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Shoe Staples

Reader Liz emailed me about shoes. I concentrate so much on clothing, but what are the shoe staples that one needs in her wardrobe? And no Liz, I will not cop out and say all shoes are staples! :-)

Like many, I am drawn to shoes. They are mini works of art, and no matter how many pounds you may have gained recently, shoes usually still fit and look fabulous. Shoes can take a simple outfit and make it fun, classic, elegant or chic. In a wardrobe full of staples, shoes are an accessory that can make your clothing current and full of personality.

Though shoes can be fun and creative and colorful, there are a few staples every woman needs in her wardrobe so she can get through the day to day events. Shoes she can go to when she doesn’t have the time, the money or the energy to be creative, fun and colorful. Shoes that no matter the mood, she looks pulled together, stylish and appropriate.

A Pair of City Boots
These are boots that come up to the ankle bone. Cross your legs, you do not see sock or leg. They can pull on or have a zipper. I have had a pair of black city boots in my wardrobe since the early 90’s. The heel and toe style may have changed with the times, but the concept is the same – these boots are perfect for almost every pant and jean in your closet.

Last year at the Nordstrom Half-Yearly sale I found a pair of black faux leather (but look quite real!) city boots from Enzo Angolini at a wonderful price. They have a chic heel, elongated toe (great for us petite gals) and I wear them with jeans, with trousers, even with suits for business meetings. When I go on business trips, the only shoes I take are my city boots. I wear them on the plane with jeans, wear them out for drinks with clients with black pants and a blouse, and wear them to the client meeting with a conservative suit. You can’t get more basic than that!

Now, how do you know a pair will be that versatile, that classic? To keep the style versatile, forego on textures (glazes, croco-embossing, distressed look, suede, lots of buckles and studs) and keep them pretty minimal. You want leather, or a leather look – this fabric is the most versatile. This is a shoe where I recommend finding a very realistic faux leather – they stretch around your ankle with comfort and they are rain and snow-resistant (and easy to clean).

As for style, as I mentioned above, though round toes may be in one season, a pointed toe the next, an elongated toe is usually elegant looking and it makes a petite woman look taller and looks great peeking out of longer pants and jeans. An elongated toe is forgiving to your tootsies, giving them plenty of room to move about. They look more stylish than a standard snub toe, and can jazz up a basic pair of black pants and a sweater.

Now for heels. I believe get the highest heel you can stand. A heel makes your legs look longer, your body look taller. Heels force you to have better posture, and to walk gracefully. Heels are not comfortable for everyone, so make sure what you buy is comfortable. A delicate kitten heel is low but elegant. With your heel, you do not want chunky. Chunky is not versatile, it is reserved for jeans and weekends. A slimmer heel is elegant and a bit dressier. Can still look great with jeans, but also can be appropriate with dressier trousers. Wedges are popular this season and far more comfortable than regular heels, but I do not see them as staples. They do not look classic enough to transcend seasons. Feel free to buy wedge heels for other shoes, but for this city boot staple, stick with a classic slim heel.

Shoes shown are available from Zappos.

Black Pumps
I know, all this black. The reason I suggest black is because there are a multitude of browns and navys out there, and only one black. If you followed my clothing advice, you already own black pants and possibly a black suit or a black skirt. It makes sense to have the majority of your shoes black. A black pump can go with any color in your wardrobe, and always looks classic, simple, understated and elegant.

A black pump can be worn with cocktail dresses, work dresses, skirts of silk or of denim. They can be worn with black pants and a camisole for a night on the town, or with your power suit for an interview. Be it a wedding, funeral, business meeting or cocktail party, your black pumps can be appropriate footwear for the event.

Here is where I recommend real leather. Real leather can be polished and maintained. They mold to your feet for a perfect fit. Unlike boots that are mostly covered by pants, a pump is on display most of the time. You want to have quality fabric. People say you can tell a man’s worth by his watch and shoes – the same applies for women. Nothing will ruin your look faster than a cheap pair of shoes. Like the city boots, keep these shoes free of adornment. It’s fine to have croco, snakeskin, patent, suede and studded black pumps in your wardrobe, but you need a simple pair of black leather ones for all occasions.

Like the city boots, I recommend the highest heel you can comfortably wear, and a slim lady-like heel. This will give you the most mileage in your wardrobe. A chunky heel may be fine for work, but won’t go with your crepe sheath to a wedding or your silk dress to your company holiday party. A graceful pair of black pumps can be worn to most any event.

As for the vamp, you do not want to see toe cleavage, but you don’t want it to look dowdy. Have a curved vamp that covers the toes completely, but shows a lot of the top of the foot. This will elongate the leg and look dressier. It is okay to have a peek of skin show between your pant leg and your pumps, but pumps look best with longer trousers.

As for the toe, there isn’t a standard style that is best. I have a pair with an elongated pointy toe that look great with most everything, but I also have a round toe pair with a slim high heel that I find adorable with dresses. A pointed toe is more classic and will dress up your clothes, but if you find your style is more fitting with a simple curved toe or a retro curved toe, I say go for it. As long as you have an elegant heel and a good leather, it will look nice.

Shoes shown are available from Nordstrom.

A Fun Shoe
If your wardrobe was made completely of staples, it would be a boring wardrobe indeed. What type of person are you? Artsy? Romantic? Modern? Let it show in your shoes.

These shoes should follow the rules of the pumps – have them work with dresses, skirts and pants. This will give the most versatility and the most bang for your buck. They can be pumps, or wedges, peep-toes, Mary Janes, something that can go from season to season and something that has panache. This year I invested in leopard print peep-toe heels. I can wear them with a black sweater and black pants and suddenly look sassy. They are an unexpected neutral with a color – I have worn them with a teal blue dress, with a dark denim pencil skirt and burgundy top. I have worn them even with dark creased jeans and a black blouse with a gold necklace. Two years ago I bought a pair of hot pink leather pointy-toed pumps with studs on them. Totally crazy purchase, but those shoes still get a regular rotation in the wardrobe. I will spice up a classic black sheath dress and pearls with the pink heels. I have cuffed my jeans to a cropped length, worn a white tank, black blazer and these pink heels. Black suit with the pink heels and a sheer bright pink lipgloss to pull it together. A black sweater piped in the same pink with jeans and the pumps. It’s amazing how your basic wardrobe can really handle a wild pair of shoes. My sister has a pair of caramel-colored patent leather pointy pumps. She got them at Payless for a song and wears them often. Dark blue dolman sweater, jeans and the shiny shoes. Brown twinset, camel wool skirt and the same shoes. A simple black dress, yellow pearls and the caramel heels. You will see that a spunky pair of shoes will be more versatile than your black pumps!

Shoes shown are available from Macy’s.

A Comfy Shoe
No, I do not mean a pair of sneakers, or slipper, or Birks or Crocs. This is a shoe that looks presentable, but doesn’t kill your soles. These shoes are for tours of Italy, weekends in the Napa valley, a marathon day at the mall, even a daytime garden wedding. Shoes that can tackle pounding the pavement, tromping through fields, but looking appropriate with a sundress, a pair of sateen capris or hiking pants.

What kind of miracle shoe can this be? There are great shoes out these days that blend the comfort of a sneaker with the style of a dress shoe. BORN carries amazingly comfortable and fashionably appropriate shoes. I found a great pair of black shoes that look like Mary Jane flats but feel like clouds at Title Nine. My mom has a pair of black leather wedge sandals that look tres cute but are super comfy and from Easy Spirit.

Most of my clothing is black or looks good with black, so I invested in black comfy shoes. I find black works for all seasons. Brown can work too, but do know that brown and warm tones do not look as dressy and may not be quite as versatile. Try to find solid shoes – veer from piping, contrast stitching or colorful soles. These will only highlight the fact that these are comfort shoes, not fashion shoes.

Nothing screams tourist more than a pair of sneakers, and nothing can ruin your vacation more than blisters and screaming toes. You may not think your lifestyle warrants these shoes, but once you buy them, you will see you will love them for every jaunt to the outlet mall, every one of your kid’s field trips, every time you decide to go to an outdoor festival. Capris look classic with black flats, and dowdy with sneakers. A sundress looks trashy with flops, but festive with sandals. This is an investment for your health and your sense of style.

Shoes shown are available at Title Nine.

Where are the Rest???
Where are the strappy black heels you may be wondering? How about the black flats? Sneakers? Tall boots? A summer shoe like a slide? I am not mentioning those or any other shoes because they are not staples. They do not transcend seasons and trends.

Three years ago I couldn’t live without my black silk strappy heels. I wore them to every wedding, cocktail party and company bash. I wore them out with the girls with jeans and a silky top. Two years ago, I switched to gold strappy heels. And this year? I don’t even wear strappy, I find peep toes to be more flattering and chic. Dress shoes get trendy. The heel changes, the straps change, the fabrics change. If you think you have a classic pair of strappy dress heels I’ll bet $5 that they are not.

As for summer shoes. For years I lived in black slides from Steve Madden. Everyone I knew had either the same exact shoe or a slight variation. Black leather band over the shoe, slightly stacked platform sole. Worn with capris, skirts, dresses, jeans and pants. They were perfect, and quite comfortable. And for the past few years, they have been horribly out of style. This past summer it was chunky platform wood wedge heels with leather straps encrusted with stones. Next summer, who knows? Point is nothing seems to stay in style outside of a leather variation of a traditional flip flop, and that is not always apropos for all outfits and occasions (and hey, may be passé in 2008!).

Black flats. People have emailed me and commented here about how I never mention flats. Flats are comfortable. Flats are chic. Who can dare think that Audrey Hepburn wasn’t chic, and she always sported little black flats. Well Audrey Hepburn had the figure for flats, and skinny black pants with turtlenecks, and all kinds of other fashion choices that the majority of society cannot pull off. Like me. I am 5’3” and not a waif. I look ridiculous in flats. It’s as though someone cut off the last few inches of my leg. A flat shoe looks worse on a curvy or many petite person than being barefoot. It cuts the line of the leg, it makes you look short, dumpy, unfinished. Just as I don’t think a black pencil skirt is a staple, or a turtleneck, I don’t think flats are. These are items that can look amazing on some, and dreadful on others.

As for tall boots… well I love them. I adore them. I drool over them, but I do not own a pair. I am short, with large calves and tall boots make me look wider and shorter than I already am. I do not believe in being a slave to fashion. If a look is not flattering, no matter how often you see it in shop windows and magazine pages, do not buy into it. Tall boots look weird on very slim legs, on very long legs, short legs, and very thick legs. Not only that, they are hard to figure out what how to wear. I see women try to stuff their bootcut jeans into tall boots to emulate Kate Moss. By noon, they have puffs of denim at their knees and look as though they dressed in the dark. I see women wear heavy leather boots with delicate chiffon skirts, with too short skirts (hello Red Light district), bunched under jeans, and the greatest horror of all? Trying to get a few more months of wear out of your summer capris by pairing them with tall boots (honey, they’re not gauchos).

My Personal Staples:
I do have a lot of shoes, but that is because I treat them well, store them properly and stock up a collection. I only buy one or two pairs a season, and I try to choose wisely. Before I buy a pair of footwear, I stop to think if they can go with at least three different outfits. If I cannot envision that, they go back on the rack. The shoes I currently wear a lot:

Winter/All Year:

  • Black leather pointy toed pumps (work and play, skirts and pants)
  • Black leather round toed high heel pumps (work and play, skirts and pants)
  • Black silk peeptoe heels (dressy skirts, dresses and pants)
  • Black faux leather city boots (everything, absolutely everything that is a full-length pant or jean)
  • Brown leather peeptoe pumps with a stacked wood heel (pants, suits in warmer months, dresses and casual skirts)
  • Black athletic-inspired Mary Janes (travel, work, long days on my feet)
  • Leopard print peeptoe heels (work and play pants, dresses, jeans)
  • Teal suede wedge-heel pumps with a knotted design in front (jeans, casual pants, dresses)

Summer:

  • Summer Sandals – wood low wedge heel, thong style completely beaded with tiny bugle beads in bronze, brown, dark red and a bit of turquoise (with jeans, dresses, capris, skirts, most everything)
  • Summer Sandals – tan leather thong style with a low kitten heel (with EVERYTHING, they are my primary work shoes and party shoes)

What I Wore: Style Meets Comfort [Sponsored]

wardrobe oxygen what i wore payless stylemeetscomfort Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore #Payless #StyleMeetsComfort Wardrobe Oxygen What I Wore #StyleMeetsComfort Payless
Jacket: LOFT (similar) | Tee: Ann Taylor (similar) | Jeans: Gap | Bag: c/o Handbag Heaven | Shoes: Comfort Plus by Predictions ‘Karmen’ available at Payless

Many of you ask me to recommend footwear brands that offer comfort and style at a reasonable pricepoint. So when Payless ShoeSource contacted me regarding their comfort line, I knew I had to review it for you!

Comfort Plus by Predictions and Dexflex Comfort are Payless lines of shoes that come in regular and wide sizes 5 to 13. With memory foam insoles and flexible outsoles, these shoes are uber comfortable for walking and standing all day. When I visited my nearby Payless location I was really impressed by how these lines incorporate popular fall fashion trends. From pointed toes to leopard print, classic oxfords to booties and “shooties,” one can find on-trend shoes for work and play. I chose the ‘Karmen’ round-toe pump in wine, a hot color this season. The suede-like finish looks great peeking out of suiting trousers, paired with work dresses, but for this post I chose to dress them down with boyfriend jeans.

The shoes really are as comfortable as they claim. I wore them one day to work and found them comfortable enough to take a brisk walk of a few blocks on my lunch hour and didn’t get any blisters, rubbing, or hot spots. Standing was also comfortable; I got stuck standing the majority of my Metro commute home and wasn’t shifting my weight the whole trip like I usually do. All this comfort, seasonally-appropriate style, and less than $30! I’m glad to find Payless as a source for budget-friendly comfort shoes!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Payless via Burst Media. The opinions and text are all mine.

Ask Allie: Fall Shoe Must-Haves

What shoes and boots do you consider wardrobe basics. I’d like to update shoes and boots for this fall.

Basics will vary for each person dependent on her lifestyle and personal style. While I do share a few footwear choices in my list of wardrobe staples, I know that many find such shoes impractical for their lives and the list isn’t recent. So below are the shoes I find get the most wear from me each fall and winter:

Black Leather Pumps

A pair of simple black pumps free of decoration, buckles, or unique finishes is a workhorse in my wardrobe. I like a pointed toe because it elongates the frame and is classic, but an almond toe is also a good choice and many find more comfortable. Steer clear of square, round, peep toe, or platforms which can quickly look dated and aren’t as versatile. As for the heel, choose a height and width that is comfortable for you; luckily this fall thicker heels are back in style as are low or kitten heels.

Wear With: Trousers, skirts, and dresses. From work to a wedding, a pair of well-maintained black pumps can dress up and down with ease and work with almost everything in your wardrobe.

Tall Leather Boots

A pair of knee-high boots may be a wardrobe investment, but my experience has shown that they are worth the money. My fall and winter weekend look is usually slim jeans, tall boots, a knit top and sweater or vest (example), and I love how tall boots add warmth and weather protection come winter. As for color, choose what calls out to you and coordinates best with your current fall wardrobe. This past winter I wore black boots, but I recently added a pair of brown to my wardrobe that I believe will be just as versatile. Be sure to use a waterproofing spray on them to help them survive snow and slush, and use rolled up magazines in them to keep the shafts upright and well ventilated.

Wear With: A tunic and leggings, over slim trousers or jeans, with skirts and dresses of every length and silhouette.  If you require wide calf boots, check out my reviews of companies who provide them!

Black Ankle Boots

When the weather outside is frightful, it’s nice to have your foot fully covered and protected. Instead of sacrificing your style by pairing your pumps with socks, consider an ankle boot or “shootie” with a similar toe and heel to your pumps.

Wear With: Jeans and trousers. As for skirts and dresses, dependent on the style you may be able to wear with black tights for a polished look (like I do with my Nine West booties), or pair with sweater or neutral colored tights for a more casual effect (boots that have a more open ankle like these from Frye).

The Weekend Shoe

The weekend shoe really depends on your lifestyle and personal style. For some, it’s a pair of “Chucks” that they pair with jeans and band tee shirts. For others, it’s loafers that look great with chinos and oxfords. A pair of ankle boots with a low heel is a great choice to slip on with jeans, leggings, and even tights and casual dresses. This is where you can get creative, have fun with colors and embellishments to show your personality and add interest to casual wardrobe basics.

Wear With: Jeans and casual tops, leggings and tunics, casual dresses and tights, slim pants and sweaters. Look for a style that works well with all the different opening of trousers in your wardrobe and can look stylish with a warm pair of socks come winter.

The Special Occasion Shoe

This is a shoe many may not feel necessary, but it’s a great way to jazz up the LBDs and jeans in your wardrobe. For me, this shoe is a leopard print silk heeled sandal that looks great with a black sheath, red silk dress, or peeking out from the hem of a pair of dark denim. For others it may be a hot pink beaded flat, gold metallic strappy heels, or green satin D’Orsay pump. This is a shoe that can take your wardrobe staples to the next level, be it for a cocktail party, holiday fete, or a friend’s bachelorette party.

Wear With: Your little black dress, a simple black camisole and dark denim, a cocktail pantsuit, a dress that can easily dress up with the right accessories, a bunch of mascara and a bold red lip.

What are fall footwear wardrobe staples for you?

Going Nude for Spring – Shoe Selections Under $100

I believe a pair of classic black leather pumps is a necessity in any woman’s wardrobe, however woman cannot live on black pumps alone. Once the warmer weather arrives, black pumps seems downright dowdy.

As I have been admiring spring and summer fashions, I keep saying, “that would look fantastic with a nude peeptoe” or “that dress would be perfect with a skin-colored pump” or “man, I need to get myself a pair of nude sandals.” It’s hard to call a color “nude” as that we women come in a kazillion different colors, but owning a pair of shoes that matches your skin tone is a wardrobe workhorse. Don’t know what color shoe to wear? A nude shoe will keep the outfit the focus, elongate your leg, and bring a warm-weather look to your ensemble.

I have been on the hunt for some great nude heels that can work for the office and after hours, here’s a few I have seen that are high on style but a reasonable price (all under $100):

This shoe is pretty fantastic. Patent just screams spring, the ½” platform not only is on-trend but also makes the shoe look tall but be more wearable and walkable, and the color is a nice tone – not too yellow, not too gray. Online, this shoe gets great reviews for comfort and I have always had success with Franco Sarto shoes being relatively comfortable. $89.00

The reason I like this shoe is because it’s not quite suede, not quite leather. This fabric means it will really disappear against your skin making your legs look a mile long. Cute little peeptoe to show off your pedicure and to have the shoes more comfortable in the warmer months. Enzo Angiolini is another brand that I have worn and liked – not a ton of cushioning, but wearable to work. $89.00


Another great patent shoe, but a more classic and sleek pointed toe. I love this silhouette with crisp pencil shirts and tailored shirts, but it also looks great peeking out of work trousers or bootcut jeans. This is an elegant shoe that will still be in style years from now. $79.00


I love that these look like a classic slingback heel, but have the elastic strap to make them look modern. I love a strap to keep the shoe in place, and I also love to see reviews online stating this is a surprisingly comfortable shoe. The taupe color looks as though it will flatter sun-kissed skin. $66.71


A lower heel, but still a classic and flattering pointed toe. This shoe by Bandolino comes in several fabrics and colors that would give a great nude look to different women – check out the Light Bronze Fabric, Natural Synthetic (a patent), Taupe Fabric, and Taupe Small Reptile Fabric. A 2” heel is low enough to be wearable all day, but high enough to elongate the leg and look dressy. $59.00

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Marshalls Shoe MegaShop Does it Again!

Marshalls Shoe MegaShopCompanies spend so much on advertising and marketing… I love it when they do it well. This time last year I posted about a fabulous truck I saw on the DC streets – Marshalls filled a glass box with tons of covetable shoes. I know it stopped me in my tracks and had me look up the address of my nearest Marshalls location…

Thursday as I was heading home from my job in DC I experienced another brilliant campaign for Marshalls Shoe MegaShop! A giant red stiletto car, and a bunch of cute guys with fab shoes on silver platters! They were all over Connecticut Avenue at every intersection passing out cards where one could win a shoe wardrobe from Marshalls. Brilliant contest cards where you have to visit your closest location to see if you have won.

Click on photos to see them larger…

Marshalls Shoe MegaShopMarshalls Shoe MegaShopMarshalls Shoe MegaShop

And so, Allie headed to Marshalls on her way home!

I didn’t win a shoe wardrobe, but I was impressed with the shoe collection in their MegaShop. The perfect shoe for fall – a pointy-toed black patent high-heel pump was available from popular brands like BCBGirls and Impo for far less than department stores. Amazing riding boots from Coach and Cole Hahn, oxford booties from Nine West, round-toe flats from Aerosoles and more were there at reasonable prices (and with plenty of sizes available!). If I was currently plagued with swollen pregnant feet, I would have been grabbing boxes left and right!

It’s awesome to see a company not only get their marketing right, but also their product. I commend Marshalls for a job well done – and an awesome place to find current footwear styles and hot brands for less!

Dress Your Age, Not Your Shoe Size

I hate too many rules with fashion – it takes the fun out of it. I don’t think a certain age requires one to have a certain length of hair or skirt, and heck I think diamonds are too pretty to only wear in evening and when older. However, I think some fashion guidelines are created to help us from looking like fools.

Last week I was crossing the street in Washington D.C. and in front of me was a woman in a full-length mink coat and a shoulder-length sandy-colored bob. She was wearing black pants, black heels, had a very large black handbag and was walking with purpose. From the back, I assumed she was a successful and powerful woman in her late 40s to early 50s. At the intersection she went left when I went right and I was able to see the front of her and was utterly shocked to see this woman was in fact younger than I – probably early to mid 20s with a fresh face and a baby pink cashmere turtleneck.

This weekend I visited Miami, the land of flamboyant dress. I saw so many women of all ages strutting their stuff – be it money, creativity, fashion sense, love of a Bedazzler. What made many of these women great was that they wore their confidence as loudly as they did their gem-encrusted lounge suits. It isn’t my personal desire to wear lamé tunics and appliquéd jeans, but I respect these women’s desires – their style is appropriate for their environment and lifestyle and most had colors that flattered, cuts that fit and accessories to tell a little about the woman inside.

However I did also see quite a travesty while on my vacation – women dressing as children. My sister and I saw a woman at the Bal Harbour Shops in a pink spandex tube top riddled with beading and sequins, a white cotton ruffled micro-mini skirt, pink metallic wedges to match her pink metallic lips, and extensions that put Paris and Brit to shame. It was the look of a Bratz doll and was being worn by a woman in her 40s. Nothing wrong with a passion for pink and all things girly, but on this woman it looked like a costume… and it looked ridiculous. Later we saw a woman with her children who had a teased ponytail on top of her head, sequin-embellished cropped jeans, metallic heels with satin bows on them and pink glitter all over her eyes and lips. Her daughters were dressed similarly – too cute on a four-year old, but a bit desperate on the 30-something mom.

No one is saying you have to toss your Levis for wool gabardine once you hit 40, or that only “ladies of a certain age” can wear jewels, it is just being true to yourself. A four-year old dresses with what is shiny and fun, not needing to find clothing as a uniform, a social norm or communication device. The older we are, the more our clothing multi-tasks and is an extension of our personality and lifestyle. Our wardrobe needs to be as multi-faceted as our personality. Just as I recently made mention of animal-shaped hats and cartoon tees, wearing clothing obviously too old or young for you confuses those who meet you, not understanding your true nature and often pre-judging you. Dressing too adult can make you seem boring, old-fashioned, unstylish, uptight. Dressing too young can make you look unintelligent, superficial, promiscuous, annoying. It is possible to seem youthful and creative without raiding your daughter’s closet, and to look classic and conservative without dressing like your mother.

How to Add Youth to a Conservative Wardrobe:
Play With Color. Instead of donning neutrals and black, add some cheer to the mix. Pastels are feminine and subtle and great compliments to gray, camel and brown. Muted jewel tones like berry, teal and plum add class to a simple look and flatter most any skintone.

Walk the Mall. We often get comfortable with the brands we shop at; maybe we choose Boutique B because they have conservative hemlines and classic lines. The thing is you can often find items that fit your sense of style in unexpected shops. A classic pencil skirt could be found at Old Navy, a great suit in J. Crew, a lovely trench in Bebe. Be honest with the salesperson about your style and needs so you don’t waste either of your time.

Simple and Fresh. Keeping your hair and makeup simple, clean and fresh will help show your youthful side. Over-polished hair styles and matte makeup ages anyone.

How to Make a Whimsical Wardrobe Age-Appropriate:
Respect Hemlines. A skirt that is too short is flattering on no-one. Keep your hemlines just above your knee and you will flatter your legs and still look youthful. Keep this in mind also for shorts.

Leave Some to the Imagination. Short skirt, tight belly-baring top AND a low neckline? This is too much on anyone, no matter her age or figure. Choose one body part you wish to highlight, be is your fabulous décolleté, great gams, or a strong back. As for belly-baring tops, outside of a gym or beach they usually look contrived and desperate. We can tell you have a six-pack by your silhouette, it doesn’t have to be on display.

Chanel Fashion Wardrobe StyleChannel Chanel. Coco Chanel once said, “Before leaving the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.” No one would ever find Chanel to be boring or fitting a mold. If you have on bracelets, large earrings, several necklaces, sunglasses, six chunky rings, a hip belt, a scarf and a headband… you look like a fashion victim, not an artist. You can still show your sense of whimsy or creativity with less embellishment. A strong necklace can be far more telling than a ring on every finger, a great bangle made by an artist or picked up on vacation holds far more interest than a mess of necklaces from any old mall store. You will receive more compliments and inquiries into your look or accessory if it gracefully holds the spotlight and doesn’t fight for it.

Aliza Darik Shoe Clip Contest Results

Congratulations to reader Lizette who won the Aliza Darik shoe clip contest! Almost 100 of you entered – I’d like to thank all of you for being readers and hope to have some more fun contests and giveaways in the next several weeks!

Stay tuned, next time you may be the winner! Until then, visit Aliza Darik and save 15% off with the code 273zpfest - now until the end of the year!

Hive on the Hill: The Shoe Hive’s DC Pop-up Shop

Like fashion, I believe in quality instead of quantity for my social life.  My evenings and weekends are primarily dedicated to my family, and only a few choice blog events.  Last night I attended a fabulous and quality event; Hive on the Hill from The Shoe Hive.

While The Shoe Hive has the most adorable and welcoming boutique in Old Town Alexandria, they are taking the next few days (through Sunday the 16th) to have a pop-up shop at The Tabula Rasa on Capitol Hill. While yes, you can find fabulous shoes (Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Hunter boots, and many more popular brands), they also have a wonderful selection of accessories and gifts. From candy-colored crocheted berets to drool-worthy Alexis Bittar jewelry, there have something for everyone, and every budget.

Last night was Opening Night for The Shoe Hive’s pop up, cleverly titled Hive on the Hill. The Shoe Hive asked me and Alison from DC Celine to co-host the event and curate a wish list to be on display. A mix of popular music with holiday tunes, plenty of white and red wine and three adorable men pouring Allagash White beer in Hive on the Hill pint glasses (which were adorable favors for us to take home), sweet treats and some of the most stylish women in DC… it was a wonderful event. While it was fun to see friends and chat over drinks, it was also fun to shop and meet new people. The Tabula Rasa was the perfect venue – crisp, white, modern, and beautiful. The Shoe Hive decorated with white birch branches and ribbons and the whole affair was tasteful yet so much fun. I was thrilled to finally meet social media/blogging friends Amy, KC, and Rosanna in real life and again see loveies like E, Lexa, Christen, and Vyque (and spend QT with my sister!).


A big thanks to Elizabeth from The Shoe Hive and her amazing team for a fun and successful event; rarely have I attended a shopping event that made me laugh to the point of tears, met so many new and wonderful people, while being surrounded by some of the most gorgeous shoes and accessories. If you’re in the area, stop by Tabula Rasa for Hive on the Hill or visit The Shoe Hive’s warm and welcoming shop in Old Town!

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Ask Allie – Trench Coats, Shoe Repair, and Leopard Skirts

Allie,
I love trenches and have two, but I only wear them when it’s raining. My question is, is it okay to wear them as a coat when it’s overcast? And is it okay to wear them as a coat, period?
Thanks,
Katty

Hi Katty,
By all means, YES! Trenches are the perfect coat for when it’s raining – you look chic yet stay dry. However trenches are quite stylish even on days when the sun comes to visit. I wear my trench on any day where it’s not cold enough for a wool coat, but not warm enough to go sans outerwear. A trench is a wonderful spring and fall piece of outerwear, looks elegant with pants or skirts, and can be worn even if there isn’t a single cloud in the sky. Wear your trench with pride, no matter the weather!

***

Dear Allie,
I have a brown, cream and black leopard print skirt, what would be a good color choice for a top to pair it with other than basic black?
Sincerely,
Simone

Dear Simone,
Ooh, sounds like a pretty versatile skirt! Dark red, mustard, pumpkin, forest green, teal, or you could even get wild with hot pink or magenta. Leopard ends up being a pretty neutral piece, though I find it to be most elegant with darker jewel tones. If you do want to go standard with a color in the skirt, you can jazz it up with red heels, a hot pink belt over the sweater, a kelly green bag. It’s a great base piece to really play with color.

***

Dear Allie,
I think I live or work near you – where can I find a really good cobbler in the DC area? Who do you use?
Thanks,
Carole

Hi Simone,
I go to a ridiculous hole in the wall of a place in Greenbelt (near College Park, Maryland) called Arto’s Shoe Repair. I have been going here for eons. I find they do quality work, are honest with their abilities, and have reasonable prices.

Arto’s is in a dying shopping mall, all the shoe orders are on display in bags over the employees’ heads, and the place looks as though it could use a thorough cleaning. However for $11 I can get my shoes reheeled, they will glue down any snagged leather on the heels and smooth it until it almost disappears, will polish them to a shine and do any other minor repairs I didn’t ask for but are needed (glue down lining or glue together fraying strap, etc.). I took them a pair of boots I wanted cut down an inch and that required one replacement zipper. They admitted that the boots wouldn’t look that great cut down, and told me it wasn’t worth the time or money to do such a change to the shoe. However with the new zipper, they not only said they could do it, they had a cheaper price and said they could use the old zipper pull on the new zipper for a cohesive look.

Cobblers and shoe repair places are a company where you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover – ask your neighbors, visit Yelp, Consumers’ CHECKBOOK and get true reviews, don’t base your decision on a fancy storefront or modern Web site.

Once you find a place that sounds good, test them out with a simple reheeling.  Do they do careful work?  Did they go the extra mile by polishing your shoes and catching any other minor repairs that needed to be fixed?  If they pass the test, then consider a more complicated repair.

I Know it Made ME Want to Go Shoe Shopping!

Walking around Washington DC this weekend I saw this truck. It was at a red light and I was only one of over two dozen women who had stopped dead in her tracks to gawk/drool over the display. Click on the photo for a larger version.

This truck was an entire ad for Marshall’s – both sides were like this. Glass sides holding hundreds of real shoes, and below glass compartments holding real shoe boxes from well-known brands. Pumps, boots, trainers, sandals in all styles imaginable.

Women were stopping and pointing at the styles they liked. They crossed the street with not regard for traffic to get a closer look. Women in jogging suits and power suits alike were admiring the view. I was not the only one to pull out a camera. I would have gotten a few more shots but the light turned green and the truck zoomed off.

The most brilliant marketing campaign I have seen in a long time, I know I am trying to figure out the next time I have available to hit a Marshall’s and check out their shoe department!

Ask Allie: Work Appropriate Sandals for Spring

Hi Allie, I’m in desperate need of stocking up on new work-appropriate sandals for summer and am not having luck. Any suggestions? My office is business casual/jeans on Fridays. Typical D.C. area gov’t office. I like my feet to be comfortable but don’t want to look too fuddy-duddy (I’m 31). Stylish and comfortable and work-appropriate?
-Meredith

Hi Meredith:

In the colder months, office workers can feel pretty safe with a pair of pumps, some ankle booties or loafers, and some tall leather boots. However once the weather begins to warm up, women seem to be at a loss as to where to find work-appropriate sandals – especially ones that are also comfy when walking to work or standing all day. I have seen women on the streets of DC wear everything from flip flops and Tevas to satin strappy stilettos with their summer career wear.  Here’s some great styles I have come across lately that will be kind to your feet as well as your personal style:

If you have followed this blog for a while, you know I am a major fan of Sofft for shoes – they really have been able to make stylish shoes that are also extremely comfortable. I wore Sofft throughout my pregnancy – when in my third trimester I found a pair of Sofft Mary Janes to be more comfortable for my swollen tootsies than even my sneakers!

This spring I am loving the look of a very modern, clean heel – sort of the summer version of the ankle bootie. The Sofft Pavia Sandal is an excellent choice to pair with crisp shift dresses, cropped trousers, and modern silhouettes. If you are fair like me, the Eggshell color may be the perfect nude shoe for you – a color close to your skintone will not only go with most any color in your wardrobe, but it will also elongate your leg.

Another great choice by Sofft is their Renata sandal. In Twine, you’ll find this shoe will look great with dresses, skirts, and also with a pair of jeans and a boho-inspired top for a rooftop barbecue. The white looks clean and modern, while the black gives an edgy rocker look. All three colors would really work with this summer’s colors and silhouettes.

Finally, the Sonoria sandal from Sofft is a more feminine summer shoe from this brand. The details are what make this shoe a winner – the wood stacked heel and the looped side straps keep the look fresh and also more expensive. I am partial to the Coral Patent – a hot color for this season and an unexpected neutral that will go with black, white, browns, navys, and all the chambray and denim that is on trend this spring.

And yes, I do like brands other than Sofft! The Carla sandal from MICHAEL Michael Kors is surprisingly comfortable – I know because I tried them on. If my feet weren’t so wide, they would currently be in my wardrobe in Taupe Leather. The height is deceiving – the heel isn’t really so high due to the platform. The bold, modern lines make it a versatile choice for spring with dresses, skirts, and with trousers. The taupe color will blend into many skintones (on me it was darker than my skin but still a great neutral) and become one of the most worn shoes in your wardrobe.

Clarks is known for comfort, and based on reviews at Zappos, their Fiddle Scroll Sandal doesn’t disappoint. I am a fan of wedge heels, which give the height to flatter the leg, but the support to be comfortable on your feet all day. In Beige or Ginger leather, this sandal would be extremely versatile and look great with most everything in your wardrobe. However, don’t ignore their more unusual color options – the Deep Red and Turquoise leather options would be a great pop of color to a more neutral wardrobe.

It’s hard to find a flat sandal that looks professional – they often end up looking like flip flops, don’t support and hold the foot, and can look weathered before we have even reached the 4th of July. The Frye Alessia Artisanal T Strap Sandal is a nice choice – the substantial straps and structured sole give the shoe structure and make them look more professional. I am partial to the Orange or Yellow leather, and think they would look great peeking out of white sailor trousers or paired with this season’s midi and maxi skirts.

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My Wardrobe Today – Friday

Black dress – Mossimo for Target (no longer available)
ShoesSofft “Pavia”
Shell necklace – Vintage
Crocheted purse – Vintage

I feel as though I need to wear my cold-weather pieces as often as I can before summer comes. If i keep with this weight loss, they may not fit next fall and I want to get my money’s worth! This dress is one of those pieces; though it’s a gorgeous spring day I wanted to wear it and still make it look seasonably appropriate.

The necklace and the bag both belonged to my mom.  She and I believe the same fashion rule – never get rid of accessories.  If they are in working order, keep them.  They don’t take up much space and you never know when you can use them again.  Accessories  come in and out of fashion, so a piece that seems passe in 2011 can be quite perfect in 2016.  If you have the room, store them properly so they can have a second life!

These shoes arrived yesterday. You may recall I wrote about these shoes as a work-appropriate sandal. I had been eying them for a while since I have had such great success in the past with Sofft for sandals. Then I saw Callandra wear them on Petite Early Morning Style and HAD to have them.

I searched online and found them for the cheapest price on Amazon (no longer seems available at that price), though they only had them in an 8.5 Wide in this color.  I am usually an 8 Wide for Sofft, but I do have a pair in 8.5 that works okay.  Ordered them, found them awful.  They looked dorky and clunky and my pinky toe was hanging out the side.  Unfortunately the company that supplied them has the biggest PITA return policy and I feel I will lose out half the money by buying from there.  Bad shopping decision.

I decided to get the 8 Wide from Nordstrom.  Not the cheapest price, but I know that with Nordstrom, returns are super easy.  I ordered on Monday, they arrived on Thursday, and they fit perfectly.  It’s funny, Sofft shoes are hit and miss with me, but their sandals are a perfect fit.  I not only have wide feet, but my feet are thick (fat from sole to top).  Finding sandals has always been tough for me because the straps are too tight over the foot.  I don’t encounter this with Sofft; the shoes are comfortable right out of the box.  This is my first time wearing the Sofft Pavia and I don’t have any chafing, blisters, hot spots.  And gosh, talk about a shoe that blends in with one’s skintone – do know I am a pretty pasty white woman, these shoes are a lovely soft beige with a pink undertone.  They shouldn’t be called “Eggshell” but more so “Allie’s Paleness!”

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All Gone

I just gave away the last of my size 7.5 shoes. 

My pre-pregnancy shoes.

I now am an 8, sometimes an 8.5.  And not only that, my feet are now wider than they even were before.

Gone are the leopard peeptoes, the black silk peeptoes, the black patent peeptoes.  I gave away the orange and pink suede wedges from J. Crew, the silver and black Pucci-inspired strappy heels, the delicate purple silk heeled sandals with the silk flower on the strap.  I even had to get rid of my wedding shoes – hot pink silk with rhinestones and a 4″ heel.

Sigh.

Nine West, Impo, Franco Sarto, Banana Republic, Jessica Simpson, BCBGirls… these were brands I KNEW would fit my feet in a 7.5.  I hardly had to try on, I could pretty much go into a store, see a style I liked and they would fit.  Now, even brands I have tons of luck with (Sofft) are hit or miss (which you can tell by the three boxes in my bedroom that I need to return to online shoe retailers).

Yesterday I had brunch with three of my best friends.  One friend’s mom had to give up heels due to a foot/leg issue.  The friend showed up with three large trash bags FULL of heeled shoes, ranging from size 7 to 8.5.  I went home with four pairs of pretty basic shoes – conservative pumps in black and brown leather and croco.  Nothing thrilling, nothing that made me drool, but I was still so excited because my shoe collection right now is so sad.

Sofft Calisto in Red
Sofft Calisto in Black (and looking a bit worse for wear)
Sofft Vanna in Brown Croco
Gray chunky strappy shoes from Me Too
Black “Value” peeptoe pump from Franco Sarto (last time I wore, total blisters and digging but hope this time will be better)
Black peeptoe wedges from Anne Klein (got at TJ Maxx – have a bit of a knot detail at peeptoe which I don’t love but these shoes are really comfy and a great length for trousers and fit a hole in my shoe wardrobe)

That’s it right now.  Yeah.  Okay, I have slingbacks from Banana Republic and my tan boots from DUO(and of course sneakers and flip flops), but my other shoes don’t really go with the weather or my wardrobe right now.

It’s sad.  I think of the book/movie, In Her Shoes where the character has a large shoes collection because they always fit, even if clothes do not.  Yeah, notsomuch.  I always had fun shoes to jazz up basic wardrobe staples.  And a great pair of shoes can always make you stand taller, feel sexy, feel fearless.  Taking home those very basic, verging on matronly shoes yesterday made me feel a bit desperate.  My sister said I had to take them because she hears me always complain how I don’t have shoes for outfits and situations and now I have shoes that will work.

Will work.  This is something I hate (as you can see from this post I wrote on Wardrobe Oxygen).  I don’t want to make it work, I want it to work right out of the box.  But until I can rebuild my shoe collection, I guess I need to make do with simple basics that will at least get me to functions without being barefoot.

Contest: Tolani Scarf from chickdowntown.com

jessica alba tolani scarfTo celebrate me coming back to work and to blogging, I have a great contest for you readers!

One of you can win a Tolani scarf that has been seen on the likes of Jessica Alba (pictured), Sienna Miller, Vanessa Minnillo (pictured), Halle Berry and Mary-Kate Olsen.

The Tolani scarf is courtesy of chickdowntown.com, an awesome site that sells hip women’s designer clothing from the likes of Black Halo, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Diane Von Fürstenberg and Vera Wang Lavender Label.

I am so excited, because you KNOW I love scarves, and these beauts from Tolani are fabulous!

vanessa minnillo tolani scarfHow to enter:
Send an email to mywardrobetoday@gmail.com with the word “TOLANI” in the subject.
In the body of the email, please provide your name and mailing address (I promise these addresses will only go to me – except for the winner, and will be deleted once the contest is over). Winner will be chosen by random.

Contest ends Friday, March 20th, 2009 at midnight ET. Winner will be contacted by email. Scarf will be mailed out from chickdowntown.com. Sorry international readers, but the contest is only open to those in the United States.

Get to know chickdowntown.com:
Facebook (friend “shop chickdowntown” and/or become a fan of the chickdowntown page)
Twitter (twitter.com/chickdowntown)
YouTube (chickdowntownTV.com or youtube.com/chickdowntowntv)

Good luck!

Monday

This weekend was pretty busy – Sunday I hosted a bridal shower for my best friend. I hope to have pictures from that event a little later in the week. I wore the same dress that I wore on Thursday, same shoes too. :)

Anyway, on to today…
my wardrobe todayAttire:
Old Navy – Two white ribbed tanks layered for opacity, black ponte trousers
Halogen – Teal knit jacket
Ralph Lauren – Silver necklace
Sofft – Black patent T-strap sandals
Silver hoops, cuff and chain with wedding band

Hair:
Next day, brushed out

Makeup:
Estée Lauder – Double-Wear Light Foundation in Intensity 2.0
Nars – Blush in Orgasm
Pop Beauty – Shadow palette for Brown Eyes – the taupe and celadon blended
Cover Girl – LashBlast mascara in Rich Black
Maybelline – UltraLiner in Black
L’Oreal – Color Juice Stick in Berry Spritzer

It is tres hot and humid in the DC area, but my office is very chilly. Only way i can get away with layers like this! :)

Monday and Tuesday

No pictures on Monday because I haven’t put up the new mirror, and I drove myself to work early in the AM.

I wore my black jersey sleeveless wrap top with the ruffle trim from Ann Taylor and my ivory tropical wool trousers from Talbots. Freshwater pearl necklace that my sister gave me as a gift and black kitten heel sandals from Banana Republic. Hair curly.

Here is Tuesday:

Attire:
Ann Taylor – Black matte jersey wrap dress
Expres – Red print silk scarf
Sofft – Red patent leather T-straps (I just splurged to get them in black, they are so comfy and cute)

Hair:
Next day
Blown out semi-straight

Beauty:
Estee Lauder – Nutritious Vita-Mineral Makeup in Intensity 2.0
Nars – Blush in Orgasm
Revlon – ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis, ColorStay lipcolor in Rich Raisin
Maybelline – UltraLiner in Black
Cover Girl – lashBlast mascara in Rich Black

Thursday

Attire:
Talbots – Black jersey wrap dress
Sofft – Black suede Mary Janes
Ann Taylor – Silver and crystal necklace
Silver necklaces, cuff and hoops

Hair:
Next day
Straightened with round brush and dryer on dry hair

Beauty:
Body Shop – Vitamin E Face Mist to prep/hydrate the skin
L’Oreal – True Match foundation in C3
Stila – Illuminating Tinted Moisturizer (the two mixed together)
Philosophy – The Supernatural Color Correctors in Light
Nars – Blush in Orgasm
Revlon – ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis (just the ivory)
Maybelline – UltraLiner in Black
Cover Girl – LashBlast mascara iN Rich Black
Clinique – Long Wear lipstick in Beauty

This is the same dress as my navy print one. I liked the other one so much, I went back and found it in black AND for less than $30! Seriously, Talbots is having some ridiculous sale items right now. I also got some ivory flannel wool trousers in a very classic cut for less than $20, originally $148. They are five pounds away from fitting well, and for that price I figured I could break my rule of buying things I do not yet fit into.

Ask Allie: The Perfect Black Pump

Dear Allie,
Could you please recommend some specific black pumps that could make good staples? I like cute shoes but also sometimes walk up to 2-3 miles in the course of a work day (between walking to/from the bus, stepping out for lunch, etc) and would like to find a shoe that I can wear all the time without getting blisters, twisting an ankle, etc.
Thanks,
Emily

I think a pair of black pumps just like this are such a must for most women’s wardrobes! You can pair with skirts, dresses, pants and even some capris; they can be worn to your cousin’s wedding, a job interview, or a night out on the town. Such a shoe staple makes most sense if they can be walked in all day (or danced in all night!). Here’s some suggestions I have found online:

If you read Wardrobe Oxygen, you know I am a major fan off Sofft shoes. They are stylish yet incredibly comfortable and well-made. I have sandals that are several years old, have worked very hard yet still look great and I know I can wear them all day and through the night without any pain.

These pumps from Sofft are a very classic style – nice round toe to keep your tootsies comfortable, cushioned footbed, and a thicker heel to give stability and to better disperse body weight. These shoes come in Narrow, Regular, Wide, and Double Wide so there should be a great fit for anyone! (currently on sale for $58.90 on Nordstrom)


I have a pair of Cole Haan Air shoes and they are utterly amazing. They have Nike technology in them so they are more cushioned, flexible and wearable than similarly-styled shoes. My booties from Cole Haan are a high pointy heel, yet I can wear them for 12 hours without any pain.

These pumps from Cole Haan’s Air line are such a perfectly classic style. 2.5” stacked heel, rounded toe, free of any details that will make them passé in a year. Cole Haan Air shoes usually come with a strategically cushioned insole, flexible leather and rubber sole, and smart technology to place the heel where it can disperse body weight the best. They aren’t cheap shoes, but they are so well crafted and elegant, they can be a wardrobe favorite for a decade. ($197.95)


I am a big fan of pointed toe pumps. As someone with chubby feet, I feel they actually give my toes more space and are structured to normally be more flexible and wide than classic almond shapes. This classically elegant shoe by Ivanka Trump reminds me of my uber-comfortable pointed-toe kitten heels from Nine West. This is a shoe that will look great with trousers as well as a dress, and the pointed toe and slim heel makes them dress up with ease.

The reviews show that many find them to be very comfortable and a great wardrobe staple. ($119.95)

Naturalizer does a great job of marrying comfort with style. These shoes are not exception. They look very similar to many popular brands, but have the great Naturalizer quality and fit. The slight platform of the Lennox keeps them on trend, while also minimizing the height and discomfort of the heels. Signature N5 construction and padded insole will keep you comfy all day or night. ($78.95)


Another adorable pointed-toe kitten heel pump. So glad this silhouette is back en vogue – it’s feminine yet totally wearable all day. Available in patent or regular leather, these shoes will be a style you will keep continuing to reach for with each ensemble.

It’s rare to find a pair of shoes on Zappos that has a 5-star rating, but the Diema Pump has just that from 68 different reviewers. Says a lot for the quality and comfort of these shoes. ($89.00 at Calvin Klein website)

Readers, what say you? What are your favorite brand of classic black pumps?

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Thursday

Dressing in the dark – I got to work at 6:45am this morning.  Blech.  Pictures taken at the bathroom at work.

Super big scarf from H&M, black merino short-sleeved dress from Banana Republic over dark straight jeans from NYDJ, gray shoes from Miz Mooz, silver hoops and cuff, hair in messy updo, makeup basic, with Bare Escentual Buxom Eyeliner in Leatherette (love it!).
The shoes:

I have worn them before, totally adore them.  Surprisingly comfortable too!

Will be another early day tomorrow, think I will be wearing my white gauzy peasant top from Old Navy with my Seven jeans.  If it’s warmer than today, I will wear with my brown croco Carlina heels from Sofft.  If not, might wear these shoes again!

I am considering upgrading my cell phone.  I currently have an “old school” cell phone – it does everything that I need – takes pictures, I can text, get calls.  My plan is a reasonable price – I never go over minutes, have unlimited texts.  I don’t have picture texts (have to pay for each) and don’t have Web features (canceled that to keep the price low).  Well the phone is starting to get a bit old – doesn’t hold a charge as long as it used to, scratched up.  I find I am texting much more than I used to be – even for work I often have to text and a QWERTY keyboard would make life easier (and texts faster).  I also wonder if I used my cell to check email, I would be on the actual computer less.

So I can get a free phone with my cell provider, but I would have to change plans to accommodate a “fancy” phone.  This would be an increase of $20 a month.  I don’t see any other “old school” phones that are any nicer than the phone I have now so I don’t see the value in upgrading from regular cell to regular cell.  But I don’t know if it’s worth the $20/month to become high-tech and modern with a phone that can surf the Web, hook up to my email account and calendar, have GPS (I don’t have one for my car), blah blah blah…  What’s your opinion?

Who Wants a Year’s Worth of Free Shoes?

When I feel bad I like to treat myself. Clothes never look any good… food just makes me fatter… shoes always fit.
-Rose Feller, from the movie In Her Shoes

It’s true, no matter what size we are, we can usually find a pair of fabulous footwear to make us feel sassy, feminine, powerful and pretty. No other accessory can transform a look, or the wearer with such intensity.

Footprints International free shoesReader Jacqueline recently told me about a company she is part of – Footprints International. We have all been exposed to the at-home parties for Pampered Chef, Partylite, and even I used to even be a consultant for The Body Shop at Home. Those parties are fun because you get to sip cocktails with your girlfriends while shopping or playing with gadgets or beauty products. Well imagine if you could have a shoe store come to your home? Well Footprints International allows you to do just that.

Jacqueline is having the most fabulous contest going on right now, and I just had to share it all with you:

Footprints International wants to know, in 200 words or less, why you adore your shoes. What is it about wearing a fabulous pair of shoes that excites you, makes you feel beautiful, or puts a smile on your face? All contest entries will begin: “I adore my shoes because. . .”

The Grand Prize winner will receive 12 pairs of fabulous Footprints International Shoes – yes, that’s the equivalent of a pair a month for a year with special surprise bonuses throughout the year. The Grand Prize winner will also receive a special shoe gift arrangement filled with shoe goodies.

The First Prize winner will receive six pairs of Footprints International Shoes, plus a gift arrangement; and Second Prize winner will receive three pairs of shoes, plus a gift arrangement. All pairs of shoes are at a value of up to $50.00 each. The Contest ends at 11:59:59 P.M. PT on March 31, 2008. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY.

To enter, visit our website at http://www.footprintsinternational.com/. Please indicate her name (Jacqueline) at the end of your entry. As our special gift to you, for entering our contest, you will receive a 20% discount on your next purchase from Footprints International. See complete rules for this contest at http://www.footprintsinternational.com/.

For more information about Footprints International, stop by Jacqueline’s blog, Give a Shoe Party. Good luck to all who enter!

UPDATE:
Footprints International has extended the contest deadline to April 16th. Winners will still be announced on May 1st.