Category Archives: Footwear Friday

Footwear Friday: The ever elusive ankle boots.

Despite my wardrobe being populated with saturated colour, and more than its fair share of cardigans and preppy oxford button downs, this fall I’m really craving a pair of dusky worn ankle boots.  There’s something about fall that always makes me want a little rustic contrast in my wardrobe, and while I’ve been wary of short boots in the past (my shorter curvy nature always makes me shy away from things that have the potential to make my legs look any less long) I’ve just seen too many excellent options to stay away much longer.  That and I’m constantly haunted by an old Shopping’s My Cardio post when Becki finally decided that she was going to overcome her fears.

So off we trek, with a lovely range of options, and a few notes for when you (and I!) are looking.  In my brief, yet tempting, foray into “research” for this post (ie. online window shopping) I was able to define what caught my eye into two broad categories: those that were dusky (via suede) with a feminine tone and a slight heel, and those that were of the classic and/or rugged flat variety.

Common features of that first group?  Dusky suede or a roughed up leather are a uniting feature, but what really connects them is an emphasis on detailing at the ankle.  Buckles, zippers and tassels all help to keep each of these styles from veering too far into the land of generic and not worth commenting on.  I’m a particular fan of those deep olive/army green Rag & Bone Harrows (7), but more practically the greige pair with woven leather by Joie (2) make more sense with the weather that I’m subject to.  

{ 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 }

And then there are those with a little more substance to them.  Pairs from Belle by Sigerson Morrison (10), Dolce Vita (11) & the Frye Engineer 8Rs (13) appeal to my original goal which is a roughed up contrast and call up memories of trying to track down a pair of Frye Engineers with my ever fashionable friend M.  While the Madewell Bikers (12) & Chelseas (14) appeal to the ever so slightly more edgy hipster components of my style (…by relative comparison), the classic clean-cut preppy in me though is giving a silent nod of approval to the J.Crew Bookers (8) & Lindsay Plate’s from Frye (9) though, and unsurprisingly they’re also the ones I’m leaning towards.

{ 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 }

All of the pretty boots aside, let’s take a minute and talk about fit.  My ‘research’ also extended to my traipsing around to a few stores and trying things on.  Personally I found that the boots hit one of three places: just below, just at, or about an inch or two above the ankle bone.  Now I know that there will be more than a few who argue that the last category shouldn’t count, but hear me out.  What you’re looking for is how the boot sits relative to the widest point of your calves.  In some instances, if the boot is a touch higher and cut wider at the top, this may actually end up being the most flattering if you have a larger calf.  Options that hug right at the ankle can accentuate the shape of your lower leg (depending on ankle/calf proportions), and those that sit just below really ground an outfit as they draw attention down.  This can be accented or negated by the physical weight / heel height / construction of the boot.  My rule of thumb for low/ankel boots would be that the heel height vs. the height of the boot can be inversely proportional (eg. as the heel height increases, the physical boot height should decrease).

Honestly though, my true loves are the Rag & Bone Durhams (4), I’ve actually gone and visited them at Holts multiple times.  They. Are. Excellent.  But realistically I think I’m leaning towards an option from Frye, either the sleeker Lindsay Plates (9) or a classic pair of Engineer 8Rs (13) – given the fact that I’ve been a long-term fan of their boots.  Then again I may just opt out all together and/or decide that I already own enough boots.

Thoughts, suggestions, or particular boots that are on your radar?  Be sure to share with the class in the comments!

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Footwear Friday: Aaden Mid Heel from Tory Burch.

Dear class, we’ve been through this before…I’m not a heels girl.  Despite a number of years in ballet class, all I ever got out of them was poise, grace, and turned out hips.  Which essentially means that I’m a gracefully clumsy duck.  Making me walk on an incline (as the wearing of heels does)?  More often than not it’s a sufficiently awful idea.  That being said, in the instance that I am capable of walking in heels…that’s the test to say that essentially everyone can wear them.

{Aaden Mid Heel, Tory Burch, $275}

My most recent find also ranks as one of my most comfortable: the Aaden Mid Heel from Tory Burch. These were the solution to a brief hunt for a pair of neutral (note: not nude) pumps that would suffice for both work and play, that were a reasonable height and above all else: sturdy.  Stillettos, regardless of how un-effing-real they make one’s legs look are not for the sprained ankle prone.

The particular pair of Aaden’s that I found were courtesy of an impulse trip to Holts following an annual birthday brunch with a dear friend of mine.  A dear friend who’s Tory Burch heels I’ve absconded with on a regular basis might I add.

Here’s the thing about these heels.  When in the “Sand” colour, they’re a great caramel-toned brown that really re-defines neutral.  In this colour as well, the lightness keeps the shoe from otherwise being a little heavy looking – meaning that you can style them with everything from pants to breezy floral skirts.  The gold accenting is subtle, and though the logo is done completely in gold, because it blends so nicely with the leather it doesn’t come across as flashy as the TB logo often can.  Additionally, I quite enjoy the leather strap-esque detail that holds it in place on the front.  A very sturdy and solid stacked wood heel means that walking on these is a breeze, and at 2.5″ it’s enough of a lift to give your legs a little length without making you teeter above the masses.

{A brief outfit example: Ralph Lauren Chambray Shirt, Floral Tommy Hilfiger Skirt, American Flag Free People Scarf, and a Navy Coach Clutch}

Tried and tested?  You bet.  I’ve worn these both out to dinner and a show, as well as for a full day of work (minus the commute to and fro…which one should never truly be expected to do in heels), and have never felt unsteady or as though my feet were aching for flats.

Available at Holt Renfrew in Canada (and now at Tory Burch if you’re in Toronto!), online through Nordstrom and Bloomingdales, and for those of you south of the 49th at ToryBurch.com as well.  These retail for about $300…but considering they’re good with everything from black to brown and denim (and a few patterned in between for good measure), they’re worth looking into investing in.

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Footwear Friday: The Role of the Nude Flat.

Everyone always talks about the kinds of heels that every girl needs in her shoe wardrobe.  One nude, one black…et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  And somewhere in the discussion of building a good “shoe wardrobe” there’s a brief comment on: “Well make sure you have a good pair of flats!”  Now I’m not a heels girl, so I’ll just have to acknowledge the wisdom of those who have teetered before me on that front…but I am a bit of a flat aficionado.  So I’d like to take the opportunity to advocate for the inclusion of a pair of shoes that I’ve been preoccupied with as of late: the nude (preferably patent) flat.  We so commonly discuss how flats can be boring and thus one should buy them in a bright colour or interesting pattern, but what happened to having a nice neutral pair that goes with everything from dress pants to floral playsuits?  The goal of the nude flat is to be unassuming and noncompetitive in your outfit, while still looking polished and put together.

{Tory Burch Caroline Patent Ballet Flat ($233), Image from ShopBop}

The pair that originally sparked my interest were from Tory Burch, and inspired by Laura (of Buy Now, Blog Later…and formerly of lollipop26) and her discussion of how these nude flats were reminiscent of something by Chanel and how the elastic looked like a dainty ribbon from afar.  Already having these in navy blue, I can vouch for the fact that they do have a lovely dressy quality about them which is makes them excellent for work or if your style is a little more feminine and polished.

{Air Bacara ($165), Image from Cole Haan}

Another similar, yet more casual, option comes from Cole Haan.  The Air Bacara’s are truly excellent if you need your commute shoes to transition seemlessly into your daytime work shoes as they are incredibly comfortable and still have a bit of style.  The lacing at the back of the shoe means that they retain a little bit of casual edge, and I have to say they look particularly excellent with a great pair of dark wash skinny jeans and a bright bag.  They’re also incredibly comfortable, boasting the Nike Air technology and a split sole while makes for a flexible yet sturdy walk.

{London Sole Henrietta ($215) & Repetto BB Ballerine ($290), Images from London Sole and Gravity Pope}

The more classic option if you’re hunting for something in the world of a ballet flat would be from London Sole (or French Sole…I never can seem to work out what the difference is), or Repetto is a more readily accessible alternative along the same lines.

{Warnack Flat ($60), Image from Aldo.com}

And finally, in doing a little bit of research (ah the benefits of writing a blog, when you can call online window shopping research), I came across the reasonably priced and infinitely accessible Warnack Flats from Aldo.

Whichever your choice, the nude flat is nearly important as the nude heel – it’s neutral and innately allows the remainder of your outfit to sing without competition.  They’re also excellent from spring and summer where an abundance of patterns and coloured denim reign supreme.

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Footwear Friday: Baggins Shoes.

{Converse I Love, Product Red, Baggins Shoes}

Now my love affair with boots has been documented on this site already (click here), and while I do have a distinct appreciation for them, when it comes to winter and the practicality of wearing flats becomes null and void I turn specifically to…sneakers.  I LOVE sneakers…trainers…runners…whatever you care to call them…they and I have had a long term relationship that almost culminated in my wearing them to prom.  (Disclaimer: almost, a dear friend of mine at the time probably would have murdered me if I would have shown up in them)  Alas, I never got to wear the sequinned Converse to prom with my cranberry cocktail dress…but I now do take the opportunity to wear them whenever I possibly can.

{Chocolate Leather Converse, 111170, from bagginsshoes.com}

Normally the occasion to wear sneakers is fairly universal, but I always seem to revert back to my collection when the weather turns colder and the streets a tad messy.  As opposed to wrecking my flats, I turn to my leather hi-tops that could go through the wars (and sometimes the wash) and still turn out looking essentially the same.  I would like to point out that when worn with jeans, a rather thick pair of wool socks can also be worn within the hi-tops to allow for extra warmth.  (Or you can go with a flannel or lined pair if you’re in the market for some funky Chucks)

{www.bagginsshoes.com}

Now sneakers in general is a fairly broad category, and while my love is far-reaching the specific focus of my affections will forever be the Converse All-Stars…otherwise known as the Chuck Taylors.  I’m preferential to the high-tops in odd colours and patterns, but that doesn’t mean that my plain black leather low-tops don’t have a special place in my heart.  The first true time a pair of Chucks stole my heart was in the Spring of 2005, when I first walked into a place that should otherwise be known as heaven for Converse fiends:  Baggins Shoes in Victoria BC.  Walls lined with those black and brown cardboard boxes…all shapes, sizes, and styles of Converse, Vans, and the occasional Puma…as a girl who loved sneakers, this was my dream store.  My first (and most prized) purchase was a pair of magenta and teal velour Chucks with teal satin lining and magenta stitched laces.  Now for those of you who seem to be under the impression that these are tacky, I promise you they are not…they are in fact boldly fabulous.

{Corduroy Navy/Brown, Baggins Shoes}

After nearly 6 years, Baggins still remains the only place I will buy my Converse from.  They literally stock nearly any style of Converse you can dream up from nearly every single one of their lines.  Now you might be wondering how on earth I manage to still increase my constant desire for Chucks when my source is in Victoria?  Well my friends…welcome to the magic of the interwebs.  With a very basic and incredibly easy to use and navigate website, Baggins makes its home at www.bagginsshoes.com.  Here you can browse what I’ve been led to believe is the vast majority of their inventory in a simple online setting.  Choose your style (Converse, Vans, hi-tops, low-tops, etc.) and start scrolling.  The pictures are all clear, and very true to colour.  Inventory levels are up-to-date…so all you need to know is your size.  Speaking of sizing, a word of caution (that is re-iterated frequently on the site) all of the sizing for the Chucks is in Men’s sizing.  That means ladies…take your numerical North American sizing and subtract two (ie. I wear an 8-8.5 and I take a Men’s 6).

Prices are really no different from what you would be paying in-store for any of these, just add a nominal charge for shipping and handling.  I ordered my last pair (the rather boring black monochrome leather ones that I’ve managed to squeeze through our work dress-code) on a Sunday and they arrived on my doorstep on Thursday morning with the mail delivery.  Canadian shipping was $10 (which is an absolute steal considering it cost me $25 to courier a letter to BC the other day) bringing the total cost of my shoes to about $95 + PST.

{Collage Ox, Black/Neon, Baggins Shoes}

The customer service is also incredibly excellent.  A few years ago I was attempting to track down a limited edition pair of hi-tops from the Spring collection (that were apparently sold-out everywhere) and somehow the magical shoe fairies at Baggins managed to go digging through their collection to find the pair I was looking for.  They’ve also been incredibly helpful in giving descriptions of the shoes over the phone, and always offering their honest opinions when comparing the styles (when solicited of course).  I really have never been more impressed with the combination of an in-store experience, online retail setting, and customer service anywhere else.  They’re also everywhere…FacebookTwitterYouTube…which means that they’re readily accessible and willing to engage.

Now I’ve littered a few of my current kooky favourites that are available online right now…and will leave you with one from the upcoming DC Comics collection (available February 15th…for those of you who are interested).  But in all sincere honesty, make sure to check out Baggins Shoes either the next time you’re in Victoria…or the next time you need to kicks fix online.

 

{Good vs. Evil Justice League, Baggins Shoes}

{Good vs. Evil Justice League, Baggins Shoes}

{Classic Batman Print, Baggins Shoes}

{Classic Batman Print, Baggins Shoes}

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Footwear Friday, and No.5 of The Eight.

If: you read this blog.

Then: you would know that I just put up a post about the dilemma of flats {and my apparent love for them} not that long ago.

The problem therefore is: that the next entry in “The Eight” is most worn shoes.

The answer: is easy – Tory Burch Reva Flats.

However: that makes for a terribly un-entertaining blog post.

Lists and quasi-LSAT inspired writing aside {inspiration from a few friends applying to law school…to whom I have nothing but wishes of luck, even though they won’t need it}, I’ve been sitting with a bit of a dilemma as to what to write about for this particular post for quite some time.  “The Eight” is one of the few series on this blog that I’ve actually managed to partially maintain since the beginning, but now the content is on the verge of overlapping.  If you’d like to read what I wrote about regarding flats, and my genuine love for the Revas…click here…

Otherwise, I shall momentarily indulge myself in my quest for the perfect heels.  A quest which I have completed successfully…twice.

My original suggestion would and to some extent will always be the Cole Haan Nike Air heels {style is irrelevant}.  I promise you, the hype is not fake, these are incredibly comfortable heels.  I’ve spent many a night dancing, and many an afternoon running around downtown in these heels and I have yet to have serious issues with them.  The particular versions I have  possess a small band of deep metallic silver right at the top of the base of the heel {where the footbed meets the actual heel post}, which meant that they managed to step just beyond the boundaries of boring basic heels.  The range of “Air” heels that are available is endless, ranging from laced heeled oxfords, to great platform pumps, to the classic black patents.  Considering their consistent availability {both at retail and outlet locations might I add}, I thought my quest was complete…tragically, or perhaps not so tragically mistaken.

Cole Haan Pumps

My second recommendation are the Kate Spade Karolina Pumps {which were in fact profiled on the opening “Shoe” page on KateSpade.com}.  I digress, I’ve written of these before, but I feel as though they require a re-mention {if for no other reason than that they are available in a variety of standard neutral colours including a gorgeous nude…just start hunting the web}.  The pair I have are a faux snakeskin finish, and teeter somewhere between rose-gold and silver.  They are the metallic that goes with everything, and are the shoes that I can wear for an unbelievable amount of time considering their height.  I recommend these not for the newly introduced heel-wearer, but for someone who’s already gained a sufficient amount of balance walking on heels.  Indulge, enjoy, and perhaps purchase in a few fun colours as even without the cushy padding, they manage to be undeniably comfortable.  I’d also like to point out that they’re available as a part of the “Twirl” collection as well…red heel and perfectly muted gold sequins abound.

Kate Spade Karolina Pumps

So alas, this post of “The Eight” is not in fact my most worn shoes, but definitely a quiet understated ode to my most worn pumps…which I swear is a feat in and of itself.

{Side Note} I promise you I have zero arch, and questionable balance.  I can walk in heels.  It took practice.  Unfortunately not all of us were born with the perfect high-heel walk…do not be embarrassed of traipsing around your house in your high-heels prior to actually wearing them.

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Footwear Friday: Flat boots that fit!

Thank-you again to TheDailyObsession and their small Monday piece on Flat Boots for reminding me how much I want a pair of Coach boots…or just a pair of cute boots in general.  See I find myself in quite the predicament when it comes to attempting to find a pair of the aforementioned cute flat boots, as more than a few years of dance quickly built up some rather muscular calves.

Ah yes…the usual search, undertaken by many a fashionable individual for tall boots for the Autumn and Winter seasons…and the well documented undertaking of those with wide calves.  Sure, there are the boots with the “elasticized panel” that’s supposed to help them widen out, there’s the currently chic ankle boot {which I forewarn those with large calves, these may look a little odd}, and then there’s the “I swear I can get this over my calves!” moment that we all have on the fitting room floor where we attempt to do up the zip or pull up the leather only in advance of the inevitable sigh that comes when we realize that there is no way they’re going to fit.  This does not mean that we are too large everywhere else…it just means that we don’t have “standard issue sized” lower portions of our legs.

But what is that I see in the distance…a glimmer of hope for those with wide calves?  Why by George it is!  Hello brands who make boots with a little extra room up top, or ones that custom fit, or even an entire section on Zappos.com exclusively for wide-calf boots.  And, of course we can’t forget Dear Oprah.  In her current issue, as well as in her online world, has a bit of a Q&A for solutions to said dilemma – courtesy of Creative Director Adam Glassman – although there’s more in the old-school paperback edition than the online tidbit.  The O Magazine article aside, here are a few of my recommendations for where to look.

{Image from DUOBoots.com}

DUO Boots ~ A brand that I discovered in the UK about 5 or 6 years ago, DUO boots is committed to making shoes and boots for every size…the custom fit without actually having to shell out the insane price tags that normally come with a custom boot.  Plug in your shoe size {make sure you’re in the right measurement system!}, as well as your calf measurement and it will narrow down all the boots on the site to the ones that fit your specifications.  Prices range from $200-$400 + shipping and handling…but considering the headache you’re going to save {and the fact that this is what you probably would have paid for good boots anyways}, these seem to be my primary suggestion.  My choice this season is going to be a classic black riding boot…or perhaps something in the varietal of high-heeled taupe suede…granted that chocolate brown over the knee version also makes me a little weak at the knees.

{Image from JCrew.com}

J.Crew ~ Disclaimer – I spend too much time on this site already.  I did not need them to make wide-calfed boots to add to my adoration.  Simply click “extended calf” on a variety of their styles on your selection and you’re off to the races.  The styles offered by J.Crew are primarily leaning towards the casual boot, and offered in some fantastic colours {fossil grey anyone?}.  There is one dressier boot offered by the site that has a great pointed toe and a subtle kitten heel though…and I’m thinking it’s going on my work wishlist.  Extended calf sizes are an additional $20 to the listed price {as noted when you’re choosing sizes, etc.}, but let’s be realistic…we do need the extra leather.

Zappos ~ As I mentioned, Zappos has an option where you can click “Wide Calf Boots” and it will filter down to all of the boots that are listed as “Wide Calf” on their website.  They offer a wide variety of brands, and are even just a great place to find brands that make these extended calf sizes.  For customers in Canada though, be forewarned that you have to order off the Canadian site…which offers a smaller variety, but is still available.

{Image from EddieBauer.com}

Eddie Bauer ~ Alright, so perhaps not your primary destination when shopping or looking for shoes, but with their classic woodsy vibe they certainly have their fair share of boots in regular stock.  I have a pair of the extended calf boots, and I was pleasantly surprised with the fit.  Although there are a limited number of styles that I would dive into ordering,

If you’re a little wary of ordering online my strong suggestion is to frequent some of the high-end department stores or shoe shops and inquire as to whether or not they have a boot stretcher.  Places such as Holt Renfrew, Ogilvy, Saks, and Arnold Churgin have be known to have boot stretchers in their back rooms which means that they have incremental capacity to make the boots fit around your calves.  It’s all dependent on the boot, the kind of leather, and other such considerations, but more often than not there’s a little room to groove.  I won’t guarantee that they’ll all have boot stretchers, but it’s worth quick phone call or pop by in order to investigate!

As for me?  Considering that a large portion of my boot collection currently needs to be tossed out after more than a few seasons of serious salt damage, my choice destination will have to be J.Crew first…surprise surprise.  But that shopping trip is going to have to wait until the next time a free shipping coupon comes through my inbox.

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