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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A Penny for Your Thoughts

School's in and so are collegiate fashions as preppy looks score high marks this fall. This is fine by us. There's something about the classically conservative styling of Ivy League-inspired togs that's so ... workable. These time-tested styles are a great foundation on which to build an outfit and capitalize on fall trends. We've picked some fall college-inspired styles for you to work with.

The Penny Loafer
Pop quiz: How cute is this shoe? Answer: (a) supercute. Continuing the menswear trends this fall (spectators, workshoes, kilties, oxford and wingtip details), the penny loafer by Jeffrey Campbell has an adorable rounded toe with a short vamp. Sawtooth edges, patent finishes and snakeskin patterning add a more feminine feel. Or not: Enzo Angiolini's Mendoza is a sober penny loafer straight out of the men's department and perfect under a subtle windowpane plaid wool pant for the office.
Wear with dark and neutral leggings like steel greys, chocolate browns or a deep aubergine or burgundy. (Check out HUE's palette.) For the globally engaged college look, accessorize with something a little less conservative, like square fringe scarves in neutral plaids with kiffeyeh styling. For cooler days bundle up with a heavier weight cable-knit scarf in classic ivory.

The Mary Jane
The Mary Jane pump is a great fall trend and the O, Please by Gentle Souls with its clean lines, rounded edges and leather-covered button is a great example.

We threw in some cashmere tights by B.ella, an aubergine day bag by Pietro Allesandro that folds into a large clutch for after-school events and topped it off with a slouchy, plaid engineer's cap by San Diego Hat Company. The tights and bag will dress up the shoe, the cap adding a cool riff on the overall color scheme while tapping into this season's plaid addiction.

The Campus Boot
Frye's Campus boot has been a hot commodity ever since the Civil War, though we associate it more strongly with college life in the '60s and '70s. The buttery caramel color of this stacked heel boot is eye-catching without being blatant.

We've paired it with a Mod engineer's cap in a wide, woven herringbone that picks up the boot's color. The grey of the cap works back to the Sterling silver in Wendy Culpepper's Louie organic shape necklace and HUE's knee socks in cobblestone blue. A Carla Mancini shoulder bag and a cute bird keyfob by Livishy add fun period touches.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

A Leg Up

We were idly flipping through the September issues of Vogue and Harper's the other day (ok fine: we pored over them in avaricious, greedy glee, basking in the detailed glory, lost amongst the finery for well over a few hours) and we saw a look we really like: the legging. And, what's more, the legging under the high boot.

This look is a compliment to high boots and over-the-knee styles. Leggings provide a great opportunity to pop in bold color and bridge the gap between boot top and skirt bottom. The sweater dress is another winning top, especially something classically modern like Lutz & Patmos's Omi & Opi Sweater guest-designed by Kirsten Dunst: a long sweater or high-thigh dress perfect for this look.

The look is so easy and so versatile. Pair with a clean, structured top like a short-sleeved peacoat shape or short trench and A-line skirt. Let the tights' color lead down into your boots -- we're seeing such attention to detail and materials this year that the boots will end up carrying your look (literally).

With all the layering going on in long dresses, we were happy to see it extend to the shoe as well - layered leggings are a great way to add some quirk and edge to your look. Pull in some color with HUE's range of tights, find your favorite Gucci-inspired hyper-stud pump and overlay the Calvin Klein toeless knee highs for a new look.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Fall: A Primer

We're running willy-nilly through trends this fall, so we thought we'd pause, catch our breath, and give you a run-down of our favorite fall trends. Keep in mind that a number of shoes this season are under the influence of multiple trends. There's a lot of crossover out there, kids!

1. Peeptoe Shooties & Pumps
The Look: Pumps with coverage up to the ankle with a moderate-to-high heel, often decked with style elements borrowed from men's shoes (wingtip punching, oxford footshape, panel color contrast) and kept feminine with a cute peeptoe front.

Shown: Steven Midory
Exhibits traits of: Peeptoe, shootie, New Wave, pump

2. Spectators/Co-Respondents
The Look: Inspired by the co-defendants in British adultery cases, the Co-Respondent is defined by masculine two-tone styling, wingtip punch patterns and an oxford silhouette. This gets feminized with a heel, softer colorways and details like grosgrain bows, patent leather and that ilk.

Shown: Jeffrey Campbell Tomba
Exhibits traits of: spectator, pump, shootie

3. Equestrian/Calvary (or, Military by Way of Horses)
The Look: Thank endless wars for an ongoing military chic. This season's crop focuses on tall boots with pronounced equestrian detailing like a high front fender, harness details, a mid-height heel and cinching at shaft top. If you don't own any jodhpurs, pair with a skirt of your choice just above the knee to mid-thigh.

Shown: Frye Paige Tall Riding Boot & Progetto C482
Exhibit traits of: equestrian, calvary, hero boots

4. Grunge Chic/New Wave Glam
The Look: Goes two ways. Grunge comes straight out of Seattle Scene revival nostalgia and is a rejiggering of early-'90s work boot/industrial/Goth styles; a prettified Doc Marten. New Wave is a reaction to punk and looks a decade further back to the early '80s -- expect glam versions of Doc Martens and deconstructed, slouchy shoes.

Shown: MIA Dominic
Exhibits traits of: grunge, glam, Doc Martens, New Wave

5. Hero Boots (Over-the-Knee Boots)
The Look: Ultra-romantic boots that hike over the knee or fold down for knee-highs. Reference superheroes, Blackbeard (or, perhaps, Captain Morgan) and 18th-Century aristocrats. Often meant to slouch or scrunch for a casual look, or hike all the way up for a boot that is your look. Wear with shorter skirt/dress to draw attention to the leg between boot and hem, and thus to legs and sexiness in general. Wear brightly colored or patterned tights for a more hermetic, more put-together look.

Shown: Lamica Iride
Exhibits traits of: equestrian, hero boot, over-the-knee, purple-related colors

6. Purple
The Look: Purple is the color of royalty and Heathcliff-style romance passion (think of all those moody moors covered in heather). It's also close enough to black to work with your outfit whilst adding warmth and chroma. Look for it in hues closer to blue than red.

Shown: Pour La Victoire Ophelie
Exhibits traits of: pump, spectator, purple hues

7. Fringe
The Look: An applied-texture look ranging from your typical SF hippie moc style to more Nouveau Riche arriviste stylings taken from golf decor. Ranges from casual to buttoned-up depending on the style of silhouette it's paired to. A versatile option.

Shown: Steven Bijoux & Max Studio Daphne
Exhibit traits of: fringe, pumps, masculine styling, '80s excess, '60s hippie chic

Boots are a Battlefield: A New Wave of Heroes and Shooties

While the grunge chic trends we've covered issue from the muddy banks of the Wishkah and earlier British punk influecnes, a concurrent fall trend grew out of a reaction to punk's early-'80s dominance.

We're talking New Wave; we're talking shooties, hero boots and glam grrrls.

New Wave's distancing from punk pushed it toward an embrace of mod's tailored, even dandyish lines mixed with influences of then-contemporary late '70s-early '80s scenes. The shootie, a mash-up of shoes and boots with the coverage of an ankle boot and a pump's silhouette, fits right in. Steven's Midory is a pitch-perfect example. The deconstructed upper with leather tab and spike heel are lovely. They make us yearn for the old CBGB . The peeptoe is a nice touch. Wear with tights. Who owns this look? Pat Benatar. (Black PVC optional.)

Over-the-knee hero boots are showing up this season, most famously in Christian Louboutin's suede thigh-highs. The look is the murky intersection of Punk, Disco and New Wave with touches of glam, military and romance dominating. We love Lorenzo Masiero's 6730s in chocolate leather. Wear this look with a short skirt or dress, flaps flipped up to cover the knees. Again, tights here in a bright color or pattern will be a bold and brief pizzazz. Who owns this look? Deborah Harry.

Glammed-up combat boots perched atop platforms and lug soles are required uniform for punk/pop crossovers that take the attitude of Brit-punk and run it through American New Wave toward a brighter pop sound. These boots also commandeer a typically masculine style and convert its aggression into sassy feminism. (Girl Power!) We think a dose of Zamagni's 10410s in black patent are in order. The tall shaft sports paratrooper details like a side zipper and harness, all balanced on a 3-1/2" chunky heel and one-inch platform with lugged sole. Who owns this look? Jane Wiedlin of The Go-Go's.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Redacted: In which we correct ourselves.

Recently (read: Tuesday) in our article on grunge chic we advised you to not " ... get your flannel out just yet." Well, we've changed our mind: Please get your flannel out. Or, at least, your grungy-looking plaids.

To be honest we only made our original statement because our squad of crackerjack researchers couldn't find just exactly the shrunken plaid flannel blazer with a tailored waist we demanded for those boots, so, we glossed over it. However also very recently (i.e., Thursday) we received new scarves from Echo Design and they are a perfect substitute.

Measuring two feet wide by six feet long, these 100% wool scarves are cut from beiges, blacks, purples, maroons and blues for a muted Seattle Scene feel. Elastic threads sewn lengthwise keep the scarf gathered to about a foot wide, lending a movement and shape.

We think they'd be perfect with a industrial, three-eyelet oxford like MIA's Dominic. Gussied up in black patent leather over a thick lug sole, this shoe is the perfect balance to Echo's muted, textured scarves. In between try ACNE's Generic Girl Tab jeans, a close-fitting white bateau tee under a cropped jacket, and, if you dare, a cap.

Buffalo plaid was a hot second last fall and we're thinking with all the nods to Doc Martens, grunge rock and general '90s retooling, we'll see sophisticated plaids again this fall.

In-store only: 30% off sale items


For a limited time, take 30% off already reduced merchandise at our Armitage, Northfield and Highland Park locations. Sale runs Thursday, August 7 through Tuesday, August 12.

This offer is valid in-store only; it does not apply to online orders. Valid only on already reduced merchandise.

See our stores page for hours and contact information.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Trending: Grunge Chic Detailing

Recently in our secret-but-awesome and enticingly lit marketing lair, our ticker-tape machines started chattering, klaxons rang and our RSS feeds went atomic. "My," we wondered aloud to ourselves from the recesses of our expensive-but-tasteful designer couches, "has Guitar Hero: Metallica finally been released?"

Unfortunately not (your best Enter Sandman will have to wait until '09). It was word of new fall trends: grunge chic has arrived. Don't get your flannel out just yet; it's more tasteful than it sounds. Think subtle details picked up from the Seattle Scene of the early '90s who pilfered them from the Punks before that, and the Rockers before that and the skinheads (the good kind) before that.

While the shape of grunge footwear revolves around so-called blue collar detailing like lug soles, steeltoes, eyelets, bulky oxford shoes and workboots, the chic additions include luxe materials in contemporary colors with fashion-forward detailing.

A common feature we're loving is the outspoken utilitarian look. We see this a lot in the boot shaft cinch. This comes straight out of performance motorcycle-wear and workwear like logging boots. This fall it gets dressed up with luxury suedes and supple leathers finished with stylish buckles as in Matisse's Mike (left).

These straps are mostly for looks - there's a zipper on the other side - but we like how this boot makes gracious an ungainly concept. While they can be used to perfect the fit through your calves, they also lend the impression of a form-fitting cavalry boot that means business. Contrast with a girly skirt or dirndl.

The Zamagni 10347 (left) takes the concept into future-grunge chic with a seamless leather vamp and stretchy Nylon back strapped in with two leather straps. A rubber wedge sole makes these perfect for a lounging on the U.S.S. Enterprise.

The Nylon shaft ensures a tight fit and the straps will draw in material around the ankle, keeping your silhouette clean and lean. Try wearing an outfit that resonates with the sleek, straight lines of this boot. An above-the-knee skirt - not as full as a dirndl, not as lean as a pencil - would look great here.

Jeffrey Campbell's Pledge takes the long way around: their vertical buckle connects a leather footing with a wide leather cuff at the leg opening. The shaft is made of soft, scrunched black suede. Adjust the buckle to raise or lower the boot's height.

Go long with these: layered mid-calf to ankle-length skirts are Fall's look. Let the scrunchy folds of these boots get caught up in the folds of fabric. Choose a same-color long skirt and let the play of materials as you move make the outfit sing.

And if its arias you're after, JC's Buck in black is the Beethoven's Ninth Symphony, Fourth Movement filtered through Marilyn Manson's cover of Tainted Love: a romantic rider dipped in Goth funk.

Again, take it long: full-length layers in voiles or lightweight flannels will offer tantalizing views of these knee-highs with a slight dom edge to them.

And finally (OK, can you believe it?), Doc Martens are back. This is the sine qua non of the grunge chic look. And while the 8 Eye Boot we're getting hasn't arrived yet (and doesn't have any shaft straps), we needed to share it with you.

What surprised us was ourselves: we thought the ol' Docs looked pretty good. Fifteen years ago we were gagging in the streets; the boots had a brand recognition equivalent to oxygen. They were everywhere. Expect the Classic boots this fall as well as new patent treatments in bold colors.

We'll let you know when they are in. In the meantime, we have to continue petitioning for the release of Guitar Hero: Mudhoney.

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