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Shoes for the Discerning Indian Woman

My Gladiators and Singapore March 26, 2010

After a lot of deliberation and cancellations, a last minute plan landed me in Singapore. Due to the last minute nature of the trip, which involved a couple of days in office, I took with me shoes for office (heels), my sports shoes and a pair of gladiators for miscellaneous wear.

Singapore is one of those city(-states) that believe in dressing well. All you see around you are well dressed people. Really well dressed.

In their midst wearing sports shoes was not the best choice. But then I was the tourist. So I persisted. My faithful pair helped me through the day of walking around the famous Sentosa beach island-bit of the city-state/country.

But. (and its a very large but) Singapore weather is slightly worse than that of Mumbai (check out the humidity levels on that link!). At least it was while I was there. Sweating in sports shoes are not the best thing. So by evening when I took off my shoes in the late evening, I found my poor foot abused.

From that day on I wore only my breathy gladiators out of doors. Was I glad I had taken them along!

Singapore Botanical GardenThe beauty of gladiators, like Ive mentioned earlier is, they can be teemed with most things. So my uniform for the trip became skirts and gladiators

The shoes were comfortable for long walks. Flat, they did not strain any undue muscles of my legs. Also, the multiple straps held the foot firmly in place ensuring my foot never slipped.

At the same time, the thin strips left enough place for my foot to breathe. The sole was also thin enough that my foot-sole could be comfortable.

Gladiator close upThe gladiators I have now are black, with faux stitch marks on each strap giving the impression its made of leather. It is however, not leather.

They are a comfortable height upto my ankles, and therefore can match with most clothes, irrespective of the height.

There are a lot of colours to choose from, but I took a basic black since it can match with almost any coloured clothes. I even wore it with a pink dress. My last pair of gladiators were pure leather, of skin tone. That is another colour which looks good but then it does not dramatise its presence.

The heel is slightly supported, so it is not absolutely flat. This really helped since I did a lot of walking around. Perfectly flat shoes can strain the foot and make one tired easily.

All in all, I say, when you are traveling, carry a pair of gladiator sandals. They do not occupy much space, are lighter than most other shoes and are rather versatile while being comfortable!

Gladiators Rule

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Dressing Casual (Delhi Vs Mumbai), Shoes for Short skirts September 30, 2009

Yesterday, while switching channels on TV I chanced upon an interview of Sonam Kapoor talking about ‘dressing up’ in Delhi. I agree. While Bombay takes the charm out of going out, in Delhi every outing is a definite occasion. I agree that it is really comforting to go out wearing whatever you want, but really! If you are out partying, might as well dress up that way, right? Otherwise whats the point of going to an expensive place?

Casual yet dressed

Casual yet dressed

So while in Mumbai one can walk into any pub/disco/eatery in flip flops and torn jeans, no makeup or jewellery, in Delhi, it is nice to see men and women put in some effort while going out. I would have thought it human instinct (but then I guess that is a little lacking in Mumbai) to want to make a one-off ‘going-out’ an occasion to warrant a little more dressing up than going to the store. Albeit, in Mumbai the ‘going to the store’ look is also crafted carefully.

However, what is important and needed is a look that makes you look dressed up, yet not too casual. Something that makes you perfect for an evening out with a few friends while not looking like you stepped out of home wearing what you wore last night, or that you spent hours dressing up.

If you are one of those people who want to dress up but don’t really know what to wear so you fit in seamlessly with either of the crowds, I would suggest wear anything you want to, dress up as you want to, and don the right pair of shoes.

Rihanna in short skirt

Rihanna in short skirt

It is depressing to see the number of women in Mumbai who wear really chic skirts and have obviously spent time on their face and hair, and then wear a pair of flip flops. The end result is so casual, I wonder why they even put in the effort for the hair and face. Short skirts and flat chappals is not a combination I would suggest, unless you want to roam around home after a tiring evening.

So, many Indian women are placed in a quandary when it comes to footwear to go alongwith short skirts. The last thing they want to wear is something that will make them look slutty, but the last thing I would suggest in lieu of that is bedroom slipper lookalikes which make them look like they have been lounging around home. (Its Ok if you are on the beach, but most times its not the beach).

So, what do they wear?

Platforms and gladiators with skirts

Platforms and gladiators with skirts

Shoes for Short Skirts – Casual Dressing Style

Here comes in the importance of sandals. Remember those footwear one used to wear as kids? With a little heel, yet not too high? Well, for adults they make the same thing, only more suave. Of course, one can go ahead with the Indian impulse and wear something strappy, but I prefer blockier designs.

Block heeled shoe with short skirt

Block heeled shoe with short skirt

Sandals basically give the foot around an inch of height from the ground (at max) and come in various designs. If you want to make it a little more dressy than plain old sandals, kitten heels fit best. They keep the delicate feminity of the look, while emphasizing what short skirts are meant to.

Kitten heels

Kitten heels look classy

Sandals can be covered or open toed. Block heeled or pencil, plain slip-on with a strap holding down toes only, or ballerina styles or even gladiators. For a casual evening out, I would suggest a heel type that makes it comfortable for you to walk around as much as you want – platforms (cork heeled look great), wedge or square heels usually fit this bill. Pencil heels automatically increase the oomph quotient of the attire, especially slingbacks.

Short platforms with Skirt

Short platforms with Skirt

Now to the top of the shoe – ballerina styles and open toes look good, but again they become a tad more evening-ish than say, something with a buckle near the ankle and a strap covering the toes.  Practical, yet stylish without becoming dressy or slutty.

Sneakers with Short Skirt

Sneakers with Denim Short Skirt

If of a sporty kind, the personality then screams sports shoes, with ankle-length socks.  Nude shoes are also OK. This is one of the few things allowed to women and extremely well dressed men who know what they are doing.

So there you have it. A tutorial of how not to get totally ‘just-out-of-home-as-I-was’ look everytime you are out. Yet, not going the whole hog and look like you are off to a glamorous evening affair.

Shoes may not be noticed by men, but they can make or break an outfit. The right shoe can make a simple dress look glamorous, just by virtue of the being on your feet. Shoes force the way you walk and your body posture. I would say, stay away from flip flops as far as possible – they can make you waddle. And no one is allowed to waddle!

Me traveling all over in comfy shoes and skirt

Me traveling all over in comfy shoes and skirt

Confident in short skirt and heels

Confident in short skirt and heels

So try and get shoes that improve how your legs look. A little heel will help your calves look better, so if you have stocky legs, try not to go for the sneaker look. Flat shoes are great for slender women with long legs, not the usual Indian figure. But if you must wear flats, try to make them covered ballerina style shoes or stylish sandals rather than flip flops.

So go out, this festive season grab yourself some neutral, convenient sandals which you can wear anywhere you want to!

Me in Skirt and Kitten Heels

Me in Skirt and Kitten Heels

Suggested shops:

High budget:

  1. Clarks
  2. Nine West
  3. Charles & Keith
  4. Catwalk

Medium – Low Budget:

  1. Bata (perfect for the casual yet trendy look!)
  2. Shoe shops in malls like Pantaloons, Westside, Lifestyle
  3. Metro/ Regal/ Mochi
  4. Khadims/ Liberty (if you really don’t find anything elsewhere)

One thing I however ask you to stay away from are extremely chunky black sandals. They will steal the look away from your entire outfit, and truly speaking look a little dowdy. Skin coloured and light coloured sandals look best. Preferably if the sole is either leather or rubber-plastic.

Indian Sandals

Indian Sandals also look good for a casual look

PS – if you want to look glam, I suggest a pair of boots(!) or even stilettoes. Try those ankle length shoes with care – they can make you look short AND your legs calf-less. And like mentioned, flip flops are ultra-casual, but if you want a casual look, I would still suggest ones with a little heel, like Indian Sandals.

Short skirt and Boots

Short skirt and Boots

 

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 😉