Miss Shoes – Shoes you almost Missed

Shoes for the Discerning Indian Woman

Jutis – for Rainy season…& Breach Candy July 19, 2013

It has started raining in Mumbai. Let me amend that sentence.

It has been raining in Mumbai since before Summer ended, and there is copious amounts of water pouring from the sky at any given time of the day except when I leave for office. *breaths in*. Which makes me sad.

I have not had a single rainy day off. Never in school, and not in office. Such is life.

However, I do have bright, zany, shiny footwear to repel those evil puddles and light up these working days!

Now, the Indian Juti is an awesome footwear. It is ballerina type, and it cut low on the sides, showcasing more of the foot that the more famous ballet slippers. Plus, the jutis have a lot of intricate design and handwork done on them. Traditionally from northern India, the term literally means ‘shoe‘ in feminine (as in, Juta is masculine and used to denote more heavy type of footwear. Men have Jutis as well)

juti 2 Juti pic

However, traditionally, the Juti is made of leather. This makes it a little uncomfortable in the initial days when you are breaking it in, and also makes it a difficult footwear for all those rainy days.

Which, when you are living in a city like Mumbai or Calcutta ( Kolkata) is 10 months out of the 12 (figurative). The sad part of which is the damage they wreak on leather footwear through the myriad potholes filled with water.

Now, I don’t know if you have heard of this place in South Mumbai called ‘Breach Candy‘. It is next to the sea, and is a narrow uphill road. Its remarkable feature is the plethora of shoe shops on either side of the road!

Shoes! Everywhere! And oh! so many. I love the place.

MBMapBreachCandyEDIT

So when in June my mother came down for a visit, I made my way there with her, for not only is it about a lot of shoe shops, it is also a nice quaint neighborhood where one can spend a lot of time doing nothing. Oh! and it has a number of coffee shops and bakeries. What more can you ask for eh?

Walking around Breach Candy, it is almost impossible not to buy shoes. And, in one of the shops as we went in, I spotted these bright blue jutis.

I put them on, only to realize they were made of rubber! Not a bit of canvas or leather near these things! How delightful! Waterproof Jutis!

Mu Jutis

They have a base color of black, with colored thread embroidery all over it – in blue, orange and silver. The piping of the shoe is silver as well. Imatches very well with jeans, and also any salwar or churidar. They are super comfortable to walk, with enough friction at the base.

Since then, I have paired this pair with jeans a number of times, not only on weekends, but also to my ultra professional office (on Fridays) and had pleasing results. Whenever I need to step out of the car and access that shop, through a puddle, these shoes cause me no worry.

By virtue of being made of rubber, they dont get too wet, and they dry pretty soon. Also, after being wet so many times, they still look as good as new!

These are now my favorite go-to shoes for Fridays and weekends, when its raining.

my waterproof juti

 

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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!

 

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.