Friday, August 17, 2012

If The Chaussure Fits. . .

Ed. Note: My great, great pal and brilliant writer, D.A. Wolf, is back today discussing, dissecting and appears also drooling over -- metaphorically speaking --  what can only be described as her shoe obsession. (She admits to it herself; it's an observation, not a judgement. I get it.) Do visit her chez elle, no matter what subject she addresses it's always with intelligence and great style. Please click here.

              I do not want a 12-step program. I do not need Shoe Shoppers Anonymous. I will admit to 50-some boxes of gorgeous shoes stacked in my closet, and yes, an assortment by the bookshelf, beneath the bed, and gathered around the living room sofa.  

My last few months? Stressful. My need for shoe therapy? Urgent! 

And no, these "Iron Fist" numbers are not shoes I would purchase. But they're cool, creative, and fun. Come on. Be honest. Doesn't their panache perk you right up?

So what if I melt for Manolos, languish over Louboutins, and ache for Angiolinis? When I’m down, I flip through Elle or Vogueand I gaze at shoes and feel better. If I can, I walk to the mall – and I try on shoes and feel better. Worst case? I open my closet door – and play dress up with my shoes - and you got it, I feel great!  

Now some may say I have a little problem. Others will never understand the Shoe Shopping Sisterhood. But I don't consider it anything unusual. After all, shoes - unlike clothes - always fit. And you know what they say... if the shoe fits, wear it! 

Autumn Preview 

My personal style? It's never been very "in your face." My whimsical tendencies are more likely to be expressed from the ankles down, with a preference for pumps and strappy stilettos. But I nonetheless appreciate shoe styles of all sorts, especially those that compliment a woman's foot as well as the shape of her legs. 

And now may I offer you Exhibit Number 1? In my search for therapeutic exploration, feast on this exquisite Kate Spade "Lisa" High Heel. It is flirty, girly, and with a hint of naughty. It has the perfectly pointed toe, sheer fabric sides, a coquettish bow... and when I tried these beauties on, quel plaisir. I felt as though I'd slipped my tootsies into fine lingerie, and the experience was sublime.

As for those harrowing heel heights that remain surprisingly prevalent (5” is no longer uncommon), even a footwear fashionista like myself rejects the prospects of a broken ankle. I wear everything from 2" to 3" routinely, 4" when I go out on the town, and I own only one pair of 5" platforms (surprisingly comfortable). I might also add that my true Achilles Heel is anything with graceful design that is well proportioned and easy to walk in.

Care to verify? Peek at these Kate Spade styles, and note the range of heels available. Good news for all of us, and I've noted this trend among many designers and price points.

Speaking of proportions, well-proportioned not only means the shoe, it means you. A tiny woman with gargantuan heels? Ridiculous. (That would be moi if I attempted anything clunky.) That means a No Go on the Monster Heels, but a taller or larger woman can carry off something more.

And now for Exhibit 2: These magnificent Stuart Weitzmans, and do pay attention to the colors.

Lest you think I don't realize that a 3" heel isn't workable for all women, I am delighted to report that my recent footwear forays offered every possible variation in height. I give you Exhibit 3 - Isaac Mizrahi's selection which is stylish but practical, with flats and chunky heels, houndstooth and animal prints, and touches of trims that will make you smile.

Exhibit 4 - Via Spiga is also showing remarkable variety in heel heights, from flats to 5" and more. Et les couleurs! The reds and blue-purples are fabulous!

And now I must digress. I was dumbstruck by these Brian Atwood metallic platform pumps, which an amicable sales person at Bloomingdale's most graciously agreed to model. This remarkable sparkling surface actually changes color in the light as you move - transforming from silver to gold and back again. Mesmerizing! Also, while the platform + heel yields 5.5" in height, these shoes are absolutely fantastic on a woman who is both tall enough and confident enough to carry them off. 

I give you Exhibit 5 - Brian Atwood's Platform Pump "Fontanne."

Goody Two Shoes

As you may have noticed, jewel tones pop at every turn - vibrant purples, cobalt and deep fuchsia, along with a range of reds, plum and burgundy, Bordeaux and oxblood, and delicious browns like espresso and chocolate.

Naturally, there are neutrals – black, gray, and luscious shades like cappuccino and cream - along with metallics for evening wear. Details continue to reflect our love affair with haute couture right down to our toes - and bows, bows, bows... and buttons, and lace.

I must give a nod to two bold beauties - Exhibit 6 (above) - Vince Camuto pumps in a deep blue-purple and Enzo Angiolini "Cimino" pumps in dark purple suede with an irresistible lacing detail on the heel. They're comfortable, stunning on the foot, and under $100. 

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

Time for an educational tidbit?

I used to think that snazzy heels dated to the days of Marie Antoinette. (Poor girl. Don't want to be in her shoes.) But it turns out that Maria de Medici had a special pair of hauts talons designed for her in Florence in 1533, for her wedding to Henri II. Apparently, the trend took hold in France by 1580 - and no, I am not a Fine Footwear Historian. Not yet, anyway!

There she is, the gorgeous D.A. Wolf (left) with the lovely salesperson whom she told me was not only pretty, but also extremely sweet. I like her dress.
As is the case for millions of women - my best therapy is shoe therapy. I'm a happy camper when digging through the racks at Nordstrom's or, when I'm very lucky, managing to find myself in Paris in time for the summer soldes. And yes, of course, I delay gratification and shop those sales on both sides of the Atlantic!

But when I need to put my best foot forward - to look good and feel good - I make sure I'm in shoes that are comfortable and beautiful. I don't assume that the most fashionable options will be difficult to wear, nor too expensive for my budget. And I certainly don't worry about what others might find age appropriate.

After all, as with other fashion choices, isn't it all a matter of confidence?

A huge merci to Kim, Jeff, and the staff at Bloomingdale's who were extraordinarily gracious in assisting with this Shoe Therapy!


déjà pseu said...

Gorgeous choices, DA! I'm a low- or kitten-heel gal myself these days, but you're right that looking at pretty shoes is always a mood lifter. I'll be glad when the really chunky, clunky, and "stripper" shoes fade in prominence on store shelves, and make way for more graceful styles like many you've shown here.

Corrine said...

Thank You, If I smoked I would have a cigarette right now!

kathy peck said...

I like shoes a lot, but I LOVE boots. Now I feel like shoe shopping, which also has the advantage of being much less tiring than any other type of shopping except handbags.

Villette said...

The shoes are all heaven, I want them all -- but alas it's not true for me that 'unlike the clothes, the shoes always fit.' Clothes can be altered, but if one has a very narrow foot -- and blast it, one does -- the shoe almost never fits. And believe me, achingly- beautiful suede heels in jewel tones never, ever come in a shoe shopping is never therapy for me. It is frustration, frustration, frustration. I envy your collection, and your fun.

BigLittleWolf said...

@DéjàPseu - I saw some adorable kitten heels. In fact, a number of the styles you're seeing illustrated here are showing up in kitten heels.

Very, very Audrey (to moi), and adorably sexy.

@Vilette - a difficult foot to fit? Oh, I feel your frustration! (I admit that the only bones I have ever broken are toes (seriously), and that has meant months on end in little more than the dullest of sandal or low slide. You have my deepest sympathy. (Might you enjoy accessory shopping and get the same "juice" I do from shoes?)

BigLittleWolf said...

@Corinne... You've made me blush!

@Kathy - I adore boots. I purposely left off booties and boots... I can only gush so much in one post. I also left off my visit to Neimans and (*sigh*) trying on Manolos and caressing the Louboutins.

Do you think Tish my allow me another post in a few weeks, when the boots have made their appearance on the scene?

And yes, handbags... I admit to be less addicted, however... OH EM GEE.

Karena said...

Oh I simply adore all of these especially both of the Stuart Weitzman's! I can no longer go high...for a special occasion a 3 inch with great shoe shape and sexy is nice!

Art by Karena
2012 Artist Series featuring Harrison Howard

webb said...

Love shoes but seldom find anything comfortable. Heard today that kitten heels are coming back, so there's hope!

kabayoz said...

Ooooohhhh, be still my heart. Are my feet going to look good in a pair of #5? Who cares! I'll do what Cinderella's wicked step sisters attempted to do with the glass slippers, forced my feet in any which way. Hot from comtemplating #5, excuse me while I wipe the drools off my mouth.

Lovely, gorgeous, beauteous shoes!!! Thanks DA!

kabayoz said...

Lusting over things I can't have...made me write comtemplate instead of contemplate...whatever, I still want #5, badly! LOL

BigLittleWolf said...

@kabayoz, Since you're lusting (so am I), pop over to my facebook page and you can see these extraordinary Brian Atwoods (#5) in the way they change colors in the light. Gorgeous.

I'm too little for these shoes (truly). But if they were 4" instead of 5.5" I would be lusting, lusting, lusting myself...

They are definitely lust-worthy...

BigLittleWolf said...

@Villette -
I just poked around a little via Google, looking to see if any of the Cole Haans or Via Spigas came in AA widths... There may not be many, but those two brands had considerable diversity in heel height, the gorgeous jewel tones, and maybe, just maybe, you can find something for a very narrow foot...

Worth a Google and a gander? (Bonne chance!)

Vicki said...

I wish I'd had some of that advice in my 20s and 30s; I lived in heels as an office worker, and they were GOOD leather shoes in those days, but I still sort of ruined my feet in ultra high-high heels, especially ankle strappers which dug in too tightly and caused me to suffer from something called a "pump bump." (It's sort of an Achilles issue; I think they call it an osteophyte; a bony thing. Painful! Surgery is brutal; takes like a year to recover, so haven't risked it yet.)

Consequently, I can't really wear a heel or a shoe with a back in it anymore, which leaves me to the ugliest shoe in the world, CROCS. Sloppy, yet they feel secure on my unsteady feet. I'm determined to reverse this problem, though, because I LOVE beautiful shoes. They are works of art. Carrie Bradshaw is my kind of gal.

This was such a fun post; I really enjoyed it, drooling over the styles. I always felt my best in high heels; I just said that on Janice's blog at La Vivienne (The Vivienne Files)...that I stood up straighter, walked more purposefully and elegantly; something...and I miss them. Of course, I've shrunk to under 63 inches in height, so the illusion of longer legs is evermore desired, and SO much easier to pull off in heels.

I purchased my first pair of high heels at age 14...they were chunkier in the late '60s and early 1970s (almost pilgrim-esque), but they were grown-up girl shoes...and I was smitten for life!

You know what I miss also? A good cobbler; a knowledgeable shoe repair person. One by one, they've disappeared in our throwaway-cheap-shoe society. It's probably because I live too far from an urban area where formal dress is more common. Heretofore, I kept shoes and handbags for a long, long time...taking good care of them, buffing and/or polishing where appropriate, always keeping them in their boxes wrapped in a good shoe cloth; taking them to shoe repair for wear/maintenance. The repair guy was also so helpful when it came to repairing a handbag handle...or a leather dog leash. Or a man's belt that the dog chewed. (Our pooches; they love to gnaw on good leather!)

Jill Ann said...

Lovely post! I too love shoes, and anxiously await the passing of the "hooker shoe" trend. I don't wear heels much anymore, but I used to wear them every day to work, with my skirted suits and dresses...back in the day before "business casual" took hold. I never wore higher than a 3" heel, but I could really move in those...remember once having to sprint through the Atlanta airport in red stilettos!

I never could afford the really expensive shoes, but I did have a good size collection. Those suede pumps remind me that I had a huge weakness for suede; thinking back, I had suede pumps in black, brown, teal, beige, and forest green. Sigh! Right now I have a lovely plum suede slingback pair , which I really need to make a point of wearing this winter.

Villette said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to check the web for narrow shoes. I do know the elusive narrow fit can be had in America but alas I live in Europe, and between the shipping costs and the customs duty and VAT -- followed by return shipping costs when they, arghh, still don't fit -- makes that near-impossible. But I'd love for Tish to invite you do another post on boots. Boots: now you're talking. The width on boots hardly matters at all. And I think you'd find some cracking good ones.

Diane de Poitier said...

Alas, I am past the point of being able to wear heels - my poor old back just can't take it. Glad to see some of the flatter styles in patterns this year. Ballet flats have been a godsend.

A historical side note, I believe it was Catherine de Medici, not Maria, who married Henri II.

BigLittleWolf said...

@Diane - Thank you! Catherine, of course! (Was I reading about Maria Shriver when proofing this piece???)


@Jill Ann, Not too shabby to have sprinting through airports in (red!) stilettos in our past...

@Vicki, You're so right about cobblers (not to mention, a great neighborhood tailor). Once upon a time, my favorite shoes were extra years by knowledgeable hands, and that seems to be a thing of the past.

Those 4" heels?

For me, special occasions only... Wincing does take some of the fun out of it; all the more reason to buy shoes that are comfy - width, cut, construction, materials - all at least as critical as the heel height.

Dog Training Collar said...

Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Anyway, I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon.

teamgloria said...


DA Wolf sent us to visit you and Trish, we'll be coming back, what a splendid blog.

and D - the shoes - the shoes - the shoes.....divine.

waving from inside a skyscraper in manhattan.

_teamgloria. x

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