standing in line. There's always a line.

After checking my coat and bag I walked up a very warehouse set of concrete steps, and into a room filled with Vita Coco, champagne, Popchips, Benefit Cosmetics and other vendors. After getting a glass of champagne I turned the corner and was faced with tables and tables of shoes.

Pretty sure I heard angels singing.

I headed straight for the size 7 section and started digging through boxes and boxes of shoes. Around me women were in a frenzy, pulling on Hunters, Ted Baker boots, and heels galore. I started sifting through boxes and found a few things I liked. One was a pair of cork heels (until I already realized I have some), and then there were those amazing Brian Atwood pumps (which were still out of my price range at $300). Finally I found a pair of blush Dolce Vita heels with a bow on the back. Super cute and I don't own any blush heels.

Hordes of people are in those aisles.
As I moved away from the shoes I saw the rest of the warehouse was in even more of a frenzy. Women were digging through racks with wild abandon, not paying attention to anything including size (some of that stuff was never going to fit).

I started sifting though racks and found a couple things that were actually worthy of trying on, including an amazing 1960s inspired blue Tahari dress, which ended up fitting in all the wrong places. (Dear Tahari, women have different waist and hip measurements).

The handbags were another story. Amazing and expensive. I'm going to assume that everything affordable was snatched up before I got there, because all that was left was a bunch of stuff that was $400 and over and this great envelope clutch that had a very unfortunate (i.e. hideous) jeweled seashell clasp.

I wish I had taken a picture of it. I've never seen anything like it.

This was my haul for the evening.
After being generally disappointed in the clothing side of the warehouse, I went back to shoes to try and find something else. I finally found the most amazing black pumps (I forget by who), and they were half a size too big. I almost cried.

Finally I decided to make my way out, picked up a Coco Cafe on my way out, and purchased my Dolce Vita pumps. $29 for a pair of $88 shoes. Not too bad, not too amazing, but they're mine.

At least I got a drink, my coconut water and caffeine and a new pair of heels in a color that I don't already have. At least I don't think I have anything in that color...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Lesson on Boots

Mid-calf Louboutins
Fall and winter means boot season. There's nothing better than slipping on a pair of well worn boots with a pair of jeans on the weekend, or jumping puddles in the city in a skirt and pair of heeled boots.

When it comes to boots I apparently start to think I live in some kind of commercial.

Boots are kind of a tricky one though. With so many different heights, heels, toe shapes, and sillouetes, how are you supposed to know what works and what doesn't before you make the investment?

The sometimes daring over the knee boot is a great look, but only if you're tall and skinny. They can look great with a pair of jeans or leggings, or a fabulous mini skirt for a night out. My preference for over the knee boots is always something with a heel and small platform. It creates that enviable legs for days look. There are flats out there, but one wrong piece of clothing a suddenly you look like an extra from Robin Hood. And I mean that in the worst way possible.

Knee high boots are way more forgiving and easy to wear than the over the knee style. Pair them with anything from jeans to skirts, dresses, leggings. The possibilities are endless. Knee high also comes in an endless variety of styles.

Don't wear these. Ever. 
A motorcycle or riding boot is a great casual option that's perfect with jeans. The heel provides a little lift but is really comfortable. It's also a look anyone can wear pretty easily.

When it comes to knee high flats the rules change a little. If you're under 5'7" purchase with care. A flat shoe does nothing for your legs, and can actually accentuate a shorter leg, cutting you off at the knee and creating a gnomey look.

I say this all in the nicest way possible. As someone who is 5'4" I am well aware of my inability to flat boots. The fact that I'm curvy doesn't help either, because it makes me look like a hobbit. Good for Halloween if that's your costume. Bad for everything else.
Charles David haunts me.

If you're not a fan of knee high boots, a mid-calf boot looks great on all body types and can be easily paired with skirts and still look nice. Charles David has a great pair that's available at with a platform and slender stiletto heel. I'm still kicking myself for not picking those up.

Embrace boot season, and don't hesitate to make a purchase (like I did). Go for something daring, classic, comfy or whatever other kind of style and height floats your boat. Just make it your own. And please, make sure your own look isn't something from a medieval or fantasy show. Unless you're going to the Renaissance Fair, then it's probably OK.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Meeting Sam Edelman

No joke. I got to meet the legendary designer and his son Jesse Friday at the Nordstrom on Michigan Avenue where Sam was talking to fans, signing shoe boxes and being generally fabulous.

I wish I could wear spikes to the office. 
As I wandered around and drooled over the new line Circus by Sam Edelman, and sipped an Izzie drink brought to me by waiters, I couldn't help but notice the frenzy around me. Women were clamoring for shoes. Sales people were in short supply as they brought out piles of the green and black boxes and women tore through the wrapping like kids at Christmas.

Sam Edelman is also the Sam behind Sam and Libby, the footwear company that came to fame in the 1980s with their ballet flat. Now on to something different, Sam Edelman is still designing shoes that make women drool, and the shoe business is still a family affair.

I had the chance to speak with Sam's son Jesse for a bit about their new line Circus. A little more flash, a little higher platform, and a slightly lower price point, Circus is aimed at a slightly younger demographic, but maintains the quality and design Sam Edelman is known for. The shoes on display were everything from basic platform pumps in fun candy colors to embellished sandals, to my favorite) boots with spike ankle cuffs.

Sam Edelman signing my shoebox.
I also had the amazing opportunity to speak with Sam, get my photos taken, and have him sign my shoebox. Before he signed them he took them out to look at them, and after signing the box top he started to repack the shoes.

Inside I was freaking out. Should I let him do that? Isn't he above stuffing tissue paper into the toe of my new tortoise shell Danielle's? But he did it with such care, professionalism and speed that before I could even do anything, they were all packed up and slid back into the Nordstrom bag.

We chatted for a few moments about the blog, his shoes, and how much I love them (I happened to be wearing my gold Sam Edelman pumps), how many I own (I could run marathons in the Novato pump), and then he was off, helping another longtime fan who was looking for something trendy, with a low heel that was "appropriate for a middle age woman."

I have never seen a designer who was so attentive to fans. He wasn't just sitting behind a table, signing his name. He was up and about, running around the floor, helping with shoe selections, consulting on fits and looks, and taking pictures galore.

Thanks to Nordstrom and Sam Edelman!
That evening was the highlight of my entire week. I got to meet a shoe icon, have my photo taken with him, and got a new pair of amazing heels. I even got a Sam Edelman cookie.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Oxblood and the Color of the Season

Oxblood is the “it” color of the season. Or maybe it’s red. How about crimson? Or Rouge? Or….

Or who really gives a shit? The important thing is that red shoes are finally easy to find again.

Emerson Fry dream heels
Seriously, this was once an issue. I had one pair of red shoes. They were a pointed toe pump with a double strap from Chinese Laundry and I wore them to death. Their death anyway. I wore them until the leather straps threatened to snap and the soles were wearing thin. I even bought red shoe polish so I could cover the scuffs on them.

When they finally died, I mourned and spent years looking for the right red shoes. Finally I found a couple pair, though nothing that quite took the place of that original pair.

This week my sister decided to ask for my assistance in finding a pair of oxblood pumps. She fell in love with a pair from Emerson Fry, and was looking for something comparable that’s a little less than $200.

Lucky for her this is the season of oxblood/red/crimson/rouge/burgundy shades of red. Immediately I started googling “oxblood pumps” and saw an amazing pair at DSW that were perfect for her. They were also a pair of $600 Prada heels, so there went that whole saving money thing. She was totally better off before I started “helping.”

In love with H by Halston
There are lots of options out there for those who want to get in on the red trend for Fall. DSW has a huge selection of pumps and loafers, Charles David has an amazing pump (which I own) in “fig” which combines patent leather and suede to a beautiful shoe. Bakers offers a couple great options in dark red, including a high platform t-strap pump from H by Halston and the Naomi Classic pump with a more moderate heel and pointed toe

Naomi Classic
Perhaps the best thing about red or crimson shoes though is how much you will actually wear them. I find them to be a staple of my wardrobe, and have a couple different shades for a few different seasons. Even my Doctor Marten combat boots are in the classic oxblood shade.

A shade of red can add a splash of color to any outfit, and when it’s a deep red it’s a subtle, sensual shade, that can go with anything from black to blue to gray, and seamlessly take you from fall, through winter and well into spring. The only question left them is that of budget and material, and regardless of what exactly you’re looking for (in both those areas) the possibilities are almost endless.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Gilt City Chicago Warehouse Sale Tickets on Sale

Anyone who is a true shopaholic knows about Gilt, and if you’re one of the lucky few to have Gilt City, you know about that as well.

Well, Chicago is lucky because the Gilt City Warehouse Sale is returning to Chicago, always has all kinds of fabulous finds, and tickets went on sale today.

Be sure to get your tickets as soon as possible and get in on great men's and women's fashion, kids clothes and home decor at the amazing Gilt City prices.

If you're not yet a member of Gilt City you can join now, and get tickets for this great event. Ticket prices vary by date. 

Friday, October 26 - 9:30 pm - 11:30 pm - Tickets are $20
Saturday, October 27 - 10:00 am - 12:00 pm - Tickets are $15
Saturday, October 27 - 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm - Tickets are $10
Saturday, October 27 - 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm - Tickets are $5
Saturday, October 27 - 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm - Tickets are $5

The sale is being held at the Museum of Contemporary Art Warehouse at 1747 W. Hubbard St. And as you're shopping the event, post pictures of your purchases on Instagram and Twitter with the hashtag #RaidtheWarehouse and you will be entered to win a $200 credit to the Gilt Group.

Awesome finds and an awesome  contest. Be sure to get your tickets now. This is an event not to be missed. 

If you're in a city other than Chicago, you can still join Gilt and see if there's a Gilt City near you. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pink Shoes for Boobs

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which accounts for all the pink.

I think I need these Charles David heels.

Ribbons at the airports, pink tops of buildings, and pink pins on clothes all bring awareness to and assist in raising money for horrible cancer that we have yet to find a cure for, and has a ton of brave survivors.

People and companies all find different ways to wear pink, raise money and raise awareness. One of the best ideas I have heard all month though is to wear pink shoes.

Sure, it's not as philanthropic as running a marathon, doing a walk or listening to a survivor's story, but if you're short on time and want to help, it's just one more way to show support.

Plus, seeing as how I have a random abundance of pink heels, this works well for me. But if you're like most people and don't have an entire section of closet that looks like it may belong to Barbie, there are plenty of heels out there. The best part is that not only are they awesome looking, they also raise money for a good cause.

Charles David has Virtue, a pink, gold and purple heel that donates 20% of the sale to the Breast Cancer Charities of America.
ShoeDazzle goes unbasic black.

ShoeDazzle went beyond just the shoe and offers a whole Pink Shop that donates 10% of the same to Bright Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness. Right now you can also save 25% on items in the Pink Shop. The featured shoe for the month only sports a bright pink inside, and the outside is a black with silver studs, but if it;s pink shoes you're looking for they have flats, heels and boots, all in October's signature color. You can even get wallets, purses and accessories, all benefitting breast cancer research.

Ellie offers a sexy pair of heels for good.
A nude heel is also an option through Ellie. The high platform and double ankle straps are a sexy way to raise awareness of breast cancer. I kind of feel like these should be paired with something that requires a push-up bra. They're just an amazing pair of heels. But in case you're not into the platform, you can also get a shorter, peep toe, slingback version of the heels.

If gym shoes are more your thing, Nike, New Balance and Under Armour all have athletic shoes that benefit breast cancer charities.

Regardless of how you decide to raise awareness, donate money, or otherwise get involved, pink and shoes are definitely the way to go. At least for me. That way I get to do something for a great cause while also adding to my shoe collection.

If there are other brands that have a special shoe to raise money for breast cancer research, let me know in the comments below or send me a message on Facebook.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Purple Toes and Flats

For those of us who live in heels (and don’t own a lot of flats), an injury to a leg or foot can be a problem. I mean, it’s a problem for anyone, but if you don’t have the right shoes to when then it’s an even bigger problem.

Christ, I sound so shallow sometimes.

My mom pointed out my toenail polish matches.
Anyway, problems aside, I found myself in a funny (as in odd) predicament the other day when at kickboxing I turned my foot the wrong way, jammed my big toe into the bag, and managed to hurt myself to that point where I was having trouble breathing.

Not wanting to look like a wuss, I shook it off, finished the class, went home, whined at my husband, and went about my day. Which included my grandfather’s 90th birthday, complete with pencil skirt, Fluevog boots and standing all evening catching up with relatives. As I finished the night and was walking from the car I was thinking how much my foot hurt, but figured it was just from standing and wearing tights or something equally lame.

Turns out my foot hurt because my whole big toe had turned purple and swollen to twice its normal size. After texting my mom photos of my toe and asking her if it was broken (she’s a nurse), and her responding that she can’t tell anything from 150 miles away (where she was spending the weekend with girlfriends), I decided that it was most definitely not broken, because broken toes means no heels. And there’s the added issue that I don’t really have any non-heels.
How I kick it when my toe is busted.

I spent Sunday in my Vince Camuto motorcycle boots (so comfy) and then this morning slipped the heels back on when I reached the office. Luckily, the day turned out OK and my toe is closer to a normal size and color, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t aggravate it. Which is good because tomorrow I have to go to New York on business, and I am not trying to get those motorcycle boots on and off in the security line at the airport. After those (which aren’t really flat), I only own one other pair of flat shoes, plus some gym shoes, and that’s just not going to happen.

I've also decided that I should buy myself a new pair of heels in New York so that when my foot feels better I have a little present for myself.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Winning Shoes

I have to send a super huge thanks and hugs out to the beautiful Elizabeth Keene at A Keene Sense of Style and Charles David for the amazing shoes they sent me.

Love these!
A Keene Sense of Style hosted a giveaway on her blog with Charles David and gave away a pair of beautiful suede and leather pumps. I was lucky enough to win (which was amazing because I never win anything), and now they're in my loving home.

Like my other Charles David pumps, they're comfortable as hell because they have perfected the pitch of high heels shoes, and all their shoes can be worn all day.

My only problem with them is that the ankle strap is a little short for my muscular legs. Not so tight I can't buckle them, but just enough that it's buckled as loosely as possible.

Keene pairs them with some fab printed pants on her blog. 
So far they've only been paired with my navy Banana Republic cigarette pants, but they're going to be a staple all winter. Aside from the fact that I can wear them forever without my feet hurting, the gorgeous burgundy color goes with everything. I see these paired with a black sweater dress, black cigarette pants, and some amazing printed pencil skirts.

I'll probably have to buy something else to go with them too. Time to go shopping. I'm thinking that houndstooth pencil skirt I saw at Banana Republic would be the perfect thing.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Fluted Copycats

Years ago I wandered into an eccentric little shoe store in my up-and-coming neighborhood and fell in love with a heel.

The Fluevogs that were my obsession and rent money
Actually I fell in love with a designer, but it was the heels he put on shoes that really made my heart race, and made John Fluevog shoes the first pair of designer heels I splurged on.  (I spent my whole bonus check to get these shoes, and didn’t pay any bills).

What makes them so unique? Aside from John’s use of color and cut, often creating a modern take on classic and Victorian styles, it was the fluted heel that took my breath away. Featured on shoes, boots, booties, dressy and casual heels, I would wander the store tracing the curve of the heel in a way that probably bordered on pornographic, and wish all my shoes were as beautiful as the ones Fluevog made.

Alice and Olivia

So you can imagine my surprise when wandering through Nordstrom Salon Shoes when I started seeing fluted heels. At first I thought Fluevog made a deal with big retail and was going commercial, but it didn’t take long to realize that it wasn’t Fluevog I was seeing.

Alice & Olivia, Prada, Miu Miu and more. Fall of 2012 is the season of the fluted heel, and suddenly everyone is trying to make their shoes look like my (and a million other people’s) Fluevogs.

I’m sure this is all some kind of bizarre coincidence, and it’s not the Fall of Fluevog Copying, and instead some kind of bizarre attempt  at a throwback to Victorian era heels,  or an effort to keep heels interesting since in the last year we’ve already made them fat, skinny, tall, short, curved and removed them altogether. But it still looks an awful lot like my dear Fluevogs. So much so that my sister held up the first pair she saw and said, “Look. Someone’s ripping off John Fluevog. Now everyone is going to have your heel.”
Love these Prada

Damn you all to hell.

I think my only other answer is to buy more Fluevogs (since I can't afford Prada) and stay with the origional. Because long after they’ve moved onto the next trend, John Fluevog will still be there making his quirky, curvy, sexy shoes with the fluted heels, and my beloved booties will once again be unique.