Avoiding a flip flops flop: ideas for wearing low heeled sandals

7th Oct
Is it just this amazing heat wave or is it that sandals and flip flops aren't just for summer anymore? (And to answer your question, I most certainly have a shoe fetish!) Yes, they are everywhere: flip flops, Birkenstocks and other low heeled sandals. While of late I am a much bigger fan of high heels - I mean, there is nothing like the way they make a leg look - I am opening my mind more and more to the possibility of pulling off an awesome look in low-heeled sandals. Once you see some of the muses below, I'm sure you'll agree. Let's start with good ole - ugly! - Birkenstocks. [caption id="attachment_566" align="aligncenter" width="300"] San Francisco[/caption] They do grow on you, don't they? Actually, this woman looks fantastic. The fact that she is wearing these shoes (rather than stilettos) allows her to get away with that short short hem without looking trashy. [caption id="attachment_567" align="aligncenter" width="240"] San Francisco[/caption] Since Vogue gave Birkenstocks a thumbs up last summer, the shoes have become widely accepted for stylish urban wear. This past summer, Amazon's UK division reported "a 95% rise in sales of all varieties of the sandals in the last few weeks..."( and Givenchy has even come out with high end knock-offs of the Arizona style. Who would've guessed? It seems to me that if you are revealing beautifully-shaped gams, a shoe as basic as the Birky will not be a hindrance to looking great. It is important that they be worn with a somewhat sporty outfit, and it seems that showing a lot of leg definitely helps. [caption id="attachment_568" align="aligncenter" width="450"] San Francisco[/caption] Now the look pictured above is what my friend Erin refers to as "all sorts of wrong". The shoe is simply too wide - hence their ultra comfortable fit and feel - to feature at the end of a skinny pant. The look is a hugely distorted silhouette which reminds me of Olive in the cartoon Popeye! [caption id="attachment_569" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Los Gatos[/caption] You can see in the photo above that sandals just a tad narrower are a much more flattering option with skinny jeans. It is also helpful for the hem to just hit the ankle for a much cleaner look. [caption id="attachment_570" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Santa Cruz[/caption] It is good to keep in mind that flip flops like these (above) cause foot damage: the lack of support can bring on tendonitis, plantar fasciitis or other foot pain. Necessary modifications to your gait (to keep the bloody things on) can lead to issues of the ankles, knees, hips and back. I won't even go into what I've read about bacteria, although they can also protect you from that mess in the gym locker room. I grant you they are great for giving off a laid back, beachy vibe, and exposing your feet to the air just feels good on a hot day. But I recommend limiting them to days at the beach or short walks. [caption id="attachment_571" align="aligncenter" width="400"] Los Gatos[/caption] A modification to the flip flop idea, shown above, is a huge improvement. With a strap around the back of the ankle, you can manage longer strides, and the low, rigid heel provides much more support for walking or even just standing. [caption id="attachment_572" align="aligncenter" width="500"] Union Square, San Francisco[/caption] Tan and nude colored sandals are really flattering, as they visually lengthen the leg. The strap going from the toes to the ankle causes the same effect. [caption id="attachment_573" align="aligncenter" width="350"] Capitola[/caption] Of course, flip flops and flat sandals are the best on the beach for keeping your feet from grilling on hot sand. In a tan color, they combine well with just about any color of clothing. The beige sandals pictured below have a fun design. Although I might prefer to see fancier sandals with this dress, a friend pointed out the dress's "Logan's Run" style; I think that might explain why I like the dress and sandals still seem to work for me. [caption id="attachment_575" align="aligncenter" width="270"] San Francisco[/caption] The skirt and footwear of this next muse (below) are perfectly coordinated. The sandals are Moroccan, and the look of the linen dress with large white sash are a beautiful accompaniment. [caption id="attachment_577" align="aligncenter" width="450"] Capitola[/caption] This last dress with flip flops is a bit of a shoe flop, I am afraid. I love this lady's striped dress, but I believe flip flops would look much more suitable if its hem were either shorter or longer (a maxi or mini dress). The lime green color also competes with the bold stripes, causing a "bag of pop rocks" effect: too many pops of color. I would prefer a dressier white or black sandal here. [caption id="attachment_579" align="aligncenter" width="300"] Los Gatos[/caption] With the San Francisco Bay area experiencing blistering hot days, we have to be practical. Low-heeled and flat sandals, flip flops and even Birkenstocks can be the perfect adornments for the feet. They will never compare to the elegance of a high heel, of course, but sometimes a girl has to get around! XO, Janea   [line] ???? [jetpack_subscription_form title="" subscribe_text="If you enjoyed this post, you can get free updates straight to your inbox by entering your email here. We promise to never spam you!" subscribe_button="Get updates!"]




Navy stripes

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Maxi skirts and dresses: maximally sensual

3rd Oct
You love dresses and skirts which swish and swirl as you walk. Your past life boyfriend was Gregory Peck. Being an eternal romantic, you love old movies like "Top Hat" and swoon when you see Ginger Rogers dancing in her gown of peacock feathers. At the same time, you want something more to a relationship than simply romance. You want a co-star, someone who recognizes and cherishes the real you. The maxi is just your style! Okay, maybe I'm projecting just a little here, but you get the idea. When maxi dresses first came out, I thought, "too much fabric". I didn't want to hide my legs under a tent. Then I started seeing maxis which not only compliment the feminine silhouette, but which are ultra sensual. In some, the fabric beautifully contours to the shape. In others, I've seen a glimpse of the Ginger Rogers effect: as the woman walks, her skirt moves with her - ever so gracefully. I would like to share a few maxi dresses/skirts which have recently had me swooning. The woman above was spotted near Lake Como in July. The fabric of her maxi dress is silky, and given that I saw it in Italy, I presume it is silk. As she moved across the plaza in a village named Varenna, her dress floated along with her. This week temperatures in parts of the San Francisco Bay Area have been in the 80's (Fahrenheit), and so, I can imagine the dress still being worn today, although I might expect to see darker colors to match the season. As the air chills a bit in the evening, a short cardigan or light jacket would be a perfect topper. The silky dress pictured above was also observed gliding along the cobblestones of Varenna in July. This is definitely summery with the halter top and bright colors (yellow and white), but it illustrates the luxurious effect of a fabric which skims over the body to show off the beautiful, svelte figure of its wearer: a completely sumptuous frock! The young woman shown above was spotted in Union Square (San Francisco) in a maxi skirt with a life of its own. A slit to the side aided her in hurrying to her destination, and as she moved, the skirt whirled around her most gracefully. Notice that she wore a sweater to keep warm on that windy day. I love the transition-weather choice of flat sandals for this outfit. It is only seconded in my book by a sleeveless dress with shorty boots. The style of maxi dress pictured above offers the best of both worlds: a way to show off the gams while allowing for a flowing long hemline. The photo of this gorgeous I. B. Bayo dress can only suggest its movement. While a beautifully dressed woman (or man) might inspire us, the same person moving easily and gracefully before us is truly something to behold. We have another example above of the maxi dress with a sheer lacy top layer over a cocktail-length slip. For cooler days ahead, I can totally see this with a short, fitted leather jacket in black, ivory or maybe red (with a pair of fabulous red heels). Our muse is carrying a little black cardigan, which I imagine also works quite well. Above we see a leather jacket worn with a maxi skirt in a clingy fabric which hugs the contours of the body rather than simply covering it. There is an interesting balance here of a long girly skirt with edgy motorcycle jacket. For when the air is once again crisp, I love this example of transition dressing: a jacket with flip flops. So cool! Pictured above is a maxi dress of a stiffer fabric, but one which is befitting for this Chinese inspired design. The side slit is definitely sexy, although I might have a taylor stitch it up just a tad at the top unless of course, I were planning to walk a red carpet or fashion show runway. An austere black shorty jacket seems to be the best choice for an additional layer in cooler termperatures, don't you think? The maxi dress above is truly an objet d'art, made of silk and hand painted by Ellen Brook of San Mateo, California. Although it is not super fitted, the fabric did not obscure the model's silhouette in the least but rather, it swirled beautifully around her figure. The way it is worn here is ideal for showcasing the artistry of this creation. From a body conscious perspective, I can imagine it worn with a decorative belt to define the waistline, although this would obstruct the painterliness of the piece. When the wind picks up, the silk scarf would be great for covering the shoulders. A shrug would also be useful for covering up but would also interfere with the composition of the painting. The muse above also models beautifully hand painted silk by Ellen Brook. I love the way the skirt outlines her shapeliness, clinging just the right amount. Although the fabric might be similar to that of our Italian muses at the beginning of this post, there is considerably more detail here: an asymmetrical poncho with grommets and leather lacing down the shoulder and a skirt with high slits. The back of the skirt is mostly black with a patch of the orange, toffee and pink seen in the front. The artist and designer suggests that they may be worn with leggings, a great idea for upcoming weather. Maxi skirts and dresses can seriously be worn at least three seasons of the year in California. We are so fortunate! They are expressive garments, with a slight tendency toward drama (the good kind!) and elegance. I love giving myself license to don a long dress in the daytime or summer, and wear short dresses or skirts in the evening. It is like painting with colors which match our feelings rather than what we see outside of ourselves. After all, isn't that what style is all about anyway: expressing our individual (inner) selves? What are some of your thoughts about maxi dresses/skirts?

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