Tag Archives: shoes

Colour Code: The firey red of changing leaves.

One of my favourite haunts, Matchbook Mag (…I’ve raved about them before!) does a series on their blog The Daily Spark called “Colour Palette”.  It’s this great series where the pick a pattern or colour or pair of colours and share their favourite finds using that as a theme.  Thusly, I’ve drawn inspiration from that, and as a result of a number of my friends and colleagues concluding the following: “My goodness child, you’re certainly not afraid of wearing colour are you.” (…yes…they all just became southern grandmothers).  And without further ado, I present to you the first instalment of “Colour Code” – an expression of my love for colour, penchant for organization, and of course with a dash of my fashion sense and style thrown into the mix.


I’m a fan of the deep wine and oxblood tones that are currently dominating fall trends, but I’d like to take a minute and advocate for a brief alternative: that firey, leaf-changing, orange-red tone.  It all started (as many a fashion obsession in my world does) with a pair of shoes.  While these originally caught my eye because of the shape and details (smoking loafers, tassels, pairing brights & neutrals…originally inspired by Emily on Cupcakes & Cashmere), it wasn’t until after a serendipitous impromptu shopping trip to J.Crew with two of my delightful partners in crime (Miss B & Miss G) that suddenly became smitten with the colour as well!

{Toni Tassel Loafers, J.Crew, $187}

Since that serendipitous trip, I’ve been seeing that colour nearly everywhere (as further evidenced by a quick trip to Holts with my friend W) and I can’t resist sharing a few of my favourites.  Styling wise I’d be inclined to make sure to ground this colour with a solid dose of neutrals (black, taupe, navy, tan,  grey, etc.) and let it shine as the sole accent colour in an outfit.  On the other hand, this colour plays particularly well with teal and royal blue, as exhibited below.  The tweed from Tory Burch even shows that with careful consideration, it plays well with the plum-toned oxbloods.  This is a deeper tone than its predecessors from the spring and summer, and as mentioned I’d describe it as reminiscent of the tones of leaves changing, the warm tones of fires, crisp apples, and as a component part of plaids.  The colour should look rich, an ever so slightly sultry smile as opposed to an all out sunshine induced cheerful grin.

Skirt / Pants / Jacket / Scarf / Belt / Earrings / Shirt / Handbag / Bracelet / Necklace / Heels / Clutch }

Now while I did warn that an abundance of this colour could be a little much, I’d thrown that suggestion out the window if you’re Ginnifer Goodwin at the 2012 Emmy’s…in which case I’d list her amongst the best dressed of the night.  If you’re confident in the colour, you might as well let it take centre stage.

{Ginnifer Goodwin in Monique Lhuillier at the 2012 Emmy’s, Image from PurseBlog.com}

Are you planning on mixing this bit of the colour wheel into your wardrobe?  Be sure to share your ideas or favourite pieces with the class in the comments.


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Neons & Neutrals…on the Oxfords of Cole Haan.

Neons and neutrals is nothing new.  Neons and neutrals on footwear…also not the most revolutionary concept.  But neons, neutrals, and an oxford…now that’s a trend I can support.

{Alisa Oxford, ColeHaan}

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Cole Haan footwear.  They are consistently my go-to brand for function, style, and comfort all wrapped into one nice neat little package.  But here’s the thing: most of my shoes from Cole Haan are pretty neutral, and definitely fall into the “standard issue” category.  With the small exception of a gorgeous pair of orange driving loafers that I picked up in Del Mar, CA a couple years ago, my association with the brand exists mainly in the colour range of brown to grey to black and some deep maroon in between.  This is not to say that they don’t make shoes in more daring colours, I’ve just never been particularly attracted to them before.

{Skylar Oxford, Cole Haan}

Well guys & dolls, consider the horses held and the opinions changed.  The next pair of shoes that makes its way into my already overzealous shoe collection may in fact be a pair of the neon and neutral mixed oxfords.  Two versions of this cool combination exist.  The first is the Alisa Oxford.  Boasting my favourite hue mix-match (light cove / chickadee) and pictured at the top of this post…they’re what really drew me in.  The reason why they won’t be waltzing into my wardrobe anytime soon though?  The puddle-centric weather that we’ve been having in my bit of the real world lately, and the fact that the “light cove” portion of this shoe is suede.  The second option is the Skylar Oxford.  A close runner-up for my favourite combination (primarily because I’m going through an uncharacteristic “pink” phase right now) in sequoia / rock candy, these seem to have a touch more practicality in terms of material.  They’re also ever so slightly more subtle in their statement (or as subtle as a fuchsia toe and heel cap can be) and my mind is already planning outfits right from the present moment to well into spring and summer with them.

Whether I indulge in either is currently absolutely debatable (considering the practical, smart, and sensible bit of me should really be buying said Sorels for winter), but let’s just say that they’ve been put on the list of considerations.  The Alisas retail for $178, and the Skylars $248 according to ColeHaan.com and can be purchased online (US only) or at your local Cole Haan boutique.

Pst…guys…because I know there are a few of you who read this blog as well…the guy’s equivalents of these are the Air Colton Casual Wing Tip Oxford (check out the chestnut/ashley blue), most similar in concept to the Skylars…or the Air Franklin Wing Tip Oxford (which I’m advocating in hibiscus suede), if the Alisa were more your cup of tea.

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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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No more cowboy boots!

Alright.  10 days in cowboy boots.  Done.  In all honesty I’m not sure how I feel about the whole experience.  Sure, they were comfortable (with the exception of the two blisters I got from an ill-fitting pair of socks on the last day), but they also drove me running and screaming towards my country roots, and the trip down memory lane sure wasn’t something I had banked on being a bonus feature.

Item #1 – I will never commit to wearing any article of clothing (particularly a pair of shoes or a handbag) for an extended period on a consecutive daily basis again.  While my clothes tend to be repetitive in style, based on my rather large collection of shoes (although dwarfed by many a fashion blogger as I have discovered) makes me feel guilty for side-lining them all for over a week.  That, and when you’re forcing an outfit to revolve around and complement a single article it makes the whole process of getting ready more thought-process inducing than exciting!

Item #2 – Memory lane should be closed.  Stampede always makes me nostalgic, but when coupled with wearing western-oriented gear it started to become a place where I wasn’t sure if I was comfortable.  It forces you to realize how much you’ve changed as a person since the acquisition of the related memories – and it doesn’t always sit right in one’s immediate conscious.

Item #3 – I don’t like country music.  Sure I dove in and listened to it for the entirety of the 10 days (I felt compelled given the boots and the general Stampede vibe), but wow, what an acquired taste.  Sure there are some songs that I enjoy, but it certainly did make me realize what music I prefer.  Now I’m on a steady diet of quasi-indie, easy listening, summery jazzy tunes.  It got to a point over Stampede where I was either going to start loving country or it making my ears bleed…and we definitely leaned towards the latter.  Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate it for what it is, but it’s interesting to re-define and re-affirm what you actually love based on something that doesn’t quite sit right.

Item #4 – I love Calgary.  Sometimes you try and ignore something that isn’t in your life in order to appreciate what is (ie. going to school in a different province and having to leave your hometown), but man almighty do I love this city.  Sure, it’s not a booming cultural metropolis (in some books), but there’s something down-home feel-good community about it that makes it feel like the easiest place in the world to be.  Granted I could probably do with just doing Stampede about every 3 years or so…no more country-western overdose again in my near future.

Item #5 – I truly do appreciate my cowboy boots.  Comfortable, relaxed, easy to wear – all appropriate catchphrases for these fantastically crafted pieces of leather.  They will forever remain a mainstay in my wardrobe, no matter the style or current fashion obsession.  Some things you just can’t get rid of, and these I swear never will be.  That, and after having to style them creatively for 10 days, I certainly know how to work them in without being too cowgirl-inspired.

For those of you who were curious, they’re from Alberta Boot Company – handcrafted in Calgary.  There are no substitutes for these, just ask anyone who owns a pair.

So now as I return to my regular programming of flats and the odd pair of heels, I bid a temporary adieu to my boots.  They probably need as much of a rest as I do.

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Project 10…days…of cowboy boots?

Today (July 9th) marks the beginning of 10 days of good old fashioned country-western fun for this fair city.

Photo credit - Flickr / Google Images

Why?  Well because it is the annual event that Calgarians (such as myself) simultaneously celebrate, passionately love and defend, and absolutely loathe…all to various extents and combinations.  That would be the greatest outdoor show on earth.

Credit - U of C Activities Around Calgary

Now I personally haven’t done Stampede properly since I was about 17, when I went to just about a show every night at the Coca-Cola Stage (2010 lineup is here) with a group of my friends.  Since then I’ve either been out of town or working for the entirety of these 10 days and haven’t been quite able to participate.  Well, participate in person that is.

You see, having grown up in Calgary you innately experience Stampede every summer for 10 days whether you like it or not.  The whole city turns into a tribute to our roots, and…well…it’s a great excuse to bust out the cowboy boots, denim (hello 10 days of jeans to work…actually!), and all things country.  Which leads me to the purpose of said post, a bit of a simultaneous challenge and I’m sure to some extent punishment or stretch of my creative capacity:  the only shoes I am allowing myself to wear for the next 10 days are my cowboy boots.

The boots that started it all.

Dear Kate – Newsflash, that’s not a challenge, you wear your boots pretty well at least once a month. – Love, Your readers.

Yes, I’m aware that the above statement is true, but the key here is to actually be able to style these so that they are the right mix of country with a dash of style.  Tough – especially when you can get away with being a complete pretend cowboy/girl for 10 days in this city without being mocked during Stampede.  I try all year to attempt to just intertwine my cowboy boots into the odd outfit, but when you can finally be a little flamboyant with the whole thing and strut my boots during this period in Calgary…why not?!  The challenge bit though is that I’m the kind of girl who changes out her handbag and shoes on a daily basis…so having to centre a full 10 days of outfits around these boots may actually prove difficult.

The Mission: 10 days of wearing the same boots.

The Rules: 1) No outfit repeats.  2) No outlandishly mocking of the cowboy aesthetic in outfit form.  3)  No exceptions.

…wish me good luck?

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For the love of flats!

Alright!  I get it!  I understand!  Heels undeniably make my legs look longer and sexier.  There I said it…happy?  But here’s the deal, I absolutely refuse to be that girl who perpetually walks around in high heels.  They are not comfortable, they make me just slightly too tall for a significant amount of the company I keep, and damnit, they’re just not practical.  I am an individual who is absolutely, positively, irrevocably hooked on flats.  Believe me, the perfect pair of ballerinas, or the perfectly coordinated Tory Burch Reva can sincerely make an outfit fantastic.  This is coming from the girl who due to bad knees, weak ankles, and a klutz streak so ingrained, that it’s almost a safety hazard for me to wear heels.  I am the girl who can walk miles because my feet aren’t about to die from being forcibly placed on an incline all day, the girl who doesn’t have to worry about a heel breaking as she runs across the crosswalk, or concerned that the stiletto heel is going to get caught in the sidewalk grates.  Do I own sensible heels?  Yes.  Do I wear heels to formal events?  Yes.  But on a do I don them on a day-to-day basis or believe that they are necessary in the corporate world?  No.  I would like to point out that if you scroll through one of my favourite online haunts Corporette, merely typing the word “flats” drums up a tonne of posts many of which give tips and tricks on how flats are an option for your corporate wardrobe.

What’s inspired me to write this particular post is that I consistently get asked where on earth I get all my cute flats from.  Well, let me inform you that this has been a long process.  Good flats are not necessarily the easiest things to come by, but when found are irreplaceable.  A number of years ago while reading the “On my mind” (the back page) of In Style there was a quote from the person being interviewed that on account of their larger than average feet, that they felt obligated to purchase every pair of cute flats that they found in their size because they were so hard to come by.  Now I don’t have large feet, but I do have flat feet, and bad ankles, and bad knees…meaning that I am often relegated to the world of flats (as previously mentioned) for safety and health reasons.  I have therefore taken that mantra to heart and have adopted the strong opinion that whenever I see a pair of sensible stylish flats I am required to purchase them.  Does this mean I have a rather large shoe collection?  Oh yes…you can bet your last dollar on that one.

It is with that inspiration and common sense requirement that I’ll share with you a few of my favourites…and believe me the choices were hard ones to make.

The trainer replacement… Cole Haan Nike Air

I will name the entire range because although some people are sceptical about the usefulness/comfort of the Air range in heels, the benefits are fairly obvious in flats as you really do notice the wonder of the air cushion after a full day on your feet.  My particular favourites (evident by the fact that I have them in three colours and 4 different styles) are the Air Brias, which unfortunately have been discontinued in their original flat incarnation.  My next purchase of the Nike Air flat line?  The Bacara Ballets, or the Zannas—the latter of which is the closet one can find to the original Brias.

Because bright flats are a must… Tory Burch Reva Flats

These are iconic flats.  These are the shoes that I wear and always get compliments on.  I refuse to travel or essentially go anywhere without these flats.  Granted this might have to do with the fact that I have them in such bright colours, but still…bright patent shoe heaven!  They’re so slim and lightweight that I can easily pack four pairs of them in a suitcase and have a matching pair of flats for every outfit.  Black patent with white inlays, primary-style green with navy, and navy with red. The ones with the contrast inlays are probably my favourites, but I also have a pair of slate blue-grey ones with the classic metal logo that are my go-to non-black shoes for work.  The colour of the aforementioned shoes?  Smoke Grey Stingray…what is there not to love! One of my favourite features about the Revas are the elasticized backs.  A friend of mine has the worst problem getting blisters on the backs of her heels because of the stiffness of the heel of the shoe.  Aside from constantly reminding her to acquire Band-Aid Blister Block…I have also sang my praises of the Reva flats.  She hasn’t listened to me.  She still gets blisters.  I have stopped listening.

The work line-up… there isn’t just one…

I already mentioned the blue-grey Revas.  Also on this list goes a pair of black patent Donald J. Pliner loafers, and two pairs of Burbery flats.  If you can splurge on a great pair of Burbery flats, I highly recommend it.  Make sure that they fit really well in the store, and be willing to go up a size as they do fit quite narrow and small.  I find that with the check (preferably in fabric as opposed to the novacheck…which looks a little cheap on shoes) and in a toffee brown colour, people will appreciate the small dash of pattern with a well coordinated and not boring brown shoe.

The perfect ballerina…London Sole

I tried not to cave into these.  I tried to find an alternate source of ballerina flats.  There is no competition.  These are unbelievably comfortable, seeing as they do not come with a “foot” assigned, you end up molding the shoe directly to your foot.  Lightweight and perfect.

For trendy everlasting flats…Coach

I have come to the conclusion that Coach flats are indestructible.  I have a pair of geranium burnt orange toned buckled flats that I have worn close to obsessively (as much as that is possible when there are over 80 pairs of shoes in one’s wardrobe) that still look as fantastic as the day I bought them.  The same goes for two pairs of loafers that I have from the brand.  Coach always produces bright toned fun summer shoes, and when I’m looking for something preppy but affordable and a little special, I turn to Coach.

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