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Monday, July 28, 2008

Rise of the House of Ugg.

A couple-few years ago when Ugg put forth their Baby Blue and Baby Pink Classic Boots and Oprah added them to her Summer List, the fashion world came slightly unhinged in a mad, avaricious scrabble to claw them up and parade about in pastel sheepskin. Uggs were the new narcotic; those softly shapeless moonboots with the fleece on the inside were everywhere, in every weather.

And then they were gone. A season changed and so did the style. Those fluffy boots in baby colors vanished overnight. Ugg seemed down but, as we'd find, far from out.

The renaissance began about a year ago when Ugg opened flagship stores in Chicago, New York and Montreal. Flagship stores. (yes -- plural!) For Uggs. Clearly there was more to these purveyors of sheepskin than we'd suspected. Approach fall of 2008 and with it, a deluge of new styles in updated, more adult colors and styles.

The tall Classic is back in a troika of grays, along with some house-happy Cozy slippers and moccassins.

We were particularly impressed with the Cove style. With a shorter legging, thong ties, shearling edges and welted rubber sole, this bootie has Minnetonka stylings and, we think, better performance in sloshy weather. Plus, that color? Fieldstone? Sold. (Also available in Toast and Black.)

But not everyone is. Even amongst our staff we have our Ugg partisans and the rebel alliance committed to "heels or not leaving the house." The pro-Ugg contingent espouse the Ugg's comfort, their warmth in winter and cool relief in summer (-30F to +80F according to the official website), their supreme easiness. The protesters, too, point to their supreme easiness, citing Uggs as an enabler of the poorly put-together. To which the Ugg-friendly reply well at least we're comfortable and not so stuck-up and then the Ugg-uneasy say well at least our boyfriend didn't dump us at Christine's party last Saturday and then someone throws a piece of leftover birthday cake from the breakroom and it's a time-out for everybody.

So we may as well ask you:

No matter what your opinion (or ours), we think this season's collection is the strongest we've seen (especially that Cove, calling to us with it's Siren song in the boot aisle ... ) And speaking of sailors, we'll leave you with this little tidbit. (He must be a fan ... we're pretty sure he's wearing the black Kohalas).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Back in Black (and Blue)

Yes, we really are going to recommend you wear black and blue together. In fact we're a little bit peeved that Vogue beat us to the punch in the August issue. These dark and stormy hues are big news for fall and with a little moxy you can pull it off.

The retiring coolness of a rich blue and the flatness of the black are going to push and pull against each other, forming a marvelous core tension around which to base a look. Browns, taupes and neutrals are hot with these shoe colors. Grays? A miracle.

Just look at Pour La Victoire's "Ophelie." This is a brilliant shoe. It has a soft, deep indigo suede body clad in the hard shell of black patent with sawtooth edges. A winged captoe with punching is a nod to the spectator trend. Triple patent straps with sueded buttons feel modern, but also remind us of frogged military jackets. And a four-inch, wrapped leather heel makes them just plain sexy.

The spectator and military aspects give this shoe a masculine spirit that makes it ideal under a wideleg wool pinstripe dress pant in black, navy, gray or taupe with a smartly tailored white blouse. We also have visions of the Ophelie paired with a sexy pencil skirt in gray. (And may we recommend Bill Cunningham's slide essay on New York City pencil skirts?)

You can take this in a similar direction with shoes that balance the two hues. Jessica Bennett's Jilt in Blue Patent is such a deep lacquered blue that it shifts into fathomless blacks as the light plays off its gloss.

The concept of "black" is made deeper by the punchy richness of the navy, a sense of depth reinforced by the patent coat. Blacks on their own can be mercurial - some warm, some cool. They tend to flatten and turn green under lights. Blues keep things dark and vibrant, sometimes looking more lustrous and "black" than the black itself.

Blue and black combinations are the slant rhymes of outfit co-ordination. They don't quite dovetail and this mismatch resonates. That gap between them is exactly the kind of sprezzatura we love -- it signals your confident ability to put together a knock-out ensemble, to be just a touch off and therefore right on target.

Lori's in the News: ShopWalk

Lori's -- online, in-store -- is no stranger to crowds. (It's a common misconception that Milton coined the term "Pandemonium" for Satan née Lucifer's new digs once kicked out of heaven; we think it's more apropos of the Armitage store on a Saturday afternoon.) However, we are bracing ourselves: the ladies of ShopWalk are descending and they're bringing determined shoppers and the folks at NBC along for the ride.

The brainchild of Chicago entrepreneur Danielle Lutz, ShopWalk is an urban safari of local boutiques and independent retailers that is no callow endeavor. Michigan Avenue and chain stores are strictly verboten, emphasis being placed on the small, the unique, the tucked-away. Shops are researched, routes are planned, agendas created and deposits taken. Groups meet in a local cafe to discuss their plan of attack and then? The attack.

Guided tours mean no maps, no lost ways and plenty of time to concentrate on the shopping. Stores participate with day-long discounts, champagne, hors d'oeuvre and plenty of personal attention. Lutz likewise acts as personal stylist to her group, transforming a shopping trip into a lifestyle revamp.

And Lori's is on the list. We're spiffing up the place, straightening boxes and rearranging the merch. Our floor staff is running drills and we're icing down the beverages. In short, we'll put our best foot forward (probably in a cute pump) and ready ourselves for the professionals.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Some Spaghetti, Some Western: Laredo

Americans may have writ themselves a Manifest Destiny, but the Italians have proven themselves great copyeditors. Hell, if Amerigo Vespucci hadn't mapped the coast when he did, who knows what we'd be called (The Cortézians? The United States of León?). Speaking of, westerns weren't Westerns until Sergio Leone's off-shore "spaghetti westerns" mythologized and codified our love affair with the Wild West.

Now they've done it again: Italian line Laredo has taken our well-worn and much-loved boot styles like the campus and harness and tweaked them ever just so to reinvent a classic.

The 8359 in black leather (shown) or taupe suede is a motorcycle/harness boot extraordinary. The basic shape is unchanged -- 1-1/4" heel, calf-length shaft to protect from hot exhaust pipes, harness rigging over the vamp -- but Laredo added masterful touches: a bellows at top with cinches makes slipping these on easier while emphasizing rough and ready bike couture. They've also rounded out the toe, more NDC than Frye, for a boot with more fashion focus. Plenty of halter rings and judicious studs keep this boot aggressive and seductive.

A final hidden touch: the sole is stamped with the Japanese alphabet in red. Makes us think "Yojimbo," and then we get to thinking of "A Fistful of Dollars." Leone would be proud.

The 8349 (high heel) and the 8207 styles (low heel) dance around the classic campus boot, the 8349 being a touch more true to the Frye original, a style popular from the start of the Civil War to Neo-Tokyo in 2019. Laredo has again left the basics -- high-calf shaft, rounded toe, higher heel -- alone and focused on details: a belted leg opening and a distressed, wrinkled leather treatment that invites touching. The suede version is equally as tactile and supple.

If heels aren't your thing this season, the 8207s give you the same boot height with a flatter, 1-1/4" heel and a decorative outseam with pulls. Available in brown and taupe suede.

And the best part? Laredo is exclusively available at Lori's.

SALE: Armitage Sidewalk Sale

Spectacular Savings!
(on less-than-spectacular sellers.)
some things from this year, some from last.

What: The annual Armitage-Halsted-Webster Sidewalk Sale
When: Saturday, July 19th and Sunday, July 20th
Time: Saturday: 10am - 6pm and Sunday, 12 - 5pm

Save up to 70% on spring and summer styles. This sale is not cash-only.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

SALE: Lincolnshire Store


Large selection of shoes as low as $5!
Handbags and Jewelry at blow-out prices!

10:30 – 5:30

12:00 – 5:00

Sale is not cash only.

Monday, July 14, 2008

SALE: Northfield Location

Lori's Sidewalk Sale in Northfield

Spectacular Savings!
(on less-than-spectacular sellers.)
some things from this year, some from last.

Thursday, Friday, Saturday
July 17th, 18th and 19th

Store Hours: Thursday: 10-6, Friday 10-5:30, Saturday: 10:00 - 5:30.
Shoes from $5 - $30. Cash only. All sales final.

Northfield location only
311 Happ Road

Northfield, IL 60093



Nevermind the Prynnes, We're Co-Responding.

We know them over here as spectators, but the English, with acid aplomb call them “co-respondents,” the 19th-century legal term for the fellow-adulterer in divorce cases. Since adultery was typically the most expedient, albeit publicly messy, way to obtain a divorce, something of a cottage industry of slick, dapper men oozed into being. A spectacle indeed.

The archetypal spectator is a high-contrast, two-toned affair, often made of calfskin and a breathable mesh or suede. John Lobb claimed to have first invented them, but it was the Duke of Windsor who elevated the style to fashion status, no doubt for their slick, jazzy balance of the formal and the casual. With this kind of pedigree it's not surprising to find the WASPish spectator a favorite of golfers, swells and the white shoe crowd in the Gatsby Era, with resurgences in the boomtime ‘50s, the Wall Street ‘80s and again today.

While on this side of the pond we not talking from Dimmesdales and Prynnes, we will declare the spectator pump a hot style for fall. Taking the best of the men's original – wingtip punching, bold two-toned leathers and suedes – and adding feminine touches – stacked wood heels, peeptoes, softer, more subtle palettes and ribbon – these new shoes co-opt the shoe's sleazy and dandy masculine legacy into a newly modern, feminine form. The look is an nod to wealth, scandal and prep of the traditionally male style to add some depth and complexity to your outfit.

So how should you wear it? Knowingly. Play off the naughty heritage and jazzy slicksterism of this look. This look is rooted in history; acknowledge it! Consider the shoe colors your ensemble's foundation. Your clothing will build off the shoe color. Use accessories to pick up the shoe colors for a put-together look. A period cameo would be a master stroke.

Since a lot of this season’s picks are color-on-color, you should also consider the texture difference. Pick up on the shoe's history by incorporating other traditionally male fabrics: pinstripes, high-twist wools, waistcoats, hornrims or a dashing chapeau.(This isn't to say you should go out looking like an extra from Express Yourself; a little goes a long way.)

Jeffrey Campbell Tombo in Ivory $148
The Tombo (available in three colorways) is a remarkable shoe. A chunky, four-inch wooden heel for height, and four-color (including insole) upper for spectacle. The Tombo has a fin-de-siecle boating flavor (think Becky Sharp at the Crystal Palace) with it's warm tans and bone ivory paired up with a smart fuschia lining. The grosgrain laces are a nice touch.

Try a fuschia dress or top to pull out the lining color, or push-and-pull the high-key colors with some dark jeans and a crisp white blouse. Boater's straw hat optional, but recommended (mostly for the grosgrain hatband).

Corso Como's Carson in Black/Bone $136
The Carson comes closest to the traditional black-and-white two-tone of old. Subtle shifts keep it feminine: the mellow ivory, a small peeptoe, the mary jane strap and a sleek, sculpted wedge. A small rhinestone is set into the center of the sole for a flashy walk in the sun.

Pair these with wideleg, high-waisted, wool pinstripe dress pants and a smartly tailored buttondown. Pop in some color with a skinny red patent belt.

Vaneli's Klodina in Brown Suede $90
This milk chocolate brown suede pump picks up style points with its burnished, perforated sawtooth panels. The Magic Shell gloss of the leather works great against the soft, chalky nap of the suede.

This shoes makes us think white, billowy dresses. Maybe a peasant top to play against those sharp edges. We also see small, bright pops of color in earrings, rings, dress patterns, working well. A judicious shade of dove gray or blue-black working marvelously with these.

Franco Sarti's Ability in Grey $76
The Ability is a t-strap translation of the spectator in soft, warm grey. A black sole and dark grey patent band define a cute peeptoe. Wingtip perforations across the patent and t-strap. The heel cup and 3-1/4" heel are also wrapped in dark grey patent.

This shoe is all about the perfect pedicure. The grey surround will compliment a range of colors and the patent's gloss will magnify your glossy toes. The cutway sides and t-straps promote long legs under a red, navy or white skirt. This would also work well with a slim-cut business suit with long-tailored capri pants, hornrims and a traditional calfskin briefcase.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Pumps for the Pump

Well, here we are. Oil’s threatening to pass $150 a barrel and a trip to the gas station has become a one-hundred-dollar splurge. Heightened transportation costs have sent commodity foodstuffs like corn, soy, milk and coffee beans spiraling ever upwards, making everything from cornflakes to lattes more expensive. With the buzz-o-meter set to “Peak Oil” and the G-8 warning about a global economic downturn, we start to free-associate something like: no fuel > wars > no fuel > riots > no food > Soylent Green (> Snake Plissken?) > “The Road.”

So out of concern for your mental wellbeing in this time of global crisis, we at Lori’s decided to do what we do best: sell you really cute, affordable shoes.

Since buying gas will shortly cost more than table service at your standard, over-hyped, shiny-shirt nightclub (and until they start running cars on Effen), going to the gas station won’t be a pretty experience … unless we make it one.

The following collection of pumps are simply meant for the pump. If we’ve got to pay a fortune, let’s at least look our best. Let’s treat that grungy old station like a place befitting a $100 cover. We may be drained of money, and the earth of oil, but we have our style, damnit. And the best part? These honeys are priced at less than a barrel of oil.

Black Gold: Calvin Klein’s Dolly $80
This straightforward black leather pump is perfect for the petrol station (and the office if you are looking for versatility). The classic silhouette boasts some beguiling details like a cleanly tapered three-inch heel and a padded gold leather insole. A pointed (but not pointy) toe give these a contemporary feel that will work well under jeans or with a pleated skirt.

A barrel of oil was this cheap in: September, 2007

Texas T-strap: Max Studio’s Zebra $146
Like a panhandle geyser of awl this four-inch heel will rocket you to glamorous new heights and we love, love, love the cute little rounded snub toe. The double t-strap reminds us of the yuan which, of course, reminds us of China’s controlling stake in our economy! Hey, it’s ok! It’s our own fault for spend-spend-spending! At least it’s fun! Ah, the ties that bind … also suitable with a knee-length skirt or short dress in a bold op-art pattern.

A barrel of oil was almost this much in: July, 2008

High Octane: Max Studio’s Xplore $164
We’d tear roustabouts and roughnecks into five easy pieces for a chance to wear these shoes. Like Varvatos’s take on Converse, the eyelets here are as necessary as triglyphs on the Acropolis, which is to say very, but not in a functional sense. This near-shootie comes in charcoal black but finishes in a light sweet crude black peeptoe for subtle color contrast.

We had best see you wearing these to the nearest Citgo, unfolding yourself from your black Passion Cabriolet wearing the whitest lacy blouse you can find with some seriously oversized sunglasses, preferably plastic.

A barrel of oil will probably cost this much in: September, 2008

Slicker than the Valdez: Oh Deer!’s Serena $130
How can we pick pumps for the pump without including patent leather … with a gold snakeskin heel? Are you kidding us?? Patent leather, originally a linseed oil-based coating, was replaced with plastic processes. Where does plastic come from? Natch. (We’re so on-message!)

Beyond themes, we love this shoe: glossy as the water on a Lake Erie boat dock, the punchy gold of the animal print-stamped heel is a real eye-grabber. Plus, we saw the pattern on the insole at an onsen in Takayama which gave just the greatest foot massage we’ve ever had. The rounded split toe has just the right amount of snub and lift. You are guaranteed cute feet in this one.

Wear these at your cubicle desk with a monotone tailored look and some ‘50s-era, black-plastic, sexy librarian hornrims while watching this. (Hey, we know he’s nuts, but anyone who calls W. Mr. Danger and controls 11% of our oil supply gets a nod.)

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Sidewalk Sale!

We love the Internets, but they are sadly lacking in sidewalks, which are by far the best place to get a great summer sale deal. Fortunately Lori's has real, offline stores with sidewalks aplenty.

Here are two that promise to have great shoes at fantastic prices:

Thursday, July 10th through Sunday, July 13th
Doors open at 10am on Thursday.

Friday, July 11th through Saturday, July 12th
Doors open at 10am on Friday.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Hello, My Website Is ...

Jeffrey Campbell, who has owned our hearts and filled our shoe trees, is now scattered across our Bookmarks thanks to the launch of stage 1 of jeffreycampbellshoes.com.

Long a holding page cool in its own right, the site has burst into a new and edgier look: color-saturated and overprocessed photography lends a rich grit like a mouthful of sparkling carborundum, but a spare design and engaging, personable writing keep it engaging and earnest.

The site will not be -- refuses to be -- e-commerce-enabled. (Sorry, friends, you'll still have to come to us for your fix.) What it will do is promulgate its brand, which is something we can get behind: We love Jeffrey Campbell for its honest and glee-filled approach to shoemaking and their outspoken support and construction of a style-loving community.

On their site you'll find interviews with Jeffrey Campbell clients, posts of customers displaying mad shoe love, video (soonly) and various giveaway opportunities. We also have to thank the site for introducing us to Muxtape, currently a job-threatening obsession. We haven't made a mix tape since '86; Muxtape brings that DIY musical curation into the digital sphere ... and it's even more fun!

Take a look and come right back to let us know what you think!

Tano Bag Giveaway

What's that you say? A free Tano bag? Sign me up! Lori's has teamed up with her friends over at Toutie to giveaway three Tano bags over several weeks through a random giveaway. These are great bags with a bit of zing to their look in bright melon orange or yellow. A different style or color will be given away each week.

(full disclosure: this contest is on its second bag; the first one was offered exclusively on Toutie, the remaining two are available through Toutie and Lori's Shoes. End disclosure.)

What's the catch? None, save the randomness of chance and the odds of winning against the screaming hordes of the fashion-savvy. No purchase necessary and entry does not guarantee winnings, but you will be added to our mailing list to get the word about future contests (you can unsubscribe at any time but, really, why would you want to?). Watch this page for updates on new products to be given away.

Good Luck!

For larger sizes, visit Barefoot Tess Barefoot Tess for larger sizes.