fall flats

flat-outflatsleave it to j.crew to bring out some gorgeous flats for fall… #Iwantthemall. but alas, my closet, conscience, and budget can only take so much ( ;) ), so I’ve got to pick & choose. my heart is set on the d’orsay sloan flat in that rich, burgundy color, but I’m still teetering on which color for the gemma flat. on the one hand, the blush pink is oh-so-pretty and has enough warmth to actually look good against my skin. it’s a good staple neutral that would go well with everything. on the other, leopard is a neutral, too, and leopard is always a win in my book.

so let me turn the question over to you. if you were me, which would you pick:  blush pink or leopard?

cheap thrills | target striped d’orsay flats

 you may have heard me say this before, but I’ll say it again: I love shoes. sneakers, flats, heels, sandals…you name it, I love it. I often stick with the tried & true neutrals for my clothing, but with shoes, I’m more open to colors & styles. of course, all that shoe love can get expensive, so it’s always a thrill when you find some cute & comfortable shoes at a reasonable price, like these flats from target.

these d’orsay flats from target are lovely. in the short amount of time I’ve had them, they’ve become one of my favorite pieces in my spring capsule wardrobe.the stripe pattern is perfect for spring, as is the d’orsay cut. I find them to be really flattering on my flat, wide feet, and the cut of the toe portion is generous – even in the afternoon when my feet swell up, they don’t cut into sides of my foot. as for comfort, they do have some padding, and I find that they’re way more comfortable than another pair that cost over twice as much. I don’t know if I’d wear this for a day of consistent, non-stop walking, but for a day of running errands & grocery shopping, they held up for me. as other reviewers mentioned online, they did rub on my ankle a little when they were new, but that’s true for me with any flat.

it also comes in a brown/black color option, and is currently 20% off. if you’re on the hunt for a cute, affordable d’orsay flat, I’d recommend this one.

p.s. if regular ballet flats are more your thing, check these out. I tried the striped pair on in store, and they fit well, with plenty of room in the toe box & a snug but comfortable elastic ankle grip.

good buys | wide-calf knee-high boots

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if you’re a regular around these parts (thank you!), then you’ll know that I struggle to find knee-high boots to fit my wide calves. but, in November right around my birthday…I finally found a pair. then, when I was in Boston, I found another pair (in grey). I can’t tell you how incredibly giddy I was to finally end a years-long search for any knee-high boot that would fit.

I thought I’d give you guys the details in case you or someone you know is still searching high & low for your glass slipper, so to speak (for reference, my calves are about 18″ wide at their widest point). the only potential downside is that neither one of these is made of real leather, but having worn them for awhile now, I can say that the vegan leather & suede are pretty durable and I’m kind of glad they’re not real leather so I don’t have to worry about irrevocably damaging them in this snowy Chicago weather. I did purchase a backup pair of the black boots and also bought them in brown.

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back to basics | shoes 101: flats

types

admittedly, flats are not the most exciting of shoes, but they’re usually the most hardworking pieces in people’s closets, including mine. while they lack the va-va-voom factor and leg-lengthening capabilities of their heeled cousins, flats are great for when you’re on your feet all day or have to quickly get from point a to point b. comfort is their primary selling point, but as they’ve become more available in more designs and options, they’ve become chic, sartorially on-point footwear in their own right. referencing my own pieces, here are some options and tips to keep in mind if you’re in the market for a new pair or two.

options

ballerinas | let’s start with the quintessential flat. who hasn’t seen the impossibly elegant Audrey Hepburn in a pair?

smoking slippers | these are great if you’re looking for a little higher profile on the foot than the traditional ballerina flat. I like that these add a little touch of insouciance to even the most basic of outfits.

oxfords | for the flat with a “borrowed from the boys” feel. I like to play up the juxtaposition between masculine and feminine by wearing these with a flirty skirt or a cute sundress.

slingbacks | take the basic flat, cut out the back, and add a strap for a little ladylike sophistication. these lend themselves to dressier situations really easily and in the right material, can be a modern alternative to a heel.

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tips

colors | if you’re planning on using these everyday, it’s a good idea to get a pair in a neutral color that goes with the majority of your clothing. I wear a lot of black, so the first flat I ever bought was black, but if you tend to wear warmer colors, a pair of flats in a shade of brown might me more practical. after you’ve got the basics covered, though, pick up a fun pair, like in an animal print, which is more versatile than you’d think.

some fun details | bows are classic details on ballerinas, but if bows aren’t your thing, look for a pair adorned in studs or in a pattern you love, like a polka dot.

toe-shape | while the body shape of a flat remains relatively unchanged between styles, the toe shape can change quite a lot. the three most common are the rounded toe, the pointy toe, and the almond toe. the rounded toe is a classic, but can look a little youthful. the pointy toe is dressier and elongates the foot much like a heel, but can be uncomfortable for those with wider feet because of the narrow toe box. the almond toe is a nice, happy medium between the two. try each style and find out which one suits your style and needs best.

material | the most common materials are traditional leather (the soft, buttery kind), suede, and patent leather (shiny and harder). traditional leather gives a more refined look, but it’s prone to scratches. suede is usually very comfortable straight out of the box, but it takes the most maintenance, especially if it’s in a lighter color. patent is the most hardy, able to stand up to a little rain and snow and easy to clean with a little elbow grease, but I’ve found that it takes the longest to break in. I’m partial to traditional leather, but I have pairs in each material, so feel free to mix and match. there are also plenty of non-leather options out there, so don’t feel as though you have to wear leather. there are plenty of great vegan leather options if you still want the leather look, or go for a canvas or satin option.

comfort & quality are key | no matter how cute the flat, make sure it’s comfortable. my tolerance for uncomfortable heels is pretty low as it is; my tolerance for an uncomfortable flat is nonexistent. look for pairs with decent padding and a little bit of a heel, between 1/4″ and 1/2″. I find the little bit of separation from the ground makes a huge difference. lastly, a good quality flat can be found at a number of different price points. the most expensive flat isn’t necessarily the most comfortable. that being said, don’t skimp. buy the best quality you can afford. I go by this rule of thumb in general, but especially for shoes.

personal favorites | for my short but wide feet, I’ve had a lot of success with the skimmer flat from madewell. I currently own two pairs that are both a couple of years old and still going strong. they have decent padding and a forgiving almond toe. at around $100 a pair, they’re not the cheapest, but the price is fair for the quality and you can often get them on sale if you do a little waiting and stalking. they come out every year with a little tweak here and there. I’ve also had decent success with flats from j.crew and j.crew factory. surprisingly, I’ve found the factory flats to be more comfortable than their retail cousins, probably because in part of the more prominent use of rubber soles in their selections. I know some people only like leather soles, and while I do prefer their look to the rubber ones, there’s no denying that a rubber sole provides a little bit more cushion and shock absorption, not to mention more traction. I like the classic ballet flats from factory, and I love the kiki flat from the retail stores. what works for me might not work for you, so try on many different pairs until you find a winner.

back to basics is a series on short&lovely highlighting the workhorses of my wardrobe, the pieces that work day in & day out, without fail. without these babies, then I really wouldn’t know what to wear.

sandals galore

sandals

every year, I buy a couple pairs of sandals to see me through the warmer months. this year, I ended up buying six because all of the more casual sandals I had were long past their expiration date (one pair was over 6 years old!). I’ve already worn some of these pairs quite a lot, with the one exception being the black pair in the top row. those are brand spanking new. I loved the brown pair so much (as you can see) that when I got my rewards card, I used it on them. and see those two tone sandals in the bottom row with the rhinestones across the top? I was inspired by this diy, bought a pair of target sandals and some teardrop rhinestones, and went to town. I had bought this bejeweled pair at 40% off, but even with the hefty discount, I didn’t want to spend that much on a pair of trendy sandals (I have a hard time spending over $100 on any pair of shoes in general, but especially on non-classics) and returned them. my diy project cost $30, and I have to say, the price difference aside, I think I like mine better. ;)

top row || nicole wedges | j.crew rio sandals in black & brown

bottom row || birkenstock gizeh birko-flor in black leather (insanely comfortable!!!) | target mossimo sandals + diy rhinestones | j. crew evie midheel sandals in copper