loving: these heels

I cannot get enough of this photo. I love everything about this look, a street style shot from the US Elle roundup Paris Fashion Week (a pleasantly long slideshow of some 300+ looks, I recommend).


This deep plummy shade, the layers of the skirt, the texture and masculine cut of the jacket, the lush softness of the scarf, even the positioning of the head and arms, the hair…and those shoes.

These heels have that elusive balance of structure and delicacy, giving the foot shape and interest while being absolutely minimal and unobtrusive. The sleek, isolated triangle toe-box of a d’orsay pump is sublime. So often they are done poorly, shapeless with the foot swimming about, or set at an awkward angle. And this dainty shoelace-thin ankle tie, this is so light and understated. Not too much string or wrapping (not multiple strands going around and around, over and through, or up the leg, as is growing increasingly popular, and is often, to my eye, too busy), and no bulkiness. Though I can like a thick (or just thicker) ankle strap, I am particular about the proportions, which are usually slightly off, creating a stilted, unflattering effect.

I cannot express to you how many shoes I do not like. Really hardly any shoes. When shopping for shoes it feels like wading through an endless sea of ugliness. For $40 or $400, there are eyesores at every price point. When I see, then, a design that seems elegant, and not only elegant but personally wearable, desirable, this is a breath of fresh air, a shock.  I want to try that shoe on (so many do not pass that test, either…).

Style is personal in every sense, and shoes are somehow especially so. It seems not only possible but likely to be able to agree with someone on many levels of style and then, suddenly, to disagree entirely about shoes, and what constitutes an appealing shoe. Why is this? Because feet and feelings about feet are so personal? Because walking and carriage is so personal?

I wonder if it has something to do with shoes being, for the mainstream, a relatively adventurous category of fashion, where it is, in a sense, safe to make bold or unexpected style choices, and therefore to infuse more dramatic levels of personality. Where by safe I mean something like, acceptable, perhaps near the edges of yet within the boundaries of expectation.

I don’t think of myself as being particularly into shoes, but I am into things I find beautiful, and once in a while a shoe pops up in that list.

So, does anyone recognize these shoes? Seriously I’ve been looking around and haven’t found anything remotely close. If you find something similar, let me know…


photo via elle.com

into: Erin Wasson for Free People

I enjoy the boho chic Free People aesthetic. I think they do it well, maybe better than any other brand at the moment, and certainly they are consistent.

Their weakness is doing it a little too well; a few too many embellishments and tatters where a rustic simplicity (a garment that feels more authentically vintage and less stylized, which most of these do not) would serve better. This sometimes takes the charm away, I find. They’ve tried to make each item of clothing convey the whole concept (this is more than most garments can handle, I say, though I appreciate the vision) such that many feel ready-made, and so a bit devoid of personality. Like a box cake. Whereas I like bohemian looks best when they feel a bit weird and cobbled together, where any given piece of the ensemble would be, in isolation, relatively unremarkable, and it is the person who imposes a bohemian structure on the elements. [Actually, replace each instance of ‘bohemian’ in that last sentence with any aesthetic, and that’s what I like in the case of that aesthetic.] Some of the pieces are comically expensive, too, given the vibe.

That said, I like a number of their offerings (i.e. some of the simpler tops and dresses, their skinny leggings, and their boot selection), and I really like their most recent campaign [for the March 2014 catalogue] with model Erin Wasson.


I like her face so much, it’s an appealing combination of delicate, angular, and wholesome (this is maybe just the level brows and the round lips?), with the strange, compelling potential to look almost feral.











Long, loose dresses, sheer textures, cut-outs, lacing, and plenty of skin peeking through, stacked bracelets, leather, lace, and beading, BOOTS…I’m getting some good ideas here. Her messy-chic hair is great, too.

images via Free People (click link to see the whole campaign)