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Thursday, October 29, 2009

905 by Fruit

Work a Mile: The brisk charm of Fruit's new worker short boot has us occupied.

We have an informal litmus test at the store to judge new arrivals. It goes something like this: 1. Receive new shipments; 2. Merchandise new arrivals on the floor; 3. Wait with baited breath. Like a magical scent, the odor of new arrivals will waft up to the office. Wait ... wait for it ... And there she is! Lori pops her head out, looking this way and that, bright-eyed and alert, moving through stacks of shoes and past bewildered customers, inevitably zeroing in on the best of the latest. It’s like watching a bloodhound to the fox. Truly inspiring. She has a sixth sense for uncovering the latest trend ... even in her own store! This week we found her posing in front of the mirror in dark skirt, black tights and the ultra-soft, black 905s by Fruit/Now.

It may not look like much in the box, but the 905 – an exclusive Lori’s pick from Italy – is an adorable work-inspired short boot that blends the hardware of utility with the supple luxury of buttery leather and a flawless construction. The result is a boot that looks tough but wears as gentle as a lamb. The rounded toe has a beautiful, narrow line that sweeps up to a double-stitched vamp. Five eyelets and three D-rings lend a rugged, masculine touch, as do the reinforced heelcup and padded ankle cuff.

But what drew Lori straight to this lovely number (also available in rustic brown – “I like that too,” she offers) was the amazing feel of the leather. Its soft hand and finish are so beguiling they overcome the manly edge of this boot, softening them to the cute and boyish.

The blend of masculine “toughness” – hiker, military, construction – and feminine discernment make this a versatile boot. It’s so damned cute worked back to leggings and a short skirt and tailored shirt, but it also makes sense with skinny jeans and a simple tee topped with layered chains and a Lives of the Saints bracelet, all the rage in Italy right now (available at the register). Conversely, you could cuff up your boyfriend jeans and butch out these boots, taking advantage of their blue-collar inspiration.

What draws a line through all these outfits is attention to silhouette (softer, more feminine and considered) and material (drool-worthy leathers). The irony is that this shoe is so comfortable you can walk and walk and walk and walk in them. They truly do become a workhorse for your wardrobe!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Legal by Jeffrey Campbell

Zip It: The Legal by Jeffrey Campbell brings closure to the question of a cool wedge.

The first thing you might think when you see the Legal by Jeffrey Campbell is, "Eh?" The second will either be "Whoa" or "Wow!" This is a surprise addition that will stump you or seduce you and we're sure both camps will have their adherents. One thing's for sure: there's one lucky zipper manufacturer out there singing JC's praises.

Perched on a narrow, four-inch wedge sheathed in black suede, the Legal is wrapped in seven layers of chromed zippers that come together at the foot to form an unexpected peeptoe. All the zippers are functional and provide an unexpected degree of customizable fit and creative license with the look. Should you leave them open, closed, or open-and-closed? The bright chrome of the solid pulltabs creates a fantastic visual flash (and not a little bit of noise) on top the criss-crossed wrapping of the metal teeth.

Legal's a costume setpiece for a remake of "The Mummy" produced by The Cure and Trent Reznor. Nevertheless, there's an certain charm to the overt "rebel" in this shoe. It's so earnest we just can't help but love the Legal for it. And in a very strange way, the pulltabs start to read like fringe and, in that way, tap into the Western look that is all over the scene. Has Jeffrey Campbell taken the rock-and-roll rebel and ported it, ingeniously, into the Western camp? Possibly. Marry all that to the Project Runway vibe ("You have four hours and forty feet of zipper to make something wearable ... ") and you have an ostentatious shoe that behaves like a lady. A real rambunctious lady, but a lady nonetheless.

How? With denim, absolutely. Also with spangly leggings. Pick up the flash and dance of these wedges with layered necklaces or big tassled earrings. You can also work back into the punk angle with a bold plaid scarf and jeans jacket with band buttons. However you choose, safe to say the Legal will brng some closure to the question of what to wear.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Maxine Loop Pull On by Frye

To The Max: Frye's Maxine takes the fold-over all the way down.

You know what we love about Frye? Here's a company founded on supplying boots to Union Army soldiers in the 1860s that has kept true to its roots yet serves up current trends. Sure, boots always hold a certain fascination regardless of the era, but think about it: how do you design a functional boot for a Rough Rider that translates some hundred years later into a fashion boot for the chic set?

If you are Frye, you do it by crafting a boot for a specific function then fiddling endlessly with the details. A boot made for soldiering becomes a mainstay of Flower Power becomes a sleek must-have in metropolitan fashion circles. The Maxine Loop Pull On is a classic that feels immediately now: a knee-high boot shaft over a low riding heel and a beautifully rounded toe, all dressed in jet black pebbled leather. What sets it apart is a fold-over that's been folded over nearly to the heel, giving the boot shaft the appearance of being twice as tall as it actually is (it doesn't unfold). A belting detail wraps the boot at the ankle, meeting at back around a signature Frye element: the harness ring.

Frye has taken a common element of over-the-knee boots and taken it to the extreme. It's that kind of innovation that keeps them not just alive, but relevant. The look is sharp and clean. Elegant with a dash of purpose. The elements that once supported spurs for Pony Express riders are now decorative touches that lend confidence and authority to your look. Keep the past present by picking up on that functional essence. Wear these with a long duster. Focus on the texture by layering on cuffed tweed shorts. Give it more edge with multiple long chain necklaces. We love how clean this boot looks from a distance, and how details reveal themselves the closer you look. Like its wearer, the Maxine is sophisticated and complex ... and utterly put-together.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Echo by Sam Edelman

City Mouse: The Echo by Sam Edelman brings urban polish to our fall wardrobes.

Last fall spectators became a huge trend. Combining this traditional menswear look with feminine touches was a contest amongst brands. Who could one-up the other with another clever take? This season the interest in menswear continues, but the spectator fire has reduced to smoldering embers which, as any grill aficionado knows, is the best time to cook. Sam Edelman must love its barbeque; their Echo is a smart and sophisticated spectator that stands alone this fall.

Available in brown leather and black patent, we much prefer the patent. The predilection rests on this shoe's most lovely feature: a vamp made of softest felt. We love the hard sheen of the jet black patent against the matte charcoal felt. It's Mad Men: Brylcreem and wool suits – urban and full of verve. The easy brown feels more laidback, and today we're just in a city mouse mood. A patent-wrapped heel and notched toecap feel flashy and office; the felt calms it down with a cozy, casual touch. The boyish four-eye lace-up over a patent tongue is just plain cute.

The menswear trend continues, Sam keeps the spectator alive and felt is showing up in a number of styles this season. This shoe is so relevant. With less spectator-specific styles around, it's also unique. The color-on-color palette makes for a subtle transition from what is yesterday's news to today's headline. Read all about it.

For larger sizes, visit Barefoot Tess Barefoot Tess for larger sizes.