Tuesday, April 11, 2006

The rise of the heel. . .

I love sandals, sneakers, and boots. Sandals are cheap. Sneakers are comfy. Boots are warm. All can be stylish and interesting. Still though, as much of my shoe wardrobe as is comprised of sandals, sneakers, and boots (which is a lot), none of them really say 'feminine.' Don't get me wrong, with a skirt or dress, or with a few strategically-placed ruffles, they can be delightfully girl, but in and of themselves, they're just not. In fact, the only shoes that really are distinctly feminine on their own are pumps, kitten heels, and ballet flats.

The world is full of wonderful pumps, kitten heels, and ballet flats. Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo have carved out major names for themselves in the fashion world with their amazing heels alone; they've never even forayed into the world of clothing. They're always willing to take risks with their designs, which is great, but Christian Louboutin can take risks and still create a shoe that looks classic. It goes without saying that they're sexy. I mean, there's a clear reason why new designers who have yet to (or haven't wanted to) create a shoe line usually use Christian Louboutin in their runway shows. I think that they really have designed the ideal heel (don't you love it when I rhyme?).

There's really no contest with ballet flats, either. Of course lots of brands do them well; London Sole is great, Burberry is lovely, I even have a couple $20 no-name pairs that I wear all the time. It's not hard to do ballet flats nicely. The brand that transcends "nice," however, is Delman. Delman's flats range from gorgeously classic to delightfully eclectic, and they hit all the middle ground between the two. Furthermore, you can just look at their shoes and know that they're gonna look damn good on a foot. They're well-constructed. It also get a kick out of the fact that they use ballet-lingo to describe their shoes; you usually don't read about the engineering of a shoe's vamp outside of the pointe shoe section of a dancewear catalog.

Kitten heels are a little harder. There's no line that specializes in kitten heels, so a lot of places make lovely ones. Personally, I usually melt over kitten heels by Irregular Choice London, but Burberry does them well, too. It must be a British thing.

So, if you need to look feminine, but want to wear jeans, you know what shoe designers to hit up if you want to look your best. Oh, and if you have a lot of money. I, personally, don't own any of these brands. I can dream.


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