If there’s a common denominator among women — other than chocolate — it would be a shared love of footwear. From streamlined classics and sharp stilettos to modern androgynous picks and architectural heels, shoe shopping remains a happy pastime. Read on for the inside scoop on what’s new, advice on getting the most mileage out of your next shoe splurge, and shopping tips from the experts.
“Floral prints, bright colors and feminine designs make up spring 2011’s top three styles,” says Ruby Tagle Gan, president and COO of Shop Manila Inc., the company that franchises Schu and Chocolate Schubar shoe stores. “Think: Louis Vuitton ads, ‘Mad Men’ and the ’60s.”
In terms of heel shape and size, platforms, wedges and high heels go back to the basics, says Gan, but in a more fun way this season.
Ralph Lauren, Dolce and Gabbana and Zac Posen were a few designers who showcased lace on the runways — and it’s only natural for shoe styles to follow suit. “Lace appliques on prints and bright colors will undoubtedly update any basic wardrobe for spring 2011,” says Gan. A less frilly take on lace would be laser-cut, lace-inspired detailing on non-fabric materials such as leather and plastic.
The Classics Revisited
Gan recommends keeping a pair of well-made black heels, whether you prefer a kitten heel or a 5-inch stiletto in leather or satin. Make your investment last by cleaning shoes after wearing them, as dirt could corrode and destroy the surface if left on. Also, air out footwear before storing in boxes; doing so will help prevent the material from cracking. “With our humid weather, even good leather will not last if not taken out of the box from time to time,” warns Gan. Silk and satin shoes, on the other hand, can easily attract stains. If you end up spilling something on them, immediately pat the area dry with a very absorbent paper napkin. “If you are planning to go out for drinks, I don’t suggest wearing satin shoes,” says Gan.
When eyeing prospects, check out the total effect on your legs and opt for styles that elongate and flatter. (Some pairs can actually make ankles look thick.) Also, refrain from buying shoes when you’ve been walking around in flip flops, advises Gan. “Feet can swell, and it’s possible to end up with the wrong size.” Instead, simply wear ordinary sandals, lined ballet flats or — even better — super-comfy footwear such as trainers to prep feet for some serious shoe shopping.
Remember, the mark of a great shoe doesn’t always come down to price. While it’s wise to invest in an expensive ballet flat, black pump or summer sandal — and exhilarating to shell out a decent amount of cash for the perfect pair — you can have just as much fun with lower-cost alternatives. (Plus, you’ll be able to afford more colors!) For super-trendy styles, you’re often better off not forking over one month’s rent for something you won’t get as much mileage out of.
Photo Credit: iStockphoto.com/Petoo
Mariel Chua is the managing editor of The Style Glossy. She is the former beauty editor of the Philippine editions of Seventeen, Cosmopolitanand OK! magazines. She has also contributed to various print and online titles, including Marie Claire, Lifestyle Asia Travel and Inquirer.net.