Thursday, May 31, 2007


I can't stop giggling.

These shoes are by Nascar. That's right, the race car people.
It's not actually a bad shoe, in theory. Your basic black patent pump. But the devil, as you know, is in the details:

Subtle, non? There's even a little surprise on the bottom of the shoe:

This one is actually quite cute:

Little pink patent & suede ballet flats -- who doesn't love that? But again, you must pay close attention:

My question is, who are they making these shoes for? Because, not for nothing (and please don't bother to scold me for my ignorance of Nascar Culture -- that's the way it is and the way it's going to stay), but the photos I've seen of most Nascar fans don't... exactly... scream "Fashionista," if you know what I mean.

Let's face it, we're talking about a lot of denim cut-offs and bad perms.

Now, I am not here to redress the fashion crimes of a million screaming people with gimme caps on their heads (would that I could!). I'm just wondering about the marketing gee-nee-uss who came up with these things. Did someone in some Nascar meeting somewhere pop up and cackle, "The women's dress shoe market is ripe for the picking!" while rubbing his hands together in
Snidely Whiplash-esque evil genius glee? I guess these shoes are for the Nascar fan for whom the pajamas, socks, hats, t-shirts, jackets, sweatshirts, handbags, and jewelry aren't enough. I guess these are for the fan who says to herself, "I want to tastefully proclaim my love for all things Nascar." And I suppose I should be grateful for that, because there are Nascar Crocs out there, my friends.

See? That's not the worst shoe I've ever seen, not by a long shot. That's a shoe that you wear when you go out salsa dancing with your dashing Nascar driver boyfriend after a long day at the track breathing in exhaust fumes & picking cinders out of your well-coiffed hair.

It is a slippery slope, however. And as you fall, you bounce past these questionable items:

then skid past these, covering your eyes:

opt not to grab onto these horrors even if it meant saving your life:

and finally land in the mud at the bottom of the hill:



Edit: Evidently my bloghero Manolo and I are on the same page: check out his take on this topic, published yesterday as well. Great minds and all that.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Red Shoe Diaries, Part 2

There they are: the Manolo Blahnik Dodos, the object of my great desire, the shoes that have the Want Monster gnawing on my poor little overtaxed heart. I've been pinching the pennies, but I'm realistic: I knew that they might not be available by the time I saved up the money to buy them. So I started doing a little research on how I might be able to scratch that itch if the worst-case scenario played itself out. In an effort to provide a tiny amount of entertainment along with my ever-lengthening saga, I'm going to show you some of the things I found while on that search. Click photos for links.

Moda Spana Canyon

So I get the heads-up last week from Ted (my co-conspirator in fabulous footwear) that the Neiman Marcus pre-sale is going on. Saturday I went up to NM with my girlfriend Anita, who is wonderful to shop with because she always displays just the right amount of tact & practicality: she doesn't want you to get in over your head, but she also doesn't want to spoil your fun. Now, I knew that the Austin NM didn't have the Dodos, but that the Dallas store did, so Ted got out the stockbook & gave it to me to look through so he could do the pre-sale on the computer & have them shipped -- IF they were going on sale.

(The stockbook, by the way, is a giant three-ring binder with page after page of every shoe ordered by any NM branch in the country -- for me, that thing qualifies as porn. Seriously, I would like a copy to keep in my bedside table. I left sweaty fingerprints all over it.)

When I found them in the book, Ted said, "Oh my gosh!", disappeared into the stockroom, and came out with a Manolo Blahnik box in his hands.
(Whoops. Better show you some more shoes...)


He opened the box and there they were. A return. Someone had ordered them online and then brought them back to the store. AND? They were on sale. I was quivering as I put them on, but alas, they were too small. My toes hung over the sides. And then the even worse news, which Ted delivered after he checked the computer: there are no more. It was a very popular shoe, there are no more to be found anywhere in the system. Crushing heartbreak. Oh, it was so sad, because they are sooooooo beautiful. I put them back on, just to be sure, but Anita reminded me that shoes need to fit. (It's funny how basic truths can desert you at times such as these.) Sad, sad, sad. I'd waited too long.

And so we drove away from Neimans. I was wistful but resigned. Anita posited that the Universe was perhaps saving me from a tragically turned ankle, but I couldn't bring myself to believe those magnificent shoes would ever treat me so cruelly. I consoled myself with the idea that somewhere out there was another pair of shoes I was meant to have instead, in the way that
my disappointment over the Manolo Blahnik Camparis had eventually led me to my wonderful Miu Miu mary janes.
Nine West Ferwin

I came home and sent an e-mail to Sian detailing my disappointment, which, because she is a good Shoe Sister, she shared. And then for some reason (seeking closure, perhaps) I went to the NM website. Now, way back when after I fell in love with the Dodos, I put them in my Shopping Bag on the NM site so I wouldn't have to always search for them, I could just click there to find them whenever I wanted to kill a few minutes gazing adoringly. (The NM site holds on to stuff in your bag until you buy it or remove it.) When I signed on, there it was, the little red heading that said I had one (1) item in my bag. I clicked, and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but my shoes. ON SALE. In all available sizes. Stunned. Stunned! I sent Sian a panicked e-mail asking what I should do and she very sensibly replied, "Buy them. Now." (She is English, after all. They're always so good in a crisis.)

And so I did.

I do not know how this happened or why the Shoe Gods are rewarding me in this way. I called the store and told Ted and he explained that the stock for the online stores is completely separate from the b&m ones, and he kicked himself for not thinking of checking online himself, but I don't see what good that would have done because if it hadn't been in my Shopping Cart I wouldn't have been able to find them online -- they're not listed on the NM site anymore. (They are still available on the Bergdorf Goodman site, but they are
not on sale there.)

Via Spiga Dracora. Golly, that's a good-looking shoe, isn't it?

This is very mysterious to me. If I use the link that's still in my browser history, or the one in my order confirmation, up they pop. But going through the actual NM site or even googling the style name on the web doesn't turn it up. Very strange. But I'm not questioning it overmuch, I'm just happy it has come to pass. A happy red Manolo ending. Shoe satisfaction. Over the next week, I'll be hyperventilating every time a UPS truck pulls into the parking lot. Oh, there is going to be one massive Happy Shoe Dance around here.

One last word: Style Spy is done buying for the summer. I very much want to return to Paris this fall and therefore I need to save my centimes. I'm counting on all you friendly folks to help me stick to this resolution. I am NOT allowed to buy any more shoes. (Okay, if I'm IN a shoe store, and the shoes I'm wearing explode, and between me & my car there is a river of molten lava spiked with shards of broken glass, I'm allowed to buy shoes to get me home. But that's the only case.)
And why would I possibly need any more? The shoes of my dreams are coming to live with me! Footwear Nirvana. Seventh Shoe Heaven. I am One with the Shoeniverse.


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Funky in the Good Way

Aaaaaaw, yeah!!! Looks like His Purple Majesty is putting out a perfume.

It's called 3121 and the website bills it as a white floral with bergamot, jasmine, gardenia, orange flower, muguet, tuberose, ylang ylang, with basenotes of patchouli, sandalwood, cedarwood and musks. (Only they use much more picturesque language -- I've eliminated a lot of adjectives and romance-novel verbs. Swirling and whatnot, doncha know.) I'm down with that -- put jasmine, bergamot, tuberose & cedar all in the same place and I'm there. There's a concert in Minneapolis and a charity event tied in to the perfume release (07/07/07), and evidently Himself is playing in London for three weeks. Let's cross our fingers and hopes he tours the States, too.

3121: 21 Nights in London with PRINCE

I've long been a big fan of Prince. I wouldn't exactly want to raid his closet, not that I could fit into anything in there anyway, the man is... is it polite to call a man "petite"? But no doubt about it, he has style. It's a little (ahem) over the top and not exactly (ahem, again) subtle, but I've gotta give it up to anyone that fearless. He knows who he is, he knows what he likes, and he's by gummy gonna wear it. That's the sort of thing I like to see.

And sniff, by the sound of things.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go get my funk on.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Red Shoe Diaries, Part 1

Remember these?

YSL Doll

These are the ones that I bought in New York when I couldn't find these:

Manolo Blahnik Dodo

And was ever so torn about. You remember. I did wind up returning the YSLs. They were beautiful shoes, but they just weren't the ones I wanted. I did all this justifying to myself about how useful they would be and how comfortable they were, but every time I looked at them the first thing I remembered was that they were not the red Manolos.

("Red Manolos," by the way, is a phrase I'm going to be using a lot. It has, as Sian the English Rose points out, poetry. I'm going to use it to indicate that something has superlative qualities or is the ne plus ultra of its genre, as in, "Oh, my goodness, that delicious strawberry ice cream was the red Manolos!" Along the line of "bee's knees" or "cat's pajamas." I invite you all to join me in this linguistic innovation.)

I first ran into them (the Dodos -- a truly terrible name, but it
was easy to remember, which was helpful later) in a magazine (I think it was Harper's Bazaar) several months ago. I cut out the photo -- it's been on my style board for months. The last time I was in Dallas, I actually tried them on in NM and nearly fainted with desire. All my friend Jody had to say, seeing them on my foot, was, "Ooooooooh..." Me, too.

So the YSLs went back, and once I'd done it I really didn't have any regrets, which is a sure sign they didn't belong with me. (And, it turns out, it's a good thing I returned them. But more about that later, she said conspiratorially.) I decided to hold out for the Dodos, and I decided I had to wait until they went on sale. Ted, my shoe guy at the Austin Neiman Marcus, had told me that the spring merch would start to be moved out June 1, and that there would be a pre-sale immediately before. My plan was to wait for the pre-sale and (provided this style went on sale) get Ted to have the shoes drop-shipped from the Dallas store. (They didn't have them in Austin.) That way, I save the shipping costs and Ted (who really is the sweetest guy -- go buy some shoes from him, you'll love him) gets the sale.

I was a little worried about the availability of the shoes, because I was noodling around on the NM site the other day and noticed that they were no longer on there. I know that the whole waiting-for-the-sale game is a risky one, but I stuck to my guns.

At any rate, I was tooling around on the internets looking at shoes this weekend (Because that's what I do. On my resumé, shoe shopping would not go under the "Hobbies" section. Oh, no, my friends, I would list shoe shopping under my "Special Skills."), and I stumbled across these:
(Life Stride Cierra -- click photo for link)

I got a very positive response on the YSLs, everyone loved them, they really are gorgeous shoes, so when I saw these I thought I'd tell folks about 'em, because I think they're very handsome and reminiscent of the YSLs. Also, they cost approximately $520 less. Not a bad thing. As a matter of fact, $520 less is the red Manolos.


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Monday, May 28, 2007

Wherein Style Spy Conjures Bargains Out of Thin Air

Did some shopping this weekend with one of my best girlfriends, and as we were chatting in the car, I said, "I need a new button-front white blouse with French cuffs." Okay, now this is a slightly ridiculous statement, I know. A person such as myself in no way NEEDS another white blouse. I love white blouses. I have plenty of white blouses. Here is the white blouse section of my closet:

(And still I press my nose wistfully against the windows of the Anne Fontaine boutique whenever I walk past it.)

However, all of these blouse are different in some way or another, of course, in the same way that every one of the average woman's 14 pairs of black shoes are all different in some way. (Your husbands/boyfriends don't understand that, but I do, darlings.) I have a very nice, fitted, long-sleeved white blouse with French cuffs that I had worn while I was in NYC last month and it was ruined. Did I spill a hot dog on it? No. Nothing so exciting. I ruined it by wearing it in New York -- the cuffs are FILTHY. Seriously -- I put stain remover on the thing and washed it in bleach twice and that black line around the fold of the cuff will not come out. So now this is a blouse that can only be worn with the sleeves rolled up (and yet another reminder of why I'm glad I don't live in NY anymore) and I need another French-cuffed white blouse. I love French cuffs, I'd wear nothing but French cuffs if I could. I have quite a nice collection of cuff links, including some that belonged to my grandfather that are very precious to me.

Hence my statement to Anita, "I need a new button-front white blouse with French cuffs."

We went up to the Domain (the new, fun, ritzy outdoor mall here in Austin) and had lunch, and then ducked into Banana Republic on our way to Neiman's. And what to my wondering eyes should appear?

On sale for $35. (Click photo for link.)

Wow. Now, that's good shopping karma. I fully believe that I willed this bargain into existence.

They only have it in white on the website, but in the store they had white, pink, powder blue and mint green. I was surprised -- it seems like BR never puts their classic blouses on sale, or maybe they just sell out before they have a chance to, but I snapped up one of those babies pretty quick. (A note: this shirt is described as "Tailored (fuller in the bust)" but little ol' 34A
moi doesn't find it unduly roomy at all. Maybe I'm just a broadbacked peasant type, but a close fit on an A-cup doesn't exactly signify "fuller in the bust" to me, so don't let that put you off.)

(Another note, for Austin readers: the Domain branch of BR is now carrying a pretty healthy selection of petites, for those of you who wear them. The SA said they were the only store in Austin that did, although this is as yet unconfirmed.)

So I felt pretty good about my shopping conjuring abilities as we headed up to Neiman Marcus. Later in the day, I was to feel even better about them, but more about that soon... (::insert suspenseful organ chords here::)

Hope everyone had a terrific Memorial Day. Do any shopping? Whadja get?

Photos: Style Spy,

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How swoony is this photo?

It's an actress named Vahina Giocante on the red carpet in Cannes. I don't know who she is or who designed the dress, but this is the kind of moment that makes fashionistas like me smile. It makes me think of my dear friend Bobina, who would probably wear a moldy flour sack if it were cut into a dress with a "twirly skirt" -- she does loooooove her some twirly skirt. As do we all, really. There's something about a big floaty skirt that I think most women have difficulty resisting -- there are few things that make you feel more feminine or girly.

Just make sure you wear a slip underneath it.

Because most of us can't get away with this.

Photos: John Schults on,

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Want Monster Slaps Me Around...

... and says, "Buy these shoes, bitch!!!"

Giuseppe Zanotti from Neiman Marcus. Great googly-moogly, that is one gorgeous shoe. Those have got to be the world's wickedest mary janes, and I waaaaaant them. That is teetering on the ever-so-fashionable edge of a bondage shoe, and I would really like to see how well I could keep my balance in them, so to speak. Wearing that shoe, I would be guaranteed to drink too many manhattans, purchased by men with loosened ties and guilty consciences. Oh, baby...

Thanks to reader Elke for the heads-up!


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Monday, May 21, 2007

Shoes for William Blake

I got these a while back & keep forgetting to show them to you:

Cole-Haan. Let's list how they're de trop: Metallic brocade. Gold leather. Gilded denim. Gold studs. There are even rhinestones, for pete's sake. They're completely excessive and over-the-top and just barely miss the tacky bullseye, and yet... I adore them. They delight me. I found them while I was shopping for shoes for my New York trip. Obviously, these were not them, but I actually skipped a little when I unearthed them at the Cole-Haan outlet. Seriously, I gave a little hop right there in front of the sale rack, and giggled non-stop as I placed them on my feet. Then there was a little more hopping & skipping & giggling, especially when I did the math & realized they were only about 80 bucks. I didn't even hesitate, I marched right up to the register and said, "Sell me these shoes!" Or something like that.

That's the feeling I'm looking for all the time when I shop -- I want something to grab me by the ass and shake me around the room. I want that completely undeniable, unquestionable click in my head that tells me that this item must, absolutely must come home with me right this very instant. Like falling in love. But less stressful. (I think. I don't know for sure -- I don't think that's ever happened to me outside of a retail experience. And when I found my Shine, of course.)

The very definition of love at first sight.

I'm really making an effort these days to only buy something if that happens, because goodness knows it's not as though my closet is barren and I'm running around in rags. (But if I do, you can bet they'll be well-accessorized rags!)

So what, you might ask, does a person wear with shoes like the ones above, shoes that might cause Dolly Parton to raise an eyebrow? (Don't get me wrong, I love me some Dolly, but she's not known for her sartorial restraint, now, is she?) The answer is, something very, very simple. For example, I have a great navy blue knit dress almost identical to the black DVF wrap from yesterday's post. It totally rocks with these shoes.

What do you have in your wardrobe that was love at first sight? Tell me all about it.

Photos: Style Spy

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Sunday, May 20, 2007

Slinky Seduction

I'm completely in love with this dress:

It's Nieves Lavi, and I just want to wear it all the time. It's a nice slinky knit with a blouson waist, gathered skirt, and sleeves that reach almost to my elbows. It swirls a little when I walk. It's washable. It's comfortable. It's the dress of my dreams.

I've been absolutely seduced by the knit dress. I also got this one a little while ago:

BCBG. Great colors: chocolate brown, tan, cream, and blue -- it looks perfect with my blue Miu Miu mary janes. I have to wear a brown camisole underneath this one, the vee is a bit deep, but I still love it. I've been wearing it like crazy.

I've added a few more to my closet over the last several months, but I'll spare you any more of my dreadful photography. The ease of a knit dress is hard to beat, and they're so comfortable to wear. And I'm spoiled now. If for some reason I can't wear one (like they're all already dirty because they're all I want to wear!), I get a little crabby about it: You mean I have to pick out a top and skirt?! Oh, so much effort!

In an effort to proselytize for the Knit Dress, I'm bringing you some good ones I found on the ol' internets. Click photos for links.

The grand-daddy of 'em all: Diane von Furstenberg. She created the form in 1973, we owe it all to her, and I don't think anyone to this day does it as well. (That snake-print dress Angie Harmon was wearing at the Met Costume Institute Gala was DVF, which I should have known just from looking at it -- five points off my style maven score.) They aren't cheap, (although they aren't insanely expensive -- you can buy several for the price of a Dior dress!) and Diane does like her gals a little on the thin side (note how closely those arms fit the model in the photo above); but if you can score one and fit into it, it's an investment piece you'll have for years because they never, ever go out of style.

So elegant. My only thought is that it's a bit long, so if you were on the petite side you might want to hem it up a bit. The sleeves are so pretty.

This is my personal ideal dress shape, and for many other folks as well. The sad fact is that I'm a little too hippy to comfortably (or safely) wear a wrap dress. They fly open. Which is never chic. I prefer a faux wrap, and something with a nice swingy skirt like this one. I really like this dress. I may need this dress. Hmmmmmm...

Beautiful print. Prints are extra nice because knits, of course, tend to be a bit slinky and clingy. A good print markedly reduces the chances of VPLs, which are much more noticeable under a solid color.

This is so cute, and comes in three different color combinations.

Another faux wrap, this one with a narrower silhouette. I can't quite get away with something like this, but it's great if you have narrower hips.

So breezy, and I love the color, which is called "Peridot" and happens to be my birthstone. Perfect for traveling this summer -- roll it up & tuck it into a corner of your suitcase, which is another of the great benefits of the knit dress. This site, by the way (Newport News) has buckets of cute knit dresses at very affordable prices. Check 'em out.

Just love this, and such a flattering shape. It'll make your waist look tiny.

A slightly looser take on the wrap silhouette. I adore this. Put a jacket over it and you are the best-dressed (and fastest-dressed) woman in the office.

This is an absolute steal, and so cute. Buy two, because you know you'll wear it to shreds this summer, and at the price you can afford to.

With little patent-leather flats, this is the perfect running-around dress. Delightful

Oh, there are so many more out there, this is just a few from a few sites. I could go on & on, but I won't. So go. Shop. Then tell me whatcha got.

Photos: Style Spy,,,,,

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Thursday, May 17, 2007

A Little Advertising

As a result of the endless and ongoing closet purge, I've got a couple of pairs of really hot shoes up on an auction site right now. Click the photos for links if you're interested.

Photos: Style Spy

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A Quick Rave

If you're someone who likes the shopping, you come to appreciate good customer service. Now, a lot of folks grumble about spending money at the higher-end department stores like Saks, and goodness knows they are pricey, but you unquestionably get an awful lot of bang for your buck there. Case in point, my cutie-pie little red Weitzman flats that I bought in NYC. I bought them while I was there, and I even wore them while I was there, but when I got them home and put them on to run errands around here, they were just too big. Actually difficult to keep on my feet -- I had to pad them out with insoles and even then it really wasn't working that well.

This is very mysterious to me. I mean, everything's supposed to be bigger in Texas, right?

So, sad redhead. Shoes are too big, but shoes have already been worn. On the other hand, I did buy them at Saks, so I took a chance & called & talked to Customer Service. Oh, hey, no problem, bring 'em on in.

Mmmmmmmmm. That's what I like to hear.

So I took the shoes up to my local Saks, and the extremely accommodating and patient (there was assorted billing folderol due to gift certificates & whatnot, but he didn't bat an eye) Ernest Ramirez, the manager of shoes and handbags (how's that for a job we'd all like to have?) took my shoes back. He had to order another pair for me, because my Saks didn't have them in red, but they sent them on without a shipping charge and they arrived this morning.

Happy Feet

So, hooray for Ernest, hooray for Saks, hooray for shiny red patent-leather shoes that make us skip when we walk!! Hooray!!!!

Photo: Style Spy

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The Grown-Up Fashionista's Lament

Cathy Horyn feels my pain. You should check out her New York Times article on the increasing difficulty of dressing like an adult in today's fashion climate. I'm a big fan of Ms. Horyn's, she's a terrific, insightful journalist and her blog is great, thoughful reading about fashion (although the comments section has turned into what appears to be a blog itself for some regular readers).

I'm still undecided about the cute little DVF dress I bought the other day. It's not about the dress, it's about how much I loathe or can live with my own chubby little knees. It's a close call, unlike these:

Giambattista Valli

I will not be wearing this. It's a lovely little thing, it looks like an upside-down flower, but I don't have the... (wait for it) stems.

Rag & Bone

In case you're nostalgic for your days of hopscotch & jacks. (Do little girls still play hopscotch & jacks? Or are they all too busy text-messaging their fellow 6 year-olds to plan trips to the mall to buy glittery fingernail polish?)

Alena Akhmadullina

This is strictly for giggles. Are you giggling? I sure did. Dr. Seuss couture!

Here's the right way to do it:

From Dior Resort 2008. This dress makes me want to cry a little, it's so perfect. And what is going on with those shoes??? Yowza!!

Which reminds me -- the Resort Collections are showing and I'm really going to be too busy to do any posting about them for the next few days and I'm feeling resentful about that. Here's a taste, from the hallucinogenic cocktail party that is John Galliano's imagination:

Oh, I soooooo want to hang out with him. He's just too much fun.


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