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The once-over stops at the shoes.
By Sasha Fastovskiy
Nothing screams status as much as the almighty, covetous, silent stare that is the once-over. So much a part of our daily routine, with its the less-than-subtle head turn, the cunning eye flicks, the raised eyebrows, the up-and-down sweeping glare. Judgmental? Of course. Flattering? Absolutely; especially when you’re on the receiving end of The Jealous Once-Over. They’ll start with the hair, scroll down for a quick glance at the face, then indulge in the outfit, drop the eyes to the shoes… “Ooh, those shoes,” they’ll think. Oh yes, the shoes. With autumn and winter creeping up on us, the latest styles in shoes and boots will have them admiring your fancy footwear even as you fabulously flaunt your way out of there. Get ready to lace up, strap in, pull on, wrap, buckle, and click and clack, because their eyes on your heels will be a habit you’ll never want to kick.
While spring and summer were set ablaze with neons, patterns, and asymmetrical cuts, this winter tones down those wild ways but pops in its own crisp, clean lines and rich colors. In fact, the biggest trend this season is borrowed straight from the dudes themselves: menswear inspired patterns, cuts, and designs. With an air of structure, tailoring, and high quality, shoes are stealing the spotlight with patterns like houndstooth and pinstripes and with styles like retro cap-toed pumps and oxfords. 2007/8 ain’t playin’ around with mama’s school shoes though; whether buckled or laced, flat or high-heeled, oxfords on women can retain a prim and proper look but with an extraordinarily vampy feel. Also similar to oxfords is the old-school motivated new-school Mary Jane. Although this style was already big over the summer, the fall/winter MJ collections will be slightly bulkier. Look for contrasting colors, big button closures, obnoxious buckles, and multiple S&M-style straps. To be extra cutting-edge, don some frilly socks with your Mary Janes.
When it to color, there will be a plethora of luxurious warm shades all there for the choosing ~ Purples, teals, fuchsias, burgundies, forest greens, golden yellows, and the most prominent fall color, grey. While less harsh than black, grey is still sleek and tidy, and its various shades can be anything from playful or sensual.
In more casual ladies’ footwear, ballerina flats are still dainty and delicious. The fabrics and designs will take a shuffle in a more elegant direction with ankle-buckles, cloth or satin rouching, and metallic details.
Winter wouldn’t be winter without killer boots. Even if the first snowfall comes in April, there is no other therapy like finding your “solemate” in a pair of boots. All sorts of styles are emerging this year: knit and woven sweater boots, galoshes, great knee-high boots, equestrian boots, moccasins, suede and leathers with fine details, subtle, beautiful pixie and flat boots, and canvas boots with funky patterns. Ankle boots and booties (paired with skinny jeans, tunics, long sweaters, or same-colored tights and a long skirt) are all the toe-tappin’ rage, too ~ cuffed, uncuffed, zippered, and plush. Speaking of cuffed and uncuffed, most boots can go in either direction. Just remember that when you choose cuffed, don’t pair them with jeans or it will create a bulky look. Opt for leggings or tights instead.
Men’s styles this year have not only cleaned up, but they’ve gotten slightly funkier, too. Aside from classic, sophisticated square-toed ankle boots that are a staple in every man’s wardrobe (think Little Black Dress, but for men…and on their feet), men should get into some styles that are slightly more relaxed. While the colors aren’t necessarily as sumptuous as purple or teal, men can sink into ivories, greys, and olives. Dress shoes have more detail; cut-out or eyelet-based designs are prominent. Wing-tips and penny loafers have also gotten makeovers, giving them ‘20s flair with ’07 passion. Men’s casual styles have actually gotten slightly dressier, too. Think lighter soles, soft leather, and brighter, clashier colors.
Finding the perfect shoes for the cold weather is truly all about how they will make you feel, and no one can resist imagining other people’s reactions to (ie their once-overs of) their ankle boots/shooties/Mary Janes/moccasins/oxfords. So, when humdrum ol’ January rolls around and you know you’re making everyone positively green with shoe envy, don’t hesitate to go that extra mile. Never be afraid to go one toe over the line. Go on, let them have the once-over that will send them spinning.
Vocabulary Lesson: Combine boots with shoes for the newest must-have: shooties, ankle-boots with cutouts, often in funky colors and perfect for the fall-to-winter transitions.