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Article 41 - April 18, 2011
Back to Chic Weekly


OMG, Shoes! 

OMG, Shoes! article by Jessica Lynn Harris

By Jessica Lynn Harris


     Carrie Bradshaw famously had a collection of shoes so large that, by the second Sex and the City film, they required a colossal dream closet. My sister Jamie, who works at DSW (and therefore has the coveted first pick of lovely discounted designs) has so many shoes that they cannot fit onto two mammoth sized shoe racks. This does not include her boots. For many girls, turning down shoe shopping is as hard as turning down chocolate. I, however, was late in discovering the delights of this past time. I was always one for garments and my favorite accessory was and still is hats. Ballet flats or loafers were added as a necessary afterthought so I didnít walk barefoot. And although my love for clothing and hats has not diminished, I have a newfound appreciation of shoes.

     This week, I decided to write up on shoes for girls who were in my position a year ago: interested in shoes, but uncertain where to start. This article will discuss shoe types, shoe doníts, shoe fabric, and where to purchase. Soon youíll be able to tell which shoes rule and which shoes, well, suck.


Essential Shoe Collection

These are a list of classic shoe types that can be worn with a variety of styles.


Casual & Fancy:

Loafers- are slip-on shoes originating in Norway that sometimes reminded me of a leisurely English gentleman who smokes cigars and drinks brandy. In a good way. Loafers are most effective in neutral colors: mahogany, navy, black, pewter, browns, and creams. Penny loafers fold over at the top (and sometimes include a tassel) with just enough space between to fit a penny.

Oxfords- are lace up formal shoes with eyelet tabs (the holes for the shoelaces) sewn inside the vamp. The toecap is usually lined in decorative miniature holes. Oxfords can be a solid color, or, equally popular, two-toned. Like loafers, oxfords look best in neutral colors. An oxford with just a bit of a wedge paired with scrunchy socks gives off a charming, preppy feel.

Boat shoes- also called topsiders are shoes in which the laces (often leather) weave throughout the center of the shoe and cross only twice at the front before tying. They are made of a canvas or leather top with a rubber sole. Boat shoes are worn by sailors and add a nautical edge to any outfit. These come in a variety of colors, the most classic of which are white, navy, and navy and white.

Ballet flats- are often found in solids or two tones and have a curved toe. They can be accented with bows or a string tie and are flattering in both bold and neutral colors, so long as it suits the outfit. Iconic images of Audrey Hepburn show her wearing a classic all black ensemble including ballet flats, skinny jeans, and a turtleneck.

Sandals- are nice to wear in the summer when other shoes would be suffocating and hot. Woven sandals with white leather straps are a classic. Cork wedge sandals with ankle ties or straps are currently all the rage.

Kitten heels- have a small, curved heel that acts as a nice compromise between a ballet flat and a higher stiletto. The were invented in the 1950s as choice shoe for teenage girls, and again, popularized by Audrey Hepburn. 

Sling backs- have an open back with a strap that crosses over the ankle. They are perfect for spring weather, especially opened-toed sling backs. They look best in neutral colors and can be found with various sized heels, from stiletto to kitten heel to flat. 



Riding boots- reach just at the upper calf to just beneath the knee, have a curved toe, a slight wedge, and bring to mind equestrian past times. They have a single buckle on the top outer edge and can be closed with either a zipper or snaps. Riding boots are both appropriate worn with casual clothing or with a flirty dress.

Cowgirl boots- are often made of suede or leather and again reach just at the upper calf to just beneath the knee, though the toe is pointed, and the wedge tends to be taller than that of riding boots. Cowgirl boots do not have closures and instead have a wide fit to pull on over the leg. They have a country-western feel, but are worn by city girls with equal popularity.

Wellingtons- are the classic rain boot. They are slip on and made of leather or synthetic upper material with a rubber sole. They have been a choice of the British aristocracy since the 19th century and were originally popularized by the Duke of Wellington, Napoleonic war hero. Kate Moss is accredited to giving them a sexy look in the 1990s. Pairs well with a matching raincoat and a cute umbrella for a full British Isles ensemble.


Shoe Doníts:

1.              Donít wear sneakers outside of the gym unless you are running a marathon. Instead, blend comfort and style and opt for trainers or loafers.

2.              Donít wear heels over two and half inches, especially if you are petite. Too high heels keeps your body out of line, and stilettos are notorious for causing foot damage as you grow older--resulting in problems such as fractures and bunions which can lead to surgery.

3.              Donít wear shoes that donít fit. Too small shoes can damage your toenails and make for an incredibly uncomfortable time. If you purchase shoes in a size too large, stick heel liners inside to make for a better fit.

4.              Donít wear clear shoes. Especially clear sparkly shoes. Especially clear sparkly heels. Jellies during summertime are the one exception.


Shoe Fabrics:

     Popular shoe fabrics include leather, patent leather (which has a shiny edge), and lambskin. For vegetarians, there are leather imitation fabrics which hold up just as well, in addition to cloth shoes (like Converse All Stars).


Where to Purchase:

     Shoe warehouses, like DSW and Famous Footwear offer a great variety of shoes at discounted prices. Department stores (such as Macyís, Sears, and Bloomingdales) often have designer shoes of good quality and tend to have nice sales. Also try TJ Max and Marshallís, which also carry discounted clothing and handbags.

     If you have a favorite brand, check to see if it has its own store. Otherwise shops like Journeys cater to fans of Chuck Taylors and alternative styles; Footlocker is specifically for sneakers. 

     To get the look for less try stores like Payless and Bakers, or retailers better known for their clothing like H&M, Charlotte Russe, and Forever 21. But donít expect these shoes to last more than a season.


Chic Weekly: on-line Fashion & Sewing Magazine
Founder & Publisher: Judi Harris
Editor in Chief: Jessica Lynn Harris
Art & Photo Editor: Andrew DiMaio
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copyright 2010-2011 Love To Sew
Article 41 April 18, 2011




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