Miss Shoes – Shoes you almost Missed

Shoes for the Discerning Indian Woman

My Tryst with Red Shoes: at Work & Elsewhere April 24, 2010

I really like your shoes. And you. I admire people who can wear red shoes I think they are very difficult to carry off

My colleagues comment left me speechless. A little flattered, but surprised as well. You see, shoes are the one thing that really don’t need confidence. They are just…worn.

Porphyra - A Beautiful Red Algea

Porphyra - A Beautiful Red Algea

I love the colour red, like almost all Indians. However, though keep few reds in my cupboard, I wear them with caution, and not usually to work. With shoes, it is a different matter altogether.

I have always had a pair of red shoes in my cupboard. Ever since I can remember, I have liked to pick up red shoes. Its a pity I did not take photographs of my shoes before this, else I could have given a nice series of photographs – vintage, really – of my ‘Red Shoes Through the Ages’ or some such thing.

They started off more as fun in college, and now I have these that I wear to office.

At the moment though,  I have two pairs, one rather dull red, and the other a shiny patent red. I am a little particular about the shade of red when I choose the shoes. I sincerely believe that red is a beautiful colour. However, it can look so very awful if the shade of red selected is

a) not suitable to the skin (warm shades and cool shades) or

b) not suitable to the occasion

Once I had red flats, with red sequins holding down the toes. They added zing to my dull blue jeans for a casual evening out with friends. I however, could not imagine wearing them to office.

Red Leather Peep Toes

Red Leather Peep Toes

To start with, are my red leather peep-toes. The design of these shoes are not exactly subtle, but the colour and the overall make of them, thanks to the leather, the stitching, etc., makes them my favorite for office wear.

They are not exactly from a fancy shop, but something I saw and was love at first sight. The toes are covered quite well, and the ‘peep’ is just enough to show a hint of nailpolish. And it covers the feet quite well from all angles. The leather scrunches up as it ends near the foot, to give a nice feminine ruffled look.

The heels are around 2 inches, comfortable and of  dark wood-like substance.

Red ShoesI wear this pair pretty often with either dull coloured skirts, or with a black and white outfit.

It brings in a splash of coliur to the black and white, without drawing attention to itself.

The leather itself is patchy in shades, and that brings its own angle into the shoes.

Red Shoes in Office

Red Shoes in Office

They go pretty well with jeans as well. The heel height helps in cigarette leg jeans, and the red colour adds to the glam look of the outfit.

However, I still like to reserve it for office wear. It is the bit of daring in formal wear which can make a day brighter.

The next pair of red shoes – and I must confess, I recently got them from Singapore – are anything but subtle. In design they are as formal as can be, but they are a bright red, made of patent leather-like material, shining and definitely drawing attention to themselves.

Shiny Red Shoes

Shiny Red Shoes

I got these shoes from a URS & Inc shop, and they fit like a dream – and I simply could not resist the sassy red.

The design, as you can see, is a very staid moccasin look-alike, with a bit of steel buckle for show. But the red is tomato, yet in certain light looks maroonish.

From Office in Patent Red Shoes

From Office in Patent Red Shoes

The heel is pure wood, and gives a nice hollow ring when walking on solid stone floors (marble or granite), which is nice to hear in its own way.

The sole is well cushioned, and in short, wearing this pair is a joy unto itself – and most of it is due to the colour!

Red Shoes with BeigeSo I pair this with my dullest trousers (photo above: shirt: Fab India, Trousers: G2000, Dirty room with tangled computer wires: mine!) The design of this pair of shoes is good for trousers, I dont think I will wear this with skirts, or even Salwar Kameezes.

In trousers as well, because of its shiny nature, it does not go very well with pure black, and thus I reserve it for camel, beige and brown trousers. It then adds an interesting aspect to the complete look, especially when sitting down – as then the shoes become really visible.

Red Shoe

My suggestion – on a Monday, when you have the Blues, there is nothing likea pair of Red Shoes to chase them away.

Try it, the next time in office. But do take care that the shade suits your feet, and complements your clothes. Red shoes need to be worn with care, and you dont want people pointing at your feet because the colour is so garish and bright, it robs the shoe and the wearer from any style quotient!

The colour red is known for its energy, its sanctity (in India and China) and its power. Feel free to dip into this reservoir and make a bleak work day some fun!


(Photograph courtesy Flickr)

Advertisements
 

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

 

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!

 

Indian Sandals – of Chappals and Jutis May 26, 2009

Q: When do you really know you need a pair of shoes?

Me: Is that a trick question?

Q: Why?

Me: Because you always need a new pair of good shoes.

To add to above, Id say, you definitely need a pair of Indian Sandals! As I mentioned earlier, the range of shoes available to the common ladies of India are quite different from those available in some other world economies.

However, as far as we are concerned, we have one of the best deals ever. We got chappals and jutis, since time immemorial. Lets talk about chappals first.

No, they are not the so called ‘flip-flops’ which apparently harm your walk, these are creations which leave your feet with enough space to breath, wiggle and have a smart small heel, if so required.

The traditional childhood wear of our Moms, these thin soled slip-ons are comfortable in offices where they can be quietly slipped off under the table, yet are elegant and fashionable. And come in more varieties than the Kolhapuri and Osho slippers.

While the standard chappal/ slipper is thought of by most Indian women as one of those chunky ugly pieces of footwear only aunty’s-from-conservative-households-who-are-also-extremely-bitchy wear, they do have their original strappy lovely numbers existing, which can give the Greek ones a run for their money and their makers for inspiration. (Yes, including the Gladiators)

Made in a wide variety of colours and ranges, these are probably the only type of footwear which can effectively carry off any design without looking really bad. Sure, they can make you look ‘aunty’ (as Indians say), but never really ‘bad’.

Available in all price ranges in every type of shop, ranging from sidewalks to top notch places, they are the footwear that at most can do only one type of harm to your feet – by giving you a shoebite if you bought ’em tight.

The modern shoe makers have evolved the humble chappal into its newer shoe-inspired avatar. These can be tied around your ankle or have a loop thereby resisting any impulse of the shoe to slip off or ‘flap’ while you walk.

Essentially, a chappal shall not flap while walking because unlike a flip-flop, its fit is snug.

Kolhapuri Chappals

Kolhapuri Chappals

The Kolapuri chappals are made from leather, and have to be made comfortable by regular use – just like any other leather product. However, the readily available ones in various colours and exciting designs are made with any material the shoe designers can get. Another unique point of the Kolhapuris – they do not have a single bit of nail on them and are made of pure leather! Once you get an original Kolhapuri, it may just last you a lifetime! And, they are cheap.

In recent times the Kolhapuri chappals have evolved into various looks including hand painted leather on some of them, with the designs in blue, green, red…making the whole chappal interesting and bright to look at – and look amazingly well with jeans.

Colourful Jutis

Colourful Jutis

Then there are also the Juti-inspired chappals. Juti/ Jutti’s are essentially made famous by the Punjabis. They are covered in front and flat soled, with a little triangle at the heel to hold the foot in. In some designs the back may be open as well. The top of the Juti is highly decorated. It can be decorated with anything. Ranging from paint, to bead work, to silver and golden threads, plain wool threads, etc. the jutis are as versatile as any Indian garment when it comes to embellishment. They are also called Mojri/ Mojari and are worn extensively in Rajasthan and Gujarat as well. As with chappals, they are very comfortable once broken into!

WHAT DO I SUGGEST? Well, with the variety available in chappals and jutis, women quite justly should go mad. When wearing a plain pair of jeans, nothing can brighten up the whole getup like a pair of colourful, ethnic chappals / jutis.

With traditional wear, salwar kameez and ghagras, a well embellished juti goes very well. Especially if the salwar kameez is the Punjabi patiala style, and the ghagra is rajasthani. Awesome party wear.

Juti with Sherwani

Juti with Sherwani

Men of course are quite partial to both of them. With a traditional Kurta-Pajama, a kolapuri chappal or a plain leather Juti looks graceful and elegant.

DONT’s One thing is for sure, Indian Sandals/ Chappals/ Jutis are best suited for long dresses – i.e. things that cover your legs. So, it is a definite no-no with knee length skirts. If to be worn with long skirts, it is preferable that they are Indian ethnic to look at. Preferably wrap around, with enough flair. Also to be avoided are Saris! They are elegant dresses, but in my opinion, unless a heeled sandal is worn, a juti can quite spoil the show for a sari – unless its for casual daily wear. Chappals and stylish sandals can be worn with a Sari, but the colour and style has to be kept in mind. Again, these go best with crisp cotton and thick silk saris rather than chiffon/ mixed fabric ones.

For men, anytime is a good time to wear a Juti/ a Chappal. Right from jeans, to sherwanis, pujama-kurtas to shotis. However, I hope my male readers would remember that trousers were never meant to be paired with this oh-so-Indian footwear. A kolhapuri for near-the-house grocery shopping can be pardoned, but definitely not as a dress-up!

So I say, go get yourself a pair of genuine chappals and enjoy your walk for years to come! I promise you will look chic all the while. This is one design that has been there for eons and will continue to stay.