Posts Tagged ‘Frye’

Who else is shopping this weekend?  It turns out, I’m not the only one who likes to “catch and release” at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.  Nordstrom’s fair return policy means you can buy things and take them back later (within reason  — I have a friend who was scolded for trying to “rent clothes” for returning a worn jacket.) This means you can score your sizes at the beginning of the sale, go home and think about it or try everything on with outfits, and then make up your mind later. Works great for me since I live out of town.
Julie and Jennie are both in Seattle, looking for boots.  They have great taste and know what they like, so check them out.  Julie got three, plans to return two and order her favorite (Frye Jane) in two colors:
 Julie’s Boots

Julie got: Frye 'Jane' Tall Boot, in taupe and in black

Sam Edelman — beautiful, and this over-the-knee look would be amazing on Julie who is Very Tall . . . but return because of heel height? 

Sam Edelman 'Sutton' Over the Knee Boot

Steven by Steve Madden (is  this a BP [teen] Brand?) .  . . Julie probably will return: These hit right at knee bend for me. The leather quality isn’t great–I think these are single-season boots. But I love the 21″ shaft with a flat heel for under $200.. . .

Steven by Steve Madden 'Sabra' Over the Knee Boot, taupe

 Jennie’s Boots

here’s what Jennie picked . . . she’s got a similar boot vibe as Julie, but under-the-knee as opposed to the taller ones.  This makes sense for Jennie, who is a petiter kind of gal. 

Jennie got: "lovely and comfortable" Via Spiga 'Cristie' Riding Boot

Jennie says "the bomb - super comfy even with the heel. " -- Børn Crown 'Yolanda' Mid Calf Boot

Jennie says "not so comfy and while cute, less versatile so goes back." -- Charles by Charles David 'Regiment' Lace-Up Boot

What does Jennie wear her boots with?

I wear the skinny jeans and i wear skirts a lot of the time. I probably wouldn’t wear tall boots with “trousers” but then I don’t generally wear nice work trousers and when I do I have some ankle boots with a heel i wear.  Even if you don’t think you look good in skinny jeans, remember that you don’t have to wear them skin-tight and then, once tucked in, the boot adds the “visual weight” that the boot cut or straight leg would have. [If you aren’t too] hippy – i bet you could wear it well! That said, my friend who also won’t wear skinny jeans just wears the boots under jeans and they look fine, especially the type that have buckle detail around the ankle.

Anyone else?


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Thinking of buying a Little Black Dress? Think again:   

Tadashi Shoji Woven Bodice Silk Chiffon Dress, New Navy

Since I took such a strong stance against black, I thought I’d better follow up with some spectacular alternatives.  I think any uber-dark color is superior to black, but right now my favorite is the Little Blue Dress. 

I know they say every woman needs a Little Black Dress.  But seriously, please.  Do we? Do you? how often do you wear a cocktail dress? If it’s less than once a year, maybe you’re better off buying something fresh next time you have a cocktaily-type thing to attend.  It’s depressing (trust me) to try to resurrect a ten-year-old black dress that, let’s be honest, you “settled” for in the first place — because at least it was black, and therefore supposedly being safe, stylish, and versatile. The only problem being that you (and by “you” I mean “me”) don’t like it much. Why wear something you don’t like much because it’s black?

It is an outdated belief that black is “basic” and always appropriate.  In fact, when I think of a party packed with women wearing black cocktail dresses, I don’t think “chic,” I think “1990’s.” And no one right now — No. One. — should be going for a look that says 1990’s.   

Yes, the stores are full of black things.   No, you don’t need to buy them.  If you are shopping these days, here are my ideas.  They’ll even match all the black stuff that’s already in your closet.    

 If it’s time for a new suit — job interview, promotion, funeral — remember, black is LESS versatile and less of a sure investment. It is less flattering.  Black doesn’t easily roll into weddings or graduations.  Gray is softer.  Easier to break it up and wear the jacket with a variety of dresses. And it is just as conservative as black.  Trust me:     

Ted Baker 'Meriado' Wool Blend Herringbone Jacket, Nordstrom

If you are tempted to buy a Basic Black Pump (to go with your black-or-neutral suit or dress), don’t.  I suggest a Basic Nude Pump.  These are neutral, conservative, and if you can match your skin tone, your legs look longer (if this is too weird for you, look for inky dark blues and grays).

BCBGeneration 'Tinas' Platform Pump (Nordstrom Exclusive), $89.95, Nordstrom

  If you are tempted to buy Sexy Black Sandals — for evening, to dress up a skirt or dress for a night out, or with summery linen trousers — please don’t.  Try Sexy Textured/Animal Print sandals:   

Donald J Pliner 'Asby' Sandal in "sand," $185

 If you need a swimsuit, and think a black one will make you look smaller or even hopefully disappear, you are wrong. Consider a pretty print that makes you smile, or a color you genuinely love.  Invisibility isn’t going to happen, so be realistic: aim to feel pretty and confident so you don’t mind when they do.  Print and color can work wonders with this:   

Flower Ruffle Swimsuit, Green Candy Floral, $68.00 at Boden USA

Piped V-Neck Tankini, $69.95, Junonia

  Do not buy black flats. Especially in summer.  If you’re shopping for cute, comfy dress up/down shoes to go from work to weekend, buy them in color:Born Peony in radish, $76.50 at Zappos   

If you’re warm enough to look for pretty flat sandals — for a vacation, lunch, afternoon at the movies or museum? Don’t buy black ones. Especially in gladiators.  If you’re going to do strappy, I vote you make it gold. It’s a great, summery Romanesque look.  It adds interest to shorts or denim and easily dresses up to go with skirts and dresses:    

Kenneth Cole Reaction Glam Master in gold, $39.95

If you think a black coat will go with everything and be flattering, think again.  I love bright, rich colors for dress up and denim or pleather for casual wear:   

Jessica Simpson Satin Trench Topper, $69. Also in buttercup, ivory, orange, cobalt, iris (and black).

Light wash cropped denim jacket, $98, Banana Republic

And lastly . . . if you are shopping for Little Black Ankle Boots this fall? please buy these. I can’t afford them:     

Frye Carson Shortie in Smoke Leather, $318



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When asked about gladiator sandals, my first thought was, “aren’t those over yet?” Gladiator sandals debuted around 2006 (the earliest reference I’ve found, from the TopShop Fashion-Era site in 2006, is from the U.K.) The first New Gladiator Sandals were fairly literal: brown leather, a high (above the shin bone) “caged” double-T-strap ankle buckle, multiple straps across the instep.  And a high heel.            

When in Rome

Photo: "Roman Military Equipment" second edition, by M.C. Bishop and J.C.N. Coulston, published by Oxbow Books, 2006.

By 2008, gladiators were everywhere even though they were, admittedly, not pretty.  Fabsugar Trend Alert called them “masculine and daring” and  Manolo Shoe Blogs  said they’re the “most muy macho of ancient feetwear.”  They were recommended only to the tiniest of feminine young women in no danger of getting mistaken for an actual gladiator (Gwyneth Paltrow). These sandals went for authentic and ancient, with dark leather, flat soles as if hand-hewned from animal hide on the battlefield, and lots of brass studs and buckles forged by Vulcan himself.  Some 2008 observers said the style was on its way out (act quick and buy cheap!) while others gave up and joined the trend.  Like Shoe Sense at Shoeblog, who said it well:      

I stayed away from gladiators because they tend to “cut” the foot from your leg, often with bulky plates and multiple ankle straps, and disrupt the natural lines and the illusion of “elongated” that I so direly need to create. Which is to say, I’ve often thought that unless you’ve got wispy legs like a runway model, why, those gladiators are likely to turn you into the spitting image of [Gladiators]. And that’s not a good look for me, is all I’m saying.             


Also? Ugly.  But by 2009, Gladiator Sandals were “here to stay,” according to Runway Daily.   The challenge now, according to  experts like allgladiatorsandals.com,   is how to keep them current.  Real Women Wear Heels also capitulated to the style,  with good updates and examples.       

Today, gladiators are no longer a style of shoe.  The Gladiator has been broken down into a set of motifs, integrated over many styles.   A t-strap, ankle strap, multiple straps.  Extra buckles, extra brads.  Gladiators with a flat heel (like a real gladiator) or in a high heel (so edgy! Could a real gladiator do this?) Sandals for everyone, unless you hate this stuff.  Good luck avoiding it. For everyone else, here are Ten Gladiator Examples, 2010.      

 1. The Purist.  Flat, strappy, simple.  This gold sandal by Born incorporates all typical elements (5 straps, 2 buckles).  Gold is good — brown or black (ugh) would be boring and dated.  This one is casual enough for weekends but could dress up with skirts for evening.  I do still worry that flat heel and high ankle would make my legs look stump.  Borns are a great value and comfy:     


Born, $95

2. The Minimalist.  Take a few elements, pare them down until you have the Essence of Gladiator.  These become delicate instead of bulky, primitive by virtue of their spare minimalism.  Does this make them more Greek than Roman? Cole Haan does these .  Perfect for a warm evening date night, or elegant but casual sightseeing.  Art Walk Shoes!  The innovative floating heel, angled instep straps and beautiful braid make them chic and current:    

I want this shoe

Delicate braid straps, floating heel, no thong, diaganol instep. Cole Haan Air Phoebe, $168.

3. Funky Dress-up Shoes.  The Hot Trend of 2010 is Embellishment. I read that somewhere.  This wedge is a gorgeous sea green.  The studs are badass, but they they are flowers, which is awesome.  T-strap + studs + military-style thong = Gladiator!  This is Carlos by Carlos Santana, “the Shoes that Make Me Wish I Were Someone Else.”       

I want to BE Carlos Santana

Wedge with embellished t-strap in teal, Carlos by Carlos Santana, $99

 4. Ugly Boring Faux-Glads. Watch out for this.  Sometimes when a trend is too challenging, we join in half-heartedly. We stay so close to our comfort zone that we end up with lame shoes that don’t know who they are or what they want to be.  These are barely strappy with one depressing stud.  Just give up, shoe.        

My Grandma wore these in 1988

Bass Margie, $39. Yawn.

5. Ankle cuffs.  Then there’s the style that’s so ridiculous, we all think “it’s a joke, right? They are testing us to see if we are so trendy we’ll pay for something objectively ugly just to prove, by virtue of its ugliness, that we do fashion.” Cynicism, meet Ankle Cuff.  These are shin-protectors just like Playmobil Gladiators.  This will make short legs look shorter.  If any of you are seriously considering these? Remember that this kind of extreme “trend” does not update an old outfit.  It demands a new one. You might want to pass if you are over 20. You also might want to move to Los Angeles.         

Playmobil Chic Ankle cuff faux-thong, flat with open heel. Dessert by Type Z, $76.21


6.  Huarache sandals, too.  how did these sneak in there?  They are Frye, they are green, they are in the current Nordstrom catalogue.  That’s Shoe Cred.  SO: behold. I think they look like the same lame old huaraches I’ve always avoided. The double ankle-strap with two buckles makes you ready for some Lady or The Tiger action.  

Kayla by Frye Kayla by Frye, $148

7. The Figure 8. Like the evolved skeletons of birds*, some gladiator sandals have undergone a fusion: Where there once were parallel straps over the instep, there are now bending, angled twirls. For example, the “Figure-8.” Because of the angle, the ankle strap is lower on the foot and ends in a V — more flattering for short legs. This look was on American Idol, ergo it is cool. If you love this one, let’s go find cheap ones. I just loved the Michael Kors too much to ignore. Such pretty articulation of the studs, great buckle location (even that will make the leg look longer), very cool heel.  

Aubrey Michael Kors Aubrey, $298


8.  Ankle band, Toe Band. In the opposite direction some sandals have only an ankle band and a simple thong (Via Spiga does this in gold, over-the-toe). No straps, no buckles, just simple.  See what’s happening?  It says “ancient” because of the ankle action and the chain embellishment.  But it took the look in an entirely different direction.  Deconstruction!  This is a gorgeous color (did I do too much blue today?) Steve Madden is a go-to brand if you want to dabble in a quick trend. Current, pretty, not too expensive.         

Steven Madden

9.   Simple T-Strap Thongs.   I could wear this.  See how the lower ankle strap makes a V? That draws the eye down, elongates the leg, and softens the otherwise-severe effect of ankle straps.  Instead of pounding us with visual repetition, it’s like a little poem.  A little song about a gladiator.  The t-strap is crazy thin, like a leather necklace that Mark Anthony made for Cleopatra and then she made it into a shoe.  I am so crazy for big funky jewels on my sandals this summer, but honestly?  When they are cheap, they look cheap. When they are hefty, authentic stones, they are not cheap.  Love this.         

I want this one for real

T-strap, double-ankle strap with closed heels and contrast stone embellishment: "Glint" by Charles David. $144.95 at Nordstrom

10. The End. Did I say I’d do ten? Well I’d better quit while I’m ahead, and leave room for Russell Crowe and dinosaurs (see below).    

Shoes? What Shoes?

The contemporary idea of Gladiator sandals comes from "Sword and Sandal" filmes. Starting with Cabiria in 1914 and more recently embodied (above) by Russell Crowe.

*Birds are often considered to be the only vertebrates with a fused collarbone — the wishbone.  The keel of the sternum serves as an attachment site for the muscles used for flight.  Some extinct animals — in particular, theropod dinosaurs — also had wishbones.  Check this out the next time you see a T. rex skeleton!   

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