Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mom Loves Kate Spade Keds

Who doesn't have amazing memories of Keds? Those fabulous white canvas shoes that were never quite right after your mom put them in the washing machine.

Eventually they came in other colors so that they hid dirt better. I remember being so jealous of a kid in my third grade class with a pair of black, multi-colored leopard slide on Keds. Then I moved on with my life, found heels, and the rest is history (or something).

But if Keds are still your thing, but you want them to be a little classier than multi-colored leopard, Kate Spade has a line of Keds coming out. Which means nothing to me, but when I posted something to Facebook about not wearing Kate Spade Keds because I'm not in middle school anymore, my phone rang almost immediately.

It was my mother.

These are going to be all over the country club.
Mom: "What's wrong with Keds? Some of these are really cute."

Me: "I'm sure they are, but it's not really my style."

Mom: "But why? They'd be cute in the summer with a pair of capris."

Me: "Yeah, I'll pair them with my tennis sweater. It'll be awesome."

She laughed, called me a smart ass, and described pairs to me that she thought I would like. Wedges, booties, even something she called "bootie smootie wedges" (WTF?) which can be found "under the green hair bow." (I'm not sure what site she was on, but she was totally into them).

There are cap toes, polka dots, stripes and various colors, and they're cute. But at the end of the day they're Keds, and that's just really not me.  Taylor Swift has a line of Keds, for the love of god. I can't think of many people on the planet who are probably as opposite me as Taylor Swift and her girly, floral print, broken heart.

But apparently my Mom really likes them, and I won't be surprised when she ends up with a pair or two. In fact, I'm sure her and preppy ladies everywhere will buy the hell out of these.

As for me, I'll stick with Kate Spade handbags and heels. Still preppy, but I can style the hell out of them, and it won't involve a tennis sweater.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Spring Trends and Last Year's Heels

As we look towards spring with longing (Chicago is getting freezing rain now), there are a couple footwear trends that should be noted so we can all not embarrass ourselves by having shoes that are out of style.

Fergie Footwear does a great chunky heels with the Maiden.
According to sites that track trends no one cares about, the chunky heel is going to be all the rage come spring. Gone will be the stiletto heel and we'll all be partying like it's the late '90s in chunky heeled shoes and listening to the Spice Girls.

Or not, but whatever.

In all actuality, I really, really doubt this trend will push stilettos out of the limelight. Mostly because I can't think of a time when you couldn't walk into a store and not find an amazing pair of pin-like stiletto heels. Plus plenty of designers are still releasing stiletto heels for spring, and I will continue to buy them.

There's also the really awkward point that last spring you could also buy chunky heel shoes.

What? Oh yeah, so it's not really a trend at all. It's more like another heel width that people will be wearing, and have already been wearing for at least a year.

Celine fur pumps.
It's like Big Bird was made into a shoe!
Which means I'm dying for them. 
Then there's the trend of shoes with hair. We all know about pony and calf hair heels, and how I'm totally obsessed with them. Celine took this a step further and created fur covered heels for the Spring Summer 2013 collection. Mink, to be specific.

Some of them were a little too weird for me, but it's mostly because sandals are still funny looking when they have fur on them. But the heels were pretty awesome. Also, they have a chunky and a stiletto heel.

In short, again this spring and summer anything seems to go. Metallics are still big, and ankle straps are on everything, much to the chagrin of girls with cankles. Oh, and then there's the florals and color blocking. That's still a thing, so don't throw those heels to your puppy to use as a chew toy just yet.

In fact, at the rate we're going, it seems like all the trends of last year are here to stay (at least for spring) and new ones are on the way in. And really, that's a total win for everyone. Especially me, because I'm pretty sure I still have some shoes from last year I haven't managed to wear yet.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gucci and the Perfect Pump

We all have those moments when you feel utterly victorious and suddenly invincible.

I want to thank Nordstrom for helping me with that feeling last week.

A colleague of mine needed a new pair of black pumps, and she was looking for something very specific. Classic, small platform, stiletto heel, but nothing too crazy. Classic toe so it wouldn't wave in and out of style. Something that is so easy, yet so hard to find.

As we wandered through Nordstrom we found a whole bunch of "almost" heels. The ones that are almost perfect except for the platform being too high or too low, the toe being too pointy or the heel being too skinny or too fat.

Finally we stood on the threshold between regular shoes and Salon Shoes.

"Let's just look," I nudged.

And so we took the fateful step, and there it was. The perfect pump. And it was Gucci.

Found: The perfect black pump
"Just try it on," I suggested.

And there was the salesman. Immediately helpful and showering us in Gucci with Prada alternatives.

So how much for the perfect, classic black pumps that fit perfectly and can be worn for everything from work to weddings? Umm...somewhere in the three digit range that was over $200. Of course I did what every good friend, coworker and shoeaholic does at that moment. I convinced her how perfect they were and how much she needed them. The sales guy didn't even have anything to say because I said it all. He just cradled the Gucci shoe so she could see it and nodded in agreement.

Seriously, I should have been working for Nordstrom just then.

Convinced she agreed, whipped out the card and we were off to pick up lunch, new shoes in hand. And despite the fact that I didn't get anything, I felt victorious. I was part of the purchase of the perfect pump, and it was designer.

It was also the most money I had ever convinced anyone to spend on a single item.

Before she took them home at the end of the day I took another look at them, sitting in their classic brown box and smelling of sweet leather, fashion and love.

It's also the smell of envy and victory. I may not have my own Gucci pumps yet, but I suddenly feel I can convince people to buy anything.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

National Hat Day

Happy National Hat Day.

Because that’s a thing, and given my renewed obsession with hats, I really feel the need to celebrate this year.

Hers and his hats
I’ve always loved hats. They’re the perfect funky and unexpected accessory, the ultimate solution to a bad hair day (or a day you just don’t want to do your hair) and can dress up or down any outfit (depending on the hat).

Most people are probably whining right now that they don’t look good in hats and are jealous of the fact that I do, and blah, blah, blah. People who think that simply have not tried on the right hat. There’s a hat for everyone out there you just have to find it.

To find your perfect hat, you need to find a good haberdasher. That’s a fancy word for “hat maker.” My personal favorite in Chicago is Goorin Brothers. I first fell in love with them in New Orleans on a trip a few years ago. Now that they’re in Chicago it’s a little easier to get there and visit all my favorite hats, and lust after new ones.

Recently I bought a cloche style hat, and it turns out it’s damn near perfect for the fall and winter weather, and looks fantastic with pretty much every coat I own (except that stupid puffy one for the sub-zero days). The blue jewel on the band dresses it up a little bit too, and adds a touch of sparkle.

Thor loves the Paulie
During that same trip my husband, who is also a hat person, bought a baseball cap. It’s probably the nicest baseball cap he owns, and it makes him giggle because there’s a giant rooster on it, which says “Cock."

We’re classy like that.

Over the holiday season I was lucky enough to be the recipient of the Paulie fedora from Goorin Brothers and the Chicago Blogger Network. I finally got in to pick it up the other day, and now have this amazing, basic black fedora which has been worn constantly.

I wish I could wear hats at work. Instead I’ll settle for a hat to dinner and drinks.

So bust out your hats and wear them with confidence. A pair of high heels and a good hat project confidence (and the amazing ability to accessorize), so get on it. Find a haberdasher, pick out your ideal hat and celebrate National Hat Day. Because anyone and everyone can wear a hat. The trick is finding the right one.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Learn to Walk Before You Win

I often bitch and moan about women who can't walk in heels. It bothers the shit out of me.

Did she actually walk the red carpet or just lurch along? 
I understand that not all women wear heels all the time, and I don't expect it. Though there are some times when heels are almost necessary. Prom, weddings...giant award shows like the Golden Globes. And during those times it is of the utmost importance that you know how to walk in heels.

Tonight during the Golden Globes Lena Dunham, writer of Girls, embarrassed herself and women everywhere when she stumbled and cow-walked her way up to the stage to accept two Golden Globes.

It's seriously one of the most awkward things I've ever seen. If she didn't aggravate me so much, I would have felt bad for her. (Yeah, sorry world, she's not funny).

You would think that she would have given her new heels a stroll before she got into her old prom dress (sorry Zac Posen) and got into a cab to go to the awards show.

Instead she embarrassed herself by apparently walking in heels for the first time ever in her life when her name was called for an award.

I'm not sure if she did the red carpet in those heels, but if so I'm glad I missed it because it would have been a painful, horrifying thing to watch.

Ladies, don't let this happen to you. Either wear flats with your gown (no one will ever know), or learn how to walk before you leave the house. There is no half-assing your way through life if you're wearing big girl shoes.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Feeling Green

As I'm sure everyone knows by now, Pantone has declared Emerald the color for 2013. The exact color is Pantone 17-5641, for those of you geeky enough to want the exact Pantone code. I'm sure if you need RGB and PMS codes those are available as well, but when it comes to fashion, the only thing you need to know is that this year it's all about emerald.

Green velvet from Mod Cloth. 
The nice thing about emerald is that it looks good on almost everyone. It's a bright, vibrant green that can bring out the most positive features. It's also an amazingly easy color to incorporate into your existing wardrobe.

Green accessories can be paired with a variety of colors, and can provide that perfect pop of color. Green shoes can also count as an accessory, and can be the perfect pairing with the florals that will be popping up this spring, or provide a splash of color to the basic black and white that's so popular right now.

If shoes are your thing (and since you're reading this I'll assume they are) you can go with a basic emerald loafer like the one from Por La Victoire Collins on Gilt for $99. They also have the Blayne Peep Toe Pump by Brian Atwood available, and it's predictably amazing (because it's Brian Atwood). You can also be sure Gilt is going to keep offering products in this amazing, trendy color all year.

For a more wintery look Mod Cloth has an amazing emerald velvet heel with ribbon laces that is sure to attract all kinds of attention.

Bakers does spikes
Bakers Shoes offers some emerald options if you love your shoes with a towering heel and some spikes (and really who doesn't?). The Center Stage WP platform is a hell of a statement shoe and manages to go green without bringing thoughts of leprechauns and green beer to mind.

If you're looking for the basic emerald pump, and the Brian Atwood heels are out in your size, then the Vyperr by Steven is the perfect pump.

Steven brings you the basic pump
If none of these float your boat, then a few simple searches will prove this is the color to have, and shows plenty of options. And if you're still too busy you can always ask me to find what you're looking for.  As long is price is no object, I can find the perfect shoe for any occasion, especially in the hottest color of the year.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

ShoeDazzle, Birthdays and Vodka

This January 8 has proven to be a big day. Mom's birthday (along with Elvis and David Bowie), I found out Stoli is on sale at Target for $7, and it was announced that Rachel Zoe is taking over from Kim Kardashian as chief stylist at ShoeDazzle.

ShoeDazzle, and I'm obsessed with them.
One of these things actually has to do with the blog, and unfortunately it's not the vodka (which I didn't get because apparently not all Targets carry booze). 

Some reports I read say Zoe is replacing Kardashian, and some say that she's joining her. My personal guess is that Kardashian is going to slide away into the ethers and have nothing to do with the site. Between the love her/hate her relationship America has with Kim and the rest of the Kardashian clan,  her impending bundle of screaming joy (the baby, not Kanye), her show and whatever it is she and her sisters have going with Sears and their own store, she's probably too busy for a shoe site she was never mentioned on anyway. 

Don't get me wrong, I love me some ShoeDazzle. I have a membership and a couple pairs of their shoes. It's a good way to find some great trends on the cheap. They also have some great shoes designed by celebrities like Denise Richards, Jenny McCarthy, Perez Hilton, and Jennie Garth, all of which benefit charities.

Another thing they've started, but marketed poorly, is designer collaborations. So you can get shoes by Penny Loves Kenny, Chinese Laundry, Michael Antonio, Ardiente by Luichiny and more. Sure, they're a little more expensive, but they're also exclusive, and they are great looking shoes. 

Some of their other shoes on their site are the same thing you can find on other membership sites like JustFab. Kinda kills that whole "exclusivity" thing, huh?

These are Rachel Zoe from Nieman Marcus.
I'd like to see some more stuff like this on ShoeDazzle. 
I think the big question is whether or not there will be any changes at ShoeDazzle with Zoe at the helm. Will she be making real changes or just be a picture on marketing pieces they send out? 

I personally would like to see some real changes. ShoeDazzle has some really great shoes, but the quality could use a bit of upgrading. Maybe more leather options, some more textures and fabrics, a lot more exclusive designs, and some special deals for long-time members. 

What we don't want (and what we'll probably end up with) is a bunch of "style tips" from Zoe that are nothing we can't find anywhere else, see her face plastered on things and hear all about whatever she thinks is "maj." 

In short, ShoeDazzle needs to focus more on shoes and less on who their hot celebrity stylist of the moment is. Lucky for them, that's just my opinion, and I think that Zoe will attract a bunch of people that were weary to join anything associated with a Kardashian, even if we all know that neither one will ever choose a pair of shoes for us.

Now it you'll excuse me, I have to go to the Target that sells booze so I can get my $7 Stoli to drink while I shop for shoes online. 

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Peeps in the Winter

There's a season for every kind of shoe. Summer is for sandals, strappy things, and those god-awful plastic atrocities better known as flip-flops. Winter brings out oxfords, things that are furry, and those wretched, heave-inducing Uggs.

But what do you do with a pair of peep toes? Is there a season for the dress shoe that's not a sandal but not a pump? Does it make a difference if it has a sling-back?

There are obvious reasons this is a bad idea. 

These are the things I think about in my insomnia filled nights.

The conclusion I came to was that where you live has a lot to do with the kind of shoes you can wear in the various seasons.

Warmer climates can wear strappy sandals, peep toes and various other skin-showing shoes all year, because they don't have to worry about frost-bite. Places that actually have seasons (such as my beloved Chicago) are a little less kind to exposed skin anywhere, including the feet. The good news though is that sometimes it's so damn cold you won't notice if a toe freezes and snaps off.

On the other hand, the warmer climates can get away with never, ever wearing hideous snow boots and things like Uggs. They do, but they shouldn't.

I wore these to work today and it's 20 degrees.

Yes, they do. I was in Florida in February last year and saw girls in Uggs in 75 degrees.

Fashion tip: If you live in a place where there are palm trees, you don't need snow boots.

I personally can't live without my peep toes, and find ways to wear them all year. Work is a great place to wear them because you often get the chance to change. When it's 15 degrees below zero or four feet of snow on the ground you're not wearing pumps to the office, no matter what the toe looks like.

You can also wear them out for the evening, assuming you're planning on being inside.  Going from the car or cab into a restaurant/bar/club is no big deal (as long as you can walk in your shoes). But if you're going to be wandering from place to place... well, I know some girls who have gotten nasty frostbite on their feet while waiting for cabs or standing outside smoking in the winter, but that's a price some are willing to pay.

Strappy heels and sandals I'm OK with retiring until the weather heats up again. Strappy sandals are like bikinis for your feet, and there's no point in looking like you're ready to salsa when the weather calls more for the tarantella. 

My advice is not to hide away the peep toes and sling backs until things start to thaw and your toes won't freeze. Instead, but on your big girl pants, take a deep breath, and go outside into the freezing cold with your feet partially exposed. It'll be liberating, empowering, and doesn't force you to limit yourself to quite as many "logical" and "seasonal" shoes.