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Thursday, August 26, 2010

1078-D by Strategia

Tactical Advantage: The 1078-D by Stategia is a victor in the battle of fall styles.

Oh my. Where do we start? Whenever we find ourselves paralyzed by a multiplicity of options, we like to lean upon our good friend Lewis Carroll whose "Alice in Wonderland" lends some sage advice from the King: "Begin at the beginning ... and go on till you come to the end: then stop." It dissolves our perplexity like so much treacle in water.

Well, OK then: this shoe began in Italy and is part of a brand-new line we're carrying this fall. (Lori is in love with it.) Much like the red-hot Nicole boot from last year which was meant to be worn at several heights from knee-high to ankle boot, the 1078 is made of the most supple leather we've felt in some time. The shaft is fully lined; you can turn this thing down as far as your toes and it will look 100 percent on-purpose. If you don't like the flipped look, hike it tight or scrunch it down for a jaggy silhouette (above). In other words: abuse this boot. It's asking for it.

The rest of the boot is mean and clean. A simple round toe and a one-inch heel complete the bottom. There is a chrome three-quarters zipper up the back that's functional, but doesn't function for anything; it is pure decoration. We could lose that, honestly, and with creative styling that's an option. This boot has clean lines to put the focus on how you wear it. In that respect, there are so many options we get dizzy.

We just– we can't– we– Look, don't hide this boot! It's just so sexxxy. You know what we're going to say. Leggings. Of course, leggings! Look at that badass boot up there with teal knee-highs layered over dark heather leggings! Killer! Of course your skinnies are always a cooler-weather option, but right now we are basking in the glory of an absence of humidity and 90-degree days (in Chicago anyway).

The 1078 taps into the strong military trend by way of parade ground polish. There are echoes of the equestrian trend from a few seasons back, but it's been spit-shined and streamlined. The luxury of this boot is a bootshaft that lets you devise a look to suit the occasion from regal to rough-and-tumble.

We're closing in on the end, but we're reminded of another character from Lewis's managerie. As the Dormouse said to Alice, "you know you say things are 'much of a muchness' – did you ever see ... a drawing of a muchness?" We haven't either, but we may just be wearing it.

The End. Stop.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dallas by Jeffrey Campbell

Fringe Benefits: Jeffrey Campbell's Dallas revs up the fall boot season.

When we think of restraint, Jeffrey Campbell does not spring to mind. The designer, known for creative new uses for pushpins, thumbtacks, buckles and the like, is more often our first choice for edgy looks and creative daring. In that sense the Dallas does not surprise (though we are, of course, happy). Never one to settle on just a trend, Campbell made a boot that comprises, well, most of them: suede, fringe, OTK boots, Western looks ... this fall Dallas is fall.

Dallas reaches to the knee and, though there is a turn-down, it's meant to stay down – the brass nailheads edging the seams are meant to be seen. And the fringe. The fringe! Don't mistake this for a moccasin, Undaunted Courage-inspired riff. This fringe is there to simply sway and look magnificent, a hip and shaggy 'do on a chic Western boot. The effect is enhanced by the scalloped seam of the shaft which lends a naturally sinuous drape to the suede. We're fans of suede. It's coming back in bags and boots across the board. The soft look and hand of suede feels right this season. Looks aside, a three-inch heel, top zipper with belted cinch and leather calf lining make fitting and wearing Dallas a no-brainer.

We recommend wearing this boot naked. (What else is it you think you need?) This boot was just made for parading around looking glorious and we can't think of anything that will outshine the Dallas except your self. But if you want to save the prancing for bedrooms and closed curtains, you can venture out in leggings and a simple shift. Between the studs, heel, fringe and supple suede you are not going to need a whole lot more. Like its namesake city and TV show, Dallas is big and glamorous. It is a sashay, not a walk. Wearing Dallas will make you feel in the spotlight ... even with your clothes on.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Old Smart by Via Roma

When in Roma: The Old Smart adds some new details to a hot fall trend.

What came first, the motorcycle or the engineer boot? Whichever it is, the engineer boot wins hands-down at capturing the fancies of fashionable women (though we respect you, ladies who ride). The secret lies in its classic form. Evolved from the lasts of English riding boots, the engineer typically sports a strap with buckle or harness across the upper and round or square toe. The rest? Up for grabs.

One designer that's been particularly grabby is Via Roma. One of our exclusive Italian labels, Via Roma has been spinning fresh takes on classics (check out the camo Hangar.) Old Smart's quilted leather upper adds a cozy luxury to an otherwise bad-ass boot. Along with an antiqued, oval brass buckle, this shoe keeps its street smarts while reaching back for a little of that English riding gentility. We like a boot that lets you look demure and maybe just a little bit threatening at the same time.

Old Smart is savvier than just her good looks, of course. She's on-trend. The short boot look is a seamless transition from summer to fall: cooler than a pair of OTKs like the Miami but more forward-looking than the current crop of sandals, short boots are versatile without looking pragmatic. They'll be just as relevant in November as September. Just layer in that other big trend – socks – and you have a look that is easy and cheap to change up and up and up to fit the weather and, more importantly, your mood and the occasion. (If socks aren't your thing, these boots look equally as darling over or under denim.)

Old Smart's only here at Lori's. It's one of our finds from the Milan shows. We're excited about everything we bought in this line. (Seriously, did you see the Smart??) The Old Smart has captured our hearts at the this particular moment. It's not our cheapest boot, but it's absolutely top quality and craftsmanship. Given that this is a boot that will last you not through this season but, with care, scores of them, we think that makes the Old Smart a pretty intelligent purchase.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

20413 by Khrio

Spotlight: Khrio's micro-shearling short boot is a great way to usher in the fall season.

We know it's still hot – a better word might be melty – but that doesn't changed the inevitable and glee-filled fact that cooler climes await us come fall. It certainly has not escaped the attention of the folks over at Khrio. They've shipped us a darling little boot with the ungainly moniker of 20413. (Unless you are Robert Duvall, we believe shoes, like people, should have a name.)

The 20413 is a light transition boot with a number of beguiling features, chief among them that it looks great with socks. This is important as socks are more important this season than most. In fact, we have taken the liberty of pairing not one but two pairs of socks with the '413 in the photo above: a heavier grey rib knit under a sheer burgundy wool. The look is appropriate to Khrio's designing, a kind of future-perfect casual ... like a bootie moc in space. The look is cool and also cozy. We're wearing this with longer boyfriend jean shorts and a well-loved tee or cardigan (or both depending on the temperature).

The idea is comfort over cool (though that does not exclude chic). This is a look we're seeing in the star set yonder West with the emergence of the Warishofer sandal sported by Maggie Gyllenhaal and others. Let's just say it's comfort level exceeds its pulchritude. Khrio's 20413 is lined with a soft micro-shearling inside a suede upper. This is stitched to a molded crepe sole. It wears like pure comfort and, while it looks casual, it does not look sloppy. This is an important distinction. Call the look an offshoot of the sexy librarian. Maybe we'll coin it the "sultry academic." (This is not to say you can't pop these on with jeans for a quick errand run; they excel at that as well.)

We're in transition mode (or "transistion" mode if you spotted the typo in our recent mailer. Whoops!) Both modes require a versatile shoe that can work with summer and fall palettes and temperatures. Khrio lives for this time of year. The 20413 is light enough to wear today and warm enough for October evenings. It works because it has a straightforward, classic, low-boot profile that supports your look (remember: socks!) regardless of season. And did we mention it comes in brown and navy? Now you have no excuses. We know you are a quick study. Show it with a pair of these beauts and flaunt your best post-grad come-hither look.

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