Here in New York, shoes are our primary mode of transportation. That means that shoes really need to be comfortable and take you everywhere, but they say a lot about you and your style. And wherever you live I would imagine that your shoes are important to you too, even if you don’t do as much walking as we do in our city.
I’m a bit of a minimalist when it comes to shoes. I want my shoes to work with a lot of my clothes so that I don’t have to think about them very much when I get dressed in the morning. And when I travel I only need to pack one pair and wear another but can still have appropriate shoes for any occasion. As a result, I like my shoes to look good in relatively dressy as well as casual situations and also to be versatile enough to be worn with trousers and with skirts and dresses. It’s a pretty big set of demands, but it seems like the fashion world has really been delivering lately, and if you stick with neutral colors you’re very likely to find something that will fill most of these requirements.
For summer, my casual, everyday around-the-neighborhood or at-the-studio sandal is usually a Birkenstock. I know, they’re not for everyone. But I’ve been wearing the Gizeh in black (and also silver since I wear them so often) for six or seven years now and they really do work with a lot of my wardrobe, which tends to be pretty casual: jeans, the Everyday Skirt (my summer basic) and even casual dresses and shorts. They’re also great for running errands and hanging out at the playground or the park, which we do a lot in the summer.
For slightly dressier everyday wear, I’ve been wearing an ankle-strap sandal with a low heel for several years now. I’m still wearing the same pair now for the third year in a row and get compliments on them all the time. While the exact sandal that I have isn’t available anymore, here are some similar sandals. Again, these work well with trousers, skirts, shorts, and dresses. I love this somewhat rugged but feminine style.
And for dressier occasions or events that call for heels, I always look for something that will be fashionable, wearable (by which I mean that I can walk across town in it without pain and suffering), and will last me for at least three years. These shoes don’t get worn as often as my others, but they are still versatile enough to be worn with a wide variety of styles. Truthfully, I buy more shoes in this category than I really need because I use them for a lot of Lisette and Liesl and Co. photo shoots. Otherwise I would purchase one pair of shoes like this every few years rather than one pair a year. This is the pair I chose this year. And I have to say I really love them. I don’t wear them to the studio very often, but they’re great for meetings and evening events. And I really can walk in them.
And everyone needs to have a wish list, right? I won’t be buying any of these shoes since I’ve already purchased one new pair this year, but there are a lot of cute shoe options out there if you’re still looking for something to wear this summer. Again, most of these are neutral colors, save the occasional color that works well with neutrals.
When I was in design school we would occasionally go on class shopping trips, and one my favorite professors would always tell us that it didn’t really matter so much what we were wearing (within reason), but our footwear was crucial. When you walk into a fancy boutique, the salespeople will notice your shoes more than anything, and you’ll fit in better if you’re wearing good quality, well-maintained shoes. I think this is true for regular life, too–not just for shopping at Chanel and Hermes. I still place exceptional importance on my shoes. And I have a very good relationship with my local shoe repairman, who I visit at least once a month for new heel and toe taps, to have rubber soles added to my shoes to help them last longer, and to do basic repairs to keep them lasting a long time.
What are you wearing or planning to wear this summer? Have you found any shoes you really love? Or are you still looking?