Thursday, August 24, 2006

Among General Mayhem, a shoe Glistens

As if home renovations hadn't put enough of a cramp on one's social life, the in-laws are upon us for the next week or so (well, indefinitely, really). Let's review that equation:

(dwindling touch-up renovation work)+(in-laws)+(their feisty Siamese cat)+(their yappy black poodle)+(my playful mini-bull-terrier)=General Mayhem (GM).

Now, amid GM, what's a girl to do? You got it! Clear her eyes with some pretty, pretty footwear, and dream of a glitzy social occasion to wear it to. And since repeat commenter and declared shoe afficionado Terry has extolled the virtues of the Anyi Lu brand on more than one occasion on this blog, I'm feeling the passion for this "Glisten" model, currently on sale for just under $100 of my hard-earned money:
Anyi Lu makes a lot of pumps, but I'm still not sold on the whole 3" heel being oh so comfortable. I am, however, willing to test out this theory next time I'm at Benjamin Lovell, where I can swear I saw one of those Anyi Lu typical spectator d'Orsay pumps (something like this), for about $400, though, so you know what that means to Scarpediem Frugalis. These flats, however, glitter in exactly all the right places (I like this "iron" color better than the "nougat" version) and I bet they are, indeed, super-comfy. Hm... perhaps Scarpediem's next splurge?

Monday, August 21, 2006

Designer deja-vu

I see this happen all the time but this time it puzzled me because the similarity is too striking:
The first one, "Groom," in black, is by Robert Clergerie; the second one, "Y5011", in neutral, is by Tapeet by Vicini. Apart from the contrast stitching on the Clergerie one, they are basically the same. Oh, ok, the price is a bit different: the price tag for the Clergerie slides is $403, currently selling for $385 on Zappos, and the tag for the Tapeets is $329, now $235 on Zappos.

However, they are so fantastically ugly to me that I wouldn't spend $10 on them; so I guess I'm puzzled that two designer labels I otherwise admire can be compelled to produce virtually identical versions of the same ugly slide. They both remind me of the recent NY Times article on the ungainliness and excessive bulk of this season's platforms. Quoth Bellafante, the author of the article:
The arrival of the [platform] shoes has brought out my inner Andy Rooney because every time I see a pair in a magazine, I want to know what woman in the world is going to want to look as if she were heading off to a meeting of Ironworkers Local 256 in a Weimar cabaret hall.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Mephisto? Why not!

Y'all know by now that I'm a practical sort of gal and as much as I like fashion and glitz, it don't mean nothing to me if it's not wearable. Living in a walker's town makes this Weltanschauung all the more justified.

In that spirit, and because my plantar fasciitis has bothered me SO much lately that I kinda let out a soft scream every time I get up, I decided to try a pair of Mephisto's.

Make no mistake: I consider Mephisto styles to be somewhere between fugly and approximately wearable. Paragons of style, they are not. Also, they're usually in the $200+ category, which is a no-no for this, and this may come as a surprise for you, utterly frugal shoe lover. However, as you may know, Mephisto is one of the most famous brands in comfort shoes, so I guess it's only fair that I would give them a chance, which came in the shape of this red Mary-Jane:
I snatched the last pair in my size on Zappos for $40, which seemed just about the right price to me for a trial (regularly they're about $230). And let me tell you, they do live up to the comfort hype: plenty of arch support, roomy, outrageously comfortable. I'm in fact really pleased. Sure, they do look somewhat homely--something that LRRH would obviously wear on her errand to her grandma's house--but hey, my poor achy feet deserve the comfort, and the bright red color is bound to cheer anyone up. All I'm missing is a couple of blonde braids and a red hoodie to complete the look.... :)

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

You know you've let your home renovation project take over your life when ...

I went to a new hairdresser the other day; he had blond highlights, and a white flowy shirt with the top two buttons open, worn casually over jeans. He announced me in a mild-mannered way that I had fine hair, not as much of it in the front as in the back, and that a bunch of my otherwise gold-red locks were irremediably fried. After the pleasantries were over, he proceeded to give me an otherwise nice haircut, and recommended that I condition the bejeesus out of my fried clump of hairs by using whatever conditioner I had available under a shower cap (he generously provided two of those) for as long as I could, whenever I had an idle moment. "Not the sexiest of looks," he warned me, "but it's going to be good for your hair." He then regaled me with stories of his threesomes with his young girlfriend's hot girlfriends (oh, I wish I were kidding!), of his dabbling in poetry (published in an anthology), and his father's plumbing business next door (oh good, we need an extra plumber, I thought).

All randy talk aside, his conditioning advice seemed rather sensible, so this Sunday when my husband announced that we needed to organize the shelves downstairs, in our (still unfinished) den, I said to myself, "Great! a most propitious moment indeed for hair conditioning, while cleaning and organizing in sweats and a raggedy t-shirt. Perfect!"

So I poured a half-bottle or so of Nexus grapefruit conditioner onto my head, rubbed vigorously for a minute or so, and covered the messy result in the shower cap. Ready for action, I got out of the bathroom.

Upon my exit, I met my super-duper mini-bull terrier. In case you forgot him, allow me to reintroduce him to you--the world's most loving, most mommy-attached, most affectionate dog:
My dog looked at me for a split second, and almost without hesitation started barking at me furiously, the way he barks when he senses strangers are about to enter our house and possibly attack me with a 5-foot stick, therefore robbing him of any hope for a decent Greenie in the near future. The more he looked, the more he barked, undoubtedly saying something like, "What did you do with mommy, hideous shower cap? I demand you return her at once, or otherwise get lost!"

"Geez, this thing is uglifying," I thought. My husband entered on cue and had a slight jolt.

"What on EARTH is THAT?" he demanded to know.

I blabbered something about deep conditioning, fried roots, and threesomes, not particularly in that order. He winced, looked skeptical, and said, "I guess you're not out to seduce me today."

"Um... I thought we were cleaning and organizing the shelves," I said rather weakly.

"Yeah, whatever," he said dismissively and proceeded about his business. Whenever he looked at me from then on, he had a slight twitch he struggled to control. "Not the sexiest of looks," I grumbled to myself. "Indeed!"

But I stoically trudged along--I mean, anything in the name of beauty, right? I tried to stay out of the way of the two disapproving men of the house (husband+dog), and by mid-afternoon the shelves were brimming with well-organized office supplies and miscellanea. Determined to redeem myself, I took a long shower and cleared off that conditioner, prettified myself, and put on a dress, just for the heck of it (a Banana Republic navy dress with short flutter sleeves, satin back tie, and light blue and purple floral print). The hair also looked much better at the erstwhile frizzy ends, and so I descended upon the living room, where my husband was fiddling around on his laptop, dog firmly tucked under his left arm.

I sat down on the couch next to him and the dog immediately changed camps, eager to give me puppy kisses and wagging his tail. "A-ha, you recognize your mommy now, don't you?" I said. "Mommy's back!"

My husband stared at me and agreed that this was MUCH better, an opinion which he sealed with a "yum!"

And then, after further contemplation, his inner turmoil readily visible in his furrowed brow, he asked,

"So, what IS it that you are wearing?"

"A dress," I responded. "It's called a dress."

"Ooooh, he said. Nice."

You know you've let your home renovations project take over your life when your husband cannot recognize a simple item of clothing because you had no opportunity or desire to wear it in so long.

Two more weeks. Just two more weeks....

The Whimsical Shoe

The shoes I like are placed somewhere on a kairotic continuum (where kairos=opportune occasion), the high points of which are elegant, beautiful, pretty, practical, athletic, comfortable, cute.

Occasionally (for what is kairotic if not fit for the right occasion!), I feel none of the above. Instead, I feel whimsical. As in, ha-ha, you didn't expect that out of me, did ya? As in, I'm in the mood for fun, play, irony, and I don't really give a damn about conventional notions of style. Well, at least not today. The whimsical I'm talking about is beyond quirky or unusual: it's downright surprising, almost shocking, and eliciting comments without exception. I would wear whimsical shoes as a surefire way to attract attention--and ├ępater les bourgeois, biensur!

On such (however infrequent) occasions, I might feel like wearing these L'Autre Chose 'Bali' wedges, which are nothing if not whimsical:
(and yes, that is a sculpted wooden wedge heel, complete with a hut and a palm tree. Guess what I'm in a mood for!)

Or of course, you can pick and choose from Camper's rather large collection of whimsical shoes; just make sure you pick from the whimsically pretty and not the whimsically ugly. For example, I might make you contemplate the rainbow of colors and patterns in these 'twin' loafers:

Nothing says "play with me!" like a pair of clown sandals from Anthropologie:
(yes, yes, it's clown perched on a red ball. Deal with it!)

As long as you don't abuse it, whimsy can be your friend. Go ahead and have fun with shoes every once in a while!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

In which I put a curse on ill-designed websites

...such as Kate Spade's very own Sample Sale site (registration required), which cannot be moved to show me the goodies. And they boast up to 70% off prices! All between Aug. 15-17!!! Oh, the humanity!

I started this post in earnest to publicize this sale, but I'll end it in frustration. I've tried Firefox and IE, I've registered and re-registered and verified the password, I enabled and re-enabled cookies and JavaScripts and what not, I turned off my Norton Internet protection, I waited patiently through dozens of painfully slow-loading error pages, I followed with bated breath the progress bar at the bottom of the browser page, one orange bar after orange bar, only to be disappointed by a big fat nothing.

Oh well, I hope you have better luck. I guess I'm stuck with my Kate Spade dreams for now.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Maloles is a brand that's pretty hard to find in regular or online stores, and even then the stock seems pretty limited. From what I've seen, however, mainly on Anthropologie and Neiman Marcus online, I LOVE the look: the espadrilles are pretty, with that quirky, Spanish sense of style, the flats are original and interesting, and above all, they look quite comfortable.

These Maloles flats are currently on sale at Neiman Marcus for $128, down from $319--you can't do better than that! (Incidentally, the same flats are on sale at Anthropologie for $150, down from $298...ah, the mysteries of pricing!)

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Impulse purchase?

You are looking at a pair of Roger Vivier pointy d'Orsay flats in lavender suede:Which, as of a couple of weeks ago, have been in my possession for the grand total of $32, shipping included. To be clear, that's practically free! They're brand new but I suspect from some big-name store overstock since they were a bit dirty (nothing a suede brush and eraser could not take care of). The eBay seller listed them as "Roger VivieN," which I suspect allowed me to snag them at a fabulous price. Amazingly enough, they are authentic and the elastic back holds up pretty well. They're a bit pointy for my taste, but really--a pair of shoes from a legendary designer for basically peanuts? Hell yeah!

Now, what do I wear these with...pants I suppose, they strike me as looking weird with skirts. Can't wait!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Bruno Magli dilemma

I once bought these Bruno Magli "Nural" flats (croc-emobssed, contrast patent toe and trim), at what was an incredible price on Zappos (I think, $40, down from over $200). They were marked a 10B, precisely my size in most of the shoes I own*, so I couldn't wait to put them on. They were snug, so snug as if a boa constrictor had swallowed and was slowly digesting my foot. I believe they couldn't have been more than a 9N. Regretfully, I sent them back, and I could never bring myself to even try another pair of Bruno Magli online, for fear that the 10 would be too short and narrow and anything over that might be too large.

So this is how I've been drooling over these beauties ("Revelin"), currently 64% off, without daring to make the next move:
They are also available in cream and black, and are just as adorable as they come, and on sale, but....will they also try to chew up my feet? That's what I'd like to know! I do think they would be fab for someone with narrow feet. Grab them now while they're just $87!

*I do have a pair of Kenneth Cole flats in a 9, which are, incredibly, somewhat loose, and a couple of 9.5 along with a couple of 10.5 pairs and one 11 (the latter tend to be somewhat loose, but that's ok). Don't even get me started on the American-European-British shoe size conversion, in which I can be anything from a 40 to a 42, or a 7.5 to an 8.5. A rant on manufacturer's shoe sizing to come shortly.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Boil me up, flatten me down, and bejewel me

It's been hot, so hot the asphalt melted into one big black soup concocted by Satan's chefs, who undoubtedly got too close to the surface and are now just preparing to garnish their infernal meal with our steaming brains, freshly poached and served on the skull. Yes, it's been morbidly, fetidly, satanically hot, to the point that the 100 degrees predicted for tomorrow will feel like a breezy relief--so you'll have to excuse my rather eschatologic imagination: I've died approximately 27 times in the past 2 days, most of the times boiled or fried alive on the griddles that serve as sidewalks in Philadelphia these days.

So I've been thinking: How does one escape the feeling that one strolls through the Inferno itself? Well, here's one way to do it: wear cool heels, that's how! By that I mean no heels whatsoever--even kitten heels would sink hopelessly into the sticky goop on the streets. No! Flats or low wedges at most, with minimal coverage, preferrably thongs.

And if you're going to burn hot, you might as well do it in sparkly, fiery, bejeweled thongs, that command attention and authoritatively show you as the fierce fashionista who cannot be deterred, come hail or hell, from looking fantabulous.

For example, you will look positively scorching in these Sigerson Morrison orange flats. Tres apropos, n'est ce pas?

Sigerson Morrison also makes sure you're deflecting all the sun and attracting all the attention in this splendid gold creation:

I also wouldn't mind stepping out in this L'Autre Chose toe-ring flat:

You can't go wrong with a little gypsy inspiration. I think those are layers of pearls, rhinestones, and corals, on gold leather. Sweet!

Kate Spade goes a little psychedelic-disco-ball on us, but in her usual tasteful fashion, with this adorable thong I could wear any time, anywhere!
Master Zanotti never disappoints, and it was hard to choose from the multitude of pulchritude he's trying to embelish our feet with (bad pun due to excessive heat. The Apocalypse is coming, I tell you!). However, these yellow-and-blue thongs are particularly spectacular--if only I had the money!

And finally, I can think of few things that would be more flattering and pretty on your feet than these amber starfish Casadei thongs:
Must be all the sun that's gone to my head...must stay in the shade for now... must stop craving shiny pretty things...must immerse body in a bathtub of cold water to stop brain damage...give me gold...more gold...more liquid asphalt....aaaahhhhhhh.....

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Born disappoints

A while ago I was bragging about my comfy Born Lisbon thongs:
which I recommended for cuteness and comfort factor. Well, let me retract that recommendation right now: a couple of days ago the strap between the toes BROKE definitively and irremediably, as if it were no more but a mere roll of cardboard, artistically painted and crafted to resemble leather.

True, I was aware of the undesirable rapport between price and sturdiness in Born shoes (inversely proportional, that is), but still, this took me by surprise, since that had only been my 6th or 7th wear of that shoe, and said breakage made it somewhat difficult to walk home. Luckily, I was a pub nearby so I wasn't forced to limp for more than two blocks, but still! How annoying!

Which brings me back to this: don't skimp on good quality shoes. You won't end up regretting it a month later. At least I got the Borns half price, but still, for the quality, these shoes weren't worth the $40 tag. I'd call it a $5 shoe at best.

So I'm already eyeing a replacement:
These Sesto Meucci sandals are cute, breathable, and from my own experience with the brand, should be quite a lot studier (I wore my previous white Sesto Meucci woven leather slides ad nauseam). The price range is also about double the typical price of Born shoes, but I'm in luck: they're currently on sale for $40 in my size. Definitely something to ponder...

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Shoes: The Agony and the Ecstasy

Long time no see, shoe lovers! I was wrapped up in the World's Most Painful Move Of The Century (WMPMOTC), which is far from being over, since we still have no kitchen or den (as in, no sink or stove or cabinets, or no floors and walls), but hey, at least I've got a very good place for my own shoes! Pictures to come later.

This Sunday in an attempt to get away from it all, I took a day trip to NY and saw the new MOMA (very impressive, but don't go if you have vertigo or some sort of fear of heights). However, if I'd had my druthers (and because I had already seen the MOMA exhibits a couple of times before), I would have crossed the ocean to see this little gem of an exhibit: Shoes: The Agony and the Ecstasy. Go visit the site, it's well worth it: there's a wealth of info about the construction of the shoe, a sort of glossary of terms, if you will (incomplete as it is), and a bunch of pictures of the beautiful shoes they have on display. Among my favorites:
They're from the early 1920's and just gorgeous, don't you think?

Wow, it's good to be back online. Will try to resume my regular updates soon!