Thursday, June 29, 2006

Vivier Pilgrim Flats found

A little while ago I expressed my admiration for Catherine Deneuve's style in "Belle de Jour" (and for her overall style regardless of the movie)--and blogged lustfully about the Roger Vivier "pilgrim" shoes she so elegantly wore in that movie. A reader of this blog asked me where he could get them (for his wife, natch!), and all I had at the time was eBay. No more! Bluefly has a whole range of the famous pilgrim flats, in a variety of heel heights and materials: suede, patent, leather, silk; flat, 2" heel, 3" heel, you name it! Even on sale they still spell financial ruin (range: $364-$506), but aren't they gorgeous?
Terry, this one's for you! ;)

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Carnivale: The Morbid Edition!

The Style Bard has the momentous question for us this week:
In what clothes and accessories would you like to be buried?
Oy! My first reaction, naturelment, was nooooo! I don't want to be buried! Really, when I'm dead, I'll (justifiably) have no concerns for my mortal coil, and I'd like to be cremated. Not necessarily in nice clothes, though. And besides, I'd like to bequeath my fashion possessions, whatever they may be at that time, to people who may actually enjoy them. What am I going to do with them in the grave? Beautiful things should be worn in the real world for as long as they hold up, not taken underground to rot.

But then she wrote:
If it helps, think of the prompt as something more along the lines of, if you were Snow White and bit that poison apple and had to be frozen in a glass casket until the man of your dreams came to find you preserved in exactly that way (except all of your friends and family are there, too), what would you like to be wearing? Like... a day all about you, where everyone you know will see you and you are the center of attention- like your wedding day, except without all of those horrible fashion constrictions of tradition.
Ah! Frozen in a glass casket? Now we're talking! In that case...I must, MUST wear a dress, since I so rarely wear one in real life. And I've been in a formal dressy state of mind lately, so how about this pretty Oscar de la Renta brocade dress:

Some dresses or skirts need movement to show their fluidity and drape nicely around the body. This dress is adorable but also stiff enough to look pretty on me in a state of total stillness. Plus, it will nicely complement my pale cheeks and red locks. So, it's formal, you say, but am I not in the most formal of situations? Really, people. I believe we must preserve decorum even when we've gone to meet our maker. Maybe especially then.

This is the occasion when I'd finally be able to wear my unwearable 3 3/4" Dries van Noten heels:
They're quite comfortable when you don't have to walk in them!

For a finishing touch, perhaps a tasteful diamond bracelet?

And never mind those price tags--it's a fantasy, after all.

Wait--is it?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Shoes for the rainy day

It's flooding season here in Philly and across the North-East, so what's a fashionable lady to do when she doesn't want to get her tootsies wet, doesn't want to ruin her fashionable pretty shoes, and can't wear colorful rubber boots on account that, well, it may be raining but it's still 80 degrees outside and boots are out of the question?

This question has plagued me for the past several days, when I was forced to run a few errands in the rain. I usually have my Sperry Top-Siders for such occasions, but frankly, I'm getting tired of them, and that nubuck looks worse and worse with every wear.

What I need is a stylish alternative to the typical boat shoe, so I scoured Zappos' impressive database for rubber shoes (NOT boots). There are basically two pretty models out there: the Sigerson Morrison and the Kate Spade.

Unfortunately, I don't think Sigerson Morrison got the "practicality" memo when he designed these shoes. Yeah, they're rubber, and cute, but they're cut so low on the sides and the vamp, that it seems preposterous to use them at any other time than after the mildest of showers--and even then, it looks like you have to avoid puddles at all costs. A rain shoe that can't really be used in the rain? And at a hefty price tag of about $100 (on sale?) The day Scarpediem buys such a shoe will be the day she may have to be committed, for it seems she may have lost her mind. (May I add, with all the comfortable, breathable, beautiful materials out there, I see no point in wearing rubber shoes unless it's raining.)

I could, however, be persuaded to try any of these Kate Spade Kelly rubber loafers:

Tres chic, n'est ce pas? More decent coverage, friendlier toe-box, cute contrast colors. Alas, the price is similar to the Sigerson Morrisons, and this shoe lover cannot, yet, be persuaded to spend over $125 for rubber shoes, cute as they are. I guess I'll patiently wait for the sale, though I may be out of luck since many of the colors have been sold out in my size. In the meantime, if you have any suggestions for chic rubber shoes, do let me know!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

'Tis the season to wear linen

When it comes to fabric shoes, I prefer canvas and jacquard for spring, tweeds and velvet for fall, and satin for evening wear. As for the summer, it's linen all around, baby! Ok, cotton, too, for the basics and especially for clothes, but when it comes to outer garments, linen reigns supreme.

Linen is one of the most wearable, soothing, summer-weight fabrics known to Scarpediem. Sure, it wrinkles, but's it's also crisp and light, and it has an uncanny ability to capture and envelop you in every hint of breeze that the scorching day allows. Besides, it's supposed to be wrinkled, so don't fuss over it!

Linen is especially suitable for men's suits--a well dressed man must wear a jacket, and for summer, nothing beats linen. I have a Max Studio linen pantsuit (which I usually wear as separates) that is possibly one of my coolest purchases, and I also have a few other linen pants and jackets, some skirts and shirts, all fabulous for summer.

Shoe designers can also do great things with linen. A little while ago I posted a link to these gorgeous Ferragamo linen wedges, which can only be described as sheer delight. As are these sweet, somewhat low-heel Dolce and Gabbana linen and snakeskin slides (on sale at Bluefly, 46% off):
Or how about these cute red linen slides from E. Yomeda (currently 42% off at Bluefly), which are both girly and sophisticated at the same time:
I also fancy these classic but adorable wedges from Oh!, also available in black (and from what I know about the brand, they're also bound to be comfy):
If none of these is upscale enough for you, there's always the option of shelling $1000+ for a pair of Christian Louboutin linen wedges:
(Not that I encourage you to! I just included the example to show that even the most famous designers turn to linen for their summer collections.)

And let's not forget one of my favorites, Marc Jacobs, who has a few beautiful linen shoes, such as this vintage-inspired wedge:
...which, sadly, flew off of Zappos' virtual shelves this weekend, just as I was toying with the idea of buying it (hence, no link). If you see it anywhere on the nets in a size 10, will you let me know?

Linen shoes can be fabulous, but why stop at shoes? Linen designer handbags are cropping up these days. You can pair your fabulous linen sandals with an equally fabulous Kate Spade metallic linen handbag, exuding, as always, that understated elegance and flair that we try so hard to achieve:
So, here's to more linen in your summer fashion diet!

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Link round-up: From Fashion and Pain to the Croc Wars!

Busy as I am with home renovation and the World Cup (not rooting for anyone in particular, but oh boy, are the games exciting!), I thought I'd amuse you this weekend with a link round-up:

- Looking good never hurt so bad, an MSNBC article by Kim Carney about one of my favorite topics: fashion and pain. Not surprisingly, a large amount of that pain seems to be coming from 4+" heels. Hmmmmm.... The article is understandably somewhat superficial, but it serves as one of the few reminders these days of the dangers of heels. The answers to the question "why do we do it? (to ourselves)" range from "it's the media" (dismissed as too easy) to some ancestral or genetically encoded response to certain forms of beauty (you know, of the type, round is more attractive than rectangular, curves are better than flat, etc.). I will respectfully propose that we also blame it on the patriarchy for at least another 30% or so, seeing as to how we never see men breaking bones in 5" platforms or getting bruises, lacerations, and infections from those pesky corsets and thongs. I'd say that's only fair.

- Julie at Almost Girl (who was interviewed for the above MSNBC feature) has a few fabulous articles of her own. She reminds us why Plato and Prada meet on her blog by doing a piece on fur and Baudrillard and simulacra--brilliant as usual. I love how she manages to defend and own in true fashion-sophista style, her old rabbit fur coat. And another essay I LOVED--but didn't have the chance to mention it--is the one on Authority in the Fashion Industry, where she takes issues with the notion of "style expert," and I couldn't agree with her more! Bravo!

- Julie's post on authority was inspired by the fabulous Kathleen's post on authority at Fashion Incubator. Again, if you missed it, it's a must read.

- Another great post that this time questions the assumptions of an artist is over at Erin's A dress a day (one of the best written blogs on the Internet, imho). She makes a darn good feminist argument against a more radical but faulty feminist argument that "fashion has become the best/only way for women to express themselves." Erin exposes the straw man in her usual brilliant prose. Great read.

- Finally, you must NOT miss the Croc Wars saga, part I, II and III, over at Dooce's. It's bound to be a classic (in short, she's trying to make her husband's nasty clogs disappear). It's not clear that the battle against the pure footwear evil that is the Crocs has been totally won, but it surely does end in bloodshed. That graphic in part II, right there, should be my new masthead.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Ballet flats: How to choose

I noticed a little bit of controversy in the comments to Manolo's recent post on ballet flats, so I thought I'd throw in my one and a half cents.

I have to say, I agree with many of the naysayers. I'd say, use ballet flats sparingly--or choose with extreme caution.

But Scarpediem! you will say. They are flat! and so, so cute! and in fashion! Weren't you the one to rebel against stilettoes and determined to find a comfortable and stylish alternative between, say, pretty but painful 4" pointy heels and ugly Birkenstocks? Aren't ballet flats fitting that bill?

Well, yes and no. Behold this pair of Delman ballet flats:
So cute! So innocent! Such good quality! From such a renowned brand!

Well let me tell you: I have this exact model in Kiwi green, and on the only occasion I wore them, months ago, they hurt like the dickens. They don't have any support whatsoever, and their flimsy leather sole (designed to be flexible, no doubt) allows you to feel every stray pebble on the road. They're cut so low I couldn't wear them with my orthotics (they would flap out of the shoe). But worst of all, they are very narrow across the vamp, crunching my toes as if I was pirouetting my way en pointe to the restaurant and back (about one mile round-trip). Plus, they show a lot of toe-cleavage, which is neither here nor there, depending on whether or not you're into that sort of thing (I'm not).

Honestly, these were one of my worse shoe-choices. They're also insidious, in that you don't realize they're going to end up being so painful, since they feel fine when you try them on on a smooth surface. And, unfortunately, most of the Delman flats I've looked at seem to be cut on the same last.

However, ballet flats can, occasionally, be comfortable:
These Marc Jacobs flats are both adorable and very comfortable. Because of the particular cut of ballet flats (quite low, with a short vamp), I can't wear my orthotics in them, so they're still a little flat, but the leather is sturdy, the toe-box much more comfortable and less revealing, and overall, they offer a much better walking experience.

In order to avoid some of the pitfalls of ballet flats, I gravitate toward a skimmer/ballet hybrid. My first rule is to avoid any kind of ankle-straps attached to the flats (mimicking the actual ballet flats used by dancers)--I don't need them, and they do nothing for my ankles and calves. I've also learnt my lesson and avoid super-low cut vamps--they're not comfortable, and don't stay on your feet that well. Finally, I try to get at least a 1/2 to 1 inch of stacked heel, for good measure and for a little support. (I guess at this point the term "ballet flats" becomes really murky. Oh well.)

If needed more ballet flats/skimmers, and budget wouldn't be a problem I would, of course, go with Taryn Rose--for example, these Bauble ballet flats:
Why? Because Taryn Rose shoes ALWAYS have great arch support, great soft leathers and fabrics, and really lightweight soles. They have a hint of a heel, the vamp is not too low, they're super-comfortable and beautiful. What's not to like? Ok, one thing: the $394 price tag.

I'm also curious about the Anyi Lu brand, apparently designed by a former dancer--so you know she appreciates foot comfort! These bronze skimmers are on sale right now, and I'm very tempted:
And I know this Cole Haan G-series metallic flat is not technically a ballerina, but it's close enough. I have the orange version and they are comfortable beyond belief:
Many commenters on Manolo's site pointed out that ballet flats make their legs and ankles look thick. That may be true especially if you use the ankle straps (avoid at all costs if you don't have skinny legs!) or if you have a particularly high instep. I personally use ballet flats almost exclusively with long pants/trousers, or with ankle-long skirts--that's when they look best, in my opinion. This way I avoid any potentially disturbing visual distortions, while looking good and comfortable, and feeling good and comfortable at the same time.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

To mandal or not to mandal?

My opinion about mandals is usually mixed. The mix consists of about 99% resounding "nooooooooooooooo!!!!"s, and about 1% cautious "maybe"s.

This is not because some man's sandals happen to look like these Cazabat slides (be honest: would you let your male significant other wear these?), but because I often see, peeking from underneath a man's slide, examples of pedicure that trigger my gag reflexes. I know that more men choose to get professional pedicures these days, and I can only applaud the trend, but really, more men should jump on that wagon.

On the other hand, if you have a man by your side and allow him to wear mandals, it is your duty as a conscientious partner to make sure your man is well groomed before he goes out. If you don't tell him, who will?

Also, if one must wear mandals, he should make sure not to choose hideous ones, of which there are a-plenty. He should ask for the opinion of the Manolo. He should double-check with his partner. When in doubt, or he couldn't make it to that pedicure, he should choose a fisherman's style sandal--breathable, but providing plenty of coverage. I'm not crazy about mandals in general, but a tasteful one worn sparingly during the hottest or most laid-back of days will meet with general approval here at Scarpediem's quarters.

And, by all means, whatever you do, avoid the Crocs like the plague.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Tsumori Chisato!

When I saw this Tsumori Chisato dress blogged by Eurobrat, I fell in love instantly. And not only because I like Audrey Tatou (I do, and who doesn't, really), but because the dress is so unbearably cute, but with an edge (the Japanese have mastered the art of the slightly unsettling design, I think).

At any rate, I'm used to admiring such garments as works of art, but not as something I could ever own or wear. First, designer clothes are very, very expensive, and second, they are also very, very small. Honestly, I believe they come in a range of sizes from 0 to 6, max, and that ain't doing it for me.

So imagine my pleasant surprise when, while browsing the nets in a moment of boredom, I found a small line of Tsumori Chisato garments on La Redoute. At reasonable, some may even say rock-bottom, prices! In a variety of reasonable sizes! How could I resist???? So I grabbed this skirt, and this peasant blouse (in white), and I can't wait for them to arrive. I think they're going to look just fab with my Casadei slides, don't you think?

Monday, June 19, 2006

Carnivale: Go-To Shoes

Desiree at About Shoes asks this week a sensible question:
While it's easy to get caught up in the latest trends and the newest offerings from the hottest designers, there are times when even the most devout fashionista will opt for function over fashion.

So ... it's not a big night out, there's nary a potential partner in sight, and there is no office dress code. Which shoes do you reach for when you're only dressing to impress yourself?
I started this blog PRECISELY with the idea that all the shoes in the collection of sensible and fashionable women should be just that: stylish as well as comfortable. As a result, I've made an effort to find shoes that will blend these two essential qualities, and so I've amassed quite a number of shoes that I would wear anywhere without having to sacrifice either comfort or fashion.

But, of course, I develop favorites, depending on how outrageously comfortable the shoes can be, the season, and the tasks at hand (more on that below). And then there are shoes that are just comfortable enough for the office, but that I wouldn't wear on a regular basis. And then there are shoes that are cute for going out, but that wouldn't necessarily be my first choice when I'm just going around running errands.

Lately there have been A LOT of these errands, since we're in the middle of a major house renovation (we'll move there, hopefully, some time in July). Luckily, we have an interior designer to help with this, or I would have committed seppuku by now. At any rate, I've had to pick out CD shelves, hallway and bathroom tiles, vanities, mirrors, medicine cabinets, faucets, floors, lighting, various fixtures, sinks, appliances, paint, to name a few, and on top of this meet with a variety of professionals (window guys, floor guys, tile guys, plumbers, painters, electricians, audio guys, landscapers, the team of contractors, etc.). The landscapers are particularly tough, because I have to get down into the garden and show them what the issues are with the bricks, the plants, etc. You can't wear itsy-bitsy sandals or kitten heels in the dirt!

So, lately, on most occasions, I find myself choosing this pair of shoes :
They're part of the Cole Haan G-series--velvet and metallic leather ballerina slippers, with an outrageously comfortable insole and a rubber sole that is destined to perform athletically. I got them on sale (what else!), 70% off at Neiman Marcus, last pair. They're cute and bright and really, really easy on my perpetually tired feet. I WARMLY recommend them as your go-to errand shoe--they're fashionable enough to make you feel good about yourself and comfortable enough that by the end of the day you won't curse the fateful minute you decided to wear them.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Shoe Nomenclature

I just KNOW that every shoe lover has wondered, at least once in her life, what's up with those shoe names?

Sure, there are some that are innocuous enough--your run-of-the-mill Annie, Lolita, Bridget, or Carolyn. For example, these Chiara flats from Claudia Ciuti:
Chiara: only pretty girls have pretty names and pretty shoes. Isn't it obvious?

These are pretty girls' names, probably of some importance to the designer, or selected so they sound fashionable and desirable to the heiress crowd. The rest of us don't really give a damn.

Clergerie opts for the exotic, hard-to-pin-down names, perhaps more suited to the general sobriety and understated chic of this line: Kazu, Taposa, Nulux, Ugaro, Mazil, Psaume:
You're not from around here, are you?

Numbers instead of names is a really popular trend, especially among the couture brands--e.g., Christian Lacroix 964290:
My name is 0. 964290. Write that down.

The number denominations seem to be pretty popular: they are widely used by Casadei, Marc Jacobs, Costume National, Pucci, Missoni, Claudio Merazzi, L'Autre Chose, Sigerson Morrison, Jean Paul Gaultier and others. Is this some haute couture convention I don't know about? If someone knows why, do give me a holler!

Some are whimsical (or just smart-ass), like the Kenneth Cole ones: Bocachino, Angel Cake, Do-Re-Mi, Frank Call, Cos I Say So, Pop Out, Day Planner:
Can you tell the're a hidden day planner underneath the vamp of these shoes? No? But there could be!

Some go for the high brow references: The Iliad from Michael Kors, the Leibniz, from Bruno Magli, Spartacus from Naughty Monkey.

And then, there are others that, well, are certainly worth a second look--like in, "say whaaaa?"

For your viewing pleasure, here are some of these shoe-puzzles I haven't been able to solve recently:

Stuart Weitzman's "Webcam"
Um....Ok, I give up.

Or the Oklahoma:
As in, I can't imagine a less sexy name for a shoe.

Or the Puppy Love from Irregular Choice (nicely complemented by their Woof 3116-2B model):
Cuz nothing says puppy love like a pair of ill-fitting, ugly pumps.

Or the Elbow Crease from Aerosoles:

Elbow Crease? Really??

There are others: Celery Stick, Gram Central, Dread Stock, Front Door, Product Democracy, Shanghai Nights.

All I'm saying, is there such a job as shoe-naming? For it sounds like FUN!

One more reason to love Zappos

Here you may find the online shopping success story in which yours truly played a small, albeit gratifying part. It goes to prove that the savvy online shopper can save about $100 for those extra 15 minutes of browsing. Let this be an example of the power of Internet shopping!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


As if I didn't have enough websites to tempt me with their beautiful things, I just found about about another site,, which offers a style guide and the opportunity to buy luxury goods on the spot. Ok, I guess a girl can never have enough!
The shoe section is small, but they do offer gems such as these Oscar de la Renta cheetah-patterned haircalf flats, currently on sale, over 50% off. I firmly believe that every woman should have in her wardrobe at least one animal-print item, for those days when she needs to play up her wild side. The haircalf animal print has certainly been resurrected in a million incarnations before, but these flats are elegant as well as comfortable, with an original vamp design, and sure to satisfy your sauvage tooth. Grrrrrrrr!

Temptation, thy name is teh Internets...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Red Apple Pollini

I'm a sucker for whimsical yet tasteful shoes, shoes that make a statement, in and by themselves tell a story, in and by themselves provide the innocent ogler with a carefully chosen clue to your personality.

For example, these delightful patent slingbacks from Pollini say that you are, or present yourself, as cheerful, bright, fun-loving, relishing color and not being afraid to try new and unusual things. It also shows you as a rather wholesome (the apple!) and comfort-loving (the low heel!) creature. But maybe not all that wholesome, since there's a hint of the original curiosity that got Adam in trouble: the apple is bitten! Oh, these shoes, despite their shiny childish innocence, they show you as the intriguing, beguiling, fascinating woman full of delightful surprises.

Oh, and even better: they're on a fantastic 80% sale at Zappos, though only in one rather unusual size (10.5).

Monday, June 12, 2006

More summer obsessions: Espadrilles

Ok, so now that my purple obsession has somewhat subsided (though it has not yet been satisfied--I'm still holding out for the perfect AND perfectly priced pair of purple shoes), it's time to focus my shoe-shaped brain onto a classic summer staple, which has recently made a comeback: the espadrille.

I used to own at least one pair of espadrilles per summer, up until a few years ago, when I got fed up wtih their flimsiness and their rather alarming penchant for disintegration. That's probably because I had not heeded the advice of the Manolo and I didn't buy the superfantastic shoes, but rather the cheaper ones that are often a hit or miss in terms of quality. I'm glad to say that, despite my innate cheapness, I've mostly corrected that character flaw, and will perhaps blog about that process at my leisure.

This Wikipedia article on espadrilles gives us a glimpse into the long, rich tradition of this style of shoe. I'm not clear why they claim the espadrilles to have originated from the South of France, when in fact the etymology of the word points to its Spanish origins (although "espadrille" is French, it "derives from esparto, the Spanish name for a tough, wiry North African grass used in making rope"). The site also mentions that "espadrilles have been made in Catalonia since the 17th century, and there are Catalonian shops still in existence that have been making espadrilles for over a century" (hey, wouldn't you like to take a look at what they're selling?).

At any rate, I think I need a good, flirty, come-hither espadrille to brave the heat of summer. To get the true espadrille feeling, you need the rope/jute sole, and the canvas/cotton upper (a leather upper, at least in my opinion, would defy the original purpose of the espadrille, which is a lightweight, breathable, casual shoe for sunny days). Oh, and don't forget the optional ankle-tie, if you can pull it off.

Combining wedges and the classic espadrille rope sole is again in high fashion this season, so I might as well find something suitable--not too high, but still feminine, comfortable and cute at the same time. Such as these Kate Spades (currently on sale at Neiman Marcus) promise to be:
Cute, cheerful, breezy--what more can you ask of a summer shoe? Oh, speaking of Kate Spade: a reader pointed me to her online sample sale, up to 65% off, lasting June 12-15, registration required. Be warned, however, that the website has big functionality issues. I couldn't get many of the links to work, let alone try to buy anything! I hope they fix it soon.

I'm also quite attracted to these cute, cute Lulu Guiness d'Orsay espadrilles (also on sale at Neiman Marcus):
They're espadrilles with a delightful twist and a flirty print. I know they're a bit high for my standards, but they're wedges, and have a little bit of a platform, and an unbearably high adorable quotient, so they're a DEFINITE possibility.

And then, in a world of their own, are the fabulous Louboutin red espadrille wedges, which are as luscious and tempting as the original sin. In a sundress, with large shades and these shoes on, who wouldn't feel like royalty?

These are as far from the original espadrille concept (which was pretty much cheap, disposable peasant wear) as, say, the Marc Jacobs jelly gladiator sandals are from what real gladiators actually wore in the arena.

Still, it's nice to dream, n'est ce pas--drille? (Ok, bad pun, don't kill me. But I've got these shoes on my mind, I'm helpless!)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Carnivale: Ritual Fashion

The Sewing Divas ask this week the thoughtful question:
Each of us has memories, sometimes tender, sometimes not, of particular garments or accessories that evoke strong feelings and attachments. So this weeks Carnivale of the Couture topic is “Ritual Cloth” - tell us about your special item, the story behind it and why it transcends mere fashion for you.
Oh, what a provocative, rant-inducing topic! There's so much (so much!) I could talk about, but I would, no doubt, try the patience of my gentle readers. So instead, let me focus on just one precious item.

The year was 1994. First summer job, between sophomore and junior years in college, as a receptionist in a seaside resort, working for the man long summer days and occasionally nights, forsaking my right to go to the beach. I was poor, so poor that I had to fashion my d'Orsays with oversized clam shells strapped on a bed of woven straw with wild beach weeds. (Ok, so maybe the simile is not as crafty as our own Manolo's "so poor that..." series, but at least I gave it a try).

I was surrounded by shady seasonals, sun-drenched fun-loving tourists, a square-jawed yelling boss and his wife, who looked like a shorter, 300-lb version of Elvira, Queen of Darkness. I subsisted on a bag of chips and a (small) bottle of Coke during the day, went out late, late at night with other various more or less shady summer characters, lived a carefree, unstructured life in a tiny, tiny hotel room, so tiny that the rats and I had to take turns to reach the popcorn bag. (Ha, I kid, there were no rats, but if there were, they would still be crammed in there). Which was all good for my sillhouette, as I was at my all time lowest, model-worthy weight! Oh, happy, happy starving days!

But anyway, at the end of the summer, I made away with my loot and a stash of new clothes now lost for posterity (I confess I didn't have such good taste at 20), a couple of new lovers under my belt (in fact, I ended up marrying one of them much, much later), and enough of a taste of the seedy nightlife not to be very tempted by it after that. It was the first large amount of money I had earned, and was dying to spend it on fashion! Luckily, not all my purchases were misguided choices of threads. One has endured till today: a gold ring with tiny itsy bitsy diamonds, in a somewhat more unusual shape: Upon closer inspection you will notice "scars" of battle on the surface of the ring, which come from heavy, extended wear. I liked this ring so much, I wore it every day, for basically years on end. It's not that it's such a fabulous piece of jewelry, but it was earned with my sweat and tears, the first taste of my independence as a woman. And nothing feels that good, you know.

There are many other pieces in my collection that have sentimental value, that mean something for various reasons, but this is a permanent reminder, in gold, nonetheless, of my working-class roots. I don't wear the ring that obsessively these days now, since my collection expanded with my tastes, but when I do, I always wear it fondly and get a bit, just a little bit, sentimental.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

My DREAM purple shoes...

...are these:...and they're going for $300 on eBay. They're everything I've dreamt of: sophisticated, beautiful, high-end quality, purple, and...flat. All in my size, but alas, not in my budget...

I'll probably get the Dansko Lolitas instead, and I'm sure they're more of a walking shoe, but my heart will be pining away for these ones...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Purple Fever

I had a cute little outfit today--cream capris, deep purple tank top and a sheer white tunic on top, with a purple and green floral print. I had just received the tunic in the mail from La Redoute and I was dying to wear it (by the by, the rest of the order was less than fabulous: the pants didn't fit, and instead of the beautiful white and lavender full cotton skirt I had ordered, they sent the most hideous pair of yellow polyester trousers--brrrrrr! It felt wrong just to touch them! Not to mention, they had already cancelled a pair of linen pants I had initially ordered--out of stock. Oh well). However, the tunic showed promise and, indeed, looked tres chic with the top and over the capris.

(You can tell by now that this is going to be a long rant, right? So what--it's my blog, and I'll rant if I want to!)

The problem came with the shoes. I didn't feel like wearing something blah or safe (you know, a brown, a neutral, a white, the usual suspects). I felt like wearing....PURPLE! I wanted to be bold! And ultra-coordinated!

It is then, as I descended into the deepest, farthest entrails of my shoe closet, that I was confronted with this horrible truth: I have NOTHING that will RESEMBLE purple in terms of shoes. NOTHING.

And I LOVE purple.


I had to settle for a pair of lime green wedges that spiced out the outfit well enough, but that got me thinking...boy, do I need a good pair of purple shoes! And I mean, purple. NOT lavender, magenta, fuchsia, pomegranate, burgundy, blush, plum, hot pink, or any shade of pink for that matter. I mean, purple. The real deal.

And of course, they have to be comfortable, stylish, well-constructed, preferrably but not necessarily made of leather, capable of being dressed up or down, and affordable.

To give you an idea of what I was looking for, here are two pairs that I think are too cute, though, tragically, they ran out of my size:
Vera Wang kitten heel purple satin pumps. Mucho adorable, and 75% off, but only a size 6.5 left. (Yes, I need a 10. In Vera Wang it's possible that I need a 10.5 or even an 11.)

Or something like these:
Miu Miu purple suede bow flats 40% off on Bluefly. Super-cute. Only a size 7 left. Oh, they were too expensive anyway. (I find the sour grapes technique tends to work, occasionally.)

So I did the logical thing to do: I proceeded to scour the Internets in search of a suitable pair of purple shoes. It's harder than you think! Not! Such! A! Popular! Color! Even harder to find comfortable purple shoes, although some were so cute I was willing to give them the lustful eye. Such as these Franco Sarto espadrilles, $58 on Zappos:
You know, if it weren't for all those reviews that ranked these wedges as Most Likely to End Up a Prop on "Saw III," I might have given them a chance.

I turned my purple stare into the world of the mid-heels, and what do I find? A few inimitable Etros! Alas, however, none are in my size, though, which makes me irritable because I've wanted a pair of Etro like, forever, and these jeweled satin slingbacks are kind of worth getting your tootsies scrunched for, plus they're 75% off:
I wouldn't mind being seen in these cute silk printed peep-toes, either (70% off):I know these suede Sigerson Morrison Mary-Janes are too high for me (2 3/4" heel), but boy, are they CUTE: That Sigerson Morrison sure knows purple. Look at these unusual purple patent Mary-Janes: That's hot stuff, right there. And in my size, too! But at a mere 37% off, they're still about $200, out of the budget for now. Sigh.

Now, if only they had these comfy and beautiful Marc Jacobs flats in my size:
I own the orange version, but that don't help me much at this point. I'm all covered in terms of orange. And green. And black. And white. And brown. And blue/turqoise. And burgundy. And red. And pink. But NOT PURPLE. Ugh.

Perhaps I should spring for these Pollini thong flats (75% off)?
Neh. Something feels off. I don't know what. I've looked and looked and what can I say--they're just not doing it for me. Sorry, fellows.

Neither are the following pairs, from Magdesians. One is a comfy slingback:
The other a two-toned wedge:
There's just a...oh I don't know...perhaps a granny vibe about them? (sorry, Liz!) Or perhaps I'm screwed up.

Moving on, these cute, cute Delman kitten heels seemed closer to hitting the spot:
However, at $225 on, they would be out of reach. Luckily, Bluefly has them (in my size, no less!) at 40% off that, which makes the whole deal a lot more negotiable. Still, there seems to be too much cleavage in the vamp for them to be truly comfortable. Oh, forget it.

I also have to admit that I was also temporarily tempted by these Kenneth Cole flats, which seem suitable for urban wear, plus a very affordable $40:
I'm not 100% sure about them, though. The purple is a little off.

Tired yet? I can assure you, not as tired as I am after scouring the internets for something decent in The Color Purple. After all that's said and done, however, I must remember my poor little feet, still riddled with heel and arch pain and having to walk mile after mile every day in the urban jungle. And that's when a tentative Holy Grail seems to materialize in the shape of the Dansko Lolita in a beautiful shade of purple:
At $90 (that's 22% off) they're not cheap, but relatively affordable, and the reviews are superb. I've always wanted to try a pair of Danskos but I was put off, you guessed it, by their general stockiness. However, I've seen this shoe in different colors on other girls' feet and they didn't look half bad. Plus, one raved to me about how comfortable they were, which, I must say, makes me partial to this model.

So what do you say, internets? Can you recommend a better pair of purple shoes? Should I go with the Danskos? Oh, the agony!