Chic, Flat-Out Comfort, Part Deux

It’s Shoe Week at Styl-d, and, yesterday, we focused on the newest flat shoe shapes for summer (see Part 1 in 3/5 post). The reason? It’s for those of us fashionistas who move too fast to hobble on the beautiful, but painful, four-inch, creatively heeled runway shoe sculptures designers showed for spring. Love’em, but hate’em.

Today, we look at the classics you’ll likely to already have in your closet — but may want to add a new version or color to. Yes, there are …

Still Chic Shapes

The Ballet Flat:

Always top of the list for comfort, there are more ballets than ever in tons of adorable permutations. Color is a great way to add a new ballet to your wardrobe and a nice finishing surprise to an outfit. Skin

Bloch cerise ballet slipper

— any lizard or snaky looking texture is terrific (ours at http://www.ralphlauren.com), and animal print is (and will be, those of you already looking ahead to fall) really prescient and fun.

Donald Pliner leopard flat

Ralph Lauren snake ballet flat


French Sole multicolor toe cap flat

Metallics and multicolors are an especially playful way to vary your ballet look, and toecaps add an expressive spot, too.

Marc Jacobs gold ballet

But you can’t beat the buttery feel and look of the terrific neutral basic like the Michael Kors, or the chic Delman classic. And Repetto, French maker of real ballet slippers, has entered the everyday shoe market with its own rainbow of colors in patents and suedes, and metallics. (In America, at bergdorfgoodman.com.)

Repetto aqua toceap flat

Michael Kors brown ballet slipper

Delman classic ballet

French Sole, too, a terrific ballet flat resource (www.frenchsole.com), specializes in the shape, and has more colors and variations than you can possibly dream up. Tory Burch, of course, made her name with her famous “Reva” ballet flat, which is still the gold standard of the company, but has added a wonderfully shaped, just terrifically chic-simple new ballet. And, naturally, our best American interpreter of current popular chic, J Crew, has some delicious new versions of their ballet, including a pom-pom’d toe metallic flat that’s just charming. (We bet Michelle Obama has more than a few pairs…) (At http://www.jcrew.com.) Ballet flat are around at every price point, from Target to Lanvin, so pick your brand, and revel in all the choices!

Tory Burch simply chic ballet

French Sole neon abstract print ballet

French Sole’s cadet blue piped version

Sneakers:

These will never be out of style in the American fashion vernacular — or for that matter, in the world’s style repetoire. They are too comfortable and too full of stylistic and design possibilities to ever give up. What varies is just what looks the most the most current to the fashion eye. We’ve all been in love for several seasons now with Converse high-tops, low-tops, destroyed or laceless Converse versions and they’re still great, but what looks a little newer again are the simple tie Keds, Toms and Superga shapes. You’ve got to choose the right moment, but a classic white Superga can make a work trouser outfit summer-chic on a busy day. And the colors are enough to make your day on the weekend. These three companies make enough variations to make your head spin!

Alice & Olivia for Keds sequinned sneak

Keds colored linen classic

Superga's quintessential shape

Thong and T- Strap Sandals:

Nine West knotted thong

There are naturally some amazing new variations of these popular shapes, and they are still very much a good flat option from casual flip flops to high-end softest leather and patent. But, the ones that are too thin and strippy should be saved for the weekend, or an after hours casual or a going-out look. Too bare and insubstantial on a work day just doesn’t cut it. There are also some amazing jewel and stone decorated sandals in this category too — just don’t look like you’re wearing the vault contents on each foot for day. More can be more, but on your feet, it looks like they are walking you into the room. Overdone is still just that — overdone.

Calvin Klein thong sandal

Michael Kors thong sandal

D&G thong sandal

One other important style note: When you buy a flat, buy a real flat –with no tiny heels or sliver wedges. They can really look matronly and slightly dumb. No one would want to ruin such a confident look with that note.

So, summer girls, celebrate having your feet on the ground! You CAN be as COMFORTABLE and STYLISH–as you want. Isn’t that what the season is supposed to be about, anyway? Yeahhhh…

(Note: Zappos.com was the resource for all looks not otherwise attributed.)

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Chic, Flat Out Comfort

Okay – seriously, fashionistas (and non) out there – are there really any CHIC and

Alexander McQueen - Beautiful, but NOT what we mean

COMFORTABLE shoes? Can those two words live together in the same sentence? It’s Shoe Week here at Styl-d, and we’re going to find out.

Trolling through the spring/summer collections for a styling job that amazingly still wants summer clothes, I wondered all over again. Spring’s best, most amazing shoes are true works of art — with 4 0r 5 inch heels resembling statues, geometric shapes, etc. Platforms are so teeter-y and angled, it’s a true wonder models didn’t have to sign an liability waiver to walk down the runway in them. (Though there were definitely a few casualties — check out those videos!) Spring’s gravity-defying shoe sculptures can be multi-color, have fringe, beading, feathers, stones, cut-outs or the kitchen sink decorating them.

I totally appreciate their clever artfulness as a fashion editor, but these are not meant for more than an entrance-making moment and a quick sit-down. So what do those of us on our feet,moving fast and actually working for a living, do?

Ralph Lauren oxford

I took a trip through Zappos.com and a few of my favorite stores to find out:

Newest Flat Shapes

The Men’s Shoe (for women): This can be a flat, soft oxford-type lace-up, a jazz shoe, or a ghillie. Steve Madden has both. Sam Edelman, Joan and

Steve Madden soft oxford

David, Matt Bernson and Stuart Weitzman also have great ones in the mid-to-lesser price range. Robert Clergerie, Ralph Lauren and Fratelli Rosseti have cool but more costly versions. The men’s shoe looks great with a boyfriend jacket and shorts — from shorter and cuffed to

Stuart Weitzman cut out oxford

longer, but still above the knee,bermudas and cityshorts. Or, it is pretty cool with slim jeans – capris or longer — or any kind of trouser, and cute with just the right slightly fuller short skirt.

The Boat Shoe: Of course, the absolute best are from Chanel in unexpected

Sperry multi color boat shoe

multi-color pastels and bright combinations. But, again, they are great with shorts, playful short skirts (even a flirty-skirted Chanel-type tweedy summer suit!). Steve Madden has a terrific interpretation in

Sperry hot pink boat shoe

great colors and, Sperry, originator of the topsider, was not about to let its look get co-opted. Theirs come in colorful patent, multi-color suede and silver metallic. Super-comfortable, packing a weighty style wallop this season and more unexpected than sneaks.

Summer “Boot” Sandals: 2010 was the winter of the short boot with

Type Z sandal "boot"

everything — from dresses to leggings, jeans, short skirts and all manner of trousers, cropped and not. And designers didn’t want to give up that sturdy proportion for summer. So, there are a quite a few

Ted Baker sandal "boot"

open-toe boots for summer– lots with heels, like Phillip Lim’s — and a few flat ones, too.

But sandals really stepped into the heavier and higher-on-the-leg boot camp, too. From heavy gladiators versions to whole swaths of leather or fabric around the ankle, some sandals got really chunky. They look good with shorter skirts, shorts and the right casual dress– above the knee. Be careful with any pant or skirt that cuts the leg below that, though – too many horizontal lines keep you looking short, and nobody wants that!

Tapeet heavy sandal

Michael Kors high brown sandals

Nike mid sandal-boot

Enzo Angiolini boot-like sandal

Moccasins: Moccasins are a chic flat, too, this season and go with far more than the uptight preppy look we associate them with. Minnetonkas always look great with jeans, shorts and casual dresses, but

Ugg pale grey moc

now they and their slightly more upscale cousins are finishing more seriously polished trouser and shorts work looks as well. Pleated or draped, and definitely cropped, trousers are spring fashion’s newest pant shape, and they are a natural for the moccasin. You have to be careful with

Ugg olive suede moccasins

Minnetonka cool girl mocs

dresses and skirts, but the slightly fuller, flirtier ones can be great with moccasins as well as ballets and sandals.

great with jeans, shorts and casual dresses, but now they and their slightly more upscale cousins are finishing more seriously polished trouser and shorts work looks as well. Pleated or draped, and definitely cropped, trousers are spring fashion’s newest pant shape, and they are a natural for the moccasin. You have to be careful with dresses and skirts, but the slightly fuller, flirtier ones can be great with moccasins as well as ballets and sandals.

The New Gladiator:

The best gladiators (ones didn’t step out into boot territory this year) did not wrap so high up the leg, Coliseum-style, but

Calvin Klein low gladiator sandal

stopped lower on the foot, like these terrific Paul Smith neon green sandals. Any gladiator that has too much going on is a don’t this season. The cleaner-lined, less gadget-y ones are more truly chic. Bells and whistles, charms, tassels, studs, jewels don’t make a shoe more cool, only a lot more noticeable — and that’s not always positive.

Burberry low gladiator

Paul Smith low gladiator sandal

Joan & David low gladiator

**For more CHIC, FLAT-OUT COMFORT, see tomorrow’s post on what shapes are still stylish, but low as you go. Until then, be comfortable in your own shoes!