Boot Watch, Part One (Booties)

17th Dec
About this time of year, I go crazy over boots. Whether they are sassy, sophisticated, provocative or simply warm, there is a style for every woman or you could say, every mood. The streets of San Francisco are replete with awesome boot muses. Here are a few I have delighted these days in spotting. Part One: Booties! It's cold and/or rainy out, and your tootsies are a little too cold for regular shoes - much less sandals! - but you don't quite feel like committing to a full boot? The booties below are worth noticing. They can be oh-so-stylish paired with skinny jeans, rolled up or tucked in as well as with skirts, bare legged or with tights. Beige stacked heel booties (pictured above) work so well with tucked in super-skinny jeans on super slender legs! In this case, breaking up the vertical line with a light colored booty actually works. (Can't believe I am advocating for breaking up the silhouette!) Notice how the oversized sweater emphasizes the twiggy-ness of the legs? I also like the way the booties echo a color in the sweater. Check out the following three photos featuring booties with rolled up skinny jeans. It is so alluring to reveal in seasons of extra cloaking, just a tad bit of flesh at the ankle, don't you agree?  [caption id="attachment_1723" align="aligncenter" width="430"] Both these women look adorable, in my opinion, but I especially like the look on the right, with a slight bit of exposed ankle.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1725" align="aligncenter" width="268"] Here is a smart, cosmopolitan answer to casual dress: infinity scarf, plaid (verrrry San Francisco!) button down top, rolled up skinny jeans and black booties.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1726" align="aligncenter" width="315"] Even rolling up the jeans a few more inches works. Although I am seeing a lot of oversized tops/sweaters with skinny jeans, I find the fitted top more flattering.[/caption] If it weren't for the apparent level of fitness of the muse pictured below, it would certainly be a challenge to pull off this skinny pant outfit in such a light color - not to mention, with booties of a low heel and wide toe box (with the potential of widening the figure visually). As in the case of ballerinas in white tights, the light color accentuates the form. Although this lovely lady has the legs for ivory (read: visually enlarging) pants, the fact that her booties and sweater are of the same tone does help somewhat to elongate the silhouette. I also love the mix of neutrals with a classic blue denim jacket. [caption id="attachment_1727" align="aligncenter" width="240"] With the wide toe box and sturdy lower heel, these boots are made for walking.[/caption] I must say I am thoroughly inspired by the way our muses above sport booties, but I am more partial to combining them with short hemmed dresses and skirts. It is the ultimate in wintry sexiness. The outfit pictured above is wonderfully unique in the way that the sienna colored booty (or boot-inspired shoe) contrasts with the navy/black jacket, navy blue dress and navy stockings. It makes for a lovely long vertical line with a refreshing pop at the feet. The two muses above stylishly pair booties with short dresses. The one to the left with a shorter hem is wise to wear tights with hers; not only is it a warmer outfit, but it creates a look of longer legs. The muse on the right appears quite chic in an all black ensemble broken up by exposed legs. Next we see a second pair of muses wearing more casual, sassy ensembles with booties. The muse on the right dons a pair of smart black shorts with a beige sweater, bare legs and sienna colored booties. For colder temperatures, the same shorts would be perfect with thick (cashmere!) tights and black booties. The look of the woman on the left shows marked grunge influences, with the plaid shirt (in her hand) to be thrown on over the little black day dress and feminized work boots. Red socks peeking out over the top of the booties cleverly add a refreshing burst of color to an otherwise dark ensemble. The next look (above) is smart, chic and office worthy (especially with the length of the skirt). It is so simple and clean, with the jacket matching the booties and a bright "shot" of blue in the skirt. The close-to-flesh-tone of the booties keep them from breaking up the line of the leg. [caption id="attachment_1732" align="aligncenter" width="280"] Love love love this 3/4 length kimono sleeved dress of lively black and white print with dramatic red panel.[/caption] Our last muse demonstrates perhaps my favorite look and the greatest challenge here: pairing booties with a dressy dress. It certainly doesn't hurt that the booties have an ultra high heel and are wickedly elegant, with a pointy toe and close fit at the ankle. Together with opaque black hosiery, they do a beautiful job of lengthening the leg. The leg- and footwear are so sleek and subtle that while being on par with the elegance of this amazing dress, they do not compete with it. I hope the looks above have inspired you and sparked new ideas as they have for me. While I love the look of bare legs with similarly colored (beige) booties, temperatures have turned a bit nippy for me to go there. But I am moved to start wear my booties more often with short skirts/dresses and tights when I'm in a flirty mood - or rolled up skinny pants when I'm feeling more like a tomboy.




Navy stripes

Made in New York with recycled Lycra from Italy!


California Transitional Dress (Summer-Not So Summer)

12th Dec
"Now this is why I live in California!" is pretty much my mantra during the holiday season. It is a special treat to be able to go to the beach on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. And pardon me for bragging, but some days I still leave the house with nary a jacket. In this wonderfully temperate climate, you do see traditional dressing, although it runs the gamut from shorts to wool coats. I trust you will enjoy perusing the following looks which I believe capture the spirit of transitional dressing in the San Francisco Bay area. The outfit pictured below was spotted very recently. No joke! It didn't exactly seem to me like shorts- (nor skorts-) wearing weather, but with temperatures in the low 60's, hey, why not? The next "transitional" look is priceless: sandals! with sweater, scarf and sunglasses. Viva California! Tights are sometimes all a girl needs on cooler days. I love this look with a colorful flower patterned skirt and faded denim jacket: a perfect combination of feminine and casual. As shown below, tights also save the day...or at least allow a woman to comfortably don an even shorter skirt. Speaking of the skirt, plaid is a total San Francisco thing. What's cool about it is its versatility and myriad associations. It might evoke a British royalty/Ralph Lauren outdoors in Vermont look or a Vivienne Westwood punk vibe or Pacific Northwest woodsy grunge. It might suggest a combination of those influences or allude to yet another, like the Scottish kilt or parochial school uniforms. I'll leave it to you to interpret the next 3 plaid looks. [caption id="attachment_1657" align="aligncenter" width="280"] I love the way the black jacket and legs frame the "popping" skirt.[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1658" align="aligncenter" width="300"] This plaid vest offers just the right amount of protection from an occasional cool breeze. Although I would not have considered combining a blue handbag with the outfit, it makes for a clean look (matching the jeans).[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1659" align="aligncenter" width="280"] Midi skirts run the risk of looking frumpy, but the long close fitting cardigan worn here creates a slender line and gives it a sort of grunge/British schoolgirl look. Awesome![/caption] Now that we can actually get by with wearing coats (some of the time), why not make one the highlight of your outfit? When it is just a bit breezy, a trench coat is of just the right weight and fabric. Lilac with white polka dots is a nice choice, and bright red always gets my vote. Another option is to wear a neutral colored coat with a pair of shoes which liven up the look. "Popping" red flats certainly fit that bill and are tastefully paired below with more muted/neutral colors. What a treat to see a plaid coat (shown below) paired with a lighter plaid flat cap! The (summery) red espadrilles make for an even more interesting mix. And I love the cut of the coat with a center pleat in back, which flares out to resemble a cape. (Skinny black jeans help establish that the coat rather than the wearer widens at the bottom.) The boiled wool coat pictured below is not only transitional in style but also in shade, fading from black to light grey. Paired with skinny black pants and black flats sans socks, it is an adorable half-commitment to bundling up. Next we have another wonderful juxtaposition of seasonal attire: green wool coat with short black dress, bare legs and black sneakers. Smart and cheeky! Although I constantly rejoice to be in this temperate region of the world, wintery storms this week have led me to suspect we will be seeing more of the kind of look featured below. As I touched upon previously, red - of any tone - is a winner in my book. Black leggings are a wonderful way to maintain a svelte look while wearing heavier layers on top. With even thicker layering, higher heeled boots or shoes help to prevent the Michelin Man look. In rain or shine, I am so thankful to be in the San Francisco Bay area. It is a place full of surprises, often of weather and always of its residents. Perhaps less than standard seasons influence Californians to be less conventional; styles observed on the streets certainly tend to be more experimental and creative than those in other parts. Here's hoping you have enjoyed glimpses of these muses of transitional dress in California. In viewing them, I know I am further inspired to dress in accordance with our interesting (non) seasons and my own fancy. How about you?

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