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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

7972 Cowboy Boot by Laredo

Spaghetti Western Boots: Italian-exclusive label Laredo ropes us in.

We are big fans of taking things out of context, of unexpected juxtapositions. So it's not hard to fall for Laredo's cowboy boot. On first glance it's a bit like a screen door on a submarine or the proverbial fish on a bike. A head-scratcher: it's a boot, but it's precious; it's hip by way of left field. After all, one thinks, what self-respecting cowpoke is going to saddle up in satin boots with a cute suede toe? This cowboy is who, pardner.

"Function" silhouettes have been big for a while. If wartime and recession is a good time for anything, it's bringing functional, masculine shapes to the forefront – hence so many combat, cowboy and worker boots gracing the streets. We work out our worries by attacking the equipage. Nine years into a war and nine-plus-120 years since the O.K. Corral, the cowboy undergoes yet another transformation: it's time for some play. The Italians re-invented the Western for us; it is only fitting that they re-invent its boot as well.

This boot comes in Jeans, Grey and Terra. We're fixated on the blue suede boot. A sleeper color this season, blues in hues from topaz to cobalt have been cropping up across the lines we carry. We like it. At first glance the upper looks like a washed and stretched leather, but a touch reveals it to be a hot and haute satin topstitched with that perennial eagle wing-flame-spiky design that cattle folk seem to love. The bottom is a two-part brushed suede with scuffed and burned nap at the toe and heel. All this on a leather sole.

There's something about the way satin catches the light on this boot that elicits a smile. There is sheen where we expect matte, dressiness where we don't normally look for frills. Prettiness where we expect tough edge. We're OK with an effeminate, masculine boot because, hey, we're girls. We'll use the grit of the real thing to polish our boots into something apropos for the city – more West Side than Wild West.

The only fight this boot will start will be with the rest of your wardrobe. Laredo's made a boot for the spotlight, so let it shine. Jeans, prairie skirts, shorts, you name it, just keep it simple and pick up the satin's luxe qualities with fabric bracelets and bib necklaces and a fantastic bag. We also like it paired with a overall print, femmy, floral mid-thigh skirt like above to highlight the play and fun of this great spring take on a classic boot.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Uma by Dolce Vita

The Natural: Dolce Vita's Uma blends upcoming trends into a perfect seasonal wedge.

Every season has its trends, but there is always a main thrust – a must-have, a to-die-for, that one look that everyone simply must be in. Sometimes they are declared by the industry ("Fall shalt be equestrian boots), and sometimes they are the culmination of a groundswell in popular appeal, like the resurgence of Sorel’s monster utilitarian duck boots. (We’re wearing ours right now.)

We have our eye on a number of predicted trends for Spring: the nude/neutral, the combat boot, tribal & ethnic looks (especially in jewelry), metallics. And one trend that is just starting to arrive: the wedge. Our interest is piqued. Word on the grapevine is that it will be huge this year. Wedges are a no-brainer every spring, but, thanks to our buyers, we can guarantee you it will be huge at Lori’s Shoes this particular spring.

Dolce Vita has sent us the lovely Uma in brown and black. Perched on a four-and-a-half-inch wedge with a generous one-point-five-inch platform, the first thing this shoe will get you is noticed. Upon noticing we zoom into details: the braided, rough hemp sole; the gladiatoresque upper made of two alternating leather cutouts that grip each other like a handshake; the double ankle cuff with buckles. The raison d'etre of this shoe: get noticed, earn the compliment.

Uma concentrates on texture over all else: the humble rope of the sole works back to utilitarian materials, eco-trends, the natural/neutral look; the overlapping upper echoes that weaving. This is a shoe that darts in and out and around the foot, wrapping it up in a vertiginous hug. This is a shoe that asks "what you lookin' at?" Then answers its own question.

It would be an injustice to not take advantage of Uma's lift and wrappiness. So we're advocating lots of leg here. Leggings under shorts, cuffed, rolled up. Leggings with flirty skirts. Skinny denim floods. Wear with a cloth satchel with heavy embroidery or rope-and-beading detail. Finish with a bold jewelry statement: a beaded bib necklace or an oversized flower ring encrusted with glass gems.

We – ... Sorry, new Janet & Janet just arrived and like hogs in a wallow we had to roll around and giggle and try them on. (We get very distracted this time of year.) We're excited for wedges this spring. We're excited for height and new, natural textures and treatments. And we're excited to have them for you. Wedges are just beginning to arrive. Grab a pair and live at the vanguard of this season's must-have look.

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