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To Save the World or Not

14 Jul

Upon returning from New York, I was trying to decide what to write a blog about.  Unlike Pittsburgh, I have so many fashion impressions from New York City.  Should I talk about the rompers?  The braless dresses?  The amount of HATS you can buy on the street?!

The topic that has really stuck with me turns out to be an old one: TOMS.  This was hardly my first introduction to the shoe, but it was one of my first concrete experiences where I can remember saying “yes, I want one.”

TOMS, in case you don’t know, has a pretty rockin charity campaign.  For every shoe you buy, a pair goes to a child in need.  And the price isn’t ridiculous, so it doesn’t feel like you are paying for two pairs instead of the one.

Their downfall, for me, has always been the style.  I just find the design of the shoe plain ugly.  The toe is strange, there’s too much fabric, and the patterns are straight up bizarre.

Is this supposed to be a ballet slipper?

Plain ugly.

But after seeing approximately a bizillion pairs over the weekend, I’m starting to reassess my opinion.  I have at least two close friends who own a pair and adore them.  They are easy, simple, and apparently really comfortable.  The no sock thing is really an option and won’t destroy my heels.  And, of course, there is the knowledge that you’ve helped a child in need.

So now for the big question.  Which pair should I buy?

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A Discussion on Open Toed Booties and Romans

14 Jun

One of my favorite friends Michelle (of the VP post fame) sent me this charming cartoon from Natalie Dee:

With it, she asked

Michelle: Louise, how do you feel about open toed booties?

Which led to an afternoon of emails back and forth.  Enjoy.

Louise: I love them!  Well, I love peep toe pumps, and since open toed boots are their cousins, I like them too.  I think the peek a boo is sexy, much like cut aways in shirts or dresses.  Sexy in a non threatening, not too revealing kind of way, which is the best kind of sexy in my book.

Michelle: Sexy? Perhaps. However, I generally associate boots with cold weather. At least with a cut-out shirt or dress, you can throw a jacket on, but they do not make jackets for your booties, and even if they did, that’d be weird.

Louise: As much as I love the image of jackets for your booties, I agree, there is the weather problem.  And yet I think the weather problem is purely in terms of precipitation, not temperature.

For instance, you wear sneakers year round, but probably not the same pair.  You have sneakers for running, sneakers for fun adventures, sneakers you only wear when it’s hot out, etc.  Why not have boots that function the same way?  Like sneakers, the boot covers your whole foot, and some boots are better for cold weather and some boots are better for going out dancing.  The open toed bootie is great in spring, fall, warmer days, cooler days, and any day in between where you want to look fabulous and give your height a boost.  I would not wear them in rain, however-  I would wear my rain boots and bring my booties to work.

Michelle: I find this difficult to counter, so I will conclude by saying that open-toed booties remind me of a fawn’s feet.

Moving onto the asymmetrical, draped dress, what are your thoughts? Let’s not take Natalie Dee’s version too seriously and just go with the basic concept.

Louise: With the dress I think she might have better argument.  There are many horrific orange colors out there, and you have to be so careful with the draping of anything.  In addition, asymmetrical cuts often remind me of the awful handkerchief dresses from the 90s, which need to remain burned.

That being said, they aren’t all horrible.  Draping is often very flattering, if you shop carefully, and I’ve seen some really pretty asymmetrical dresses recently.  They are eye catching with that unusual hem, and in heels (or open toed booties), they make your legs look like sky scrapers.  The dirty orange isn’t the worst color either.  It looks much better on us pale folks than bright orange.

Michelle: First, to say that something should “remain burned” implies that becoming unburned is an option. So I am now imagining a handkerchief dress rising from the ashes, like a phoenix. If this ever happened, we would have to warmly welcome back the handkerchief dress trend, lest we offend the gods.

I like drapey dresses quite a bit, as long as the draping is simple and doesn’t require maintenance while you wear it (‘darn that sash, it won’t stay where I put it! oh my folds look a mess!’). Additionally, if it is any day other than Halloween, I would advocate for not looking like a slutty Roman.

As for oranges, I like a nice dark orange in the fall…although anything that can be considered “orange doodoo color” should perhaps be reconsidered.

And I would like to add that Natalie Dee is a genius. Open-toe booties or no open-toe booties – I would opt for leggings and a wolf t-shirt any day.

Louise: Agreed.  So long as it is unlawful to look like a slutty Roman at all times.  Even on Halloween.

My Confusion with Socks

29 Mar

I have a confession to make: fashion and socks really confuse me.  When I think about fashion, socks never cross my mind.  I’m thinking about dresses and pumps and interesting pants or boots.  Socks are worn to make my boots comfortable, not something to display.  So why are these pictures popping up?

I like this outfit.  I like the lines and the colors and what I think is a plaid shirt under the sweater.  But I’m hesitant about the socks.  They aren’t much taller than the boots, which I like, and they are in the same color scheme as everything else.  Ok, I’m starting to get it.  I think I like the look.

But then I see shots like this.

MAKE IT STOP!  The shorts are horrible, the tights make no sense, and the socks are straight up awful.  Pretty girl, awful stylist.

So if we focus on a smaller distance between top of sock and top of boot, this should work, right?

Fail.  Why do I still hate it?  This might be a me thing, because I believe those boots belong in the 1620s with the Three Musketeers.  And should stay there.

One more try.

Love it!  I would love to see the rest of their outfits, but I like what’s in the shot.  A great use of color and bulky socks too.

So lessons learned:

– keep a small distance between the top of my boot and the top of my sock.  It’s ok to make the area bulky, but don’t go over board or it will look like I have donuts on my legs.  Gross.

– find pretty socks!  Stripes make me look twelve, so let’s not go there.

– wear with pants or thick leggings, not tights.  It just looks weird.

– chose the right pairing of boots with socks.  Not all boots and socks are made to work together.

Final thought: you will never see me in socks and pumps.  Hell to the no.

The Leopard Print Flat

9 Mar

We all have a pair.  Ok, maybe not the men reading this blog, but I would say a healthy 85% of women in their 20s or 30s own a pair of leopard print flats.  In my office alone, I see two or three pairs daily on a rotating schedule.

But have you also noticed how ugly they can be?  How can something so simple and spicy also be so mundane and old looking?

Cute:

Gross:

In:

Out:

Winner:

Loser:

Be very careful, friends.  Sometimes there is a very fine line between great and awful.

Some Vivier Love

2 Mar

While wearing my pointy pumps at work today, I was inspired to do some research on one of my favorite shoe designers, Roger Vivier.  Because really, it doesn’t get much more gorgeous than this:

With a background in sculpture, Vivier started working for Elsa Schiaparelli in the 1930s.  His innovative but elegant ideas led to a masterful partnership with Christian Dior and the creation of the New Look in the 1950s.


Using his knowledge of sculpture and the body, Vivier created new heel shapes for Dior, such as the comma heel, and revived and enhanced the stiletto.

Vivier went on to work with Yves Saint Laurent after Dior’s death, where he invented the pilgrim buckle pump. The style is still ridiculously popular and widely imitated today.

Now for some real eye candy, cause flats are boring.

And finally, my favorite:

My shoe isn’t nearly as gorgeous as these, but Nine West has a decent interpretation.  The heel is my favorite part!

The Houndstooth War

15 Dec

I was sitting in a meeting this morning with a large number of staff, and I noticed a fellow young coworker was wearing a houndstooth blazer.  Normally I really like houndstooth, but this blazer was cut in a pretty boring, old lady kind of way, with heavy piping along the edges and one button at the throat.

Is houndstooth cool?  I thought it was, but now I’m wondering if it’s been taken over and claimed by conservative fashion.

For instance, this cut is dowdy:

But this blazer is interesting:

Houndstooth has been around for centuries, most likely originating in Scotland.  It’s had peaks in popularity, most recently the 1930s, 1960s-1970s and 2000s.

How does it fit now?  Can it straddle two worlds and work in both?  Or is the pattern going to eventually be claimed by one fashion aesthetic?  I really hope it can live in both worlds, because this shoe is magnificent.

Shorts in the Work Place

7 Dec

Are shorts ever appropriate for the work place?

Depending on dress restrictions and your job, I say yes.  Clearly you wouldn’t wear shorts with formal business attire, or when you are meeting people outside the office.  But if you work in an environment that is business casual, in a job spent at your desk in your cube in a corner, why not?  Here’s my reasoning.

Bermuda shorts are just as long as skirts.  Sometimes longer.

Shorts actually cover more of your legs, since the fabric is wrapping around each limb rather than wrapping from your waist.  So not only are shorts the same length, but they can also be warmer than your a-line skirt.  And more comfortable.

All that’s left to do is dress it up a little.  Pick shorts in neutral, solid colors, add a pretty shirt or cardigan, and finish the look with a pair of pumps.  How is this not appropriate?

I say we start a trend of wearing shorts everywhere.  Dress them up or down, vary the length and color.  Shorts are much more versatile than some people think!