Bright Blocking

September 10, 2011 § 2 Comments

Sunshine and happy feet, lint-y pants. Packing day at the office. Oops.

It’s nearly impossible to put these shoes on and be in a bad mood. They get a lot of attention and not a few compliments which doesn’t hurt, but really, they just make me happy. And isn’t that the point, a friend was quoted as saying on the topic of sartorial choices, “…isn’t that part of what this is all about? Being happy?” I couldn’t agree more.

I am a firm believer in knowing and abiding by certain fashion rules as a matter of good taste, decency, prudence and well, good manners. I am also a firm believer in infusing one’s wardrobe with personality. Everyone who knows me knows I love shoes and (sometimes at the same time) navy stripes. I always will, whether or not they are the current trend. I buy and wear shoes, like these from Zara that make me happy. The color combination of tomato red satin trimmed in fuschia leather (in a petite, straight bow no less) keeps these ballet flats a little modern. The Spanish purveyor of fast fashion added a slightly squared toe for full ballerina effect. The seriously bright hue is really all the color you need, if color’s not really your thing. The end result is a great transitional shoe in hues that will brighten my fall wares of olive, navy and khaki and eggplant. The simple reason I bought them: they made me smile.

prov⋅e⋅nance

[prov-uh-nuhns, -nahns] –noun; place or source of origin.

Date of Purchase: Summer 2011

Circumstances: Zara has a half-yearly sale. I did not know this. I like Zara for fashion-forward affordable fun pieces, but I don’t visit the store often. Why? Because it is located in a gigantic mall and I have a serious aversion to gigantic malls. The only reasons I ever visit said mall is to shop at Zara or Club Monaco. However, now that Zara has online shopping with free shipping and Club Monaco opened a lovely and spacious womens boutique nearby, I may never go again. But I digress. I read on Twitter about Zara’s half-yearly sale and decided it might be worth braving the mall. I naturally went right at 10am to avoid any possible crowds. Luckily I arrived shortly after open and immediately, systematically trolled every rack, every garment. A solid sale, I concluded. After 2 trips to the dressing room I landed several good items, including this pair of shoes (they also came in a pretty pale mint green trimmed in navy). The red and pink was just too precious to pass up.

Comfort: The comfort of ballet flats is dependent almost completely on the front cut of the shoe. If not done well, they can cut into the top of your foot. Luckily, these are just right, and the satin is less stiff which helps. Overall 9 out of 10.

Worn with: Blue seersucker popover from Wharf Clothing and Wares, Paperboy navy cropped pants from Anthropologie, loads of bracelets/jewelry from Michele, Target, J. Crew and vintage.

Compliment meter: 8. Lots of attention and several comments from ladies and gents. Frequent quote of the day, “Hey red shoes.”

Thoughts: “Zest is the secret of all beauty. There is no beauty that is attractive without zest.” ~ Christian Dior


Sucker for Stripes

August 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

Striped wedges and boyfriend chinos. Relaxed Friday.

As the rest of humanity is shopping fall the temperatures are well above 100 in Dallas, and so I stick to my warm-weather guns: Cotton. Wedges. Stripes. I am addicted to stripes, particularly navy and white stripes. I know the navy/white stripe trend was big this summer so my love may seem blasé, but I’ve been addicted for years. I remember a pair of navy and white striped wide leg pants with a rope belt I bought in high school and adored. It’s almost embarrassing how many striped tops and dresses I own…but not embarrassing enough to entice me to stop buying them, it seems. Example: this pair of girlie, striped espadrilles by Audrey Brooke. One of my favorite things about summer is wedge espadrilles; they are comfortable, cute and often colorful. These are very practical by heel height standards; I wouldn’t have minded if they were a good 1-2 inches taller, but I’m still a fan. The touch of pattern adds some interest to a solid color-blocked outfit or mixed with critter shorts and a seersucker top.

prov⋅e⋅nance

[prov-uh-nuhns, -nahns] –noun; place or source of origin.

Date of Purchase: Summer 2011

Circumstances: I spotted these shoes at DSW a few months ago and was not immediately sold on them. After a few weeks and after putting on several summer outfits thinking, “those striped espadrilles would be perfect with this” I decided to make a return visit. I snaked the rows looking for them, only to find them in red. No, not for me. I headed to the clearance racks and had no luck in my size either. As per usual I perused a half size larger and a half size smaller since you never know with shoe sizing. I found these and a cute pair of very similar, but plaid, espadrilles. The stripes were more versatile, even though the plaid had a higher heel, and surprisingly fit although they were a full size smaller. Strange, but I’ll take it!

Comfort: Espadrilles usually have some give which help in shock-absorbtion as do these. Mid-height heel, ribbon ankle strap = all day comfort. Overall 9 out of 10.

Worn with: Navy and red striped T from Rugby, ‘boyfriend’ khakis also from Rugby, Kiel James Patrick rope belt.

Compliment meter: 3. More than one person commented on them and my love for all things striped.

Thoughts: “Once you accept the universe as being something expanding into infinite nothing which is something, wearing stripes with plaid is easy.” ~Albert Einstein

Roger That

August 23, 2011 § Leave a comment

Jack Rogers Navajos with a hot-house print maxi dress

Linen, seersucker, floppy straw hats, bright flowers, Jack Rogers sandals—nothing speaks so blatantly of summer as these. One of the most recognizable pair of shoes is the Jack Rogers (Navajo) sandal; even more recognizable than the Lily Pulitzer dresses they are most often paired with. Jackie did her part in cementing them as the perfect resort sandal back in the 60s when she vacationed in Palm Beach. I happened upon them much later, and pretty late to the game in fact, since these are my first pair of the whip-stitched, medallion-shaped sandal. Most east coast girls get their first pair very young (that often match mummy’s pair) and wear them well into retirement. Jack’s are classic, plain and simple. They’ve caught on quite a bit as this year ‘prep’ is a trend in the retail world—you can find them at Anthropologie and Nordstrom for example. Something I love about them is the cut. The cut of any shoe can make or break it, even in a simple flat sandal. The middle band of leather not only keeps them on (function) but also makes a wider foot appear more slim. A metallic sandal is such an easy decision for summer and I’ve been wearing mine often (as in, all the time). My most favorite pairing: with slim and short white denim and a hot pop of polish. There’s also no better compliment to a brightly colored sundress.

prov⋅e⋅nance

[prov-uh-nuhns, -nahns] –noun; place or source of origin.

Date of Purchase: Spring 2011

Circumstances: As stated above I’m late to the JR club but immediately fell in love with this, their iconic classic shape. The immediate decision had to be made about color since they come in a rainbow of summer colors and fabrications, but you can’t go wrong with metallics in summer. I was going to purchase mine directly from the  Jack Rogers online store when lo and behold I just happen to throw ‘Jack Rogers Navajo 8’ into the search field on Ebay. Maybe you’re creeped out by buying shoes on Ebay. I’m not. I found this pair, new, for 20% less than I found anywhere else: my size, in the perfect neutral metallic platinum color. I guarantee they are the first of many pairs of Jack Rogers I will own. I have my eye on the white/bone combination next or, just maybe, the custom monogrammed version. Who doesn’t want their initials on their shoes?

Comfort: A solid pair of leather-soled sandals. The leather has stretched to my feet well and although there’s an absence of cushion, I am comfortable in them all day. Overally, 9 out of 10.

Compliment Meter: 6. Complimented often, by women of all ages. As I write this post in the Houston airport, the woman across the aisle just complimented me on them and admitted she owns the same in white.

Worn with: Strapless printed maxi dress from Anthropologie, selvedge chambray button-down from J. Crew, Michele watch and stack of assorted bracelets.

Thoughts: “Elegance is a discipline of life.” ~ Oscar de la Renta


Everything’s Gonna Be All White

August 15, 2011 § Leave a comment

Simplicity is the spice of life. Maybe that isn’t the exact quote but it works in my world. I like variety in many things (food, music, movies, lipstick) but as a matter of longevity, simplicity always wins. There’s always something to be said for a LBD, a simple melody, a string of pearls, a line of prose, a pb & j. And then there’s a clean white sneaker—the simplest and purest incarnation of casual summer footwear. I love a clean white sneaker, unisex, uncomplicated, sleek.

Jack Purcell

Classic Keds with a cute jute bottom

Sperry 75th Anniversary CVO

Tretorn Nylites

Superga 2750

I’ve always been partial to classic Jack Purcells but this year I’ve been looking elsewhere. Keds are an obvious choice; they pioneered the canvas upper shoe in the early 20th century. Several other solid options have been floating around. For those partial to a thicker sole, plimsoll’s are a good choice, and I like the pairs Sperry is carrying. Tretorn Nylites are quite the in shoe this summer, with a style blogger dedicated Tumbler, no less. K-Swiss teamed up with Billy Reid. J. Crew carries weathered Jack Purcells. Then there’s Superga, an Italian brand that somehow slipped my mind. They started creating canvas shoes for tennis in the early 20th century across the pond. Their European simplicity and slim profile is high on my list.

My shopping may seem late in the season, but in Dallas it’s summer straight into October. Besides I’m always a fan of late season deals. I’ll be ordering a couple of pairs of the above brands to see what strikes my fancy and let you all know. Simple as that.

“Only great minds can afford a simple style.” ~Stendhal

Dancing Dreams

August 10, 2011 § 2 Comments

Flat out fabulous

If I could have any talent in the world, it would be possessing a killer singing voice, even though I likely wouldn’t be a singer as a profession. What I really wanted to be, however, was a ballerina. Typical little-girl dream right? Swan Lake apparently wasn’t in the cards, but my love for ballet-related fashion  and shoes never ceased (soft pink and black, floaty fabrics, high buns). This Joan and David nude pink patent pair with pale grey/taupe stitching, cap toe and bow are a perfect amalgamation of sweet and classic, and were too perfect to pass up. I tent to steer clear of patent in the summer, but the pale color can be worn with anything from ankle-length denim to flowy skirts. The nude color helps elongate the leg, which is always a good thing, particularly when wearing flats. They’ve become one of my default pairs and will likely be my partner far into the fall.

prov⋅e⋅nance

[prov-uh-nuhns, -nahns] –noun; place or source of origin.

Date of Purchase: Spring 2011

Circumstances: I realized how tardy I was writing about these shoes when I had to recall the story. I bought them way back in February on a memorable evening. Memorable because it was Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday. And for me, that means a night of good eating and shopping. For the past few years I have given up shopping for Lent. It may seem silly, but I find it a good way to detach from  material things (as much as I like things, especially pretty pink patent things). So, I met a good friend Vee for dinner and some possible shopping at the mall. I dislike malls but on an evening such as this, it presented the highest quantity of shops in the smallest distance. I walked through Nordstom on the way to meet her and spied the so-dangerous sale racks just waiting for me. I wove my way in and out of the aisles, my eyes systematically scanning the racks like a speed reader. I was in a bit of a hurry so I grabbed a few pairs that had promise and tried them on. These flats fit perfectly with no awkward rubbing as many flats tend to do. The first of many Fat Tuesday shopping successes.

Comfort: No rubbing, no blisters, nice padding. Can’t argue with that. Overall: 10 out of 10.

Compliment Meter: 3. A few nice remarks from close girlfriends. Gents rarely comment on flats, in my experience.

Worn with: Ivory silk blouse from Zara, green military skinny pants from J. Crew, and an arm party.

Thoughts: “Fashion wasn’t what you wore someplace anymore; it was the whole reason for going.”~ Andy Warhol

Penny for Your Thoughts

April 6, 2011 § 3 Comments

G. H. Bass Weejuns for J. Crew...next to a sweet ride

Some shoes can’t be improved upon: a stellar black pump, flat riding boot, and a classic penny loafer. Does the latter they remind me of my prep school days? Certainly. Maybe that’s part of their charm. Maybe with some of the intensely creative and sometimes outrageous footwear around I sometimes crave a perfectly classic pair of shoes. These burnished penny loafers by G. H. Bass and Company for J. Crew are a prep staple. In 1934 the boot-maker, John Bass, started making loafers calling them “Weejuns,” after the shoes worn by Norwegian farmers. Over the next two decades they evolved into the penny loafer. A great alternative to ballet flats when you have a serious heel hangover, I’ll be balancing them with feminine pieces and shorter hemlines. The rich, warm color can be worn with just about anything, and even better, all year round. My RL wingtip oxfords are getting a break; I’ll be rocking these all spring and summer. Happy days.

prov⋅e⋅nance

[prov-uh-nuhns, -nahns] –noun; place or source of origin.

Date of Purchase: Winter 2011

Circumstances: Fat Tuesday. For most Americans that means one thing, and that one thing has nothing to do with shoes. I, however, am not most people I’ve realized. Whatever the case, Fat Tuesday is historically the day to indulge, imbibe, partake, etc. in some decadence before the 40-day fast of Lent begins. This year, same as the last few, I have decided to fast from one of my favorite past times: Shopping. No purchasing anything for myself during Lent is tough…and it’s mildly embarrassing to admit that. No matter. Back to the shopping circumstances. I have known for several months that I would eventually own a pair of classic penny loafers. I knew they would be Bass and really only debated between tassle or no tassle. I also knew I’d be wearing these through the spring and summer, as they are a bit less heavy than my oxfords. Cue the Fat Tuesday shopping spree. I not only took a trip to Dallas’ Galleria mall (which I only do to visit 2 shops: Zara and Club Monac0), I also made a hefty purchase online at J. Crew. I’m now in the midst of my fast, and I am glad I didn’t have to wait to Easter to break this lovelies in. (More Fat Tuesday shoe posts to come…)

Compliment Meter: 3. I broke these in at SXSW in Austin, and got some nice attention from the gents at the Billy Reid/K. Swiss Shindig. I even got my photo snapped for Fashionista.com. I’m convinced it was the shoes. Shoe confidence level: High.

Comfort: As is normal, the leather is a bit stiff on first wear. I did get blisters, but then again, I did choose to wear them for the first time all around the city of Austin. Not their fault. Side note, I found them a tad big and ordered a half size down. Overall: 8 out of 10.

Worn with: Yellow university cardigan from Rugby, J. Crew brown leather belt, pearls, Randolph Engineering aviators, vintage Coach bag, Martin + Osa denim.

Thoughts: “Flat shoes are not sexy, but they’re cool, and it’s just as exciting to be cool as it is to be sexy.” ~Stuart Weitzman

Two-Tone Toes

March 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Spectator pumps, out enjoying the weather

They look a bit elegant against the concrete, I think.

Spring shoe time! Lightening up the footwear wardrobe doesn’t mean just sandals and these spectator pumps are just the ticket. As in art, a combination of textures creates interest. These adorable pumps from J. Crew exhibit just that: a lovely combination of metallic (!) linen, patent leather and wood. A shoe with a basic shape with less-than-basic details. I’m a sucker for wingtips, too. There’s just nothing better than a ladylike piece with menswear detailing, in my opinion. I’m pumped to wear them with my recently-unearthed spring clothing, and with their neutral palette, I’ll do just that.

prov⋅e⋅nance

[prov-uh-nuhns, -nahns] –noun; place or source of origin.

Date of Purchase: Spring 2011

Circumstances: Oh Ebay, we meet again…and again you win. I have still been trolling the ‘bay for a certain pair of J. Crew mary janes for a while. In the midst of said search I found these perfectly posh ladylike pumps. I remembered them from last summer, too. One seller was selling them for an unrealistic price so I watched and waited. My patience was rewarded as I luckily found another seller asking much less. I had since realized I really loved this shoe so I sent a counter-offer…and they accepted. Done and done. In 3 days they arrived at my door. I wore them the next day.

Compliment Meter: 6. Several. Shoe Confidence: High.

Comfort: A little snug , but nothing a little breaking in won’t fix. Overall, 7 out of 10.

Worn with: White puff-sleeved blouse by Chloé, Club Monaco slim chinos, skinny gold belt.

Thoughts: “I love the idea of elegance and intricacy…however: the intricacy must appear as simplicity.” ~Carolina Herrera


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