Miss Shoes – Shoes you almost Missed

Shoes for the Discerning Indian Woman

EuroTrip -Ill notice shoes! July 19, 2009

Filed under: Shoes — Dips @ 3:17 am
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Yes! I am going to Europe for a vacation for a few days,  but fret not! I have an agenda at hand – to check out the shoes worn  in Paris, Italy, Switzerland, Germany.

So hang in there, soon you will have a post on Euro shoes!!

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Know your Shoes, Buy them Online July 16, 2009

Dont worry, this post is not just Gyaan (information), there will be some links where you can buy shoes. Though I will focus more on the intent of the blog and then give you the links!

I feel it is important to know your shoes before you go buy any pair. Sure, I usually buy shoes when I am out and I like something in the window. Infact, that is how one buys the best pairs of shoes. But what I am talking about here is knowing. Knowing that it is monsoons and you need monsoon shoes, or knowing that office wear shoes are required and getting a suitable pair, and so on.

Apart from knowing which shoe to buy, its important to know what shoe goes where. When out to buy shoes for formal day wear, it does not do to buy gold stilettoes (and then wear them at work)! When in school and college it really does not make much of a difference what shoe one wears. However, enter the corporate world, and our needs change. Gone are the days when wearing flip-flops was a statement. Suddenly they show how lackadaisical you are. And no, not even in an IT office will it be OK to appear in green flip-flops. No matter if you got them from Gucci.

Thus I think it is important to know what you are buying. Information is never harmful and always useful. Once you know that Clarks can provide you good daily, regular wear shoes, you know what to buy in a Clarks showroom. When you know that monsoons are here, you should go ahead and get some rain loving shoes. But what use is a Leather Boot in the Indian Summer? None. Why not, in that case, wait till you can wear it, and get better designs of the season! This does not mean you should avoid an incredible sale, but means prioritising. Knowing that the boots will lie in the closet till winters.

This blog is mainly for that purpose. I tell you what to buy, where to buy it from, and how good it is. I you want cheap monsoon sandals, Ill let you know the best place for them, for as many places in India as I can. You want luxury shoes? I know the place for you! If you know something, feel free to share with me.

I sometimes also talk about my shoe collection. It has managed to impress everyone I know, but I dont get the big deal. So I have some shoes. They wear out! Shoes are like wine. All beautifuil, tantalising and nice in a bottle, yet perishable and oh-so irreplaceable! I have gone through more shoes in shorter time than any of my friends have. Nowadays, thankfully, it seems my feet behave better with them and so they last longer. But in this manner I have experienced many designs and comforts of brands, non-brands, heels, flats, slip ons, buckles, – name it and I have worn it.

I want to share this knowledge, the experience, and the joy of shoes. Shoes dont come cheap. They are an investment and like any other investment, I wouldnt like to see it go waste. Hence, I suggest you go ahead and read some of the posts here (and if you find anything else this good on the Net, that too – Im not lacking in self praise 😉 and then decide.

Shoes are an integral part of ones dress. Men may not notice them and their intricacies on women. But we women know that a shoe can make or break an outfit. When it comes to men wearing shoues though, they too take a lot of care of what they wear. And they too, should think before donning the nearest available pair.

Enough on the gyaan. Today I will let you know some online portals for getting good Indian sandals (also called slippers or slip-ons).

Shoes, especially Indian shoes are best bought physically. I do not really recommend online purchasing for Indian Shoes. By going to the shop, testing it out and then purchasing it is the best way to ensure a good buy. This is because not only is their fit very important to the user, the leather feel is also important. Again, the sizes of the shoe sold is not very standardised in India. Though with Jutis and Chappals a centimeter here and there does not harm too much, it is till best to wear shoes of the correct size, always, to avoid any foot related problems.

However, since many viewers of the website may not be placed close to an Indian outlet, I am listing below some places where Jutis/ Chappals can be purchased online. (Please note that I have no tie-ups with any of the sites, their services are their own responsibility and I am only making it easier for you to reach some sites which look decent. I do not own any responsibility regarding their actions.)

That should get you started! If you want more information, leads or infact anything at all, comments are open.

Meanwhile, choose your footwear with care, and look great!

 

Rakhi Ka Swayamvar – Shoes July 15, 2009

I am a doting fan of the saga ‘Rakhi ka Swayamvar‘. The TV drama twist to the age old ritual wherein a bride chooses her groom from a group of eligible men.

Rakhi Sawant has made a name for herself in the meda business. She is outspoken and brash, and a lot of other things. However, what I am going to talk about here is her choice in shoes.

Typically, Rakhi is a woman who dresses with care. Now whether that means in good taste, loud, subtle – thats not the point. What is the point is its obvious she takes time over her appearance. And that usually includes shoes.

Most of the time, being a stage dancer she is barefoot. Dance, afterall, to the average Indian dancer is done barefoot and not with dancing shoes as in the West. However, when she appears on the stage or interviews, I have usually noticed her wearing stilettoes. And they look nice.

However, yesterday on her show, she was witnessed holding her shoe. Though the circumstances were unenviable. Rakhi was on a ‘date’ with one of her suitors – Ashwin. Upon him asking rather objectionable questions about her and the behaviour of people in the media industry, she finally had to take off her shoe and demonstrate to him the method by which she gets rid of unwanted suitors. (not him). The shoe in question was what was objectionable – to me.

Rakhi was dressed in a yellow-green synthetic sari, and a green blouse, with some sort of bells dangling from the sleeves. Decent enough, I guess. However, the shoe she took off, was definitely ‘sensible’.

A black shoe with barely a 2-inch platform heel, I did not get the opportunity to see its top. But the bottom was none too interesting. Granted, it was not expected that matters will reach a high where she will really have to take her shoe off, granted that the day involved significant walking around, it was still an objecitonable shoe to be worn by a celebrity, on national television, when she is the cheif guest. And that too, when it is Rakhi Sawant, who claims to be fond of shoe shopping.

So my humble advice to Rakhi, pay more attention to what you wear – including shoes. After spending a fortune on your face and body and clothes, it is equally important to pay attention to your shoes – elegant shoes with small heels are also available for jaunts in gardens if needed.

In fact, if the day involves wearing a Sari, walking in gardens, on uneven ground, it was an ideal opportunity for her to wear Indian Chappals or Jutis. Knowing the market and her wallet size, she would have easily got a pretty one to complement her sari, and those golden bells!

 

Clarks Shoes, India July 6, 2009

A few years ago I spotted the first Clarks showroom in India – right beside a tiny but elegant Jockey showroom. Curious, I moved in. There were exactly 4 designs for women, and perhaps 5 for men. Each of them was lovely.  The walls were decorated with blow-ups of women’s feet clad in those same shoes, and somewhere it mentioned ‘Clarks Shoes, London’.

Discreetly placed was a banner stating a 30% discount on 1 of the designs. Excited I picked up the shoe, tried it out and fell in love. It was then that I finally flipped it over to check out the price. Rs 4000 (appx) after discount of 30%!! I slipped out of the shop.

Cut to today. There are Clarks showrooms in almost every self respecting city in India (I think). And my favourite by far is the one in Pheonix Mills, Mumbai. Though it looks bare in the first glance, it is good enough. Large, spacious, with nice sales men and good shoes, and a perpetual sale.

The designs of Clarks shoes are not extremely cutting edge Chic. They are not Jimmy Choo or Gucci, nor do they try to be. However, they are mostly leather, and some rubber based. and they are extremely comfortable.

Designs

The designs can to the undiscerning eye look almost dowdy. However, slip them on your foot before making the declaration. These shoes look extremely elegant on a foot, somehow. Ranging from the flats, to block heels, to kitten heels and even longer heels (of around 1-2 inches), they are made in such a way that they suit most feet and the overall effect is to enhance your leg – the requisite of a shoe – rather than just look showy.

Balance

I think it is extremely important for a shoe to be well balanced. So that if you are walking long distances, or over uneven turf, you don’t twist your foot. Also, it should not be uncomfortable to stand for a long time in your shoes. Clarks shoes fit the criteria. The heels however tall, are very well balanced and placed at the correct location at the heel – the curvature of the shoe usually ensures that your foot rests comfortably no matter how long you stand/ walk.

Comfort

Thanks to the well balanced heel, half the comfort problem is solved. And then there is the material of the shoe. None of them, insofar as I know, bite. No matter how new the leather. And the shoe soles are usually a little padded, so it feels comfortable and absorbs the shock while walking.

Style

Like mentioned in Design, the shoes are not cutting edge stylish, but are exactly what you want to wear on a daily basis. They are muted yet elegant and a great way to show off your style quotient. It would be very difficult to pick up a pair and make a Big Mistake in your shoe choice. The heel turns out well, and the overall shoe is well made – with attention to detail.  So the shoe always looks great. Good craftsmanship shows.

Price

Like mentioned in my opening lines, the prices can be a little steep for an average worker bee. However, like I mentioned, the Phoenix Mill shop has a perpetual discount and certain designs are always available at pretty reasonable (though 4 number) rates. They are definitely worth it.

After Sales Service

Is great. I tend to rough use my shoes a lot. And after months of rough usage, finally one of my pairs started sporting an opening in the seam along my toe, where the sole met the top. So I took the shoe to the shop. Immediately, without a murmur or demand for the purchase slip, they took it, promising a mended shoe in a week. And lo and behold. After a week, I had me shoe back in stellar condition, freshly polished and buffed, and not a mark in sight. Only the sole surface gave away the usage it had undergone in my foot – no longer the pristine cream of new shoes.

Durability

They last for ages. If they have lasted more than one year on my feet, in Mumbai, through rain, puddles, rocks and goodness knows what else, without a single scratch on the sole as well as on the surface,  I think they are extremely durable.

Overall

They are one of my fall-back pairs. My daily wear comfort shoes, that always look great. They have only select designs in India but the designs are all pretty good in nice colours. The price can be selected as per your wallet, and though the lowest end is also in thousands, I feel it is worth it. Being pure leather, with a very nice sole – both inside the shoe and outside, they are extremely durable. Like I mentioned earlier, they are stylish yet understated and elegant. And they scream the worth they are. It is rare to get shoes of this good quality, comfort and style in India, and in case you think it is too much to spend on a shoe, think of the after sales service. Though the company can look at reducing their MRPs on some designs rather than having a round the year discount on them, as long as it works for them and I get them at reasonable rates, Im OK.

I would say, Id like to see more Clarks shoe stores in India. Wait. I think there are enough. I don’t want everyone to sport the same shoes as me, now do I?

But I cant repeat enough, I think the shoes are totally worth it!

PS – For my male readers – Clarks has some very good designs for men as well, though size might be an issue. And this stands true for women as well. Essentially catering to the UK population who are bigger in size than Indians, the shoes here tend to be available in bigger sizes than the average shoe store.

They also stock handbags and other leather stuff – but not too many of these things.

 

Monsoon Shoe Shopping in India July 2, 2009

Its monsoon time! Well, almost. In Mumbai, India it has finally started raining, however the rest of the country awaits at the edge of drought. Perhaps what will bring the rains in, is getting ready for them. Nothing makes it rain like going out for a long day trip in your best clothes and leather shoes while your rain gear and shoes rest at home.

The first step, however, to the rain calling is getting the rain wear to wait at home for you.  The essentials are very simple – an umbrella (or raincoat) and shoes.  For days when I expect to be out on the streets for longer times, I usually combine a raincoat with an umbrella – makes it easy to manouver and not get wet in the torrential downpours. But the one thing that remains crucial is Shoes.

You see, when walking in the rain, the one thing that is bound to get thoroughly drenched is your footwear. Throughout the year, no one really cares much about water resistant footwear. Its leather, and suede, and silk etc as far as footwear is concerned. And then come the monsoons spoiling some of your best pairs.

To avoid such a scenario, many companies (like Bata) promote their rubber based shoes.  These dont spoil on getting wet, and neither do they take too long to dry. So they are perfect! However, they really lack comfort and style. I mean, OK so they are rainwear. But that does not have to make them ugly, right?

Crocs are a good option for the rains as well. They are essentially rubber, and they do make some sort of style statement. Comfortable? Not for long runs, and their grip is also so-so, so they wont slip from your foot when both are wet with rain water and puddles. But, if you want a quick fix and really colourful options with holes on top, Crocs are your freinds.

However, you cannot really wear Crocs to office. Bata might still suffice, but imagine blue crocs in a traditional office with strict formal wear code? No.

In such cases, many people carry a pair of shoes, and wear their multi-purpose floaters. Floaters, ugly as they are, are convenient. And though the velcro portion may not dry as fast, at least the contact to skin is at minimum.  And then there are rubber floaters to take care of that. Of course, some floaters are not as ugly, but getting such a pair in India may prove difficult.

However, what I recommend for my Indian ladies, is a shopping stint with a tight budget on Linking Road, Bandra and Colaba Causeway. The flavour of the season are flat ballerina style peep-toes, in all colours imaginable – starting from canary yellow, patent black, ink blue,  shocking pink, blood red to skin tones. They are plastic all over and guarantee a slip-free walk through all water-covered surfaces. They also come for as cheap as INR200 a pair!

I would say go Invest! The only fly in the ointment are the available sizes – there is only a medium size available and if you have large feet (like me) it might be difficult for you to find a pair in your favorite colour.  The largest they seemed to have was Size 38.

However, fret not. In such a scenario where your fair feet do not fit daintily into these petite creations, there are sandals. These are flat again (to cater to the monsoons) with elastic at the back to hold in your foot and a broad band over your toes. The broad band is nice – transparent with three stripes of different colours and a fake buckle. The overall look is quite nice and I would post a photograph if I had one on me. These too are totally plastic, colourful, pretty sturdy and perfect for the monsoons.

Both these shoes are sedate enough for office and trendy enough for evening outs – it will be your choice of colours which will determine where to wear them. Also, they are sure to last you the season, which is more than what you could want from these colourful cheap funwear.

While you are out getting shoes, it might not hurt to buy a colourful umbrella as well. Colaba is crowded with umbrella sellers of every variety, ranging from below Rs.100 to as high as you want.  They are quite the compliment to your rainy weather shoes.

You can also wear your Gladiators in monsoons as they have all the attributes needed for rainy days – flat, good grip, hold feet in place. But just make sure they are not your leather gladiators. Then they are bound to be ruined!

So go ahead, mae a spash! Choose vibrant colours, fun plastic, or branded stuff, but be prepared for monsoons! I promise the rains will follow soon enough!

PS – In Calcutta, you can try Metro Plaza near Ravindra Sarovar – they have some shops with really good shoe collections, including rain freindly wear. And shoes in Kolkata will be cheaper than in Mumbai. Also a must – check-out place for shoes is AC Market (Ravindra Sarovar) as well as New Market, Esplanade!

PPS – Delhi shoppers! Make your way to GK II asap! And Janpath and Sarojini Nagar market (Sarojini more than Janpath) are sure to have you shopping to your hearts’ delight!!