Friday, August 27, 2010

Friday funny

Do you know of The Manolo? A fabulous shoe blogger of some local fame - he writes a Thursday Ask The Manolo Column for the Express commuter paper. I adore him, though he has the penchant for the super high heel. Which does not fit the lifestyle of the work at home mom, but the reader can still covet, can't she?

Today for a laugh I visited his The Gallery of The Horror and I am still giggling. He of course nails the Croc, but I think the Steve Madden, Birkenstocks, and Uggs are even funnier.

(I was visiting because my friend Joey linked on facebook to yesterday's post.

Are you not women? Can you not roar?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

August 23 - first day of school needs pink shoes

What: Pink flower ballet flats, size 8
From: Talbots
Purchased: Aug 1, 2010
Cost: $40

Yes. I bought them. My 14th pair this year. I had been coveting them for a long time. Coveting! And I get paid monthly, and the first of the month I went out and bough them at $40, which is really too high (especially since I bought these, too). And, the very next day they were marked down to $25. Laurie asked a very good question, why not just go in for a price adjustment? Believe me, I am - or used to be - the queen of price adjustments or returns and repurchases. But now, stupid Talbots has instituted a final sale policy. Once they reach a certain point of markdown, items become final sale. This made me nervous they were running out (particularly of the flip flops), and I had seen no signs of these shoes at the outlets. So I bought them. And then they were marked down further, and I was stuck. Lesson learned. But - stupid Talbots is becoming super annoying with their policies. I pointed out several pairs of lovely shoes (gee, the month of my birthday, hmm) I would love at great prices, and then - they re-raised the prices! So these are now back to $50, and all the other shoes I pointed out recently are roughly twice as much as at their lowest price point. So see, they are trying to out-trick their savvy bargain hunting customers. They won this round. But overall I'm still pretty much ahead. I really should have held out on these - they still have a ton on the website in a rainbow of colors. I think I'm satisfied with pink.

Anyway, wanted something kicky and fun for the first day of school, even if I was just doing drop off and pick up. Still needed to dress to impress, even if that is verging on borderline crazy (I'm trying to impress the other k students? The other moms? The teachers? I don't know, and let's just not talk about it anymore). So these were fun. Even if they did - you guessed it - wear some blisters! (hey, a week of crocs and no foot is in any shape to be confined!)

I didn't realize until we were walking home that Elizabeth was also in her new pink Lands End shoes. Everyone needs a pop of fun color on the first day.

Bottom line: keeper!

August 16 - (fake) Crocs!

What: orange fake crocs
From: LL Bean (the rehoboth outlet)
Purchased: ~04, possibly '05
Cost: $15

My orange fake crocs! Oh how ugly, and yet comfortable. You know how I once said the contrary to conventional wisdom, bargain shopping could put you ahead of a trend? These are a perfect example. Crocs first came out in 2002, mass produced in 2003. I found these at the LL Bean outlets in 2004, maybe 2005, and sure enough, they are darn comfortable. So I decided to grab them - I love a slip on casual shoe to keep by the door to pop outside. Loved them. Wore them all the time, on maternity leave and on weekends (with socks!) the first year of Elizabeth's life.

They are pretty close to actual Crocs. LL Bean actually had to redesign them the following season, and now no longer carries them. But this pair I got at the outlet put my right on trend. Then, the Croc backlash started right around 2007. Company stock price crashed - earnings were down - after all, if you make an indestructable shoe, who needs to buy more than one pair? Plus, they are really ugly. I mean really. I've come to my senses and only wear at appropriate times - gardening, popping outside to take out the trash, as slippers, at the pool, water park, or at the beach, as I did last week. Perfect uses for a utilitarian shoe. Crocs have come out with slightly more stylish, less bulky options, though I've never tried any.

On a side note, I love Crocs as kids shoes - super cute. I especially like the crocs with fleece lining, and buy them for E and A, though often off brand ones. For whatever reason, they stay well on kids feet, they clean easily, and let's face it, they are just comfy. Not allowed in most schools, but a perfect summer sandal or more substantial casual almost slipper-like shoe in the winter.

Bottom line: keeper. Infrequent, specific wear only!

August 13 - more black

What: size 8 black mules with stretchy band and stitching
From: Naturalizer (bought at Marshalls on clearance)
Purchased: 2008
Cost: $20

These are super comfy slip ons, but the inside lining is coming apart and bunches up, which is totally annoying. I need to rip that out (free, plus buy liner at drug store), or get it glued back down (cobbler).

These shoes have a history. I saw them at the Naturalizer outlet in what must have been early 2007, and tried them on but passed them up. Then, later that year, someone in my office got a pair and I loved the look of them and was bummed I hadn't gotten them. I coveted her shoes every time I saw them, and on my next outlet trip looked, but they were long gone. Imagine my surprise to find them at Marshalls! But I think they were too high, and I was being frugal at the time, so I resisted. Until they went on clearance! And now they are mine. Victory! I wore them a lot in '09 (hence the tearing and bunching liner) because they are very comfortable and I think look good with a cropped pant, and they filled that black work niche (in spring, summer, and fall, but mules in winter is no good) that gives me so much trouble.

Bottom line: Keeper

August 12 - pointy toes

What: Size 8 pointy toe tan/cognac mules with small buckle and Louis XIV heels
From: Franco Sarto (Lord & Taylor)
Purchased: winter '04-'05
Cost: this is a guess - $36 (I know they came from L&T because they still have the "red dot" sale sticker on them, so whatever they cost they were an extra percent off, plus 20% coupon that L&T always offers, so they might have been cheaper, but let's guess marked down to $50, extra 25% off, 20% off coupon, which is a pretty reasonable guess)

I like these shoes a lot, though I rarely wear them. Love Louis XIV heels. On AwwwTrouble I once talked about my grand plans for maternity leave, but how I only once went to the National Gallery of Art. I wore these shoes that day. I swear they fit like a glove, the leather is like soft butter, they feel totally comfortable - and they wear blisters on my feet like you would not believe. I totally left the Gallery early, and limped home. The blisters are in totally random places, too. You know how you try on shoes and you think, hmm, this is gonna hurt in a few hours? With these shoes, there is no earthy reason why they should hurt. There is no explanation for a blister on the side of my foot, right below the big toe (as one example). These shoes feel so comfortable!

So, I wore them to a meeting downtown. Walked one block to bus stop, walked one block to meeting, sat in meeting, walked 3 blocks different bus stop (stopping at H&M along the way), walked 2 blocks home from the return bus stop. Feet felt ok, but sure enough there was one blister just forming on my 4th toe. Garr!

I really like these shoes! Am completely puzzled by the blister issue. I just learned about footglide, an anti-rubbing product that is supposed to help prevent blisters and hot spots. Might have to try it.

Bottom line: Keeper. Though the blister thing...sigh.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

August 6 - new ouchies

What: purple brown size 8 ballet flats with buckle
From: Talbots
Purchased: July 22, 2010
Cost: $24!

Wohoo - my 12th pair of shoes bought this year, extensively discussed here. I wore these on an outing Friday and I am sad to report the blister situation on the back on my heels was severe. I haven't worn closed heel shoes much this summer at all, and boy did I suffer.

In other news, I really think I have done something to my left foot. I tried the "just ignore it and it will go away" strategy which did not work. So now I'm trying the "wear tried and true shoes that have a tiny bit of a heel," and that isn't entirely working, either. I think it's related to wearing very flat flip flops, which is my new trend of 2010. (2008 was the heeled flip flops and 1.5 inch heel summer, 2009 was the espadrille summer, and so far this summer has been the flip flop summer. 2009 was also the first year in two decades that I started wearing shoes that were totally flat, and I've been doing it more and more often this year, so that might be an issue too).

I'm about to try the "walk it off with orthotics," so we'll see what happens then.

But in all seriousness, I need a break. I'm bored with photographing my shoes and writing self indulgently about them, not to mention totaling up how much I have spent, and my eyes are glazing over perusing websites of possible new shoes. It's August. We've been away one weekend but otherwise have not had a vacation. I still have summer shoes to wear (my really cool flower orange ones I wore to Ryan's wedding, not to even mention the new bronze platforms that because of this challenge I haven't worn since May), though a great deal of them are higher heels, and I just don't want to wear high heels right now. In short, I need a break.

But yet, I do still have over 100 pairs to go, and we are heading toward cooler weather. So my challenge remains, but I'm giving myself a break in August. If I wear 10-15 different pairs this month (as opposed to 30), I'll consider that a success. I've also got a couple of essays to pen, and to answer a question, I'd be more than happy to provide any guidance or suggestion! So stay tuned, ask away, just don't tune in every day.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

August 5 - nude trend

What: Size 8 light tan (nude) strappy sandals, 3.25 inch heel
From: Talbots (outlet)
Purchased: fall '07 -spring '08
Cost: $25

Not sure of exact cost, just a guess based on outlet purchase. I started noticing, around 2007, a lot of 'nude' shoes, worn with any possible color, even black. It's a definite trend - the idea is they blend in so that your legs look longer (rather than shoe, leg, outfit, your eye sees legs, outfit, without a visual break). The trend is peaking now - nude shoes are everywhere. One thing I love about bargain shopping is often you can grab something before it really jumps in popularity, and then the next year you're trendy. The reverse is true - you can get too far behind the curve in trendiness if you buy super trendy stuff leftover at the end of the season, which means it's leftover because the trend is super saturated and over. Fine line. You just have to luck into it, I think, or buy things that suit you and if suddenly you're trendy, well, a stroke of luck!

These are nice sandals, and I'm going to admit I was skeptical of the trend, but I've grown to like the look. Would I wear these with a simple black dress? Maybe - and I am super conservative in the mixing of black/brown (ie, I almost never do it). I wouldn't wear them with black pants. I'd probably wear them with almost any color skirt/dress, and only earth tone pants. (hmm, maybe that will help me style these cream shoes a little bit better.) I've not worn these much - 2 or 3 times. I wore them in May 2008 for a really disastrous meeting, which I how I can pinpoint the purchase. Oh well, had fun in them today, though they are a bit tight.

Speaking of, I tried on these shoes at Talbots on Sunday. For my pale skin, this is really a nude color, but maybe the nude trend is really best with a light tan. Anyway, at $32 now, a real bargain. Liked them a lot, but I was already buying two pairs so left them on the shelf. Hmm.

Bottom line: Keeper

Agust 4 - new flops

What: Size 8 light blue flip flops
From: Talbots
Purchased: Aug 1, 2010
Cost: $20

I simply spent too much time thinking about these cute flower shoes from Talbots, and could not resist them, even if $20 is really too much for flip flops. Sure enough, the very next day (Monday) they were marked down to $12 (original price: $49! are they insane?). Oh well. Pair #13 for the year, and they are super cute.

Bottom line: Keeper

August 2 and 3 - placeholder

Went barefoot both days and so holding this place for a discard, just haven't decided and photographed the discard yet.

August 1 - old timer

What: Size 8 wooden platforms
From: Candies (Bealls)
Purchased: early-mid 90s
Cost: $25

These are either my sister's shoes, or actually I think she had a pair and I liked them and went out and bought a pair for myself. Oh, so dated! Though, with the right outfit, I could make them work today. I was not wearing the right outfit on Sunday and felt self conscious wearing them. I have the right outfit, but it's slightly too small. I need to keep these around til next summer and evaluate then. The shoes themselves are also a bit tight (where are my toes?!), though they fit better than the picture reflects.

I perhaps should not have worn them all day on Sunday, though. After all my talk of no longer needing orthotics on a regular basis and no more back pain, I seem to have done something to my foot - sprained it in some way, though not in the same way as when I first discovered the need for orthotics. Somewhere between the pink heels on Friday, flip flops on Saturday, and these on Sunday I've definitely wrenched something.

Bottom line: keeper

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

July wrap up

So, I've started a spreadsheet to keep track of it all, as it's getting too much to keep straight.

The month of July, I wore 31 shoes, at a total estimated cost of $882, or an average of $28.45 a pair. I'm keeping 21 of them, trashing 1, donating 7, and on the fence about 2.

10 were high heels, 12 mid heel, and 9 flats. 4 black, 4 brown, 2 blue, 4 metallic, and 17 different colors.

Grand total, since I started this?
61 days
60 shoes

Keeping 46, trashing 1, donating 8, and on the fence about 5.

That's 51 kept and 9 out of the house, which is a 15% cull rate. I bought three pairs in July.

$1,566.75 total spent (over 17 years, remember)
$26.11 average cost per pair

17 heels, 24 mid-heel, 19 flats. 9 black, 9 brown, 2 blue, 5 metallic, 34 colors (hmm, should I start specifying colors?).

That's a lot of shoes. I'm exhausted thinking about that many shoes. And yet, according to my original counting, I've got over 100 other pairs to come. Yikes!

Monday, August 2, 2010

July 31 - another mistake - and some good buys

What: platform espadrilles with wrap ties
From: Nina (Hechts or Lord and Taylor)
Purchased: '03
Cost: $40? Guessing

I have always, always wanted a pair of wrap around the leg sandals like this. So I got these. I don't remember how much they cost, but I think because of this deep desire, they cost more than I should have paid. (or, alternately, they were so cheap I couldn't pass them up - can't decide, so going with too much as I don't want to artificially keep my average cost down from reality).

Here's the thing about these - that tie is a stiff, rough, twill-like material. And, it's the only thing keeping the shoe on your foot. I wore these once, to work, actually (hmm, probably inappropriate!), and wore sores on my legs where the ties rubbed!

I was in Talbots this weekend and they have a pair of ribbon espadrilles:
Marked down today to $22! Look how the ribbon hooks onto the back, heel strap. These ribbons are decorative, not functional. Comes in a ton of colors, and a snap up the bargain price. (But these are not the ones I bought, though I did try them on).

Speaking of bargains, Talbots marked down all their stuff today (Monday) - and I went shopping Sunday. Garrr. Two more bargains to point out - I would love a pair of red espadrilles, because I don't have that color, but not sure - well I know - I don't need them (only $22 right now!):

And another bargain for today - I love these, but they are only online and so I have no idea on fit, but I think they look fab (though that side angle is hard to see what the decorative thing really looks like, it might be fugly, might be cool) - only $27:
Aren't those a great replacement for the gold sandals? Hmm, if I had not bought two pairs of shoes yesterday, the DAY BEFORE another markdown, these sandals would be making their way to me right now. Which is ridiculous as I HAVE ENOUGH SHOES. You know what? I think shoe blogging is making me think about shoes more than I actually normally do, which is leading to more purchases. I'm up to 14 this year alone.

Anyway, back to the ones I actually own. OK, in addition to wearing actual open sores, they are also now too small. So to the discard pile they go.

Bottom line: bye bye

July wrap up coming soon!

July 30 - hot pink

What: size 8, 2.5 inch pink patent leather/raffia sandals
From: Impo (?) bought at DSW
Purchased: late summer '08
Cost: $28

By late summer '08, I was sick to death of the same shoes I kept wearing over and over, and took myself off to DSW for some retail therapy, and bought these. And, this is the first time I've worn them. They were sort of to replace another pair of pink patent sandals I have that are nearly worn out, but it turns out I rarely wore those anymore (or at least was no longer wearing their matching outfit), so could never find anything to wear with these. These are pretty styling. Like them. Kind of limiting with the hot pink patent, but they work great with the right outfit (which I do not think I was wearing, actually, but I'll find something better).

Seriously, I own too many pairs of shoes. I cannot keep up. If I have enough pairs to wear a different one every day, how in the world can I wear each pair more than once or twice a year (and yet, still whenever I discard a pair or wear a pair for only part of the day, the flip flops come out!). I have GOT to get rid of more, or stop consuming. (ok, yes, this rant is partially fueled by the knowledge that I bought more shoes this weekend. Stay tuned).

Botton line: keeper

July 29 - old slip ons

What: size 8 slips ons
From: AK Anne Klein (Lord and Taylor)
Purchased: ~'99
Cost: $40

I wrote about this before, when talking about slip on sneaks. These are my first pair of AK Anne Klein, and I loved them. Looooooved them. Wore them out - so much so that the inserts - the cushioning - just felt deflated. So I bought another pair, slightly different but same brand, in pink, and wore those out, and only used these red ones for painting, gardening, and work around the house. When I was going through my closet the other day, I pulled these out, and you know what? They're not as remotely worn out as the pink ones have become. But I can't find the pink ones, so tried these for the afternoon. Still love them. Really, really wish AK Anne Klein still made them.

I really need to get rid of one of the two pairs - will evaluate once I discover where the pink ones are hiding. Or, I need to get a new pair of athletic pull ons, and ditch both of 'em.

My pictures are getting worse and worse!

I cannot remember at all what I was doing last Thursday and why I picked these. I still have some good shoes for summer left, btu have been feeling uninspired lately.

Bottom line: keeper, for now