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Shoes for the Discerning Indian Woman

Casual Shoes for Men: Office Wear June 22, 2010

Weekends are casual wear in office. The one day men in offices revert to jeans. Since shorts are not allowed in a formal office environment. Most men to severely lack in the imagination department. For them formals mean black or brown trousers and casuals mean jeans. This post is for such men. Especially. (for the rest with some fashion sense, its for you as well! And for women suffering from fashion loss thanks to being with fashion deprived men)

Man in Casual Wear

Man in Casual Wear

Why only jeans qualify as informals, is something I havent deciphered. Especially since all clothing companies try so hard to educate them about: linens, khakis, cords, canvases. And of course, for the more experimental, trousers in innovative cuts, including (yes, I will say it) the Jodhpurs (see image on left).

Coming to shoes, the other fallacy I have noticed is the simple bifurcation in Men’s minds about shoes:
a) Formal shoes: Black, Brown
b) Casual shoes: Sports shoes (sneakers)

While formal shoes are experimented upon to some extent, with laced, slip-ons and even innovative leathers, its the casual shoes that take a beating.

There is nothing worse than the sight of men in office, wearing jeans coupled with black, formal shoes. No, jeans coupled with floaters and socks come a close second, but black formal shoes definitely win. (It is so horrible, even Google doesnt store an image!)

So what can be worn as casual shoes in office?
Well, the standard sports shoes and floaters are there. However, sports shoes all the time are boring. They may be comfortable, but be truthful. Do you really always want to wear sports shoes? Also, it gives the impression you have only 2 pair of shoes – one for office and one for running. Not Good.
As for floaters, they are not a feasible option in formal offices, which promote ‘Friday Dressing’. And I despise them anyway. Sorry.

In such a case, I offer to our dear fashion deprived men, the quaint, old-fashioned product, universally known versatile shoes known as ‘Loafers‘.

Men's Loafers - Louis Vuitton

Men's Loafers - Louis Vuitton

Loafers are typically slip-on shoes, with a mocassin construction. Traditionally made from leather, loafers are slip-on shoes that resemble a moccasin on top, but have a wide and fairly flat heel. They can sometimes be worn for formal wear, but a pair can be owned, which scream casual. No man can go wrong with loafers – they are as masculine as they come, no matter the colour.

Loafers with Show Bows

Loafers with Show Bows

Loafers are best in brown, white, or even black (and sometimes deep wine red). They can be soft leather, with stitches showing on the sides, have tassles (like cowboy shoes) or metal decorations (as popularised by Gucci)

Tassled Loafers_Gucci

Tassled Loafers_Gucci

Dress loafers are those which are more moccasin-like, with deeper cuts, but they look more formal.

If however, our fashion deprived men find it difficult to identify loafers, the famous suede shoes can be a substitute that can be considered by them.

Blue Suede Mens shoes

Blue Suede Mens shoes

Suede Mens shoes

Suede Mens shoes

Suede shoes in light brown, less heels, with or without laces, can work wonders as casual wear.

Suede Boots

Suede Boots

Boots are another option, though they may not be perfect for office all the time, they can look very good with jeans, especially when the correct pair is worn. Boots dont always have to be high, ankle length boots do just as well. Suede boots can be wonderful as casual wear, if worn with the right pair of jeans.

athletic inspired shoes

Athletic Inspired Shoes

For those, whoever, who do not want to venture into loafers, mocassins, suede shoes and boots, ‘athletic inspired shoes’ are an option! These are a mix of boots and sneakers, while being actually shoes. They can be just upto the ankle, and are usually in the garb of mountain climbing shoes.

Athletic Inspired Woodlands

Athletic Inspired Woodlands

Some of the best places to buy casual shoes for men in India:

– Rockport: A great option for long lasting shoes, especially if you are loathe to buy leather since they have a good collection of non-leather. Rockports are always sturdy, long lasting, comfortable and yet quite stylish.

– Woodlands: They offer some of the best athletic inspired shoes in India.

– Regal Shoes

– Mochi Shoes

– Clarks Shoes

– Levis Shoes

– Inc 5

– Chain stores like Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop, Pantaloons, Westside, etc.

So, considering there is a last working day for the week, every single week of your working life, I suggest to all my male readers – go ahead and get some casual wear shoes. C’mon! I a sure you are tired of wearing the same old shoes all the time! At least if you are not ready to get rid of those jeans every weekend, get a pair of shoes that make those jeans look good 🙂

Happy Shopping! Here’s to more Stylish Men at workplace!

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Take Care of Those Shoes! January 27, 2010

Recently a commenter, Ketan Vyas, mentioned how important it is not just to own shoes, but also to take care of them. I promised him a post on the same. And here it is!

Till a few years ago, the life of a shoe owned by me was rather short. It was not that I did not look after them, but rather more about how I wore them and walked in them. I did not treat them well, twisting them out of shape when bored. Now, of course, I am more careful.

But that did not mean my shoes were bad to look at. They just tore early because of the friction they faced. I have always maintained that Cracked, Dusty shoes look horrible. Shabby, even. That does not mean you need to take out the shoe polish and spend an hour on those precious leathers every day. Just take care of them!

There are a few simple rules that make it easier to look after your precious shoes – and feet. And no, they are not all about cleaning and polishing and shining those shoes. Some are very simple, doable activities, especially in a dusty country like India. Here is my tuppence on what you can do to increase the life of your shoes.

#1 Watch where you walk

I am the few disreputable ones who does not polish their black shoes everytime I wear them. But then, most times I dont need to. Its simple. I try and watch where I walk. Avoid puddles, roads dug up, definitely avoid cattle. The thing that I find difficult to avoid are the roads in India where the pavement is lose and there will be a sudden crater of dust – just that point where you need to step on to and enter that car/taxi/bus/shop. So you go on to next rule.

#2 If you must, walk lightly

Try not to walk with a full step and weight onto delightless items as those mentioned above. So, it rained. So, there are puddles. That does not mean one need wade over them. You can lightly jump over them to dry ground, or lightly walk to avoid the water splashing on top and spoiling more than need be.

#3 Store them well

And I cannot stress this one enough.

#3 a) A lot of dust on shoes is from shoes themselves. Keep a shoe on top of another, and its a sure fire way of ensuring dust on your pair. All the mud the sole of your shoe accumulated is now being deposited on the top of the other. So, DONT store them on top of each other.

#3 b) The other advantage of not storing them as a tower is, the shoes maintain their shape. They dont get squashed from top, lose their creases at the sides or need extra effort wearing. Good shoes dont need to be coaxed into your feet.

Keep each pair in rows, next to each other. Boots need to be kept horizontally if they are of a soft material since then they may crumple down. If the boots are of hard leather, you can keep them standing. If you have the plastic shoe-shapers, keep them inside the shoe – they will maintain the shape of the foot for the boot.

#3 c) Another source of dust on shoes is your own home. In India, dust is everywhere. Keep your shoes covered as far as possible, unless you are wearing them daily. I use a shoe closet, and for those that dont fit in, I keep the shoe boxes. The special shoes worn once in a while are in boxes which I open to take them out. This ensures that not only do they not rest on each other, but also dont accumulate dust from all over the place and look pretty.

#4 Clean shoes with dry dusting

Once in a while, while wearing the shoes, dry dust them with a brush or a soft cloth. You may not have time to polish, but even this one moment rub down of your shoe keeps the shine alive and dust away.

#5 Really Clean them

This I cannot stress enough. Once in a while, take out all your shoes. Spend a Sunday on shoes if need be. Inspect them and in case of any part that needs to be repaired, keep it aside to get it repaired. Clean the shoes with a dry duster, then polish them with a shoe polish, and then neatly rearrange their shape if they have for some reason got misshapen. For suede shoes, keep a different brush to take care of the hair/wool that can stick to them. Check the heel tips, the toes for friction marks, polish these regions as well. If the shoe has an insole that is wearing out yet the shoe itself is fine, you might want to either get rid of it or invest in a shoe insole which you can use with multiple shoes. Dr. Scholls makes them well, with many varieties – and some especially for women. Gladiators too need to be brushed and cleaned. Polish the straps, especially if they are leather. Chappals, especially Kolhapuri leather chappals also need their fair share of polish. Sports shoes also need care. Wash them regularly!

Then keep the shoes back.

This not only ensures that your shoes are well cared for,  but also makes you suddenly realise the contents of your closet. Old shoes emerge, new shoes get identified, sometimes missing pairs are found and sometimes you will realise there are shoes that can be thrown away.

A last note: many women dont wear socks. Its fine as far as women’s shoes go, but if you are wearing closed, laced up shoes of any kind, you might want to invest in socks for the well being of your feet. Even otherwise, peds, ankle length socks or stockings can be of help for the strappy shoes and saving you from undue shoe strain or even slipping them on easily.

So go ahead, spend a day with your shoes, and remember, the real secret to maintaining any of your shoes are a little regular care!

 

Boots! Boots! Boots! Buy Boots for Winter and Shoots December 29, 2009

Alright, so enough. I have been away for simply too long. I must admit I started on a post, but then work caught up and it still lies unfinished. However, I think it is an interesting post and I will soon finish and upload it. It is about shoes you want to have for an Indian Wedding. Yep, its important. And if you know more than 3 Indians, its a must-have. There is bound to be at least one wedding you need to attend every year.

Boots Time!

However, we are sitting in December, post Christmas and pre-31st. This is the time most of the world population is experiencing cold. And this is the perfect time to take out your boots.

Since man invented footwear and since the time there have been winters, Boots have been worn by Men and Women, and I dont see them going anywhere away in the long term future either. They are way too wonderful to vanish!

Those lovely creations that cover up all of your feet and sizable parts of your legs yet look great. Yup, Boots are In.

Till recently all you needed was a pair of Ugg‘s and you were as hep as Britney Spears or <insert name of celebrity here>. However, times have moved on and it is time to update your shoe closet with something prettier.

The word of Boots is so large that I really do not know where to begin. So I will begin with me.

Boots for Hot India

I am in Bombay. And this place is probably worse than Australia when it comes to December chills. The temperature varies anwywhere between 30deg Celcius and 40 deg Celcius. Whee! What fun isnt it? I hate it. I hate having no winters. No chance of taking out the wollens, the boots, covering yourself up, snuggling up with hot coffee and putting my feet out to warm in the pale golden sunrays.

So, when I went to Calcutta recently, I prepared myself for a fun Winter Vacation. Even though its almost pleasantly cool there (between 10 to 15 deg celcius)

Considering where I live, I have invested in a pair of boots that dont necessarily keep me warm. They are made of Jeans. Very cowboyish but not really. They have a nice long pencil heel and pointed toes. They also have brown threadwork on the sides of the blue denim calf-length boots. Rather sassy. And very wearable. In any weather. From? A UK brand I cant remember now.

Ive always wanted leather and fur boots though, but since Delhi is probably the only place I can wear them without seeming daft, I have stayed away from them since I left that city. So instead what I did was get a pair of shoots (shoe boots). They are faux leather, have a not-too-high heel, and fold down near my ankles like elve’s shoes, exposing an inner lining of velvet. Yum!

What are Shoots? (Shoe boots)

Peep toe Shoots

Classic Black Shoe boots

They are basically shoes, but look like boots. So, they end somewhere near the ankle and have the shape a boot typically has for the foot. So, they give the convenience of shoes, but look like Boots. They can be worn with anything from midi-length dresses to jeans. They keep your feet warm enough and yet keep your ankles and legs free. A convenient addition to your wardrobe.

Boots for Winters

If you are getting boots to wear for colder climes, one of my favorites of course is the black leather look, with a bit of fur and lots of heel. Be careful though, because not only is it a difficult style to carry off with elan, its also a difficult one to get without being sleazy. Be careful about the loops and buttons and studs on such a boot! And of course, the shine factor. Try it out with what you would probably wear it with before purchasing it. You dont want to look like a slut, and neither do you want to look like a Ninja!

Length is personal choice as far as boots are concerned. Longer they are, cooler they look. Of course, the most standard length for a good boot is calf length. Its convenient and yet its boot-ish enough.

Thigh High Boots

If youve got the thighs for it, try one that reaches above your knee cap.

Flat Boots in soft leather

Heel height is also a personal preference. If you can walk with stillettoes, go in for high heels. But remember, with boots there is restricted leg mobility. So whats easy in a pump can be a little difficult in a stiff boot that covers up your shins, restricting movement. So try on the shoes and walk keeping in mind the kind of floor you will be on! Block heels also look good on boots, so dont you worry. Try out wedge heels for your boots as well.

There are flat boots apart from Ugg’s. And these too look pretty decent. I, however find them a tad difficult to walk on since the length of the boot restricts my calf and shin bone mobility. In case you want to go in for a flat boot, try one made of velvet or of a soft leather, which probably crunches up into confortable wrinkles all the way up your leg. Try some with ribbons and buckles in that case. Way cool.

What I would thoroughly recommend

This season shoots are in, in a major way. They can be worn with slim fit jeans and look great – just like the high heel pumps with ankle length jeans. So try and get a pair of warm comfortable shoots. Boots of course are classic and will make a re-entry every year for the wallet conscious. For the fashion conscious, the world is open!

And a word for Men:

There is no season for Boots for you! Men in boots always look good 🙂 Go get a good pair, probably tan leather?

Where to shop?

There is no dearth of boot and shoot sellers. However, if you need a guiding hand in India, follwing are some shops that I have seen with good designs. I wouldnt say collection, because they stock only 3-4 types, but the designs are decent without being OTT or sleazy. Remember, its my top-of-mind recall here, and not necessarily the only, or the best. Also, I dont have any tie-ups with these shops or their owners or anybody!

If wallet is no constraint, you know where to go. Sky is the limit and there is no lack of designers catering to your boots-whims!

Otherwise, Look out for boots and shoots at –

Premium Shops:

-Aldo

-Charles & Keith

-Nine West

-Catwalk

Medium Range Shops:

-Metro

-Regal

-Mochi

-Inc. 5

-Levi’s

Multi-Brand outlets:

-Lifestyle

-Marks & Spencer

-Shopper’s Stop

Happy Boot Shopping! Have a WONDERFUL 2010! One New Year resolution for you?

Get a bigger Shoe Closet! 🙂

(PS – Thanks to the many many websites I accessed for the photographs! I forgot to keep your links, but some are:

http://twistedphysics.typepad.com, http://www.shoemall.com, http://styletips101.com, and of course, the mighty Google)

 

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!

 

Buy Yourself Nice Gladiator Shoes May 7, 2009

Gladiator sandals

Gladiator Sandal-Boots

How grand and shoe-like they sound. Yet they can be best described as pieces of string holding your foot.

Gladiators. What grand images they throw up in your mind – strong men in arenas facing challenges larger than life. But shoes? Yes, these are the flat soled sandals that you can imagine the Romans wear under their Togas. And they are no more adorning the legs of muscular men. Now, they are fashion statement for women.

 

gladiator sandals

Gladiator Sandals

Essentially, gladiator shoes are  sandals with pieces of straps holding them to your foot – and climbing up, your calves as well. Elegant way of covering up men’s legs in an era devoid of trousers.

Today, they have evolved into classic wear for women, ranging from ankle length to boots.

gladiator shoe and dress

Gladiator shoe & Appropriate Dress

Sure, they look nice. In fact, on a good pair of legs, they look lovely. When worn with the correct dress. And dress it has to be. A skirt or a frock. Originally meant to be worn with a Toga, even today the beauty of gladiator shoes can only be set off by dresses with flair, elegance and essentially, a hemline.

Essentially, there is no point in wearing gladiator shoes, unless the calf is visible. Jeans and even shorts are a complete no-no for these age old style statements.

But then, though beautiful, gladiators can be overdone. The traditional gladiators are flat soled with leather straps and buckles to hold ones feet in place. These are rarely worn in their traditional format any more. Nowdays, we prefer modifications which modernise and beautify the original more than the original. However, certain such designs are quite horrific. 

Gwyneth Paltrow Gold Gladiators

Gwyneth Paltrow Gold Ugly Gladiators

Gladiators now are also made with heels. Wedge and pencil, that is quite O.K. However, when the gladiator style meets the bondage, that is when one needs to be careful. Also, gladiators are the fine line between style and not knowing style. To succumb to wearing gladiators, one should be confident of the pair picked up, and how its worn. Celebritites like Gwynneth Paltrow known for her choice of gladiators, have famously gone wrong as well. Not only did she wear them with trousers, they were gold in colour, with an unflattering design!

There are designers making fashionable yet ugly bondage gladiators. There are designers making terribly ugly normal gladiators. And then there are the embellished gladiators, which are just plain ugly.

Gladiator shoes elicit a lot of reaction. They are a style statement, and as with any such statement, they are either loved or hated. There are those who hate gladiators. However, there are many more people like me, who love gladiator shoes.

Gladiator shoes are back this summer. So ladies, buckle up. Get those summery dresses out. And enjoy these Roman Beauties. Because this is one shoe that is stylish while being flat, and so utterly suitable to Indian roads 😉