With the new year comes new advice on how to improve one’s figure. Awesome timing, what with everyone feeling like fatties on account of excessive peanut brittle/fudge/sugar cookie consumption (wait, that’s just me, and it’s my boyfriend’s mother’s baking prowess’s fault.) There’s The Long and Lean Workout! The Strong and Slim Yoga Sequence! The 2-Day Cleanse! The Saucer Size Plate Diet! Glossies seem to have an answer to every arm, leg, thigh, butt and tummy problem in the book, but there’s one body issue that continually goes unaddressed: the lack of a definitive break between the end of one’s calf, and the beginning of one’s foot.
Cankles cannot be blamed on weight gain. They’re immune to diet and exercise. Either you’re born with them, or you’re not. It seems unfair to critique the cankle, as having or not having them is the result of blind genetic luck. Luckily, donning a pair of sneakers crafted in their likeness remains a matter of choice. Behold, the See by Chloe Hi Top Wedge Sneaker.
I’m guessing the logic behind its creation went something like this: Hipsters made ugly clothes cool – hey, I know, let’s do it with sneakers! We’ll make shoes so ugly, they’re cool!
The shape of the shoes is offensive as it is, but the color – nude? Really? What the eff are you trying to do, further chunk up the leg by making it indistinguishable from the fucking ugly sneaker to which it’s unfortunately attached?
Also, the Cankle-Tops cost $345.00. Offensive, but still not as gross as the shoe itself. BARF.
I recently spotted a pair of SICK Jeffrey Campbell shoes whilst browsing Shopbop (one of my many procrastination tactics).
The line coined them Boxxy Suede Booties; I was drawn to them for their oxford-esque appearance, and heavily dig the fact that they lace up the front. What makes them booties anyway, the extra inch of material around the ankle area? Debatable.
I’d been on the hunt for chunky oxford pumps for MONTHS when I happened upon these. Unfortunately, they bore a slightly unnerving price tag of $190.00 – I don’t THINK so. I figured I’d keep an eye on them until they went on sale. They got slashed to $130.00 a few days later, and my size subsequently flew out the door before I could click my way to claiming them. Sadface!
In my experience, trying to find a specific kind of shoe at a resale or thrift shop is an exercise in futility. I always give the shoe section a once over – if I find something decent, yay – but I never go in for footwear alone. I tried scouring for chunky oxfords at Buffalo Exchange – no dice. (The East Village location is in DIRE NEED of cute size 7/7.5 shoes btw. Egads!) Then, I remembered Metropolis Vintage had a kickass selection of mint condition boots, booties, loafers, oxfords, flats, et. al. I also remembered seeing a 20% Off Entire Store sign in their window last time I walked by. Me likey.
Wood soles, lace up oxford-styling, contrast stitching, gently worn in sans damage – an awesome alternative to my initial choice, methinks. Cheaper too! The oxford pumps were tagged at $45.00, i.e. $36.00 @ 20% off. Oh, right, I live in New York, where the government recently repealed the no-tax rule on items under $110. Jackholes, all. So my grand total was $39 and change.
Still. In comparison with the $130.00 Jeffrey Campbell’s I THOUGHT I wanted, I suppose I can stomach the tax. For now.
Unrelated sidebar: Everyone hear the news about Alexa Chung’s new show, Thrift in America? Pretty cool that resale’s finally getting some celeb-endorsed TV love. I’m uber psyched to see what PBS comes up with (and to see what Alexa’s idea of shopping on a budget is, obvs).
I just thought the eighteen or so editors who rejected my Cheap JAP book proposal – not because they weren’t wildly entertained by it, but because a “first-time author” writing about an “unfamiliar industry” just wasn’t a wise choice from a monetary standpoint – might want to re-think their argument. And maybe get some balls while they’re at it. Bah!
Platforms are a double-edged sword. Sometimes a platform alleviates the feeling of walking on one’s tiptoes; sometimes it adds insult to injury. Whether or not a platform hurts or helps largely depends on the girth of the heel to which it’s attached. See exhibit A:
At right, we have Pour La Victoire‘s Irina Suede Pumps on Hidden Platform, i.e. the embodiment of sex on a stick. The problem – $250 price tag aside – is that the width of the heel is more stiletto than pump. The narrow heel offsets the platform’s attempt at stability because the weight isn’t distributed evenly across the shoe. Walking in the Pour La Victoires is a hellish experience as a result.
At left, we have
Jeffrey Campbell‘s Jezabel Suede Platform Pump – a little less sexy, a lot more practical, and still a pretty hot shoe overall. The key to the platform’s walkability is the cone heel. The wide part of the cone takes some of the weight off the balls of the feet and redistributes it, making for a less painful walking experience overall. Perhaps this is why the JC’s less intimidating to the eye. I don’t know about you, but the Pour La Victoire – sexy as it is – absolutely scares the shit out of me.
I highly recommend hitting a consignment store before committing to one of this fall’s latest styles. Everything recycles itself, and shoe trends are no exception. See exhibit B:
I’m not usually into designer shoe collaborations, but Easy Spirit knows comfort, and Tara Subkoff knows design. This collab was a beauteous marriage, one I’m sorry I missed when it came out back in 2006.
Wait, I’m lying. I just checked the price points on Tara Subkoff for Easy Spirit shoes: $200 – $500 per pair. For a line that usually sells for $50 – $150, that is all kinds of nucking futs.
Tokio 7 charged an uber reasonable $40 for these Tara Subkoff for Easy Spirit pumps. Let’s see how they stack up in comparison with the new shoes pictured above.
Hidden Platform: Check.
Cone Heel: Check.
Fall-Appropriate Suede: Check.
Mint Condition: Check.
Under $50: Check.
Walkability: Check, to a point. I’ve worn these shoes on three separate occasions already. While they’re surprisingly comfortable overall, they’re still pretty high. One solid hour of walking and/or standing in them is about all I can tolerate; after that point, they start hurting like a bitch. Three hours of wear with seated breaks is do-able. Whatever. They’re effing awesome, and having a pair of truly hot shoes that don’t make me fall on my ass is much more satisfying than I anticipated.
Should you find yourself in the market for a suede platform pump in the spirit of the above, be realistic about what you can and can’t walk in. Health care isn’t free yet, and broken ankles aren’t cheap to fix.
When it comes to splurges, I’m kind of a Scrooge. The prospect of paying $50 for a given thing, brandtastic or no, is usually cause for nausea. Shoes are one of the few types of splurge-appropriate material goodies, particularly those of the mint condition consignment ilk.
I have six letters for you: NWT DJP. That’s New-With-Tags-Donald-J-Pliner. See photographic evidence below.
Donald J. Pliner footwear is basically a gift to womankind. He’s pricey, but he’s got the hot walkable shoe nailed. It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking some up. (Sorry, had a Ferris Bueller moment there.)
DJP’s ability to concoct shoes that (a) give you a serious height boost and (b) liberate you from blisters, bunions, aches and pains exempts him from cost-related criticism usually reserved for things costing upwards of $250.00. That being said, who the eff am I kidding? I so do NOT have the means for $250.00.
$250.00 shoes for $84.99? That I can do. Particularly if they’re TAGS ON NEW.
Everything’s marked-up in New York, secondhand stores notwithstanding. These stellar espadrilles would have cost me $150, minimum, if I’d had a lapse in judgment and purchased them at a Manhattan consignment shop. Where’d I find these puppies for such a palatable price?
At Designer Consignments, one of my fave Garden State spots. Everything’s cheaper in Jersey and heretofore, better. :P
A few weeks ago, I got a pedicure. It was the first I’d had in months. This is not to imply that I leave the house with unpainted toes (oh, THE HORROR… just kidding). The discovery of Sally Hansen’s Quick Care Clean-Up Nail Stick – a brilliant invention that caters to klutzes a la moi, enabling us to fudge a passable paint job when we’re too broke or too lazy to hit the salon – recently liberated me from pedi regularity. They’ve become a special-occasions-only thang, so when my cousin got married earlier this month, I sprung for professional nail care. I left the salon that day with more than pretty toes, hence the reason for this post. Listen to THIS.
I make it a point to buy sandals that don’t eff up my feet. This is a worthless exercise. I don’t know if the fashion footwear industry’s engaged in a conspiracy in which style and comfort can’t coexist or what, but every sandal I purchase inevitably wreaks havoc on my heels and toes. The resulting blisters and cuts prompted a gasp on behalf of my lovely Nepalese nail technician as I settled into the chair for my pedicure.
Pedi Lady: What did you DO?!
Cheap JAP: I bought new sandals, and my feet are mad at me.
Pedi Lady: Did you put anything on them?
Cheap JAP: I’ve been putting Neosporin on them for weeks. I wear Band-AIDs to keep them from getting worse. Nothing is working.
She shook her head, as though saddened by the sight of sandal-mauled feet, and seemed deep in thought as she worked around the cuts. After the soak portion of the event was over, she nudged me away from my magazine.
Pedi Lady: Can I try something for this? (motions toward cuts)
Cheap JAP: Sure. Whatever you think is best.
She nodded seriously, as though readying herself for an outburst to come. She then proceeded to squeeze straight-up lemon juice all over my feet.
Cheap JAP: WHAT WAS THAT?! It burns! It burns like acid!
Pedi Lady: I’m sorry, I’m sorry (blows on feet, which does approximately nothing to minimize the pain), I’m sorry… it was the only thing to do.
Cheap JAP: Does it work?
Pedi Lady: Oh, yes. It’s the best thing, lemons.
I woke up the next morning to new feet. Weeks of dogged Neosporin application hadn’t done jack to reverse the damage; one application of lemon juice later, I was en route to recovery.
The natural skin remedy bestowed on me by the Nepalese nail technician wasn’t a fluke. I’ve used it many times in the weeks since – best thing ever. The moment a scratch, blister or cut becomes visible is the moment it gets doused with good old fashioned citric acid. It hurts like a beotch, obvs. But the sting subsides as quickly as it comes on, and the perks extend beyond quickly healed skin. Lemon juice is more than an anti-infective; it effectively treats blackheads, clogged pores, and even minimizes the appearance of scars when applied regularly.
This summer, when sandals inevitably eff up your feet, do yourself a favor and skip the obligatory trip to CVS for Band-AIDs, blister-busting adhesives, skin-healing ointments, scar treatments, et. al. It’s all crap designed to distract you from going the non-product route. Hit the supermarket for lemons instead. No chemicals, no packaging, no fuss. Your feet (and your wallet) will thank you.
Sometimes, the juice really is worth the squeeze. :P